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Best iPads to get for Digital Planning and Note-taking

So you’re interested in digital note-taking and/or planning! The most important thing you will need in order to digital take notes or plan is an iPad.

Why an iPad and not an android tablet?

Here are two big reasons I can think of off the top of my head:

  1. There are more applications available on iOS 

Currently, Android devices don’t support popular digital planning applications such as GoodNotes, Notability, Procreate, and more.

In addition, they don’t offer as many digital note-taking apps as iOS products. There are limited applications available, and all the popular journaling/note-taking apps are only available for apple devices. 

As a digital planner or note-taker, you want to have a wide variety of options available for you.

You may find that one application might not meet your needs. If you cut down your options, your potential for digital planning becomes limited.

  • Apple Pencil Functionality 

The Apple pencil has been complimented by many and for a good reason. The pencil’s pressure-sensitivity and ease of use are outstanding. If you want that analog and traditional feel to your digital journaling and planning, the apple pencil does a pretty darn good job on emanating that.

There are many other reasons, but these are the two important ones related to digital note-taking and planning. It is no coincidence that many people are using the iPad for taking notes, studying, planning, drawing, and more.

That being said, if you have an android tablet, you can still digital plan and take notes. But if you haven’t gotten a device for digital planning yet, I recommend you get an iPad model. 

That being said, there are many iPad models available and with more choices, choosing becomes more difficult. Luckily, in this blog post, I will discuss and recommend viable iPad options for different needs and budgets. 

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Best iPad for Digital Planning and Note-taking in 2020

Apple iPad Pro 2020

There is no denying it — the iPad Pro has been changing the digital landscape. Its sleek design and outstanding features make it the perfect device to write, draw, read, and ultimately, plan on. 

It’s expensive, but it is the best iPad available. 

There are two sizes available for the iPad Pro: 11 inches and 12.9 inches. Both iPads provide the user with a good amount of surface area to work with. Not only that, but the display is also absolutely gorgeous. 

It’s important to note that this iPad model is only compatible with the Apple Pencil 2. If you have an Apple Pencil 1, it will not work with the newer (3rd generation and up) iPad pro. 

That being said, the Apple Pencil 2 snaps on the iPad magnetically and charges while it is snapped on. You don’t have to worry about your Apple Pencil rolling off somewhere. 

I personally use the 12.9 inch iPad Pro. I love how much space it gives me to write and draw. However, if you want something a bit more portable, I would go with the 11-inch size. 

The iPad Pro is compatible with the Smart Keyboard and the Magic Keyboard

Smart Keyboard for 11 inch iPad

Smart Keyboard for 12.9 inch iPad

Magic Keyboard for 11 inch iPad

Magic Keyboard for 12.9 inch iPad

Pro-tip: If you want to save on cost, you can still get the older 2018 iPad model (2018 iPad Pro). Many reviewers said that there weren’t any drastic changes to the 2020 model.

I currently have the 2018 version, as I bought it before the 2020 model came out, but if I didn’t have an iPad, I would most definitely buy the latest model. 

11 inch iPad 2018 Model

12.9 inch iPad 2018 Model 

10.2 Inch Apple iPad 7th Gen 2019

This is Apple’s most affordable iPad that is compatible with the Apple Pencil 1

Previously, only iPad Pros were compatible with the Apple pencil, but now, Apple extended the Apple Pencil Functionality to almost all of their iPads. 

If you’re on a budget but still want to write, draw, and plan, then this iPad is a great option for you. Many of my friends use and love this iPad.  

The iPad 7th Gen comes in a variety of colors: Space Grey, Silver, and Gold. I remember looking at the selections and instantly falling in love with the Rose Gold iPad. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the iPad. In the past, I used an older iPad Pro before that was 9.7 inches and almost a thousand dollars at the time. The 7th Gen iPad provides 10.2 inches and is a third of the price of my old iPad Pro. 

You can also use the smart keyboard for this iPad model if that’s an important feature for you.     

10.5 Inch Apple iPad Air, 2019

The iPad Air 2019 model is also a good choice if you want to use your iPad for digital planning and journaling. 

This iPad is a bit pricier than the 7th Gen. The screen size is 10.5 inches, so an extra .3 inches to the 7th Gen iPad. 

However, the reason for the jump in price is because of the faster processor. The iPad Air also has a faster processor than the 7th Generation iPad, making it faster and more powerful. 

The Air model also has more storage space compared to the 10.2 model. The base 7th Gen iPad Model starts off with 32GB while the iPad Air model starts with 64GB and goes up to 256GB. However, if you’re not storing any large files, the former is fine.

The iPad Air is also available in three colors: Space Grey, Silver, and Gold. If you’re willing to spend a bit more money for more storage, a faster processor, and a slightly bigger screen size, then the iPad Air might be your pick. 

It is compatible with the Apple Pencil 1 and the Smart Keyboard

iPads to Avoid

These are the iPads I would personally avoid for digital planning and journaling purposes. 

iPad Mini

This is my opinion, but the mini doesn’t provide enough space to write. As someone who likes a lot of space to be creative, the 7.9-inch screen size just doesn’t cut it for me.  

It is compatible with the apple pencil, but when using a screen that small, it feels like my hand is covering half the screen, obstructing my view. 

Ancient iPad Models

If the older iPad model you’re getting isn’t compatible with the Apple Pencil, I recommend to skip it entirely. 

I see people trying to get cheaper iPads and pairing it with off-brand styluses to save money. You might save money, but you’ll find yourself constantly frustrated by the slow speed, low-res screens, bulkiness, and inability to use the newer apps. Not to mention, many of the older iPads no longer receive software updates.

Rather than settling for an older iPad for the cheaper price, it’s better to just get the iPad 7th Gen, as it is both affordable and a lot better than any ancient iPad. 


All of the options I recommended above will work perfectly fine for your digital planning and journaling needs. You can also use your iPad to draw your own stickers, take notes, read, and so much more.

Although an iPad can be expensive, it is definitely worth the investment. If you’re looking for reasons to make the switch, I wrote a blog post explaining why I switched to digital planning.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Other helpful digital planning resources:

How to Start Digital Planning: The Ultimate GuideShop Digital Products


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