The 11 Best Notes Apps for Android


Digital note-taking is a must-have skill. You already take your Android phone everywhere, don’t you? There’s no point in carrying an additional notepad when you can install a notepad app instead. But with so many Android note apps to choose from, how to know which is the best option for you?

We’ve tested all the top candidates so you don’t have to. Here are our picks of the best free note-taking apps for Android.

1. Google Keep

We begin with the app that’s installed on most Android phones already, Google Keep.

Keep is great for quick notes and reminders. You can create text, handwritten, photo, or voice notes, and create lists and reminders as well. You can keep them organized using labels, and Google’s search prowess also makes it easy to find what you’re looking for once you’ve got a lot of notes to work with.

Google Keep will do a good enough job for many people, especially if you’re a big Google user and want to access your notes on other devices or the desktop, as they’re automatically synced to your Google account. But there are better options out there.

Download: Google Keep (Free)

2. Microsoft OneNote

With over half a billion downloads, OneNote ranks among the most popular Android apps. If you’re a Microsoft Office user, then it’s likely to be your default choice, although it may be a bit much if you just need something quick and easy.

It’s a hugely powerful app, enabling you to take notes with a combination of text, handwriting, or voice. It also has a scanner with OCR functionality to extract text from printed documents.

Plus, there are plenty of lesser-known Microsoft OneNote features, like clipping from the web, inserting multimedia files, tagging and searching notes, drawing with your finger, and more. Despite all that, it has an easy learning curve and it looks clean and modern.

If you prefer to go the non-Microsoft route, Evernote is the best alternative to OneNote.

Download: Microsoft OneNote (Free)

3. Dropbox Paper

Dropbox Paper is another solid OneNote rival. And though Microsoft’s app still wins in terms of sheer power and features, Paper strikes a delicate balance between usability, intuitiveness, collaboration, appearance, and performance.

Dropbox Paper is a notes app that stores every note on the cloud in your Dropbox account. If you don’t have internet access, you can edit while offline and the changes will sync once you’re back online.

Other useful features include note sharing and online collaboration (so your friends and family can view and edit notes with you), folders for organization, checklists, due dates, annotations and comments, and integration with other productivity tools like calendars.

Download: Dropbox Paper (Free)

4. Obsidian

Obsidian has been around for a while as a powerful desktop note-taking app with a very loyal following. On Android, it’s similarly feature-rich, if a little difficult to navigate at first.

Treat it as a simple notes app and you can’t go wrong. It supports Markdown, which makes it easy to format your notes and access them in other apps (you can sync your notes online). It’s well implemented too. There’s a toolbar to help with the formatting so that you don’t need to bother with Markdown’s fiddly syntax, which is hardly suited to Android keyboards.

Dig deeper, and there’s an awful lot going on. You get a tabbed interface, backlink and graph views to see the relationships between connected notes, and support for things like plugins and templates.

Download: Obsidian (Free, subscription available)

5. Notesnook

Notesnook is the best Android note-taking app if privacy is your biggest concern. When you first launch the app, you have to choose the level of protection you want: everything unlocked, your notes locked when you close the app, or everything locked even when the app is running in the background. And whichever you choose, your notes are encrypted on your device.

As far as the notes themselves go, you can organize them with tags, notebooks, and favorites, while it’s easy to create and format notes.

You’re limited to text notes and reminders in the free version—some more advanced features are locked behind a subscription. These include attaching files and images to notes, advanced formatting like tables and Markdown, more organization features, and the ability to export your notes.

Download: Notesnook (Free, in-app purchases available)

6. FiiNote

FiiNote is a multipurpose note-taking app that’s similar to the likes of Microsoft OneNote, but nowhere near as popular. It has support for both typed and handwritten notes, along with a number of other advanced features.

Calendar? Check. Multimedia attachments and audio recording? Check. Deep organization? Infinite canvas? Note templates? Revision history? All check.

The skeuomorphic design is a little dated but extremely functional once you get your head around it. And with handwriting support, it is a good app to use with a Samsung Galaxy S Pen.

Download: FiiNote (Free, in-app purchases available)

7. Bundled Notes

Bundled Notes is an app that wants to do everything. It is extremely powerful, but there’s so much going on that it can be pretty overwhelming when you first start using it (plus you have to sign up before you can even get going).

The app is built around the idea of “bundles” that are effectively notebooks that contain a particular type of content—notes, lists, TV watchlists, projects, or tutorials—and you can create six for free. It supports Markdown, you can attach images or files, and pin notes to notifications. There are tags and filters for organization, you can customize the interface, and much more. If you can think of it, it’s probably here.

While the basic app is free, you need to subscribe to the Pro version to unlock extra features and access your notes online.

Download: Bundled Notes (Free, in-app purchases available)

8. Simplenote

In contrast to Bundled Notes, Simplenote is one of the most lightweight notes apps for Android. If you’re tired of overly bloated apps with features you’ll never use, take a look at this. The app has some organizational features like note tags, while backups, synchronization, and sharing are all available if you create a free account.

But if you plan on keeping thousands of notes, look elsewhere. Simplenote is all about speed and efficiency. It’s especially good for older phones that just don’t have the hardware to keep up with modern feature-heavy apps. Use it if you just want your notes app to stay out of your way.

Download: Simplenote (Free)

9. Squid

Squid is a unique note-taking app. It’s a vector-based notes app for Android that eschews typing for handwriting. Using an active pen, stylus, or even your finger, you can write out your notes instead of cramping your thumbs on a keyboard. (But typed notes are possible if you need them.)

In the Pro version, Squid can import PDFs, allowing you to mark them up as you wish and then save them again. You can also cast your notes to a TV or projector using a Chromecast or another device that supports wireless streaming with Miracast.

If you hate typing and prefer to write your notes by hand, this is the perfect app for you. Infinite paper size, vector-based strokes, and lots of flexibility are all here. An active pen or stylus with a tablet is highly recommended.

Download: Squid (Free, in-app purchases available)

10. BlackNote

BlackNote has a minimalist interface that makes note-taking very straightforward. Similar to other Android notes apps, BlackNote contains a variety of typical features that make it easy to use. In BlackNote you’ve got all your preferred features in one intuitive dark-themed user interface that reduces eye strain.

Within BlackNote, you can organize notes, make to-do lists, use widgets, and much more. You can also search for your notes, lock the app for enhanced privacy, and even star notes as favorites for quick access. The free version of BlackNote contains ads, but you can get rid of them through in-app purchases.

Download: BlackNote (Free, in-app purchases available)

11. ColorNote

ColorNote is a little like Google Keep: simplicity is the name of the game and its main focus is offering the same kind of quick convenience you’d get from real-life sticky notes. Jot down a brief message, color code it, and you’re done.

What we like best about ColorNote are its widgets. You can have a widget with direct note-editing access, or you can have shortcut widgets that open up specific notes. Two note types are supported: lined notes and checklists.

This app only serves one purpose. If you need quick notes that are temporary, it’s perfect. If you need to build up an archive of notes for long-term storage, skip it. ColorNote is too simple for that.

Download: ColorNote (Free)

The Best Notes App for Android

Picking the right note-taking app can boost your productivity and make you feel engaged with your notes. Picking the wrong app can cause frustration, hinder your creativity, and make you lose important details. Make the right choice!

If you take lots of notes, or need an app for work, then the likes of OneNote or Bundled Notes are ideal. Want something more simple? Notesnook or BlackNote are a good place to start. Your needs may differ.


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