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Top 5 PDF Note-Taking App for iPad and iPhone in 2023

Note-taking is a vital part of any collaborative process and if you are working on a document on your iPhone or iPad, you need a note-taking tool that supports iOS. While you may be able to find a few, there aren't many that make the process as seamless as note-taking really should be. Since most documents you will share on any project are bound to be in PDF format, what you need is a good PDF note-taking app. Here, we look at the top 5 note-taking solutions for PDF.

Part 1. Top 5 Note-Taking Apps for iPad and iPhone

The following are the only note-taking apps that you should consider when you want to annotate a PDF document.

1. UPDF for iOS

UPDF for iOS is a relatively new iOS document management app that works wonders when it comes to PDF documents. Not only can you use it to open and read PDF documents, but it is also one of the best ways to create PDFs from images or scans of other documents.

It also has excellent annotation tools that allow you to add notes to any PDF document. The built-in freehand drawing tool can be easily used to add text to the document (as many notes as you want to any section of the document), add a signature, or even highlight and underline sections of the text. You can also choose to use the stylus to add your notes and annotations. It's quite easy for you to write on a PDF on iPhone and iPad with UPDF.

pdf note taking app updf

What's more? UPDF has a Security Space to help you hide private photos and files. All the files will be safe with this app. This app is also a document scanner and you can scan any paper document and make them into a PDF file.

2. Notability

If you are looking for a versatile, PDF note-taking app that is also very easy to use, Notability is a good choice. There is little that it cannot do, from being able to annotate PDFs to embedding images and even recording voice memos. It even makes adding sketches and drawings quick and easy, using your finger or stylus.

ipad pdf note taking notability

If you don't want to add the notes directly on the PDF document, Notability gives you the option to slide the PDF to one side and make notes on a separate page. You can also easily organize the notes using "Dividers" and share the annotated documents via Google Drive, Dropbox, and AirDrop.

3. GoodNotes 5

GoodNotes 5 is another very good note-taking app that you can use to annotate a PDF or take notes on a blank page. It is one of the few note-taking apps in the market that will actually allow you to switch between typing and writing. It also comes with a lot of built-in layouts and templates that you can use to organize your notes.

pdf note taking goodnotes5

You can also choose to adjust the sensitivity of your pen to match your writing style in the settings. It also comes with a "Presentation Mode" ideal for times when you need a digital whiteboard and when used with an HDMI cable or AirPlay, you can project your ideas onto an even larger screen.

4. Penultimate

You can be certain that Penultimate is a great note-taking app because it is developed by Evernote. You can expect all the features that you would get on Evernote with a little bit extra, developed for the iOS platform. For instance, it has numerous layouts that you can choose to use and an optical character recognition that may come in handy when you want to search through your handwritten notes.

best pdf note taking app penultimate

If you have ever used Evernote, then you will find Penultimate very easy to use. The user interface of both apps is very similar. They are both easy to use and you can easily any feature you want from the home screen. But Penultimate has the additional writing feature "Noteshelf" that you may not find on Evernote. It is also completely free to download and use.

5. Whink

The Whink note-taking app has all the hallmarks of a notes app with all the necessary tools along with a gel pen. This gel pen comes in an unlimited number of colors for those times when you want to be creative or when you want to empathize with a certain point more. It also has a vector link that will prevent your notes from getting grainy when you zoom into the margins.

pdf note taking app ipad whink

But it is also a very simple note-taking app in that all it does is take notes. The interface is very minimalistic, making it very easy to find what you are looking for. It does however come with a lot of layouts to choose from and you can integrate other forms of media such as photos and audio recordings into your notes.

Also Read: 5 Best Note-Taking Apps for Mac in 2023

Part 2. How to Take Notes on PDF on iPad

Taking notes on a PDF on an iPad can be very simple if you are using the right tool. The following is how you can use UPDF to add notes to any PDF on your iPad:

Step 1: Open the UPDF app on your iPad and then tap on the PDF you want to edit to open it. Click the "Comment" tool in the top-right corner.

Step 2: Choose the annotation tool that you would like to use. Since we are adding notes, the correct tool to choose would be a marker. You can also change the color of the pen and set the style to fit your needs.

pdf note taking app

Step 3: Use the selected marker to add notes to the section of the document and then tap "Save" to automatically save and close the file.

Part 3. How to Take Notes on PDF on iPhone

You can also just as easily take notes on a PDF on your iPhone. Here's how to do it using UPDF;

Step 1: Open UPDF on your iPhone and then tap on the PDF document to open it in UPDF. The same with an iPad, you need to tap the "Comment" tool.

pdf note taking

Step 2: You should see a number of annotation tools. Choose the "Note" and then select the color and style of note you would like to use.

Step 3: Add the notes to any section of the document that you would like.

Step 4: Tap "Save" to save the document and then close it.

That's so easy to add notes to PDF. Right? With UPDF for iOS, you can view, annotate, create, protect, share, and manage PDF files effortlessly. Try it for free today!

Part 4. FAQs about PDF Note-Taking App

What App Can I Use to Take Notes on a PDF?

UPDF should be your first choice to take notes on a PDF. It allows you to write on PDF with Pencil, add text notes, draw shapes on PDF, and so on.

What is the Best App to Annotate PDFs on iPad?

The best app to annotate PDF on iPad should be easy-to-use, costless, and high-efficient. For this, you can try UPDF for iPad. It's easy to use and you can use it to draw on PDF, add text comments, and sign PDF easily.

Can I Write on PDF on iPad?

Sure. You can write on PDF on iPad with a robust PDF tool, such as UPDF. With UPDF, you can easily write on PDF on iPad. Besides, it also allows you to sign PDF, scan to PDF, create new PDF, protect PDF, etc.

Can I Draw on a PDF with iPhone?

Of course. Using an easy-to-use PDF tool like UPDF, you can draw on PDF with iPhone effortlessly. With UPDF, you can draw on PDF with many pencils, and draw shapes easily. You can also set its color, thickness, and opacity.


As you have assessed the need for note-taking through digital means in the current world, this article has provided a review of the top PDF note-taking applications for iOS devices. You would have learned much about the concepts of note-taking and its execution. For perfect results, UPDF for iOS stands in the limelight of providing the best note-taking solutions.