GoodNotes App Reviews

Not what was promised.

I don’t get how this app exists and costs money. Two things I hoped to do on my Mac that I do on my iPad. Select and move items, and click on links to travel through the pdf. You can NOT do either of those two things in this app. Preview on the Mac is more functional than this. It feels like a beta product. The only thing it really provided was synced documents which I could make happen with other apps.

DOES NOT convert handwriting to text PERIOD

Do not spend on penny on this application which touts stuff it cannot actually do. Sorry I spent my $7.99 on this piece of junk.

Cannot Sync or Backup

Conceptually this is a great application - I would give it 5 stars for concept only. Unfortunately it is so good one tends to use it a lot. This is when the problems start. Once you become a heavy user of Goodnotes and you now have a lot of important data stored in the Goodnotes app, things start to go wrong. One of the weaknesses has been doing Backup All to iCloud Drive. Goodnotes crashes as it tries to Archive to iCloud. The only method of Backups is to use iTunes if you don’t have any of the other cloud services. The other weakness is syncing through the iCloud. Wow!!! this is so slow that it can become dangerous in that the syncing gets confused if you are trying to work on the document at the same time it is syncing. The syncing falls behind and then you are left with a versions missing i.e. some updates you may have made to the documents. Goodnotes has now had time to work on these bugs. Everytime I see an update from Goodnotes, I grab it in the hopes that they have worked out a fix. Not even the latest updates appears to have addressed these issues. For this reason, I cannot give them more than 1 star. Which as a heavy user is very disappointing.

Lost 3 days worth of notes

I generally use the IOS version of Goodnotes which is amazing. The desktop version is kind of crappy in general but was at least functional for a while. That was until, I opened it made a quick change and closed it. I’m guessing I did that fast enough that it didn’t have time to sync properly or something because the result was that it saved my change in one notebook, but another notebook (category) that I had only been editing on my iPad suddenly lost 3 days worth of notes. I highly recommend the IOS version of Goodnotes, but do yourself a favor and don’t bother with the Mac version.

not syncing between ipad and MAC

This app is useless. I had to purchase it twice, once on my ipad and again for my MAC. Not to mention I always have syncing issues. I take notes for school on my ipad and then when I go to open them on my MAC they're not even in the app. I’ve tried auto back-up and they still dont show up. Spent almost $20 on the two versions of this app and there is no continuity between my laptop and ipad/iphone give me my money back Goodnotes


Good notes is racist, they even have two types of Chinese language but doesn’t have Russian and Arabic. Shame on you. I bought the macbook version and it’s totally useless, `i can’t sync between my ipad and my mac, also it started to crash and quit all the time ( this is so weared and unstable ) I regret spending my money on this useless mac version.

Doesn’t work in iMAC

I use in iPhone, iPad .. but it doesn’t work in iMAC!!!!


I love this app on my ipad, but I am unable to access it on my mac. I enjoy printing and editing notes on my macbook air, so this was very diasppointing. It literally will not load. I have Goodnotes on my ipad linked to icloud so I am unsure why nothing will load on my laptop. Needless to say, I am pretty disappointed because I had to pay for the app again for my laptop and it won’t load!!!!!!!

What a waste of $8.00

Love Goodnotes on my iPad and phone. Wanted for my Mac so that I could quickly type notes while taking an online class. Cannot for the the life of me connect all of my notebooks (which, by the way, is a piece of cake on iOS). It uploaded some notebooks (why not all, don’t know). Checked online documentation and that is completely useless. Mad at myself for not paying closer attention to reviews.

The best writing app ever!

I simply love GoodNotes. I use it for both job and College. Specially for taking class notes and highlighting documents, it is overperforming. I just started to use it with Apple Pencil, and it is so natural like writing on a piece of paper. Last but not least, it is great to be able to see documents and notes in my MAC. FANTASTIC!!!

I like the iOS version

This version on the Mac is terrible, it syncs but it is so buggy, slow and unoptimized. I have a notebook with 4 pages of handwritten notes no images and it takes between 3-4 seconds just to open one page at a time, there doesn’t seem to be any smart precaching of the next page and why not just grab updated pages and cache the ones that have gone unchanged? Seems like the developer is a little asleep at the wheel with some of these super obvious stuff. I will change my rating to a 5 if they can get this simple stuff sorted out. I don’t like Notability but I will change if this app doesn’t improve.

Goodnotes is Great for Notes

I bought Goodnotes as a companion for the iOS app to give myself access to the notes I take on my iPad and it works flawlessly. That alone was well worth the price. But now that I have Goodnotes on my Mac, I find myself using it more and more for general notetaking. I like to arrange my notes all over the page, and Goodnotes makes it easy to create a text box and then position it where I want to on the page. Then, my notes are instantly available on my iPhone and iPad. I hope the developer continues to refine and improve the app over time, but even without any changes, Goodnotes is pretty terrific.

Two great benefits of this app

I have been using goodnotes for over 5 years nows (since goodnotes 3). I purchased this desktop app version for two reasons. Price structures for apps are weird and convoluted. Most people do not want to pay a monthly fee (me included) for an app whose functions do not improve or change. So, I bought this app despite the negative reviews, because the value I have gotten from goodnotes two ipad versions has far surpassed the price I paid for them. The second reason is that I like the idea of being able to see and access my files from my computer; this feature works well. Wishful thinking: I was also hoping that there would be a way for me to export a backup of all of my documents, saved in iCloud, from this desktop version. iCloud is painful and I am having a really difficult time disentangling from its web and regaining control of all of my documents in goodnotes. There’s no better, more versatile, notetaking app available; I am fine with the trade offs.

Best note taking App.

For a mere $18 (forever, not per month or per year) I can sync accurate handwritten notes across my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. The Mac App version has all the features I want in a desktop app (being able to view and export my notes), but I seem to occassionaly run into syncing problems. With the regularity of updates from the developer I’m confident issues will be addressed. One of the best ROI apps I’ve ever had the good fortune to own.

Good! Also could be improved.

I have been using the iPad version for a while, and all I could say is this is a great app! The good experience leads to my considering the Mac version. I have been using it for several days. Viewing GoodNotes documents is smooth and enjoyable, synchronizing seems working well. 8 bucks is the price for sandwich lunch, but the app will be used for years. However, there is still work to do for improvement. For example, the “Select” tool seems not working for selecting any handwriting. With no selection, I guess, I cannot do any text conversion at all. Better organization and more view options. For example, allows viewing library entries in a compact list. Also, allow opening file in a tab within a window. Overal, I think It is a worth purchasing.

College Student

I have been using good nots for about 6 months now. I have enjoyed using the app on my iPad Pro and MacBook Pro. very easy to use and love that what I do on one device, will show up on the other device very quickly. I was using onenote before getting this App and I liked notenote and had been using it for years, but I didn’t like that the page goes on for ever. With goodnotes I get a page that will be the same size as a sheet of paper, this is great for printing. I take notes on my ipad but I am a paper person at heart. I have noticed I can do something on my ipad that I can not do on my MacBook (or I just have not fiurged it out yet) like moving things around on the page. This is very useful if I need to add more notes or just don’t like the way it looks, I can move, resize, change color but I can only do this on my ipad. I have also found that it is hard to get some documents to load into goodnotes. I will have to convert them or save them to a different location before it will load. I believe this is due to me using Mac products. I hope Goodnote become a little more Mac friendly. Over all I LOVE goodnotes. This is the only App that I use now to take notes or make study guides!!

Doesn’t work on iMac, looking for an alternative app now.

So I have been using this on my iPad for a while, and since I do most of my school work on my iMac, I figured, why not have the app on both systems. WELL first off, I paid for Goodnotes 4 on my iPad, and THEN I had to PAY AGAIN for it to be on my iMac!!!!! same iCloud account, and yet, I had to pay twice!!! This first and foremost made me very very upset. But I decided since I loved the app so much, I would grit my teeth, grin and bear it. well the VERY FIRST time I go to use Goodnotes4 on my iMac, its essentially USELESS! I can not access any of my hyperlinks, it does not function like the iOS app at ALL, it performs more like the Mac OS free app Preview. It is the most USELESS WASTE of money I have ever spent on an app that I absolutely love on my iPad. SO bottom line, because I can NOT utilize this on both my iPad, and my iMac, I am currently trying to find an alternative app that will allow me to do what I need this app to do for me, which is be usable on both my iPad and my iMac. Sad that I’ve wasted money on this app that I thought was so amazing.

Cool app, needs work

This app is generally great for note taking, reading documents, and compiling a library, but it lacks intuitive organization tools. There really needs to be a search bar or something to quickly find documents in the library. The tablet version is obviously much better for document reading/annotating, and the PC version doesn’t offer much more than quick access to materials. Definitely room for improvement.

i lost my lost because of the sync

I wrote notes on ipad and goodnotes synced empty page with ipad and erased my notes..All OF THEM So frustrated. Don’t put an app on appstore if it can’t function correctly

Doesn’t Work! I want my money back

I was VERY disappointed with the desktop version of Good Notes! I would NOT suggest purchasing it. I’m still trying to get my money back. The app freezes, shuts down and makes it very difficult to create a note.

Desktop Version

Had I known that the desktop version doesn’t integrate well with the ios versions, I would have not purchased the application. For example, I sync my documents through dropbox. Of course, that’s not an option within goodnotes. If you don’t have your documents synced to icloud, you cannot see your documents. FIX IT!

Please make two-page view possible!

Please make a two-page view possible like reading a actual book. It would add this app a great value.

The update has fixed the bugs. Syncs perfectly! Nice app!

The problems mentioned in the reviews of previous versions seems have been resolved in this update. Till now, I haven’t encountered any lag or iCloud syncing issue. Looks like this version has updated my prior from the poor ratings. However, the pricing on both platforms does extract a lot of surplus from the consumer. Nevertheless, this app really is a plus if you already have purchased the iOS version.

Does not sign with iCloud on Macbook

Spent money to buy the app on ipad, it works great. So I dont mind to spend money to buy this version on Macbook but it doesn’t sync with the icloud at all, have been like this for almost a whole month? Can I get a refund?

Bought it on iPad Pro & Charged to download it on MacBook Air

I’ve enjoyes using this app simply because it helps me be organize. I do prefer the writing styles on NotePlus. I’m annoyred because I have Goodnotes on my iPad & iPhone, and then I was charged to download it to my Mac, though I was usging the same Apple ID - does this sound right?

iOS App Good, MacOS App Has Many Bugs

One such bug cost me a ton of work. Undo/Redo will destroy your data and make it unrecoverable. It is good for viewing your notes, but beware of writing notes on the Mac version of the app.

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!!

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