The PDF reader optimized for research on Mac, iPad & iPhone. Turn your annotations into powerful notes and export them anywhere, so you can focus on the bigger picture.

"It’s the novel approach to PDF annotation that makes this app a cut above the rest"-

"A simple and effective tool for helping you strip key information out of research PDFs." - iCreate Magazine, Issue 221

"... an app that students, academics, and anyone who does substantial amounts of PDF-based research should try" -

Highlights is a fast and lightweight PDF reader (under 10MB) packed with features to help with your research.

Free users have access to standard PDF reader features including document browsing, reading and annotating. There are NO ADS, time limits or tracking.

Context aware annotation popovers gives you powerful tools at your finger tips. Default annotation colors prevents you from having to repeatedly setting the color for the same type of annotation every time.

As you markup text and images the contents are extracted and sorted into notes. You can customize the formatting further and sort the annotations chronologically using your own color coding.

Convert images containing text or tables to actual text and tables using machine learning - letting you get to the underlying data with a single tap.

Copy annotations to the desired format — text markup as text and image selections as images, but tables as CSV and citations as BibTex.

Markup any reference and tap the link icon to look it up. Highlights will fetch DOI-links and even check if you have read the work already or have it in your reference manager library.

Export your notes as files (Markdown, HTML, TextBundle, WebArchive or PDF files) or open them directly in your favorite shoebox application (including Ulysses, Evernote, Bear, DEVONThink, Keep It, and Apple Notes).

• Night and Sepia PDF appearances
• Automatically save notes as a sidecar Markdown file
• Multi-lingual text recognition
• Default annotation colors
• Integration with reference managers like Paper and Bookends
• Integration with DEVONthink

For a full list of features see:

The Highlights Pro subscription unlocks advanced features for extracting information including table and text recognition, customizability, citation lookups, Smart Copy and export options for other apps and easily editable formats.

Highlights Pro includes a 14-day free trial and is available for $2.99 (US) monthly or $24.99 (US) yearly (a 30% discount). You can cancel your subscription at any time. The subscription will automatically renew unless auto-renew is turned off within 24-hour prior to the end of of the current period.

Payments will be charged to your iTunes account and your account will be charged within 24-hours prior to the end of the current period. Any unused portion of a free trial period will be forfeited when you purchase a subscription.

For more information about Highlights Pro:

Privacy Policy and Terms:

What’s New

Version 2021.1.1

Lots of new tutorials! (Help > Tutorials)

And much more:
- New default orange accent color
- Updated export icons for Ulysses, Bear, DEVONthink and Keep It
- #hashtags in annotation comments are now recognized as inline tags and display as such in your notes
- Exporting to DEVONthink as a folder of snippets (Split files) applies the #hashtags as file tags to the corresponding annotation file
- Bear export now supports ::highlight::, ~underline~ and ~~strikethrough~~ text markup
- DEVONthink export now supports ==highlight== and ~~strikethrough~~ text markup
- Keep It export now supports {==highlight==} and {~~strikethrough~~} text markup
- Quiver export now uses Markdown syntax for ~~strikethrough~~

Minor improvements:
- Improved DOI-link recognition (incl. PNAS, The Lancet)
- The text wrapping setting now also applies for Markdown export with markup (bold, underlined, strikethrough..)
- Bear export now includes an empty line after annotation spacers
- Quiver export now uses "---" for annotation spacers
- Removed duplicate whitespace between citation and Markdown links in citations

Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
418 Ratings

418 Ratings

Insomniaczxzv ,

Just downloaded this app

I use this for online school but I do have to save the web pages (lessons) as PDFs in order to use this app, which is not a big deal bc iOS makes it so simple. After using it for a couple of hours, I can already say, the free version is soooo good, I’m bout ready to buy the pro version. Well done. PLEASE keep up the good work. All I would change is that when you want to add a comment, it should just show the input box instead of having to click “add comment” and THEN the input box shows up. Also more color options for highlighting.

I was using Weava before this, and between that app and this one, this one takes the cake. Awesome. I just wish they would add more color options like Weava. I’m bouncing between both apps because I love that I can choose whatever color I want on Weava.

Bamaguy06 ,

disappointed with developer

This touts itself as the app for researchers (like me) and it most certainly is excellent in principle with regard to typewritten annotation, as well as extracted text and figures. What it lacks sorely is freestyle handwritten annotation capabilities, and has lacked them despite the developer telling me and others it was “coming soon” or “planned” (well over a year ago). Moreover, despite adding a few more color choices to the highlight palettes, they are still too limiting and most of them are too dark to be useful. In good faith, and respect for a fellow researcher, purchased the Pro subscription version for a fairly high annual price considering what minimal features it offers as an upgrade. After using it over a year, and having no response to multiple requests to the developer, I am left very disappointed with what could have been the “go to” app for my entire research team of 25 people and likely more colleagues whom I have mentioned it to for years to come. Unfortunately, this appears to be more of a hobby than business and there is no substitute for professionalism. That is where PDF Expert and the very responsive and thoughtful representatives of Readdle are the better choice for researchers.

BruceJiangcs ,

life saver for researchers

As a researcher, I have to read extensively for a number of topics; this means that I need a good tool to collect important points (argument, evidence, conclusion, future directions...). Before I used Highlights, I jotted down all the possiblly useful quotes on a notebook (traditional or electronic one). By so doing, i have felt more comfortable as i knew i kept the records of those significant points. However, it is illusionary, because i often forgot where I put those notes. Hightlights can a life-saver, because the hightlighted lines can be easily exported as a searchable pdf. Toegther with pdf search tools, notes and hightlighted quotes can be easily accessible, no matter how many pdfs I have on my computer.

App Privacy

The developer, Jonas Myren Ribe, indicated that the app’s privacy practices may include handling of data as described below. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy.

Data Not Collected

The developer does not collect any data from this app.

Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More


  • Family Sharing

    With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

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