GoodNotes App Reviews

good sync between iOS and macOS

I use the Mac version primarily to sync my handwritten notes from the iPad version. I love the handwriting to text conversion. However, I don’t care for taking notes in the app on the Mac. Font, UI, organization, password protection (none available) all needs a lot of work. I still give it 4 stars because it does what I need it to do, sync my iPad handwritten notes and convert to text.

Wonderful app!

Hello, I’ve been using this app from past 8 months, this has been my notes taker ever since then and I use it on daily basis. I’ve seen a lot of improvisation over these years, and I’m thankful for that. Now that I’ve used it for a while, I’m in need for a feature long due, can you please add two page viewer, side-by-side, so that I can read easily from both of the pages at the same time. Thank you.

This app is not ready for deployment

GoodNotes is amazing (but a battery hog) on the ipad. On the desktop, it’s just nowhere near as fluent. They need to step up their game or just make the mac version free. OneNote is a MUCH better option and it’s for sure free on both the iPad and OSX. It’s too bad my $8 is gone :/

simply force closes when typing into it

Not worth 8 dollar at all. It’s only reliable to view what you did on you ipad, and maybe to print (i don’t print my documents). Anytime that I try to type into notes from desktop or laptop it simply crashes. The little bit of work I did get done was gone! It’s worth 2 dollars, maybe, at least until it gets fixed.

I only use the Mac version to transfer my files into the iOS version.

The Mac version is simply too buggy take notes on. It’s useful for transferring docs and making minor modifications… but that’s about it.

It crushes 5 times tonight

This version is just so unstable. Even though it’s good to have it to edit on computer, whenever I edit text in the app, it has been curshing for 5 times tonight. I highly recommend you to wait until it’s more stable.

Thumbs down for mac version

I like goodnote on my ipad, it helps me keep elegant notes. However, the mac version is very bad designed. Usually it does not sync, and it wasted lots of my time.

cannot export

It is ridiculous that you don’t allow exporting files, while I can do this easily on the iPad version… And the scrolling experience is not as good as Preview.

Good for viewing iOS created Goodnotes

I bought this specifically for viewing the notes on my Mac that I create in Goodnotes on my iPad and store in iCloud. For that it works fine, but I have not really looked at the other features so I can’t speak to them. All in all, this is a pricy solution to just being able to view my iOS Goodnotes.

Buggy and Crashes

I liked how I can annotate my PDF files but it is so buggy and crashes a lot. It’s useable but I’m not sure if it’s worth the price I paid.

App unusable - stalls every 10-15 seconds

Im echoing the complaints about the constant stalling and the beach ball appearing. Activity monitor shows Goodnotes using 200 and 300% cpu at times. Why hasnt the developer done anything to fix these issues? Its been several months since the last update.

Don’t Understand the negative reveiws

It does exactly what you think it would do. I take notes by hand on my ipad during meetings with the pencil. Then at my desk I pull them up to check over them and even search them. Don’t know how life could get any better than that.

Comically horrible!

I have owned and used the IOS version for a long time now and it is really great - definitely my favorite handwriting notes app by far. But, this Mac OS version is a really bad joke! it crashes CONSTANTLY! It makes portions of notes, whole pages - even entire notebooks just ‘disappear’! DO NOT - DO NOT - DO NOT buy this app unless they fix the issues! It is literally unusable - and worse than that - if you already have content from using the app on IOS, the chances of losing or corrupting your data are very, very high! if you insist on toturing yourself with this version, PLEASE make several backups of any existing data first!

Useful as a viewer of Goodnotes files from iOS

Goodnotes on OSX is not going to be anybody’s primary note-taking solution, but the iOS version is excellent, especially if you have an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. And if you are already using the iOS version, the Mac version becomes useful as a way to view and print those notes. If you let the iOS version back up to iCloud, you will see all your notes in the Mac version automatically. $8 is a little pricey for my use, given that I only ever use it as a viewer and printer, but it definitely has value.

No clear fail-safe

In both the desktop and mac applications, I’ve lost work. Its seems that if you select the type tool and click anywhere on the page after you’ve written your notes the original notes dissapear. What the hell???? There is no undo and somehow you have to explicitly save otherwise your notes are not stored as a state that can be reverted to. Auto-save is a requirement for cloud apps. Without fail-safes like “Hey you might lose your work or please save now” you don’t help your users understand how "saving” notes work. This is UI 101. We have to do better people!!!!

Nice syncing between devices

I use GoodNotes to write course lecture notes and to grade student papers. I find that it works very well and syncs quickly between devices. The only problem I’ve encountered is trying to export multiple documents to PDF at once; the option is greyed out on my Mac.

Not ready for prime time - but the iOS version is great

I love the iOS version of GoodNotes, and I was so excited to see a Mac app store version available. Unfortunately the Mac version doesn’t quite feel like it is ready for prime time just yet. This version is very slow and buggy, and I frequently get the beachball spinning when trying to flip from one page to the next. Yes I’m working with a large document (Calendar - 365 pages long) but my mac is only one year old, it should be able to handle this document much more efficiently than my 3 year old iPhone. Sadly, that isn’t the case. I will be happy to update this review if future updates to the app fix these issues but for the moment I would recommend holding off on purchasing the Mac App store version. I won’t be using it for now, but will happily continue using the iOS version on my iPhone and iPad.


This application is absolutely terrible. As soon as I installed it, it simply just hangs and shows a spinning cloud in the main window. Totally useless trash. I have requested an immediate refund for this garbage. Whoever developed this garbage should be removed from the App Store.

Syncs perfectly and is a good companion to ios app

What I love the most about Goodnotes on the desktop is that it works seamlessly through icloud. This app wont replace the ios app which relies heavily on the Apple Pencil. But it’s nice to have access to everything, and I can add templates and edit pdfs easily on my desktop now. If only Apple brought Pencil functionality to their Macbooks (through the trackpad perhaps?), they would revolutionize what we would do with laptops because of apps like this.

Terrible desktop client. Good iOS app

Fix your macOS app. It is very difficult to use it. The sync is buggy as well.


This is absolutely a good app to use either in the i pad or in the Mac. It can easily add notes to power points or PDF documents as well as highlighting the sentences. HOWEVER, this app is too easy to crush down and I have to save my file each times in case the page is not responding. Please improve the stablity of this software and all other function can be devepled later!!!!!! Other function may incuded after fixing the stability problem: 1. In the same text box allow differnt font style, like in a same text box I can bold one word with out bold a whole sentece 2. allow smaller letter add to the right corner of letter, like x^2 (x square) 3. except the highlihgting function please add the underline option. Thanks very much

Handwritting Recognition, Intuitive Interface

I used Notability for a long time, and while Notability is a great program, I really find GoodNotes to be much more functional. The user interface and the way the information is stored is much more intuitive. But the handwritting recognition is really what puts GoodNotes ahead of the game. I bought the app in September of 2017 and have had no problems with syncing. Maybe it was a problem in the past, but right now the syncing is as fast or faster than any apps I’ve used across my devices (Ipad, iPhone, and Macbook Pro).

Needs to support auto iCloud sync (UPDATE)

***** Given 5 Stars (updated from 2 Stars) It now supports iCloud Sync. Not sure if this was an update after my original review, but once I opened the app today, I can see all my Goodnotes from my iPadpro. I am very pleased and happy that my money was spent on what I intended to have from this app. Thank you. Original Post I bought this app on MacOS so that I can see everything on my iPad Pro and iphone on the Mac. This does not support icloud syncing. Keep that in mind. Only allows export and import. Why would i need to export and import notes from my MacOS? Would have been nice to sync, so i can organize, touch up or even monitor what notes I have on all devices.

Triple Play: iPhone 7, Mac, iPad Pro 12.9’: Awesome!!!!

I subscribe to Bullet journaling methodology. And this makes it digital, flexibilly AWSOME! All three are seamlessly joined. Update on 1 and the other is updated-wow! Easy to add pages and a great way to Bullet Journal! I highly Recomment Good Notes!!

Very very good app.

the only thing about it that I find a little lacking is a ‘book’ view where I can see two pages at once on the screen… give me that feature and it gets 5 stars from me!!!

Works great

iCloud sync is really fast. Interesting that it doesn't use the iCloud Drive folder on my Mac but instead a different 'file browser' window for all my documents, but it seems to work well.

Unnecessarily CPU intensive. Really needs optimization done.

To this date, I haven’t found all-in-one solution for notetaking for Apple yet. Onenote for MacOS works great but handwriting for iOS using iPad Pro is meh at best. (though recent update had vast improvement don’t know if it is iOS 11 or the OneNote update but anyways kudos developers). However, Microsoft being Apple’s rival, it is unavoidable that Microsoft would never allow Apple version to have full feature like the Windows version. I can’t help but feel that all OneNote for Apple does is teasing Apple customers so that they will switch to Windows platform. Notability for MacOS is average but it is missing some features in both MacOS and iOS versions that may seem insignificant at first, but significantly kills notetaking experience. GoodNotes for iOS… OMG is finally the one I am looking for. Handwriting works flawlessly as a drawing application. So many features. But for MacOS.. as soon as there are more than 10 drawing objects. App struggles pathetically. Crashing when I try to resize multiple objects and etc.. I first suspected underperformance of my MBP 13inch as I saw 100% CPU resource used by GoodNotes. But given the fact similar tasks by other apps work just fine and iPad Pro does this task in fact better(?!), it narrows down to poor optimization for MacOS Application. When I tested on iMac with i7 7700K (fastest consumer level processor out at this time), crashing does not occur but there still are lags and temperature spikes. Who would have guessed GoodNotes will be more CPU intensive than CSGO? I really hope Apple would come up with its own software like MS did. I’m tired of switching among three different apps, and ending up having my notes scattered throughout multiple apps. I mean iPad Pro was purchased exactly to avoid this mess.

Works great

Syncing is perfect.

Be CAREFUL if you want to SYNC.

I LOVE the iPad app, but sync-ing to the Mac app may work well but could be risky. I thought I lost my main notebook - but it just took awile to sync properly. Do not get in a hurry..!

Needs Work

The other reviews here have it mostly covered. I wanted to add my two cents as a long time user. Since the debut of the iPad Pro, GoodNotes has continued to improve the experience on iOS. However, Mac support has languished. Nearly a year ago, I dealt with the GoodNotes technical team to try and resolve the much talked about iCloud synchronization issues. They were very unhelpful and ultimately blamed the issue on me rather than admitting that there was something more fundamentally wrong. I gave up at that point with hoping for stable and consistent synchronization. Nearly a year has passed and it is still seemingly up to chance whether or not changes and new documents will propagate across devices. Simply put, GoodNotes should stop advertising iCloud sync until they have it fixed. As of now, GoodNotes is a great iPad app and nothing more. Do not buy the Mac version.

Good adjunct to the iOS apps

I really love the iPad version of this app and am disocvering many ways to use it every day. Having a Mac OS version of Goodnotes has helped my workflows quite a bit. I personally find it easier to reorganize notebooks and restructure notebooks on the Mac and I can easily add emails, PDFs etc to notebooks while I work. So this app allows me to further extend my use of Goodnotes in my daily activites. As many folks have inidcated sync'ing with iCloud is slow; however the app clearly indicates when it is waiting to upload with an upward facing arrow on the notebook corner. So with a modicum of patience the sync’ing will get done.

Why i cannot use three finger tap search????

I need to use dictionary. So i use dictionary with three finger tap. However, in this app, when i tap my three fingers. NOTHING HAS HAPPENED!!! WHY!! I NEED IT !!!

Chemistry Instructor gives 5-Stars

‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍ I now have about a year’s worth of lectures on GoodNotes. The editing versatility is exceptional; as is file organization. I can hand-write; type; highlight; import pictures and diagrams from digital textbooks; and, most important, easily select-click-and-drag to re-arrange content (which allows me to insert new content, without having to work it sideways into the margins, as with paper), which means I never have to re-write my notes from scratch. Because it’s on an iPad, I can easily project onto a screen. ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍ I cannot speak to those who are having technical issues—I haven’t had so much as one. iCloud between my iPad Pro and Mac Mini, via Google/Dropbox folders, has been flawless. ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍ Without exaggeration, I can say that, at this point, GoodNotes has become one of my favorites: I now rely on it as much as I do Adobe Suite, and almost as much as the barely-tolerable-yet-indespensible Microsoft Office. ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍ My only wish is a tweak: I would that they had a better way to select font font and highlighter color and sizes. Very clumsy in this area. It takes several strokes to go from black pen, to blue highlighter, to red pen, etc. I have seen a PDF editor which has three formatted pens and three formatted highlighters, and one click gets to the new utility. Add that feature, and I have to find a way to put a plus sign after the 5-stars. ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍ In short: superb.

GoodNotes /MAC v1.1.11 Working Great!

Having evaluated numerous such applications, I have decided upon use of GoodNotes on my Apple devices. I wanted to add it to my MacBook Pro notebook computers for full availability across all of my platforms, but I was concerned with the negative reviews on syncing. I took a breath, ignored the reviews and downloaded it onto my 15" MacBook Pro. When I launched it for the first time and all of my documents were already there, I was pleasantly surprised! This was due to its connection with iCloud on my devices. I do not know or recall whether I had manually made that connection at some time or if it was made automatically. As I make edits to a document on my iPad Pro, or with my MacBook Pro, they are synchronized across all platforms as quickly as I need. They appear as quickly as I can open or launch the app on another platform. I hope others report of their satisfaction to overcome the negative reviews so this great application can find broad audience of happy users.

Amazing Just like the Phone App

I am unsure why everyone here is having so many issues with the app for Mac, but I absolutely love it. I have not had a single issue with it, and it syncs perfectly to all my devices. I now have GoodNoes installed on my iPad, iPhone, iMac, and Macbook Pro and they all work seemlessly together. I wish I could give 6 stars!

Mostly does its job except for frequent sync issues

The primary purpose of this basic app is to interface with the iOS counterpart. It does this well. Sometimes, especially when replacing files with newer versions, the synchronization doesn't work. Even if you first delete and then add again. Likely even removes the file from the display entirely. But these are mostly annoying display quirks and no data-loss issues. The iOS version of GoodNote is really pretty good, and you'll want to use this basic app for that. The biggest nuisance of GoodNote is that sharing is just sluggish and synchronization unreliable. GoodNote doesn't register itself under the Mac OS Share Menu Extension so there's no easy way of sharing documents. If you'd like to share a document that you then update, there's an arkance process to go through to see that on the other side, too. With a decent chance that it doesn't work and you have to delete and resynchronize. And reboot. And restart iPad. And so on a number of times. That just happens so often that it's rather painful if only 50% of the synchronization attempts work. I think GoodNote should still work on a smooth Mac-feel integration that makes things fast and easy. But the basic functionality seems to be all there.

does not syncrhonize !

I tried everything ! PLEASE RESOLVE !

iCloud never works

Only reason I payed for this app was to have the notes I take on my iPad on my mac. However the notes never sync between my iPad and Mac and I’ve found no fix to this. App for iPad and apple pencil support are great, but save your money if you want it to sync with a Mac. Notability never has this problem.

Corrected - besides OneNote, probably only Mac app w/searchable handwriting

Gave a new rating of 5 stars after realizing the “edit” tool allows moving handwritten and typed text. Sorry about the earlier error!

Syncing is abysmal!!

If I could rate zero stars, I would. My primary use case is syncing notes from my iPad to my Mac. This functionality simply DOES NOT WORK. Please fix this problem.

icloud support broken

icloud syncing worked at first and then completely broke. Tried everything on the support pages and still does not work. I love the iOS app - they have done a good job with it - use it every day. I bought the MacOS version to be able to see my work on laptop while using Goodnotes on my iPAD. Don’t spend the money until you see many happy reviews that syncing is working properly..

Synchronization with iPad is terrible.

The iPad app is my favorite for annotating pdfs, but it is in need of a good companion app on the Mac which synchronizes with the ipad app so that I can print out my notes quickly when I need them. The synchronization of this app with the iPad app is broken and slow, so I end up having to manually export my notes from the ipad to iCloud to print. By contrast, Notability handles the iPad to Mac synchronization extremely well. The iPad app would go from a 4 star app to 5 star app if it had a good companion app for the Mac (which this is not).

spare yourself the heartaches

This program seems so promissing, but has one of the worst CONs of any application. If you are studious & not procrastinating by writting or reading this review, then you would agree that frequent crashes are the arrow to the proverbial arrow to Achillie’s heel. All jokes aside, this MAC version is unpredictable, unreliable & not worth purchising. As much as I stick up for the IPAD application & as much as I have tried to love this version, there is no love left to give. Over the past 2 years, I have been hurt & let down several time. DO NOT get this; spare yourself the heartaches & the frequent "What-ifs”. This version is guaranteed to disappoint. SUMMARY: Crashes too frequently… it had so much potential, but DO NOT bother with this for Mac

Sychronization Issues Hobble Otherwise Great Program

Goodnotes on the ipad is the gold standard of notetaking apps and pdf annotation. That is why I was excited about this companion app. Unfortunately the constant synchonization problems make this app of little value. Perhaps with future updates, this app can be as amazing as it promises to be. For now, though, I would pass...

Does not correctly sync across devices

That’s is basically it. It will not correctly sync my files across devices. Only some of them show up. Please fix.

Unbelievably frustrating

As others have mentioned, the Mac version for my laptop is so unstable that it makes me wonder why I still use this app in the first place. I switched from Notability to Goodnotes this past year because it worked better for my iPad. I was hoping to have the same sync capabilities that I get with Notability, and wow….Goodnotes lacks on this ENORMOUSLY. How can an app work SO well for iOS but then fail miserably on the laptop/iMac platform? Considering going back to Notability so I can actually have my notes sync properly.

loathe the cloud sync

I love using GoodNotes on my iPad, but the only reason I spent the $8 for the desktop variant was so that I could review my day’s notes on my latop while I did the work in another notebook. Unfortunately, the cloud sync only works intermittently. In other words, this app fails to do the only thing I wanted it to do. It’s been several months and its still acting like this. Please fix it.

Unstable, frustrating

The only reason I use this app on the Mac is because the iPad version works great with the Apple Pencil. But the app is really unstable and crashes frequently. And sometimes data is lost along with it. It also seems to get confused about conflicting versions of the same document on the Mac and iPad — even seemingly when not modified on the other device. Finally, text entry on the Mac is annoying, e.g. sometimes the textbox entry area resizes to be narrow. Dragging it back to a normal size is a pain. Pasting a big block of text that overflows the current page just results in the text being truncated instead of a new page being added along with the text flowing to the next page. Finally, I don’t seem to be able to make selective adjustments to text, e.g. bolding or italizing a single word or groups of words within a larger body of text. Maybe this is user error on my part because it simply isn’t intuitive when compared to most text editing apps.

Sync :(

Ok I Love The Ipad Version on My iPad Pro. The Mac version does not have all my notes seems the sync issues are not working . I am tempeted to try Notability beacause of this issue..

sync issues

solved the sync issues. So the verdict is not to use the mac app and ipad at the same time. It goes into conflict. very nice companion app for the main ipad app. Thanks.

  • send link to app