The Ultimate Guide to Apps for Apple Pencil: Empower Your Creativity

Austen Altenwerth


Austen Altenwerth


Oct 2, 2023


Oct 2, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Apps for Apple Pencil: Empower Your Creativity
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The Apple Pencil has revolutionized how we interact with our iPads, transforming them into powerful tools for digital art, note-taking, and more. With its precise control and pressure sensitivity, the Apple Pencil opens up a world of innovative opportunities. This comprehensive guide will explore the best Apple apps that make the most of this remarkable accessory. Whether you're an artist, a student, or a professional, there's an app tailored to your needs.

Art and Design Apple Pencil Apps



Procreate is the go-to app for digital artists. With an extensive range of brushes, intuitive controls, and an ultra-smooth interface, it's a powerhouse for creating stunning artwork. Procreate's ability to handle large canvas sizes and its support for layers make it a top choice for professionals and hobbyists.

Procreate is a digital art powerhouse that has earned a well-deserved reputation among artists, illustrators, and designers. This iOS-exclusive app is the ultimate choice for unleashing your creative potential with the Apple Pencil.

Key Features:

Premium Version and In-App Purchases: Procreate offers a premium version, and while the initial download is not free, it delivers tremendous value for its price. Procreate's in-app purchases include essential brush packs, fonts, and additional features that cater to artists' diverse needs. Investing in these extras expands your creative toolkit and tailors your experience.

Professional-Grade Features: Procreate boasts a wide array of professional-grade features, including precise drawing and modeling tools, advanced layer management, and seamless integration of typography. The app even supports complex tasks such as editing images, making it an excellent choice for graphic designers who need pixel-perfect precision.

User-Friendly Interface: The user interface design of Procreate is intuitive and artist-friendly. It caters to beginners and seasoned artists, ensuring everyone can comfortably navigate the app's rich feature set.

Native Text Recognition and Search: Procreate enhances your note-taking experience by providing native text recognition. This feature allows you to convert your handwritten notes into editable text, making it an indispensable tool for taking important notes, especially for students.

Image Source: Procreate

Seamless Cloud Integration: Procreate understands the importance of accessibility and seamless workflow. It offers cloud integration that ensures your work is always available across your devices, whether working on an iPad, a desktop version, or even the Apple Watch.

Drawing Features and Exporting Notes: Procreate's advanced drawing features, including grid and predictive stroke tools, empower you to quickly create intricate shapes and designs. Inserting images into your canvas makes it versatile for various projects. You can effortlessly export your notes and creations, including PowerPoint documents, making it suitable for professionals and students.

Digital Art and Beyond: While Procreate excels in digital art creation, it is a versatile app that extends beyond the canvas. It supports math and chemistry equations, making it valuable for academics. Its graphic design capabilities and seamless integration with other apps make it a must-have tool.

Sign Documents and Music Sheets: Procreate allows you to sign documents digitally, streamlining administrative tasks. It can also handle music sheets, demonstrating its adaptability for musicians and composers.

Adobe Fresco


Adobe Fresco seamlessly integrates with the Adobe Creative Cloud, making it a designer favorite. It offers realistic brush behaviors and watercolor blending, allowing artists to achieve natural-looking results. Working with vector and raster brushes makes it versatile for various design projects.

When unleashing your Apple Pencil's creative potential, Adobe Fresco is a standout choice among iPad apps. As part of Adobe's suite of creative tools, Fresco offers various features that cater to artists, illustrators, and note-takers alike.

Key Features:

Best Apple Pencil Apps: Adobe Fresco is often considered one of the best Apple Pencil apps available. Its intuitive interface and expansive feature set make it an essential tool for anyone looking to maximize their Apple Pencil's capabilities.

In-App Purchases: While Adobe Fresco offers a free version, it includes in-app purchases that unlock additional brushes, tools, and features. These purchases are worth the investment for serious artists and designers who want to expand their creative toolkit.

Note-Taking and Digital Notes: Adobe Fresco isn't just for artists. It's also a powerful note-taking app, allowing users to create handwritten notes precisely. Whether you're jotting down ideas, sketching diagrams, or taking lecture notes, Fresco provides a seamless and versatile note-taking experience.

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Digital Canvas: Adobe Fresco is a digital canvas app that supplies users with a wide range of brushes and drawing capabilities. It's perfect for artists who want to create digital artwork with the same level of control and detail as traditional media.

iPad Pro Optimization: Adobe Fresco is optimized for iPad Pro users to take full advantage of the device's capabilities. The app harnesses the iPad Pro's processing power to deliver a seamless and responsive drawing experience.

Cross-Platform Compatibility: Adobe Fresco offers a Mac app, ensuring your creative work seamlessly transitions between your iPad and Mac. This cross-platform compatibility is a compelling advantage for users who work on multiple devices.

Free Version: While Adobe Fresco offers a premium experience with its in-app purchases, it provides access to robust tools and features. It's an excellent way for users to explore the app's capabilities before investing in additional content.



Concepts is known for its precision drawing capabilities and infinite canvas. Whether you're sketching ideas, creating diagrams, or developing complex illustrations and 3d modeling, Concepts offers a flexible and adaptable platform. The app's vector-based approach ensures that your creations are always crisp and scalable.

For those seeking an exceptional canvas to express their creativity, Concepts stands out as an exceptional choice among iPad apps. Whether you're an artist, designer, or anyone with a penchant for digital drawing and note-taking, Concepts is designed to elevate your creative process.

Key Features:

Best iPad Apps: Concepts is consistently ranked among the best iPad apps, and for good reason. Its intuitive interface, broad scope of tools, and versatility make it a go-to choice for users looking to explore their creative potential.

All the Tools You Need: Concepts boasts an impressive array of tools that cater to artists and note-takers alike. You'll find everything you need to bring your ideas to life, from various brushes and pens to an infinite canvas.

Handwritten Notes: While Concepts is a robust digital canvas, it's also an exceptional note-taking app. Whether you're jotting down ideas, rendering images, sketching diagrams, or taking handwritten notes, Concepts offers a seamless and fluid experience.

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Free Drawing App: Concepts provides a free version, making it accessible to anyone looking to explore digital drawing and note-taking. The free app offers a taste of what Concepts can do, and users can choose to unlock additional features through in-app purchases.

iPad Pro Optimization: Concepts is optimized for iPad Pro users, harnessing the device's capabilities to deliver a responsive and precise drawing experience. Apple Pencil users will appreciate how Concepts leverages the pencil's drawing capabilities for an authentic feel.

Cross-Platform Compatibility: Concepts offers cross-platform compatibility, with both iPad and Windows app versions available. It allows users to seamlessly transition their work between devices, ensuring their creative process remains uninterrupted.

Best Digital Canvas: Concepts is the ideal digital canvas for artists and designers. Its infinite canvas and robust toolset empower users to create with precision and creativity, making it one of the best digital canvas apps on the market.

Note-Taking and Productivity iPad Apps



Notability is the ideal choice for students and professionals. It offers a feature-rich note-taking experience, including audio recordings, handwriting recognition, and PDF annotation. The app's organization tools and sync across Apple devices make it a comprehensive digital note-taker solution.

Notability is a versatile and powerful app that takes full advantage of the capabilities of the iPad and the Apple Pencil, making it a top choice among users seeking a comprehensive note-taking and digital canvas solution.

Key Features:

Best iPad Pro App: Notability is undoubtedly one of the best apps available. Its seamless integration with the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil's drawing and 3d visualization capabilities ensures a smooth and productive user experience.

Note-Taking App: At its core, Notability is a top-tier note-taking app. Whether you're a student taking lecture notes or a professional jotting down ideas, Notability offers various tools to create, organize, and manage your notes effectively.

Best Digital Canvas: Notability is not just about taking notes; it also excels as a digital canvas. Its impressive range of brushes, colors, and drawing capabilities transforms your iPad into a versatile canvas for digital art and design.

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Write Notes Your Way: Notability lets you write notes in your handwriting, offering a personalized touch to your digital notes and sketches. This feature, combined with the precision of the Apple Pencil, ensures that your notes are as expressive as they are informative.

iPad Pro Optimization: Notability is optimized for iPad Pro users, providing an exceptional note-taking and drawing experience. The app leverages the iPad Pro's power and screen real estate, making it the ultimate tool for productivity and creativity.

iPad Version: Notability is available for both iPad and iPhone, offering cross-device functionality. It means you can seamlessly transition from your iPad to your iPhone and continue your note-taking or drawing tasks.



GoodNotes is perfect for organizing your digital notebooks effectively. Its intuitive interface and handwriting recognition support make creating and managing notes easy. The app also offers an excellent selection of templates, including planners and graph paper.

GoodNotes is a remarkable app that goes beyond being just the best note-taking app; it also serves as a canvas for creating digital art and offers features that cater to note-taking enthusiasts and creative artists.

Key Features:

Best Note-Taking App: GoodNotes consistently ranks as one of the best apps available. It delivers a user-friendly interface and a seamless note-taking experience miming traditional paper and pen.

Creating Digital Art: What sets GoodNotes apart is its ability to serve as a platform for creating digital art within the same app. You can seamlessly transition from taking notes to unleashing your creativity on a digital canvas, making it a versatile choice for users.

Integrated Painting App: GoodNotes doesn't just dabble in digital art; it provides a robust painting app experience. You can paint and illustrate with precision and flair with various brushes, colors, and tools.

In-App Purchase Options: GoodNotes offers in-app purchase options, further expanding its functionality. Whether you need additional features or tools for advanced note-taking or creative projects, you can enhance your experience through these options.

Image Source: Goodnotes

Adobe Photoshop Integration: GoodNotes integrates seamlessly with Adobe Photoshop, allowing you to bring your creative ideas to life with professional-grade editing tools. This level of integration ensures that your digital art projects are elevated to the next level.

Native Text Recognition Search: GoodNotes leverages native text recognition search, making finding specific notes or content within your digital notebooks easy. This feature boosts productivity and organization.

Pen Tool and Graphics Tablet: GoodNotes provides a pen tool for precise drawing and writing. Paired with a graphics tablet, it transforms into a powerful tool for digital artists, enabling them to create intricate and detailed artwork.

Comprehensive Note-Taking Ecosystem: GoodNotes competes effectively in note-taking apps, offering features like the ability to create new notes, organize them, and annotate PDFs seamlessly. It's a complete note-taking ecosystem for professionals and students alike.

Microsoft OneNote


If collaborative note-taking is your goal, Microsoft OneNote shines. It syncs seamlessly with Microsoft's suite of productivity tools and offers robust sharing options. OneNote is designed for teamwork in a business meeting or a classroom.

Microsoft OneNote is an exceptional note-taking app that helps you stay organized and caters to creative minds with its diverse features. From seamlessly creating new notes to integrating with creative software, OneNote offers a comprehensive solution for many users.

Key Features:

New Note Creation: With OneNote, creating a new note is easy. You can start a new note effortlessly by jotting down ideas, sketching concepts, or making to-do lists.

Versatile Note-Taking: OneNote competes effectively in the realm of note-taking apps. It's a versatile platform for managing notes, thoughts, and ideas. Plus, it allows you to annotate PDFs, making it an ideal choice for professionals and students.

Integration with Creative Software: Creative professionals and graphic designers can rejoice as OneNote integrates with various creative software, such as Clip Studio Paint. This integration ensures your creative ideas flow seamlessly from note-taking to full-fledged digital artwork.

Graphic Design Capabilities: For those with an eye for design, OneNote provides graphic design capabilities that allow you to create visually appealing notes and sketches. Whether you're brainstorming or illustrating concepts, this feature is a valuable asset.

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Apple Device Compatibility: OneNote is not limited to Windows devices; it's also compatible with Apple devices. This cross-platform functionality ensures you can access your notes and creative work from anywhere, whether on your iPad, Mac, or iPhone.

Searchable Handwritten Notes: Handwritten notes are a breeze with OneNote, and what sets it apart is its searchable handwritten notes feature. You can easily find specific content within your handwritten notes, saving you valuable time.

Grid Tool for Precision: OneNote provides a grid tool that's particularly handy for those who require precision in their sketches and diagrams. This tool ensures that your creative work maintains a professional touch.

Effortless Note Export: OneNote simplifies the process with its easy-to-use note export feature when sharing your notes or creative work. You can seamlessly export your notes in various formats, making collaboration and sharing hassle-free.

Sketching and Mind-Mapping Apps for Apple Pencil

Paper by WeTransfer


Paper by WeTransfer is all about minimalist sketching and diagramming. It offers a straightforward interface with essential tools for quick and expressive sketches. Its simplicity is perfect for capturing ideas on the fly.

Paper by WeTransfer stands out among drawing apps, especially those looking for a versatile and powerful yet free digital canvas. With a range of features tailored for artistic expression and note-taking, it has gained recognition as one of the best apps for Apple Pencil and iPad Pro users.

Key Features:

Best Free Drawing App: Paper by WeTransfer is a gem among free drawing apps. It provides a remarkable canvas for artists, illustrators, and anyone with a creative inclination. The app's fluidity and responsiveness make it an excellent choice for unleashing your artistic potential without financial constraints.

Optimized for iPad Pro: This app is thoughtfully optimized for iPad Pro users, leveraging the device's capabilities to deliver a seamless and enjoyable drawing experience. Whether you're using the Apple Pencil or your fingertips, the precision and sensitivity of the iPad Pro screen are fully harnessed.

Create Shapes with Ease: The app offers a range of tools that simplify shape creation, making adding geometric elements to your artwork or notes easy. Whether sketching diagrams or enhancing your creative illustrations, this feature is handy.

Image Source: WeTransfer

Predictive Stroke Tool: One of the highlights of Paper by WeTransfer is its predictive stroke tool. This intelligent feature assists users in creating smoother lines and shapes, offering a helping hand to both beginners and experienced artists striving for precision.

Insert Images and More: In addition to drawing, Paper by WeTransfer allows you to insert images and various other media into your digital canvas. This feature expands your creative possibilities, enabling you to combine various elements seamlessly.

All the Features You Need: Paper by WeTransfer doesn't skimp on features despite being a free app. It provides an array of brushes, colors, and customization options to cater to a broad spectrum of artistic styles and preferences.

The Best of Both Worlds: Paper by WeTransfer seamlessly bridges the gap between note-taking and drawing, making it a valuable tool for creative professionals and students. Whether sketching ideas or jotting down important notes, this app offers the best of both worlds.



MindNode is your go-to app for creating mind maps. Whether you're brainstorming project ideas or organizing your thoughts, MindNode provides an intuitive and visually appealing way to map out your concepts.

MindNode is an innovative app designed to help users organize their thoughts, brainstorm ideas, and create visual representations of complex concepts. Whether you're a student, a professional, or anyone seeking a more efficient way to structure your ideas, MindNode offers a user-friendly and powerful platform for mind mapping.

Key Features:

Same Document Collaboration: MindNode allows multiple users to collaborate in the same document, making it a valuable tool for team projects, brainstorming sessions, and creative collaborations. Real-time updates ensure everyone is on the same page, fostering productivity and idea exchange.

Image Source: Mac Stories

Export Notes with Ease: Whether you're creating a mind map for a presentation, a report, or personal use, MindNode simplifies exporting your notes. You can seamlessly export your mind maps into diverse formats, such as PDF or image files, ensuring that your ideas are easily shareable and accessible.

Double Tap for Quick Editing: MindNode offers a convenient double-tap feature for quick editing and organization. Users can effortlessly move, edit, and connect nodes within their mind maps, streamlining the creation process and enhancing overall usability.

Annotation and PDF Markup Apps for Apple Pencil

PDF Expert


PDF Expert is a powerful PDF editing and annotation tool. It provides advanced features like form filling, document merging, and cloud integration. Whether you're reviewing contracts or grading assignments, PDF Expert streamlines your workflow.

PDF Expert is your go-to app for all things related to PDFs. Whether you're a professional who needs to annotate documents, a student looking to take notes on lecture slides, or simply someone who wants to manage PDFs efficiently, PDF Expert offers a versatile set of tools to meet your needs.

Key Features:

Helpful App for All: PDF Expert is a versatile and indispensable app. It's not just for reading PDFs; it's a powerful tool for annotation, document organization, and seamless collaboration. PDF Expert is valuable to your digital toolkit regardless of your profession or needs.

Future-Ready Features: PDF Expert is designed to evolve with your needs. As technology advances and new features become available, you can count on PDF Expert to stay up-to-date and offer you the latest tools for managing and editing PDFs.

Even Music Sheets: PDF Expert is a valuable resource for musicians and composers. It allows you to easily store, annotate, and manage digital music sheets. You can make notes, highlight passages, and precisely organize your compositions.

Image Source: PDF Expert

Note-Taking and Drawing Tools: PDF Expert doesn't stop at PDF management; it also provides excellent note-taking and drawing tools. You can annotate your PDFs with handwritten notes, sketches, and diagrams. This versatility makes it a go-to app for creative professionals, students, and anyone who values visual communication.

Flexible Purchasing Options: PDF Expert offers both a basic version and in-app purchase options, allowing you to choose the features that align with your needs and budget. Whether you require advanced editing capabilities or prefer a streamlined PDF reader, PDF Expert caters to your preferences.

With PDF Expert, you have a reliable and adaptable app that simplifies your PDF-related tasks and keeps you prepared for the future of digital document management.



LiquidText offers an interactive and fluid approach to document markup. With its dynamic workspace, you can connect and organize text, images, and notes as you explore complex documents. It's a game-changer for research and document analysis.

LiquidText is revolutionizing the way we interact with digital documents. As an innovative drawing tool and note-taking app, it offers a unique approach to managing and annotating content. It is a standout choice among note-taking apps for iPad Pro and other Apple devices.

Key Features:

Drawing Tool Excellence: LiquidText goes beyond traditional note-taking apps by offering robust drawing tools. Whether you're an artist, designer, or simply someone who enjoys expressing ideas visually, LiquidText empowers you to create and annotate with precision.

Best Note-Taking Apps: LiquidText distinguishes itself as one of the best in a sea of note-taking apps. Its intuitive interface, fluid note-taking experience, and influential organization tools make it a top choice for students, professionals, and creatives.

Future-Focused: LiquidText is not just an app; it's a glimpse into the future of digital annotation and document interaction. As technology evolves, LiquidText is well-positioned to incorporate cutting-edge features and enhancements, ensuring users stay ahead of the curve.

Image Source: Liquid Text

iPad Pro's Perfect Companion: Designed with iPad Pro users in mind, LiquidText fully leverages the capabilities of Apple's premium devices. The app seamlessly integrates with the iPad Pro's hardware features, such as the Apple Pencil and large, high-resolution screen, to provide a superior note-taking and drawing experience.

Apps for Apple: LiquidText shines as one of the standout apps for Apple users. Its seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem, including iCloud syncing and compatibility with other Apple devices, makes it an essential tool for those deeply embedded in the Apple ecosystem.

Flexible and Versatile: LiquidText offers a range of features that cater to various user needs. Whether you're a student highlighting important text, a researcher making connections between documents, or a designer sketching ideas, LiquidText adapts to your unique requirements.

With LiquidText, you're not just using an app; you're embracing a transformative approach to document interaction, note-taking, and creative expression. Explore the future of digital annotation with this innovative tool.


The Apple Pencil has unlocked a new dimension of creativity and productivity for iPad users. Whether you're an artist looking to create digital masterpieces or a student taking notes in class, there's an app tailored to your needs. With the right combination of hardware and software, your iPad and Apple Pencil become indispensable tools in your daily life. Choose the apps that best suit your preferences, and unleash your creativity with the Apple Pencil.


What Are the Best Apps for Apple Pencil?

There are several great apps for Apple Pencil, depending on your needs. Some top choices include Procreate, Adobe Fresco, Concepts, Notability, and GoodNotes, among others. Each app offers unique features and capabilities, making it suitable for various tasks.

Can I Use Apple Pencil with the Built-In Notes App on My iPad?

You can use Apple Pencil with the built-in Notes app on your iPad. Apple has optimized this app to work seamlessly with the Apple Pencil, allowing you to create handwritten notes, sketches, and drawings effortlessly.

Are There Apps Specifically Designed for iPad Pro and Apple Pencil?

Absolutely, many apps are optimized for iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. These apps take full advantage of the iPad Pro's capabilities, such as its large, high-resolution screen and support for the Apple Pencil's drawing capabilities. Some of the best iPad Pro apps for Apple Pencil include Procreate, Concepts, and LiquidText.

What Are Some Free Apps for Apple Pencil?

While many apps for Apple Pencil offer in-app purchases or premium versions, free options are also available. Some free apps include Apple's Notes app, Adobe Fresco (with limited features), and Paper by WeTransfer.

How Can I Find the Best Apps for Apple Pencil and iPad Pro?

Consider your specific needs and preferences to discover the best apps for your Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. Whether you're looking for drawing and design apps, note-taking apps, or productivity tools, options are available for various use cases. You can explore user reviews, app rankings, and trial versions to find the perfect fit for your creative or professional needs.

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