Goodnotes 5 vs. 6: What is the Difference in 2024?

Goodnotes is my favorite digital paper. It allows me to write text and combine it with typed text on one page. Whether it’s lists, equations, diagrams, or illustrations, you’ll enjoy using this app.

Let me introduce you to Goodnotes 5 vs. 6 and compare them side by side. It’s time to fall in love with your handwriting using digital ink.

First, let me tell you the main difference between both versions:

The main difference is that Goodnotes 6 introduces an updated and modernized user interface, enhanced writing features, and improved notebook management, offering a more visually appealing and creatively stimulating note-taking experience compared to the familiar and efficient interface of Goodnotes 5.

Goodnotes 5 vs. 6: Key Features Comparison Overview

This table summarizes the overview of the primary features of these note-taking apps.

FeaturesGoodnotes 5Goodnotes 6
User Interface✔️ Familiar and Intuitive✔️ Updated and Modernized
Note-Taking Experience✔️ Efficient and Functional✔️ Enhanced Writing Experience
Organization and Navigation✔️ Folder Structure✔️ Improved Notebook Management
Document Import and Export✔️ Broad Compatibility✔️ Expanded File Format Support
Annotation Tools✔️ Comprehensive Toolkit✔️ Additional Annotation Features
Collaboration and Sharing✔️ Basic Sharing Options✔️ Advanced Collaboration Features
Customization Options✔️ Flexible Settings✔️ Enhanced Personalization
Integration with Other Apps✔️ Seamless Integration✔️ Improved Cross-App Functionality

What is Goodnotes 5, and How Does It Work?

Goodnotes 5 is a well-established note-taking app known for its user-friendly interface and robust feature set. It provides users with a digital canvas to create, organize, and annotate notes. With a focus on efficiency and functionality, Goodnotes 5 quickly became a favorite among students, professionals, and creatives.

Goodnotes 5 version

Pros of Goodnotes 5:

  • Familiar and intuitive user interface.
  • Efficient note-taking experience.
  • Comprehensive organization with folder structure.
  • Broad compatibility for document import and export.


  • Limited collaboration features.
  • Basic sharing options.
  • Notebooks could benefit from more advanced management options.

What is Goodnotes 6, and How Does it Work?

Goodnotes 6 builds upon the success of its predecessor (i.e., Goodnotes 5), aiming to enhance the note-taking experience with new features and improvements. The updated version introduces changes to the user interface, writing experience, notebook management, collaboration features, and more.

Goodnotes version 6

Pros of Goodnotes 6:

  • Updated and modernized user interface.
  • Enhanced writing experience with new features.
  • Improved notebook management for better organization.
  • Advanced collaboration features for seamless sharing and editing.


  • Users may need time to adapt to the updated interface.
  • Some features may require a learning curve for existing users.

Goodnotes 5 vs. 6: Comprehensive Feature Comparison Guide

To help you understand the key features of Goodnotes 5 and Goodnotes 6, let’s do an in-depth comparison:

1. User Interface (UI):

Known for its intuitive and clean UI, Goodnotes 5 provides a user-friendly experience. Navigation is seamless, and the layout is well-organized.

Goodnotes user interface

Building upon the success of its predecessor, Goodnotes 6 introduces a refined UI. It maintains the simplicity of 5 while incorporating subtle enhancements for improved accessibility.

Verdict: Goodnotes 6 edges ahead with its updated interface, offering a fresh yet familiar user experience.

2. Note-taking Experience:

Renowned for its exceptional note-taking capabilities, Goodnotes 5 provides a smooth and responsive writing experience. The app supports various styluses and offers diverse tools for customization.

Retaining the stellar note-taking functionality, Goodnotes 6 introduces refinements in pen responsiveness and additional tools, enhancing the overall writing experience.

Verdict: Both versions excel, but Goodnotes 6 gains a slight edge with its subtle improvements in responsiveness.

3. Organization and Navigation:

Goodnotes 5: Features a robust organizational structure with folders and subfolders. The ability to search and navigate through notes is efficient.

Goodnotes 6: Enhances organizational capabilities by introducing nested folders and an improved search algorithm, streamlining the management of extensive note collections.

Verdict: Goodnotes 6 takes the lead in organization and navigation with its added hierarchical folder structure.

4. File Import and Export:

Offers seamless import of PDFs and images, supporting various file formats. Export options include PDF and image formats.

File import

Continues to support versatile file import, introducing enhanced compatibility. Export options are expanded, providing more flexibility.

Verdict: Goodnotes 6 excels in file compatibility and export options, offering an edge over its predecessor.

5. Collaboration Features:

Primarily designed for individual use, Goodnotes 5 lacks robust collaboration features. Sharing options are limited.

Acknowledging the growing need for collaboration, Goodnotes 6 introduces improved sharing capabilities, allowing multiple users to work on shared documents.

Verdict: Goodnotes 6 emerges as the winner in collaboration features, catering to collaborative work environments.

6. Integration with Other Apps:

Goodnotes 5: Integrates well with other apps, supporting export and import functionalities. Offers compatibility with cloud services.

Goodnotes 6: Expands integration capabilities, ensuring seamless connectivity with a broader range of third-party apps and cloud services.

Verdict: Goodnotes 6 enhances integration possibilities, providing a more connected user experience.

7. Performance and Stability:

Goodnotes 5: Exhibits stable performance with minimal glitches. Regular updates contribute to reliability.

Goodnotes 6: It builds upon the stable foundation of Goodnotes 5, introducing optimizations for improved performance and reduced latency.

Verdict: Both versions demonstrate commendable performance, with Goodnotes 6 showcasing incremental improvements.

Updated Features of Goodnotes 6

GoodNotes version 6 introduces several new features aimed at enhancing the note-taking experience. Here’s an expansion on two prominent features:

AI-powered note-taking features:

Goodnotes leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to offer advanced note-taking capabilities.

The app utilizes AI to improve handwriting recognition, allowing users to write naturally while the app converts their handwriting into editable text.

Goodnotes 6 AI-powered handwriting

This feature streamlines the process of digitizing handwritten notes, making them searchable and easier to organize.

In addition, the AI-powered search functionality enables users to quickly locate specific content within their notes, even if it’s handwritten.

For instance, a student taking lecture notes can easily search for key terms or concepts without manually scanning through pages of handwritten content.

Customizable folders and templates:

Goodnotes version 6 provides users with greater flexibility in organizing their digital notebooks.

Goodnotes 6 colored folders

Users can now change the color of folders, allowing for more intuitive categorization and visual organization of notebooks. The ability to customize templates enables users to tailor their note-taking experience to suit their preferences and workflow.

For example, a business professional can create custom templates for meeting notes, project planning, or brainstorming sessions, ensuring consistency and efficiency across different types of notes.

Practical use case examples:

  • A student using Goodnotes version 6 can customize their notebook folders with different colors for each subject, making it easier to visually distinguish between classes.
  • A designer or creative professional can create personalized templates in Goodnotes, such as storyboard layouts or wireframing templates, to streamline their creative process and maintain a cohesive design aesthetic.
  • A researcher or academic can benefit from the AI-powered search feature in Goodnotes 6 to quickly locate specific references or citations within their extensive collection of notes, saving time and improving productivity.
  • A journalist or writer can use customizable templates in Goodnotes to create structured outlines for articles or stories, enhancing organization and facilitating the writing process.

Goodnotes 5 Use Cases:

1. Student Lecture Notes:

Goodnotes 5 serves as an invaluable tool for students attending lectures. In this real-world scenario, a university student utilizes Goodnotes 5 to digitally take comprehensive notes during classes.

The app’s efficient note-taking features, including various writing tools and annotation options, allow the student to capture key concepts, diagrams, and important information.

The organization provided by Goodnotes 5’s folder structure ensures that the student can categorize notes by subject or course, making it easy to review and revise during exam periods.

The seamless import of lecture slides and PDFs further enhances the note-taking process, creating a centralized hub for academic materials.

2. Professional Meeting Minutes:

In a professional setting, a project manager relies on Goodnotes 5 for taking meeting minutes and organizing project-related information.

During team meetings, the manager uses the app to jot down action items, brainstorming ideas, and decisions made during discussions.

Goodnotes 5’s annotation tools, such as highlighting and underlining, prove valuable for emphasizing critical points.

The organization of notes within the app allows the project manager to create dedicated notebooks for each project, ensuring a systematic approach to managing meeting minutes and project documentation.

Goodnotes 6 Use Cases:

1. Creative Sketching and Design:

Goodnotes 6 shines in scenarios where users engage in creative sketching and design. An artist or designer, for instance, leverages the enhanced features of Goodnotes 6 to create intricate digital illustrations.

The app’s improved writing experience, coupled with additional creative tools, provides the artist with a canvas for expressive and detailed sketching.

Goodnotes 6 becomes a digital sketchbook, offering a range of brushes, colors, and customizable options that cater to the artist’s need for creative freedom.

The result is a digital portfolio of visually stunning and personalized artworks.

2. Collaborative Project Planning:

Goodnotes 6 becomes an essential tool for collaborative project planning within a team.

In this use case, team members working on a marketing campaign use Goodnotes 6 to collaboratively plan and brainstorm ideas.

The advanced collaboration features allow team members to simultaneously edit and contribute to the same digital notebook in real-time.

Whether sketching out campaign visuals, annotating design mockups, or outlining content strategies, Goodnotes 6 facilitates seamless collaboration.

The app’s ability to integrate with other productivity tools ensures that the team can incorporate feedback and ideas from Goodnotes 6 into their broader project management workflow.

Goodnotes 5 and 6 Pricing at a Glance

How much does Goodnotes cost? What’s the pricing difference between version 5 and 6? Find out in the table summary below.

FeatureGoodNotes 5GoodNotes 6
Initial Purchase Cost$7.99 (one-time fee)$7.99 (one-time fee)
Upgrade Cost from Previous VersionFreeFree
Additional FeaturesAI-powered note-taking, customizable folders and templates
Subscription OptionsNoneNone
Platform CompatibilityiOS, iPadOSiOS, iPadOS
AvailabilityApp StoreApp Store

Pricing Summary:

  • Both GoodNotes 5 and GoodNotes 6 have an initial purchase cost of $7.99 as a one-time fee.
  • Updates are provided for free for both versions.
  • There is no additional cost to upgrade from GoodNotes 5 to GoodNotes 6.
  • GoodNotes 6 introduces new features such as AI-powered note-taking, customizable folders, and templates.
  • Both versions are available for iOS and iPadOS platforms and can be purchased from the App Store.

Goodnotes AI Math Assistance

Goodnotes AI Math Assistance feature takes note-taking to a whole new level — by offering real-time math recognition and solving capabilities.

Goodnotes AI Math Assistance

With this feature, users can simply write down mathematical equations or problems on their digital notebooks, and Goodnotes 6 automatically recognizes and processes them.

The AI then provides step-by-step solutions, making it an invaluable tool for students, educators, and professionals alike.

For instance, consider a student studying calculus.

They can effortlessly jot down complex equations or problems during a lecture or while solving practice exercises.

Goodnotes 6’s AI Math Assistance instantly recognizes these mathematical inputs and provides detailed solutions, helping the student understand the concepts better.

This not only saves time but also enhances the learning experience by offering immediate feedback and clarification.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Version of Goodnotes Handwriting app

Keep these all-important considerations in mind when choosing a note-taking app.

User Interface Preferences:

  • If you prefer a familiar and well-established user interface with efficient note-taking capabilities, Goodnotes 5 may be the choice for you. It provides a streamlined experience for users who prioritize simplicity.
  • If you are open to adapting to an updated and modernized interface with enhanced features, Goodnotes 6 may offer a more visually appealing and creatively stimulating environment.

Note-Taking Style:

  • If your note-taking needs are straightforward, and you primarily require efficient tools for writing, annotating, and organizing content, Goodnotes 5 provides a functional and reliable solution.
  • If you value an enriched note-taking experience with additional creative features and tools, especially if you engage in sketching or artistic expression, Goodnotes 6 offers an upgraded toolkit for more expressive and personalized note-taking.

Collaboration Requirements:

  • If basic sharing options meet your collaboration needs and you primarily work individually, Goodnotes 5 may be sufficient for your requirements.
  • If you are involved in collaborative projects and value advanced collaboration features, such as real-time editing and seamless sharing, Goodnotes 6’s improvements in this area make it a compelling choice.

Budget Considerations:

  • If budget constraints are a primary concern, Goodnotes 5’s one-time purchase model without subscription fees provides a cost-effective option.
  • If the enhanced features and improvements in Goodnotes 6 align with your needs and budget, the one-time purchase for access to the latest version may be a worthwhile investment.


1. Are my notes compatible between Goodnotes 5 and Goodnotes 6?

Yes, your notes are compatible. Goodnotes 6 seamlessly imports notes created in GoodNotes 5, ensuring a smooth transition between versions.

2. What new features does Goodnotes 6 bring to the table?

Goodnotes 6 introduces enhanced collaboration tools, improved organization features, expanded template options, and a more intuitive user interface, offering a comprehensive upgrade from 5.

3. Can I use Goodnotes 6 on my existing device?

Goodnotes 6 is designed to run on a wide range of devices, including those compatible with Goodnotes 5. Ensure your device meets the system requirements for the latest version.

4. How does the pricing structure differ between Goodnotes 5 and 6?

Pricing structures may vary. Goodnotes 6 might introduce new subscription plans or one-time purchase options. Compare the pricing details on the official website for the most accurate information.

5. Is it worth upgrading from GoodNotes 5 to GoodNotes 6?

The decision to upgrade depends on your specific needs. If you value enhanced collaboration features, expanded templates, and an improved user interface, upgrading to Goodnotes 6 could be worthwhile.

Which is Better: Goodnotes 5 or 6?

The truth is that choosing between Goodnotes 5 and 6 can be tricky.

However, it all comes down to your preferences for user interface design, note-taking style, collaboration requirements, and budget considerations.

Both versions offer robust note-taking capabilities, and the decision should be based on your individual needs and the features that align with your workflow.