Notes. Taking notes. Referring to them later. Forgetting that you wrote something down already. Dumping things out of your brain to clear up some space.
Note-taking apps are almost as bad as to-do apps in the sense that there are way too many options to choose from. Just type in "notes" in the Play Store search box and you'll come across thousands of options to choose from. So we've drummed down the list, and have picked a few that are actually worthy of being called the best note-taking apps for Android.
These are the best note-taking apps for Android
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There's really no other choice when you're looking at the best note-taking apps for Android. Google Keep does everything you could want, and then some, while being completely free and integrating with your Google account.
However, Microsoft has made some huge strides when it comes to OneNote. The app is versatile, syncs with the help of your OneDrive account, and is available wherever you go.
Notion is the note-taking app on steroids. You can do so much more here than just jot down some notes. From integrating calendars and creating databases, Notion may seem daunting to try, but it's well worth it.
1. Google Keep
Google Keep has been around since 2013, and it continues to be one of the most useful apps you can download. There's an app for just about every platform, and if not, you can just use the web client. From jotting down your grocery list to making a to-do list or saving articles to read later on, Google Keep is the ultimate note-taking app.
It's difficult to put into words just how useful Google Keep can be, as many folks haven't even heard of this Google app. Having everything you need in a single location — from note-taking to creating a task list or saving links — can really help your mental wellbeing. Keep is not just one of the best note-taking apps, but it's one of the best Android apps that we have ever seen.
And of course, you'll have the easy integration with other Google services, so you can export notes from Keep into something like Google Docs. And if you want to use it as a to-do app, you can do that too and will have the ability to set timed or location reminders so you never forget what's on your docket for any given day. Oh, and the best part? It's completely free.
The best of the best
Keep is a powerhouse note-taking app
If you find yourself looking for different apps to take notes, set reminders, or save links, stop looking. Google Keep provides all of the tools you need from a single interface that can be accessed from practically anywhere.
2. Microsoft OneNote
It's clear that Microsoft has recognized it has something great on its hands with OneNote. The company continues to push regular updates to the app, improving the functionality and adding features on a regular basis. It's a bit less conventional compared to other note-taking apps. It uses the "block notes" method, which means wherever you place your cursor, you can just start typing, and then can move those around within the note that you're using.
OneNote allows for the creation of different notebooks, which can really help with organization, which can be a pain. It even lets you go a few layers deep if you need to. The app is also available on Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows, so you'll always have your notes by your side.
And those who use something like an iPad or one of the best Chromebooks will love the ability to actually write notes. Handwritten notes may seem like a thing of the past, but you can also import PDFs and mark them up, or just open up a new page and start writing. Plus, it uses Microsoft's OneDrive for storage, providing automatic backups whenever you take a new note.
Better than expected
Not just for Microsoft fans
OneNote has defied the odds in recent years, thanks to a concerted effort by Microsoft to bring new and useful features.
Where does one begin when it comes to talking about Notion? It's so much more than a standard note-taking app. Search for Notion on YouTube, and you'll find tons of videos describing how creators and professionals are using to it to run businesses. You can just use Notion as a basic note-taking app on the best Android phones, but the truth is that it's far more powerful than that.
Even those who are more well-versed in Notion than myself haven't reached the limits of what Notion can do. There are some templates that can be used to create different workspaces, you can add calendars and widgets, create dashboards for an overview of your notes or tasks, and so much more.
Recently, the company opened up its beta program for Notion API, allowing you to connect it with different tools like Google Calendar or Zapier for automation. As it stands now, the API integrations are in their early days, but this could be an enormous game changer in the future.
Daunting but powerful
More powerful than you can imagine
Notion isn't just a note-taking app. It can also be used to create databases, manage complex projects, and so much more.
Even more great note-taking apps for Android
There are so many note-taking apps on the Play Store that it's impossible to keep this list so short. So we've rounded up some more familiar faces and a couple of newcomers as viable options if our top three picks don't work quite right for your needs.
Before we had all of these other note-taking apps, Evernote stood at the top of the mountain for years and years. Over time, the company continued to make questionable design changes, and even included by a price hike for its subscriptions, forcing many users to look elsewhere to store their notes.
Evernote is still hanging around, and it's still a great choice for those wanting a digital notebook in their hands. Whether you're trying to plan things out, draw some sketches, or use it to store pictures, videos, or even audio, Evernote fits the bill as one of the best note-taking apps. Evernote is free to download, but you'll likely want to check out the premium plans that offer a bit more functionality.
Tried and true
It's gone through some growing pains
Evernote may not be at the top of the mountain anymore, but it's still a great note-taking app with plenty of power under the hood.
If you take most of the great things about Google Keep, throw a different UI on top, and add Markdown support, then you'll end up with Bundled Notes. This is a relative newcomer to the note-taking parade, but it's definitely one that is worth taking a look at. It offers a streamlined interface, with different "bundles" of notes to use and take advantage of.
As someone who has learned to rather enjoy writing in Markdown in my time at Android Central, finding a notes app that also uses Markdown has been a taxing adventure. After stumbling across Bundled Notes, I've been using it much more. The only real potential limitations are that it's not available everywhere just yet, and the web app is only available in beta for premium subscribers.
Organize with bundles
A different type of organizing
If you like Google Keep but want Markdown support, then Bundled Notes is the way to go. You just might miss out on the web client if you don't want to spring for Premium.
If you want one of the best Chromebook apps that's also great on Android, look no further than Squid. This continues to be an app that gets quickly installed when setting up a touchscreen Chromebook due to its usefulness and versatility. The app is perfectly optimized for stylus input, and makes you feel like you're actually writing on paper instead of writing on a slab of glass.
Part of this is thanks to how it keeps track of the pressure being used when actually writing. This provides a smooth writing experience across the board. Plus, you can switch between different "paper" sizes, or opt for an endless canvas if you want one enormous scratchpad.
Write it down
Paired with a stylus, Squid is second to none
Squid is the perfect note-taking app if you like using a stylus and want to take hand-written notes.
Simplenote is one of those more simplistic apps (appropriately), but its true power is in how it doesn't try to do too much. The app is available on all of your favorite platforms, and you can organize the notes with the help of folders or tags. It's completely free to download, and that includes the ability to keep your notes backed up over the cloud and share notes without paying anything extra.
Like Bundled Notes, Simplenote is great for those who prefer to write in Markdown, but you can take notes like "normal" if that's your pace. Perhaps the best thing about Simplenote is derived from its name, as it provides a distraction-free workspace which is rather handy for those who need to sit down and get some writing done.
Ignores the frills and keeps you focused
Simplenote is cross-platform, free to use, and provides a fantastic note-taking experience for those who don't need or want all the extra bells and whistles.
If you're looking for an app that offers end-to-end encryption, then Standard Notes fits the bill. The app offers a free version and is available to download on many platforms, along with Android. There's automatic sync without any data limits, and Standard Notes even offers offline access.
If you want to add a few extra features, Standard Notes does offer a premium subscription, starting at less than $2.50 per month. With Standard Notes Extended, you'll be able to encrypt attachments shared from Dropbox or Google Drive, along with providing access to different themes and extensions. Plus, you'll be able to take advantage of Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive for your backups. All the while, keeping everything encrypted and private.
The best note-taking app for privacy
Standard Notes operates quite impressively as a note-taking app, but the biggest benefit is that all of your notes are encrypted and kept private.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.