Notability: is it Free? Plus its Other Pricing FAQs Answered

In this article, I will share about whether the Notability app is free. I will also share other common pricing questions, including its pricing when compared against its main competitor app, GoodNotes. My writing is based on my user experience and research of both apps over several months.

Notability is free but there are additional features that one could opt to pay for. The paid version of the app is on an annual subscription basis and costs about USD$ 12.50 per year.

While it is possible to use Notability for free, it will be good to explore how usable the free version is and to explore what exactly the free version do. After all, if the free version is severely limited in terms of features, it may not be of much help anyway.

What Exactly Can You do With The Free Version of Notability?

After testing out the app for a while, I’ve found that the free version of Notability is usable and practical even if I don’t subscribe to the premium version of the app.

The main things that I’ve found that it can do include taking notes (both audio and text), categorising notes, utilising a number of notes templates and scanning of documents.

Taking notes (both audio and text)

You can take notes by tapping on the plus or write icon on the homepage of the app as highlighted in the screenshot below.

Screenshot of Notability app
Tap on either the plus icon or write icon to create a new note

Tapping on the plus icon will bring you to a selection of different templates before creating the note while tapping on the write icon allows you to quickly jump into note-taking.

Screenshot of Notability app
What happens after you tap the plus icon
Screenshot of Notability app
What happens after you tap the write icon

While note-taking with Notability, I could record sound while I do my note-taking. When playing back the audio recording, the recording plays out at the same rate as the note being written – check out the gif below to see what I mean.

Screenshot of Notability app
Notes with audio recording play in tandem with handwritten notes like a video

Categorising notes

For anyone including myself that have many different areas of my life to manage, having the ability to have a note taking app that allows for categorisation is essential.

I can easily categorise my notes in the free version of Notability in 2 simples steps. Firstly, by creating the categories that I need, and secondly, by dragging and dropping created notes to the relevant category.

Screenshot of Notability app
Dragging and dropping notes to the correct category

Notes templates

Templates allows me to create notes for various purposes in an instant – some examples as shown in the screenshot below include daily planners, weekly planners, exam planners and notes that are lined differently.

Screenshot of Notability app
Template page of Notability

Scanning of documents

The free version of Notability also allows me to scan documents – while there are many free scanner apps available, Notability having this feature allows me some convenience as I am sorting out various paperwork.

The scan quality is not great, but considering that it comes free with the app and works well enough, I have no complaints.

Screenshot of Notability app
Scan a document by long tapping on the write icon in Notability

Number of edits allowed in free version of Notability

During my testing of the Notability app, I found no limits to the number of edits allowed in the free version of Notability as far as changes to notes goes – I’d imagine that this information can be good news for those who are looking for a free note-taking app on iPad.

Other Pricing Queries Concerning Notability

As I researched further into the Notability app, I found that I had a couple of other questions about its pricing as well. Below are those questions you may also have, as well as the answers I’ve found to each of them.

Notability Versus GoodNotes in Terms of Pricing

Notability’s more expensive than GoodNotes. Notability costs USD$12.50 per year while GoodNotes costs a one-off USD$9.30.

Screenshot of Notability app
Pricing of notability
Screenshot of Notability app
Pricing of GoodNotes

How Much Will Notability Cost for Students

As I started to explore Notability and as a student myself, I also wondered if Notability offered their app for free or offered a discount to students. Upon some independent research, I found this to not be the case.

There is no student discount for the premium version of Notability – students will have to pay the full price of USD$12.50 per year. The free version of Notability is only made free for devices that belong to an educational institution, it is not made free to individual students in an educational institution.

This can be seen on Notability’s website where it mentions that “education institutions with Apple School Manager will have free access to Notability.” – there is no mention on their website that it offers the app for free to individual students.

A quick search on Apple’s website states that Apple School Manager is for educational institutions to deploy apple devices in a school and to set up relevant Apple services (ie. apps and books).

Does Notability Need to be Bought on Every Device?

Based on my experience with Apple apps, Notability doesn’t need to be bought on every device as long as the same Apple ID is being used.

The Difference Between the Free Version of Notability Versus Paid Version

I paid for Notability and found that the main difference between the free version of Notability versus the paid version of the app is that it has more functionality when it comes to templates.

The paid version of Notability only has access to 27 templates while the paid version has 37 templates (not including user created templates).

In addition to Notability templates, I found that I could also gain access to user created templates by tapping on the envelope icon at the top right side of the app interface.

Screenshot of Notability app
Tap on the top right envelope icon to go to user created templates

It is also possible to create my own templates based on my unique needs – for my needs, I’d think that the free version of Notability would be sufficient.

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