The Best Apps To Make Notes & Easy To-Do Lists

Chores, errands, appointments, meetings, shopping lists. Lists - there are just too many of them. The best apps that will organize your day.


In our stressful, hectic lives it's often hard to keep up with all the tasks we have to get done. I know it all too well, it starts by getting up and making breakfast for the kids, pack your own lunch, wash the dishes and bring out the trash. And then of course there is your kids game on Wednesday, and dinner with the boss on Friday, but on Thursday you promised your parents to take them out for lunch... Things can easily get mixed up or be forgotten entirely. But instead of keeping everything on post-it notes that infest every last corner of your home; including the fridge door; why not use one of the many great notes & to-do list apps that are available? You have your phone with you everywhere anyways. Let us have a look at what great options are available to make all this easier for you!

10 Great Notes & To-Do List Apps For Android & iOS

Quickly make a list for your grocery shopping, the kids extracurricular activities or your business.

Microsoft OneNote: Save Ideas and Organize Notes Logo

Microsoft OneNote: Save Ideas and Organize Notes

Microsoft OneNote: Save Ideas and Organize Notes Screenshot

"A completely open canvas thats let you edit it the way you need to"

This app is a life-saver.

Maybe not literally, but definitely professionally and creatively for many users out there. The app allows you to collect free-form notes, video and audio footage, drawings, and online clips as well.

What really stands out about this app is the freedom it gives users during the note-taking process. Through specialized technology, you’re not bound by a text box. You can start typing in one location and embed a video right next to it without any weird formatting to fix. It’s a completely open canvas.

The organization is another of OneNote’s stand out features. Similar to Evernote, OneNote has organizes your notes by sections, notebooks, and pages. But they also include the option to create complex hierarchies through subpages. Subpages allow us super-organized people of the world to stay sane and keep all our notes-within-notes in easy-to-find locations.

Then there’s the storage issue. Except with OneNote, it’s a non-issue. OneNote doesn’t limit how many notes you can take or upload. There are no storage limitations at all if you store your notes with SkyDrive, which gives you 7 GB of free cloud storage. Evernote can’t top that.

If you’re wondering about sharing capabilities, you can easily share notes with other OneNote users. However, exporting your notes into different formats to display on other platforms is an equally smooth process if you’re ever in need of that option.

Microsoft OneNote has been gaining a lot of traction over the years and for good reason. With its functionality, flexibility, and unique note-taking experience, it is one of Evernote's major competitors. A short and simply biased way to explain OneNote is that it does everything Evernote does, but better.

Google Keep - Notes and Lists Logo

Google Keep - Notes and Lists

Google Keep - Notes and Lists Screenshot

"Note taking feature for quick thoughts"

At first glance, this does a lot of the same things that many other note-taking apps do. You can take notes with it. Not that impressive. Save a picture. Not that impressive. Organize the notes you took. Still not that impressive. Then there are the things it does differently. It isn’t just about taking notes. With Google Keep, you can actually record a voice memo and the app will automatically transcribe it. You don’t just take a picture and save it in Google Keep, you can actually file it, archive it, and easily retrieve later through search.

The striking thing about Google Keep is that it’s a note-taking app that seems to be completely optimized for those quick thoughts that few of us can keep track of even with a slew of apps that make note-taking easier to keep track of.

With an Evernote and a OneNote account, I often forget the thoughts I’m too lazy to write down in those apps. Google Keep makes it incredibly easy to capture those thoughts in a way no other app has. They’ve even added color-coding to the organization mix.

It’s the only note taking app I’ve used that has the capability to remind me of something later. The app allows you to create location-based reminders. That means you can create a note with your grocery list in it and set a reminder for the list to magically appear when you’re at or around the grocery store.

while it doesn't have the capabilities of an Evernote, Google Keep is what happens when a note taking app gets together with a task manager and they have an incredibly useful baby.

Simplenote Screenshot

"A simple cloud based note-taking app"

Simplenote is a cloud-based minimalist note-taking app that fulfills its purpose.

And that’s about it.

Unfortunately, Simplenote doesn’t do much more, which is a problem when you look at how many other note-taking apps on the market do the same thing in really spectacular and useful ways. Simplenote would have been cutting edge in the ’90s or even the early 2000s. Today, however, it looks a little anemic compared to every other tool and app on the market.

For one thing, it’s really light on features. There are no notebooks to keep your organization neat and tidy(Google Keep doesn’t have that either, to be fair, but they more than make up for it with other useful features like search and color coding).

The app has no formatting tools, a basic function that every other app possesses.

You won’t be able to set reminders or make checklists with Simplenote, either. You can’t share any notes with others as the app has no note sharing feature. All these missing features leave Simplenote feeling a little too simple for the complexities of daily life for most people.

If you’re in need of an app that can take intricate notes and offers dynamic integration with other apps, tools, platforms, and technologies, Simplenote isn’t exactly what you should go for.

NOTEBOOK - Take Notes, Sync Logo

NOTEBOOK - Take Notes, Sync

NOTEBOOK - Take Notes, Sync Screenshot

"Custom Covers for your notebooks"

This app really shines as a digital personal journal.

This easy-to-use notebook app originally launched as Zoho’s answer to Evernote. The effect was similar to that of Google+ calling itself the Facebook Killer. Nobody bought into that idea. Similarly, no one is expecting Notebook to dethrone Evernote, but it really is impressive to watch it try.

There’s a lot to love about the app in general. Most people love the notebook cover feature. The app gives users the unique ability to give their notebooks a custom cover, a feature most apps don’t offer. While this may seem purely aesthetic, there is a utility to it.

The custom covers not only enhance the user experience but allows you to find a particular notebook much faster than you would if you were scrolling down a list of titles. That proves useful because the app doesn’t have any tagging features to help you find specific notes faster.

Other limitations include a 10,000 character limit on notes, limited formatting options, and no desktop version. No, it’s not Evernote. From a capabilities standpoint, it doesn’t even stack up to OneNote, but it is the most charming little online journal I’ve ever seen.

Joplin Screenshot

"Import from Evernote files possible"

Joplin is a free app that is compatible with a lot of different devices. You can easily synchronize a broad variety of cloud storage services like Dropbox to you Joplin account to access your notes pretty much anywhere.

Joplin features a simple open source interface which is designed to handle a big amount of notes, pictures and other data. So if you have a lot of notes, you tempt to save all your scribbles and ideas, Joplin might come in handy for you. All your notes can be tagged, you can search for them and easily change, delete or modify them.

One of the best features Joplin offers is the possibility to import all your notes from Evernote with an ease. As a free solution, Joplin does a very good job to organize notes, and to be accessible via cloud services.

Trello — Organize anything with anyone, anywhere! Logo

Trello — Organize anything with anyone, anywhere!

Trello — Organize anything with anyone, anywhere! Screenshot

"Professional tools and features to visualize whole projects"

For a lot of professionals, Trello is a major game-changer.

It stands at the intersection of being a premiere project/task management tool and the most action-oriented note-taking app on the market. There are apps that collect thoughts on this list. There are apps for intricate notes and heavy research. There are even apps for quaint journaling here and there.

Trello isn’t any of those.

This is the app you call when you create a note that needs to be turned into action. Because of Trello’s unusual Kanban design, it’s the perfect tool to visualize where a project is and where it’s going. Project managers have been using Trello for its efficiency and simple focus for years. Note-takers can do the same.

ColorNote Notepad Notes Logo

ColorNote Notepad Notes

ColorNote Notepad Notes Screenshot

"A colourful solution that'll help you being organized"

If you’re someone who color codes everything, this is the app for you.

ColorNote is a free android app that works smoothly across all variations of Android phones, whether they be entry-level models or higher-end. The app itself fits snugly into your dynamic daily life with task lists, note organization, a calendar integration, reminders and other features that everyday people have come to expect from apps made in this century.

ColorNote, however, keeps note-taking lighthearted and fun. Maybe a tad more fun than it’s counterparts and competitors. It creates that effect in people because of the bright, delicious colored notes that always make me feel like I’m signing into an ice cream shop when I open the app.

In relation to its competitors, ColorNote stays light and airy, providing slick features that anyone can use. On the other hand, it isn’t the best option if you need more robust features or enterprise options. It’s also completely mobile. There are no web-based and desktop options.

Notepad - Notes with Reminder, ToDo, Sticky notes Logo

Notepad - Notes with Reminder, ToDo, Sticky notes

Notepad - Notes with Reminder, ToDo, Sticky notes Screenshot

"A simple option that's easy to use"

It's a rustic option, but it may be all you need.

Notepad is an easy-to-install free option that provides a simple notepad editing experience. You can write to-do lists, enter and edit shopping lists, checklists and any other kind of list you may need to write during your day. It also allows you to export your notes to either an external source or to Google Drive should the need arise.

Notes Screenshot

"Simple design, but yet a bit buggy"

Aesthetically, it’s only a little cleaner than the Notepad app, but it gets the same job done in many of the same ways.

It’s a great app to use if you don’t require intricate organizational hierarchies and superior search features to find notes. If you only take mobile notes every once in a while, this may not be a bad app to look into.

The only drawbacks to be aware of are limited to the user experience. The ads sometimes slow down the app and create a choppy experience when you’re typing a note.

Then there are the bugs.

They bite a bit too often for an app this small and simple. Lastly, it’s a little weak on security but other than that it’s a good entry level app for anyone who isn’t an avid note-taker.

Keep My Notes - Notepad & Memo Logo

Keep My Notes - Notepad & Memo

Keep My Notes - Notepad & Memo Screenshot

"Secured note-taking as well as voice recording"

If you’re looking for a journal or diary option with great privacy features, Keep My Notes may work for you. Besides just note-taking, Keep My Notes allows users to create offline notes, password protect notes, and set private locks for particular notes and checklists.

Other features include a checklist and to-do list reminders, voice recording, and spell check. After looking at the majority of its features, you might say it's a less decorative version of Google Keep.