The App Store has come a long way, making it tricky to choose the best iPhone and iPad Productivity apps to download first if you want to get work done on your portable device.
While Apple’s phone and tablet are great for entertainment like streaming media or playing games, they’re also bonafide work machines if you need them to be. Gone are the days when you’d do your “real work” when you were at your desk – your iPhone is a productivity powerhouse, making it one of the best smartphones (opens in new tab) around.
• Read more: Best cell phone providers (opens in new tab)
Then there’s the iPad, which saw multitasking improvements whether you’re running the iPad mini right up to the iPad Pro, the latter of which even sports Apple’s M1 chip from the Mac.
Whatever you work on, here are some of the most useful productivity apps for iPhone and iPad, with all of them being found in the App Store on their respective devices.
Free, $1.99 per month for premium features
From there, your content can be manipulated using “Actions” – Drafts’ term for a library of ways to export your words into the likes of Mail, Reminders, or even a tweet. You can also copy right into HTML if you’re uploading to a blog, for example, and Drafts can also save to things like Google Docs.
The real charm of Drafts (opens in new tab) though is in its no-nonsense approach: you open the app, and it opens a blank draft ready for your text. That makes it an ideal place to jot down your notes, shopping list, or an idea for your next creative work, and you can come back to it when the time comes.
The $1.99 monthly subscription($19.99 annually) unlocks Drafts Pro, which allows for additional, customizable actions and more widgets on iPhone and iPad.
Free, $4.99 per month for premium features
We’re sorry to say that for everything Apple does well, its built-in Calendar still feels a little clunky. It takes too many taps to get to where you need to go, and it’s lacking in a bit of visual flair.
Fantastical (opens in new tab) has long been the best third-party option, and it appears it’s not going anywhere yet. Offering plenty of views (including a new quarterly view), Fantastical is clean and detail rich without being cluttered, and offers natural language input – so “coffee with Dave every Tuesday at 10 am” will create a recurring appointment for that time slot.
At a glance it offers a view of your appointments, a weather forecast for the next few days, and the Calendar Set feature lets you neatly combine your work and personal calendars in separate places. You can hop straight into the likes of Google Meet and Team calls in a tap, too.
A lot of these are premium features, but the $4.99 per month ($39.99 annually) membership is worth it for anyone that lives by their calendar – and it’s a pleasure to use.
3. Things 3
$9.99 on iPhone, $19.99 on iPad
An app that’s been around for years and continues to be unrivaled in its design, Things 3 is a task manager that you’ll actually enjoy using.
Offering the ability to assign tasks deadlines, set them to appear on a certain date, attach lengthy notes or split them into “areas”, Things 3 (opens in new tab) has got everything you could possibly need. Its unique design means that everything is responsive to touch; items can be dragged and dropped, and the contextual “plus” button can be dragged to add tasks within seconds.
Not only does Things 3 also show your calendar appointments, but you can set up an email address to send new tasks to as well.
4. Sorted 3
Free, $14.99 to unlock Pro features
Another excellent task manager, Sorted 3 (opens in new tab) offers many of the options found in Things 3, with a sprinkle of Fantastical, too.
It’s a hyper-scheduler, which means that while it can act as your task manager or your calendar, it works best as a little of both – taking your daily appointments and assigning them time slots through the day, meaning you’re able to tick them off as you go.
It’s unlikely to be for everyone, but with a little time spent setting up recurring tasks and meetings, it can be incredibly powerful too. It’s free, but premium features will add the ability to auto-schedule and more.
5. Google Suite
In an age of collaborative working, Google Drive and the Google Docs family have become almost as mandatory as a keyboard and mouse.
If your workplace or clients use Google Drive for sharing files, or your entire professional life revolves around a Google Sheet, you’ll be pleased to know that the iOS and iPadOS versions (opens in new tab) are excellent. They work well with touch controls, and you can send items from the Files app straight into your chosen Drive directory.
We’d even go so far as to say they actually feel more responsive than Apple’s own suite of work apps.
If you work with files, Yoink (opens in new tab)might be the missing link you’ve been looking for. It’s a “Shelf” app, which essentially acts as a place to drag and drop all kinds of items.
See a text snippet to save for later, or an image you might need? You can grab it, drag it, and then you’ll be able to move it into another app later. That makes it ideal as an app to keep in your iPad’s dock.
7. Dark Noise
Something a little different, Dark Noise (opens in new tab) is a white noise app that’s got a variety of audio options to help you focus or relax after a long day.
Alongside standard white noise options, there are noises in water, nature, and even appliances, with the option to build custom mixes, too. So whether you’re working from home and are after an office ambiance, or listening to the sound of rain on the roof of a tent to unwind, there’s a little something for everyone.