Jul 23, 2015
10
5
Wrocław, Poland
Status
Medical Student
So I recently received an iPad mini 2 as a birthday gift and want to use it for taking notes(annotating,typing,recording,etc...). I also have a macbook pro on which I use onenote as my current way of note taking. I was wondering if anyone uses either onenote or notability for taking their notes on their iPad and which one would be more convenient and efficient for usage with both my devices? Thanks!
 

frosted_flake

waaahmbulance attendant
Oct 27, 2012
1,151
737
Los Angeles
Status
Pre-Medical
OneNote SUCKS on the iPad mini... I have not tried using any other annotating apps with the iPad, but OneNote just has such a limited functionality* on the iPad. I love using it on my MBP however.

*Let me correct: limited functionality in terms of creating new sets of notes. If you are just reading through them, the convenience of having them on your iPhone, iPad and MacBook is pretty sweet.
 
Last edited:

tymont12

7+ Year Member
Jun 28, 2011
364
512
Status
Medical Student
I'm only in my 4th week of M1, but here's what I've experienced so far after attempting to try multiple notetaking methods (OneNote, Notability, Evernote, etc.).

Context: my school has a completely digital curriculum and utilizes blackboard, powerpoints and PDFs for everything. There is no paper. They also 'gave' us all an iPad Air 2. I also have a Logitech Type + keyboard (cheaper through other websites at times), which I think is essential in making the iPad functional with any sort of typing/keyboarding. Here's my thoughts:

1. OneNote is great for organizing all of your lectures, syllabi, PDF's, etcetera but also lets you easily type your own notes on blank paper, separate of supplied materials. BUT, you cannot annotate powerpoint attachments.
2. Notability is great if you prefer to directly draw on powerpoints, but space is limited and you cannot create notes separately. I found the physical space constraint a huge factor. I don't use notability anymore. Plus, it's purely a notetaking tool and not a repository so even if I used it, I would still be uploading everything into OneNote.
3. Both apps allow you to 'free-write'/use a stylus but I found this too slow/sloppy in lecture to keep up.
4. I use Evernote for my personal life but the inability to add editable Powerpoints halted my use of the product. Plus, the interface on mobile devices is convoluted.
5. Notability allows recordings to be made but honestly, if your school offers recorded lectures (which almost everyone does), use that instead.
6. I own a macbook pro, ipad air and iphone 6 and can seamlessly sync all of my notes one OneNote and all of my textbooks with Ibook. I find it to be a great system. However, most programs allow syncing (mine is not unique, just an example).

Trust me, I've tried to avoid all things Microsoft for awhile (not trying to start a flame war) but I really do like OneNote compared to the other options available.

EDIT: OneNote, like all of these other apps, require a computer in order to add lectures, ppts, PDFs, Docs, etc. effectively. The iPad is great as a notetaking tool, but a laptop is still needed for the underlying functionality of manipulating OneNote, Evernote, etc.
 
Last edited:
Sep 5, 2015
3
2
Status
Medical Student
Notability > OneNote in terms of syncing up multiple devices. There are very few updates and a lot of bugs with OneNote, and the people in my class using OneNote with their ipads always have a lot of trouble syncing their notes from computer to ipad or ipad to computer. I had OneNote for a bit, but quickly changed to Notability after OneNote kept on failing to sync my notes across devices.
 

tymont12

7+ Year Member
Jun 28, 2011
364
512
Status
Medical Student
Notability > OneNote in terms of syncing up multiple devices. There are very few updates and a lot of bugs with OneNote, and the people in my class using OneNote with their ipads always have a lot of trouble syncing their notes from computer to ipad or ipad to computer. I had OneNote for a bit, but quickly changed to Notability after OneNote kept on failing to sync my notes across devices.
I've never had this problem with OneNote but I'm also religious in making sure my computer has 'synced' before closing and vice versa with my iPad.
 
Sep 5, 2015
3
2
Status
Medical Student
I've never had this problem with OneNote but I'm also religious in making sure my computer has 'synced' before closing and vice versa with my iPad.
Yeah, I make sure it's synced with OneDrive (which I can view online), but for some reason it's not transferring across devices. It did for a few weeks and then decided to stop all of a sudden. :(
 

tymont12

7+ Year Member
Jun 28, 2011
364
512
Status
Medical Student
Yeah, I make sure it's synced with OneDrive (which I can view online), but for some reason it's not transferring across devices. It did for a few weeks and then decided to stop all of a sudden. :(
That's awful, I would definitely switch after experiencing that.

That really is the one thing that scares me about multi-device/syncing services: everything is awesome and great until the 'cloud' fails to perform what it promises...

I had experiences with Google Drive where data was lost / not synced...ruined my confidence in them forever.
 

futuremdforme

5+ Year Member
May 12, 2013
883
674
Status
Non-Student
Notability > OneNote in terms of syncing up multiple devices. There are very few updates and a lot of bugs with OneNote, and the people in my class using OneNote with their ipads always have a lot of trouble syncing their notes from computer to ipad or ipad to computer. I had OneNote for a bit, but quickly changed to Notability after OneNote kept on failing to sync my notes across devices.
D'oh! I'm dealing with synching between a macbook and a surface pro 3 right now. The whole point of these programs is ease of synching and access across devices! It's very frustrating.

I wish I could have held out for the rumored ipad pro with a stylus, but I really wanted the surface digitizing pen, yet I prefer to type of the macbook, so I didn't make my life easy.
 
Sep 4, 2012
208
184
Status
Medical Student
The experience in my class has been that Evernote is much much more reliable than OneNote about syncing.
 

AM508

2+ Year Member
Sep 26, 2014
674
586
Status
Medical Student
I have been using Notability on an Air 2. It backs up to GoogleDrive so I can access my notes on my PC's, phone and iPad. The big downfall is that if you want to type notes you have to plop text boxes wherever they fit on the presentation. I have not had a lot of problems though in that regard (there is usually space on each slide somewhere). Notability seems to do an adequate job for my purposes.
 

cbrons

Ratatoskr! *Roar*
10+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2007
6,567
3,639
DEFEND MIDDLE LANE!
Status
Non-Student
So I recently received an iPad mini 2 as a birthday gift and want to use it for taking notes(annotating,typing,recording,etc...). I also have a macbook pro on which I use onenote as my current way of note taking. I was wondering if anyone uses either onenote or notability for taking their notes on their iPad and which one would be more convenient and efficient for usage with both my devices? Thanks!
The best solution is none of the above since you shouldn't be going to any lectures.
No lectures means no notes hence no need to decide between 2 equally worthless pieces of software.
 
Sep 4, 2012
208
184
Status
Medical Student
I have been using Notability on an Air 2. It backs up to GoogleDrive so I can access my notes on my PC's, phone and iPad. The big downfall is that if you want to type notes you have to plop text boxes wherever they fit on the presentation. I have not had a lot of problems though in that regard (there is usually space on each slide somewhere). Notability seems to do an adequate job for my purposes.
If you need more space you can add in blank pages between the PowerPoint slides. I used to use notability a lot.
The best solution is none of the above since you shouldn't be going to any lectures.
No lectures means no notes hence no need to decide between 2 equally worthless pieces of software.
I podcast, however, assuming it's the only way to succeed and works well for everybody not wise. Some people like going to lectures.

Also, I still take notes while watching podcasts.