Handwriting Recognition (v4.3) is Now Available

After a few months of hard work, version 4.3 is ready now! It adds the long-anticipated handwriting and text box search feature, handwriting-to-text conversion, document search, and support for the new Jot Touch Pixelpoint. The handwriting recognition feature is free for all existing and new users!

By default, new documents from version 4.3 will have recognition language set to American English. This can be changed in Options > General > Default Language.

Documents created before 4.3 will have recognition disabled, but can be enabled from the search panel.

If you like GoodNotes, please remember to leave a review in the App Store to give us support!

Update Summary:

  • Search handwritten notes and text boxes. 
  • Convert handwritten notes to text. 
  • Search documents inside a category. 
  • Use current page’s template to add a new page. 
  • Support for Jot Touch Pixelpoint. 
  • Minor improvements and bug fixes.

Edit: The convert-to-text option is added as an option to the lasso tool. This version can only convert handwriting to text for copying to pasteboard or emailing, we plan to add the ability to convert handwriting to text boxes on a page directly in future releases.

Tags: update

GoodNotes 4.2 is Now Available

In version 4.2, you can access writing posture configuration and setup bluetooth styli without leaving the current page. Just tap … and then tap More Options.


The iPhone toolbar has been reorganized. When you need to make changes to a page, you can tap Edit and then all writing tools will be available. When you finish, just tap Done. Tapping on the center of the page when not editing will toggle full screen mode.


If you are using a bluetooth stylus, please configure again under the Smart Stylus option. Our own writing posture setting will now work with Jot Script too.


GoodNotes 4.1 is Now Available

GoodNotes 4.1 update is now available. It added an eraser shortcut and also an indent function to make writing lists a lot easier! Moreover, a new “Go Back” function is added under the … menu to let you navigate to the last opened page quickly. It is especially useful when you need to look up some information and then return to the original page.

The lists in this page were written with the help of the indent function:

Tags: update

Is GoodNotes 4 only a new skin?

There are many changes under the hood beside the iOS 7 interface.

The storage mechanism of GoodNotes 4 has been rewritten from the ground up which took more than three months. Previously, all data was stored inside a central database (Core Data). If there was a corruption (happen very rarely), all documents would likely be gone. In GoodNotes 4, each document is stored as a separate file (UIDocument) so that problems in one document will not affect other documents. It was very hard to make it work with iCloud and to make it compatible with the future Mac client.

The user interface has also been recreated from the ground up to support both the iPad and the all-new iPhone version which took another few months. Previously everything was designed to be used with the old storage structure and I thought it was also the time to migrate to modern iOS technology (Storyboard, UICollectionView, UIViewController containment, State Restoration, etc). Although it looks like it is just a “skin” upgrade, most of things are recreated from the ground up and many small usability improvements are added. It will also prepare for other features in future versions.

One-way sync is replaced by an auto-backup function in GoodNotes 4. The main difference between them is that the one-way sync function attempts to create an exact copy while the auto-backup function does not. As a result, the auto-backup function is a lot faster because it does not have to compare each file in the cloud storage. Additionally, it will not delete files in the remote folder which brought confusion to many users. This function also took more than a month to implement.

There are many other small changes. You can read about some of them in the post “The New GoodNotes is Available Now”.


An Open Apology to GoodNotes 3 Users

Dear customers,

When GoodNotes 4 was just released, a user told me on Twitter that he bought GoodNotes 3 because the old free version said more features were coming and users should upgrade when it was cheap. Immediately I knew I had made a mistake forgetting to remove that statement from the free version. To users who made the decision to purchase GoodNotes 3 because of that statement, and to users who have just bought GoodNotes 3 recently, please accept my deepest apologies.

It was never my intention to mislead users. Please try getting a refund from GoodNotes 3 by clicking “Report a Problem” in the iTunes receipt. I cannot guarantee that a refund will be granted because app sales are handled by Apple.

GoodNotes 4 is not just a new skin as commented in the app store reviews. You can read more about the effort in the making of GoodNotes 4 in the next blog post.

Steven Chan

Edit: I really wanted to provide free upgrade to users who made the purchase recently, but it is not possible because the app store does not support such mechanism. Free updates will be provided for a long period of time like before — more than forty updates had released for free in about two and a half years from GoodNotes 1.0 to GoodNotes 3.10.


The New GoodNotes is Available Now

GoodNotes 4 is a major upgrade with many awesome new features. It is a result of more than six months of continuous hard work to bring you a completely redesigned iOS 7 style interface, iCloud sync, and a brand new iPhone version that syncs with your iPad.

iCloud Sync + iPhone — The whole backend has been redesigned and rewritten from the ground up to support fast iCloud sync and to use a more robust document format. Document are stored as separate files now instead of storing inside a central database.

Category and Subcategory — This is one of the most requested feature and we have listened!

Lots of New Covers and Papers — Many new covers and papers are added and I am sure you will love them and they are all FREE. More will be added in future versions. The template library has been redesigned to let you organize them in folders.

New iOS 7 Interface — Nearly all of the user interface has also been redesigned and rewritten from the ground up to use modern iOS components and to bring you a clean and polished iOS 7 style interface.

Choose Both Cover and Paper when creating a new notebook, which was not possible in previous versions.

New Trash Function — A new trash function is added to protect from accidental deletion. If you try to delete documents or individual pages inside a document, they will go to the trash first.

New Auto-Backup Function — The one-way sync function is replaced by the new auto-backup function that is a lot faster. It won’t attempt to delete files like the one-way sync function which brought a lot confusions. You can even view what it is doing, pause or resume, or cancel uploads.

Sort Documents By Date or Name — Documents are sorted by date or name instead of custom sorting.

Fixed Text Box Issues — In previous versions, text boxes look different when they were being edited. It was nearly impossible to fix prior to iOS 7.

Improved Image Handling — Inserted photos will not look pixelated even when enlarged.

Many other improvements have been done under the hood too. The document format has been redesigned completely to be compatible with the future Mac client. Because of the new format, the migration may take a while to convert each page to the new format.

Q: Do I have to pay again?
A: GoodNotes 4 is a completely new app and requires another purchase. Because it is a new app, your existing documents will not be affected even if there is a problem with the migration.

Q: I’ve just purchased GoodNotes 3 and you require me to pay again.
A: I’m truly sorry about this. App sales are handled by Apple and I am not able to give you a refund personally. If you have just purchased GoodNotes 3, you can try asking Apple for a refund by clicking “Report a Problem” in the iTunes receipt.

Q: I am not able to migrate my existing documents to GoodNotes 4.
A: Please send detailed descriptions of what you have tried, relevant screenshots, and relevant files to support@goodnotesapp.com with title “MIGRATION PROBLEM” for help.

Tags: update

Known Issues on iOS 7

Below is the list of known issues on iOS 7. An update to fix them is waiting for review now.

  • Long press menu cannot be dismissed by tapping outside. An option must be selected in order to dismiss it.
  • The label backgrounds on the bookshelf have wrong size.
  • Using the Pogo Connect stylus will crash GoodNotes.
  • Occasional crash because of a bug that only affects iOS 7. Didn’t catch it before.
  • When the editor toolbar is at the bottom, the thumbnail/bookmark/TOC panel cannot be opened.


  • Camera only work properly in normal portrait orientation. It appears to be a system issue which cannot be fixed.

Update 2: Update is available to download now.

Update 3: Another update (3.10.4) is waiting for review to fix these newly discovered issues:

  • Unable to drag resize handles.
  • Sync progress bar not entirely visible.
  • Eraser settings window not entirely visible.

GoodNotes 3.10 is now available

GoodNotes 3.10 is available to download now. Below are the changes included in this update:

  • Faster PDF loading.
  • Faster eraser tool.
  • Toolbar at bottom and zoom window at top option for left-handed users.
  • Show margin lines inside zoom window.
  • One-way sync over Wi-Fi and bluetooth only option.
  • Ability to import zip archives. (e.g. backup files)
  • Jot Touch improvements.

I hope you will like it!


GoodNotes 3.9 is now available

GoodNotes 3.9 reduced storage space required by the pen tool by as much as 75% and improved the zoom and scroll gestures. Reduced file size will prepare for fast two-way sync using iCloud in future versions.

Other minor improvements includes print to fit option, erase whole line option, disable pull-to-add-page setting, better scroll animation, precise margin setting controls, and many more.


GoodNotes 3.8 is now available

GoodNotes 3.8 added many requested features which will provide even more flexibility. Here are screenshots of some of the new features:

Customize color and thickness presets:

When you need other colors or thicknesses, just tap “Custom”:image

Change color quickly from the zoom window:

Resize any objects:

Change handwriting color:

Select handwriting, text boxes or images only:

Rectangle and freehand image cropping:

Option to exclude documents from one-way sync:

I hope you will find them useful!