A resource utilized by 15 million users nationwide, Notability is an app with a variety of characteristics that are useful for students, teachers and professionals. Applications include drawing, highlighting and adding text boxes on PDFs.
Lately, Notability has been experiencing many changes to its system. On November 1, 2021, according to PRNewsWire, “Ginger Labs, the maker of the best-selling note-taking app Notability, announced that it has become a free app with an optional subscription for access to more features and unlimited editing.” These new options include handwriting recognition, math conversion and yearly updated planners, stickers, themes and journals.
For people that paid for the app prior to these changes, Notability has said that the app would keep all of the features available until November 1, 2022. After that, a premium subscription of $14.99 was mandatory for all-access usage – no matter their previous status – unless users prefer the free option. Notability stated on its blog that the “pricing structure is shifting to make it available to more people,” but received backlash on social media.
Colin Whaley, a Notability user since 2015, said on Twitter, “Astonished that [Notability] is moving to a subscription model. I happily paid for the Mac and iOS versions of Notability separately all the way back in 2015, and it’s accompanied me through three degrees now. Very disappointed there is no grandfathering in; will be switching.” Many similar tweets of outrage were circling around.
Notability returned to the blog on Nov. 2, changing its new policy to accommodate the disappointed app users. The company apologized and instead said that existing users had lifetime access to the same tools they had purchased in the past, but could subscribe to gain the new premium features.
For the future, new users have two options: premium access with an annual subscription fee of $14.99 – or a free option with limited features. The premium option (which is currently on sale for $11.99) is mandatory in order to continue using the app to its full potential with complementary limited components.