Android Productivity

What Is the Best Free Note-Taking App for Android?

Joel Lee Updated 16-12-2019

Digital note-taking is a must-have skill these days. You already take your Android phone everywhere, don’t you? There’s no point in carrying an additional notepad when you can install a notepad app instead.


But there are so many Android note-taking apps to choose from! And they aren’t all equal, which is why it’s important to pick the right one if you want to be an efficient digital note-taker. Here are the best free notes apps for Android, plus some tips to help you decide which one is the best fit for your needs.

1. Microsoft OneNote

After Microsoft OneNote went 100% free in 2015, it exploded in popularity as users flocked to it in droves. It has since proven itself as one of the most useful, full-featured, and powerful note-taking apps for Android devices.

There are plenty of lesser-known Microsoft OneNote features 12 Little-Known Microsoft OneNote Features You Will Love Microsoft OneNote is free and packed with features. Here are some little features to boost your note-taking productivity! Read More , like clipping from the web, inserting multimedia files, tfagging and searching notes, drawing with your finger, and more. Despite all that, it has an easy learning curve. Plus, it looks clean and modern.

Who should use this app? Microsoft OneNote is a multipurpose powerhouse—perfect for collecting and organizing long-term data like recipes, story ideas, and lecture notes. It’s also a great note-taking app for programmers. Not so great for quick one-off tasks and reminders. A smart choice for those who regularly use Microsoft Office.

Download: Microsoft OneNote (Free)


2. Dropbox Paper

Lately, I’ve come to think of Dropbox Paper as the best note-taking app for Android. Microsoft OneNote still wins in terms of sheer power and features, but Dropbox Paper strikes a delicate balance between usability, intuitiveness, collaboration, appearance, and performance.

Dropbox Paper is a notes app that stores every note on the cloud in your Dropbox account. Cloud storage means your notes are accessible on any device, anywhere, as long as you have internet access. If you don’t have internet access, you can still edit while offline and the changes will sync once you’re back online.

Yes, you’ll need a free Dropbox account to use Dropbox Paper! But it’s totally worth it.

Other notable features include notes sharing and online collaboration (so your friends and family can view and edit notes with you), folders for organization, checklists, due dates, annotations and comments, and integration with other productivity tools like calendars and Google Docs.


Who should use this app? Pretty much anyone except power users and those who prefer to take notes via stylus or pen. Dropbox Paper is both simple yet powerful, and is perfectly suited for most users.

Download: Dropbox Paper (Free)

3. TickTick

TickTick is technically a to-do list app, but it has some neat features that allow it to be used like a notes app if you want.

Namely, each item in one of your to-do lists has a “Description” field that you can use for storing notes related to that item. Combined with folders, subtasks, tags, sorting, and search, TickTick can be a supremely powerful app for note-taking and notes management.


Other useful features include a built-in calendar view, task reminders, voice input, white noise generator, productivity timer using the Pomodoro technique, and real-time collaborative editing.

Who should use this app? Anyone who needs powerful to-do list capabilities in addition to note-taking features. TickTick can serve as a two-in-one app, allowing you to keep all of your digital data in one place and declutter your phone of unnecessary apps.

Download: TickTick (Free, Premium for $27.99/yr)

Read more about why TickTick is the best to-do app for Android Why TickTick Is the Best To-Do App for Android A to-do app is essential for getting things done in a timely manner, and TickTick is the best app for the job. Read More and check out these tips for using TickTick productively.


4. Evernote

Evernote held the throne for several years prior to Microsoft OneNote’s popularity explosion, mainly because it was the first full-featured, multipurpose note-taking app to hit mobile devices.

It’s still a great option for power users, but Evernote isn’t special anymore. Sure, it has lots of interesting features like web clipping, scanning text in photos, cross-device synchronization, and powerful search support. It just isn’t as distinguished as it once was, especially with its pricing model.

Evernote Basic has a monthly upload limit of 60MB, a maximum note size of 25MB, restrictions on how many devices it can be installed on, none of the collaborative features, and other limitations. For full functionality, Evernote Premium starts at $7.99/mo.

Who should use this app? Evernote fulfills many of the same needs as Microsoft OneNote, but its best features are locked behind a paywall and that’s a major deciding factor between Evernote and OneNote. If you really don’t like Microsoft OneNote but need the same level of power, then use Evernote.

Download: Evernote (Free, Premium for $7.99/mo)

5. FiiNote


FiiNote is a multipurpose note-taking app that’s similar to both Microsoft OneNote and Evernote, but nowhere near as popular. It has support for both typed and handwritten notes, along with a number of other advanced features.

Calender? Check. Multimedia attachments and audio recording? Check. Deep organization? Infinite canvas? Note templates? Revision history? All check. The interface is a little bland but extremely functional. Very easy to use, even on a small-screen smartphone.

Who should use this app? I consider FiiNote to be a lesser version of both Microsoft OneNote and Evernote. If those two offer too much for you, then you may be happy with this one instead.

Download: FiiNote (Free)

6. Google Keep

Google Keep is great for quick notes and reminders. Need a shopping list? Want to track tasks for a weekend project? Prefer searching for notes rather than browsing through folders? Check out our article on tips for better Google Keep notes.

At first, Google Keep may feel strange and unlike any other note-taking app you’ve used, but give it a proper shot. There are good reasons why it does things the way it does, and once you get over that initial learning curve, you’ll start being able to use Google Keep in productively creative ways.

Who should use this app? Anyone who’s more concerned with organizing day-to-day tasks and reminders than long-term archives of in-depth notes and files. Especially useful for those who are deeply entwined with Google’s ecosystem, including Google Drive and Google Docs.

Download: Google Keep (Free)

7. ColorNote

ColorNote is a lot like Google Keep: simplicity is the name of the game and its main focus is offering the same kind of quick convenience you’d get from real-life sticky notes. Jot down a brief message, color code it, and you’re done.

What I like best about ColorNote is its widgeting options. You can have a widget with direct note-editing access, or you can have shortcut widgets that open up specific notes. Two note types are supported: lined notes and checklists.

Who should use this app? This app only serves one purpose. If you need quick notes that are temporary, it’s perfect. If you need to build up an archive of notes for long-term storage, skip it. ColorNote is too simple for that.

Download: ColorNote (Free)

8. Omni Notes


Omni Notes reminds me of Evernote’s mobile app from several years ago: simple but not minimal, clean and delightful to use, complete with all the fundamental features you’d expect from a note-taking app but not much more. In a word, Omni Notes is solid.

Some of its more notable features: the ability to merge notes, batch editing of notes, quick access widgets, color coding, sketch-note mode for drawing, and Google Assistant integration that lets you write notes just by saying “write a note [text].”

Who should use this app? It’s a lightweight app designed to be quick and fast without sacrificing too much organizational ability. Its also one of the few notes apps for Android that’s open-source, which could be a big draw for some users.

Download: Omni Notes (Free)

9. Simplenote


True to its name, Simplenote is one of the most lightweight notes apps for Android. If you’re tired of overly bloated apps with features you’ll never use, try Simplenote.

This means that Simplenote has no intention of being a powerhouse, all-notes-in-one app. It has some organizational features, like note tags, but if you plan on keeping thousands of notes, look elsewhere. Quick and easy is the name of the game here.

Backups, synchronization, and sharing are all available if you create a free Simplenote account.

Who should use this app? Simplenote is all about speed and efficiency. It’s especially good for older phones that just don’t have the hardware to keep up with modern feature-heavy apps. Use it if you just want your notes app to stay out of your way.

Download: Simplenote (Free)

10. Squid

Squid is a vector-based notes app for Android that eschews typing for handwriting. Using an active pen, stylus, or even your finger, you can write out your notes instead of cramping your thumbs on a keyboard. (But typed notes are possible if you need them.)

Squid can import PDFs, allowing you to mark them as you wish and then save them again. You can also cast your notes to a TV or projector using a Chromecast or another device that supports wireless streaming with Miracast.

Who should use this app? If you hate typing and prefer to write your notes by hand, this is the perfect app for you. Infinite paper size, vector-based strokes, and lots of flexibility. An active pen or stylus with a tablet is highly recommended.

Download: Squid (Free)

What Is the Best Free Notepad App for Android?

Picking the right app can boost your productivity and make you feel engaged with your notes. Picking the wrong app can cause frustrations, hinder your creativity, and make you lose important details. Make the right choice!

For me, that means using ColorNote for quick jots and Dropbox Paper for longer-term storage for recipes, project ideas, and general notes. Your needs may differ. Regardless, be sure to heed these tips for being a more efficient note-taker Too Lazy to Take Notes? Try These Faster Notetaking Tips Instead There are several shortcuts you can take to capture everything from lectures to meeting minutes to to-do lists. Let's explore some of those shortcuts today with these tips for faster note-taking. Read More .

Related topics: Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, Note-Taking Apps.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Soulaimen
    March 10, 2020 at 10:16 am

    I'm using Notit for my daily notes/To-dos list and it's really amazing. Very simple, it adds my notes directly to notifications bar. I think it's an essential app for every device.

  2. Crokka
    July 31, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    I'm surprised Samsung Notes didn't make the list. It's a great multidimensional app. I think it deserves a spot.

  3. Prabu
    May 14, 2019 at 7:29 am

    Notes pro app is very smart and flexible for all type of users. It gives me the way I'm preparing the valuable to - do.

  4. John Jones
    October 3, 2017 at 3:51 am

    Great list! I would like to suggest Simple Note and Milanote. Completely changed the way I work.

  5. Dale L.
    June 3, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    My favorite note-taking app on android is SecNotes. Been using it for a long time now and the performance is consistent & stable. I enjoy it so much. You have notes, checklists, folders, and basic spreadsheets. Many good things to say about it. I've tried so many like most would say, but it all came down to this one for me. Try it...!

  6. Lano Doko
    January 10, 2017 at 9:41 am

    My favorite app is SteloNote [Broken Link Removed] . It is a new app but it has advance features such as importance filtering and real-time scheduling. This app is easy to use and very usable for me.

  7. Majik
    June 12, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Sticky note. Basic, clean and easy.

    • Joel Lee
      June 16, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      Sometimes something simple is really all you need. :)

      • David
        December 22, 2019 at 7:06 am

        I'd say most of the time its all you need.

        Complicate things and you spend literally years of your life trying to learn everything about lots of different apps.

        One of my most go to app is a physical notebook. Don't need to worry about having enough electricity either.

  8. Alan
    June 9, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    You have missed the best, easiest and most comprehensive one - Note Everything. It has text (great with the Google free handwriting app), paint, voice, barcode and Google Drive co-ordination. With addons (free) and the paid version you can do more.

    • Joel Lee
      June 16, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      I can't stand Note Everything's old interface but you're right that it has some nice features. It's not the right app for me but if it works for you, keep at it. Thanks Alan!

  9. Varun
    June 9, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I use iA writer - it supports markdown and syncs with dropbox (two essential features for my way of note-taking).
    Compared to this, Monospace creates a "monospace" folder in dropbox, which is annoying because I have to shift all my notes into that folder. And moreover, monospace supports only markdown export. So, if you have a txt file with markdown syntax, it wont recognize it. iA Writer does not have any of these drawbacks; and at the same time maintains the simplicity of monospace.

    • Joel Lee
      June 16, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      Awesome! I had no idea that iA Writer on Android went free. This is great news and I'm going to try it out ASAP. If you're right, I have no doubt that iA Writer will score better than Monospace. Thanks Varun!

  10. G P Witteveen
    June 9, 2016 at 11:44 am

    I'm getting accustomed to extracting book notes by dictating with "voice typing" on google docs on chromebook. And on OneNote in Nokia windows-phone the voice typing via wifi seems to work in 1 minute increments. But it would be worth knowing which of the line-up in this article support voice typing.

  11. Paulson Paul
    June 9, 2016 at 10:18 am

    note everything is a good one .... but it has a slightly outdated UI.

    • Joel Lee
      June 16, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Yeah the outdated interface really turns me away, but it has an impressive rating. Is there anything in particular you like about it that you can't get in another app? Thanks Paul.

      • Paulson Paul
        June 17, 2016 at 5:16 pm

        I started using it a long time back ( gingerbread days ) . At the time it was the only app with password protection and UI colour customization. It had nice widgets back in the day and it was relatively simple to use. I also loved the folder hierarchy system. If only the devs gave it a much need overhaul. Since it stopped updating, I've switched to Evernote. I've always thought of developing a note taking app from scratch.It would be awesome to have a note taking app tailored specifically to your needs. Note taking apps are somewhat easy to develop too .

        • Joel Lee
          June 24, 2016 at 1:33 am

          Ah, so you use Evernote now. That's cool. Kinda sucks that some developers don't put enough effort into user interfaces. I'm sure Note Everything would be pretty darn good but I'd never use it with that outdated look! Anyway, thanks for sharing Paul. Really appreciate it. :)

  12. Anonymous
    June 9, 2016 at 7:59 am


    • Joel Lee
      June 16, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      Looks interesting. Very nice for teams and group projects! I'll have to explore more deeply before I can come to a decision, but first impression is good. Thanks Nick!

  13. Susan
    June 9, 2016 at 5:04 am

    I use Google Keep. One Note is ok, but I don't need all the options for quick notes.

    • Joel Lee
      June 16, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      Yeah, OneNote is overkill for simple notes. That's where Google Keep shines. Thanks for sharing, Susan!

  14. John omernik
    June 9, 2016 at 12:40 am Good looking and interface is simple. Also syncs with Web interface

    • Joel Lee
      June 16, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      It's been a while since I used Any.DO but it looks like it has come a long way since then! Nice. Not sure I'd use it for regular note-taking, but it's pretty great for tasks and lists. Thanks John.

  15. Kamal Aljahed
    June 8, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Actually I prefer to use S note for noting. This app should have been mentioned.

    • Joel Lee
      June 16, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      I've never heard of that one, maybe because I haven't had a Samsung phone in a while. But it looks interesting! Not for me, but I'm sure many would like it. Thanks for the heads up, Kamal.

  16. Charles Bonfante
    June 8, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Wow. It never ceases to amaze me the bias makeuseof has towards OneNote. I figure there is some kind of hidden incentive we don't know about.

    Really disappointing as I enjoy other articles. However, this clear favoritism which is unbalanced and inaccurate is appalling.

  17. Kevin Bingham
    June 8, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    For quick down and dirty notes, ColorNote is my goto. Quick ideas, shopping list, a temporary scratch pad for cut and paste, etc.

    It should be noted that ColorNote can backup your notes, and can be restored to a new device. (Though there is no online interface.)

    • Joel Lee
      June 16, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      ColorNote is pretty dang awesome. Good point on the backup and restoration features, too bad there's no web interface. :( Thanks Kevin.