GoodNotes 5 What will it look like

GoodNotes1 was developed and released by Steve Chan back in 2011. Fast-forward to Spring 2018, and we have GoodNotes4―the latest version of the handwriting note-taking app. Many people love GoodNotes4 for its stability and great handwriting-to-text conversion capabilities, as well as the awesome PDF Annotation features (as I showed to you in my videos). However, the program has gained a bit of dust over the years, especially if you compare it to Noteshelf2 (click here to compare) which was released end 2017. The UI and document organization of GoodNotes4 is no longer up-to-date. This is causing people to raise their voice in favor of a new up-to-date version.


This blog post is outdated. GoodNotes 5 is released
and you can get to my in-depth review here:

Go to New Good Notes 5 Review Here

A really important update for GoodNotes4 was released together with iOS11 at the end of 2017. This implemented drag&drop functionalities that no other handwriting app can offer so far! However, after this release only bugfixes were released for GoodNotes4. Noteshelf2, on the other hand, published more and more major updates, gaining pace to keep up with the good quality GoodNotes4 still delivers.

Big expectations are put into the release of GoodNotes5, but little-to-none is known about the status of GoodNotes5 to date. If you are searching the world wide web for GoodNotes5, not much will come up.

However, I will try my best with this blog post to condense everything that is known so far and will update the post as soon more information becomes available.

Planned GoodNotes5 features

GoodNotes5 is in beta at the moment. Access is only for invited users and I am still waiting for my invitation….

The first time it was officially announced that GoodNotes5 is in development was in a German Podcast Interview with Gabriel Jourdan (GoodNotes marketing expert) released by Lars Bobach in October 2016. Gabriel stated in this interview that GoodNotes5 WILL be released….at some point. This means no date was mentioned and this did not change until today (09.04.2018). It is known that GoodNotes5 will definitely be a new app that will be coded and developed from the ground up. This way the following features can potentially implemented (not confirmed yet):

  • Real time collaboration (working together on same note but different devices)
  • Many more subfolders / -categories
  • Vertical Scrolling
  • Android Version
  • Filling tool to color fill shapes
  • Cloud Kit Sync (better version of iCloud sync)
  • Tags for Notebooks
  • Global Search (integration also in Spotlight)
  • WebDAV syncronisation
  • Clickable Hyperlinks

This is the list of features that were planned end 2016. I need to point out that the development was in really early stages at that point, and things might have changed since then (hopefully to even more/better features).

Actual status of GoodNotes5

The exciting feature on the list is the real-time collaboration. It’s a very interesting feature that opens a completely new world of possibilities. You could, for example, use a note as a whiteboard that is shown via a beamer to all meeting members, while each member could contribute live on the whiteboard with their own devices. Another target audience surely would be teachers and tutors who could use GoodNotes5 to correct their student’s work.

In his video, Lars opens the Pen panel and it seems there is nothing to be excited about. As you can see in this screen shot, there are still only two pen styles (Fountain and Ball pen) available. The options for palm rejection and Apple Pencil are now also available inside this panel. This makes no sense to me, as these are options I would adjust once and never need to adjust again. Hence, it just clutters the menu with unnecessary options, in my opinion.In addition, in this video we have the chance to see the toolbar of GoodNotes5.

But again…nothing exciting to see there. It is pretty much the same setup as we know it from GoodNotes4. However, as I don’t know what awesome features might be hiding behind the icons, I cannot make any final thoughts. Although my hopes are still high, if I am honest, I would have expected to see a lot more from the toolbar alone…e.g. audio recording?

Well, it all ends in speculation. I will let you know, once I know more, what we really can expect from GoodNotes5.

Do excisting users need to pay again?

Many existing GoodNotes4 users want to know if they need to pay again for GoodNotes5. Gabriel said in, the interview, that they are planning that existing users will either get it for free or with a discount. However, my own opinion is that if they develop a completely new app with a lot more features, then it should be worth it for everybody to pay the price to support the developers. Of course if you just bought GoodNotes4 and then GoodNotes5 is released this would be a bit different, and it makes sense to me to consider those users.,  What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.


Obviously people are looking forward to seeing what GoodNotes5 will be capable of. In my YouTube comments many people ask me when it will be released and if it’s worth it to buy GoodNotes4 now, or just wait until GoodNotes5 comes out. I think there’s still a good way to go for the developers of GoodNotes5 before they can deliver something really exciting compared to GoodNotes4, and especially something better compared to the competition. One feature that could make GoodNotes5 stand out is the collaboration function. If this works seamlessly it would be a real game-changer for many teams. So if you are not considering buying an alternative like,, Noteshelf2,, then go for, GoodNotes4.

Personally, even once GoodNotes5 is released, I would recommend to waiting for at least one month to buy it, until first bug fixes are implemented.
Of course, I will do a review on GoodNotes5 as soon it is released to let you know everything you need to make the right decision.


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