Your iPad plays a lot of different roles in your life. It can be your entertainment center where you stream music or watch Netflix, or act as your favorite casual gaming platform. It can also be an office assistant, an organizer and a scanner if you have the right utility and productivity apps.
When it comes to choosing a new app, the App Store offers a huge selection to sort through. There’s a lot of competition, but some apps have garnered reliably favorable reviews and good reputations.
We’ve rounded up some of the best utility and productivity apps available for iPad. Whether you need to do advanced mathematical calculations or get a handle on a gaggle of PDFs, these apps will turn your iPad into a machine that helps you get organized and get your work done.
Everybody needs a calculator at some point, so check out PCalc Lite, a free and powerful calculator app. It can handle all your basic calculations, and it is stocked with enough advanced abilities to make a mathematician smile. If you’re a scientist, engineer, or student needing to tackle more elaborate equations, then the $9.99 upgrade to the full PCalc app is well worth the price of admission.
It’s easy to know if the Dropbox app is something you should have on your iPad. If you use Dropbox, then download the app. It’s free and it will hook you into your stored Dropbox files while also allowing you to back up and sync with your iPad. Dropbox is also a great solution for sharing large files. As a bonus, the app has a built-in document scanner function to turn your papers, receipts, or notes into PDFs.
The same people who bring you those chic Moleskine notebooks have developed a calendar app that is functional and beautiful. Timepage syncs with major calendar services like Apple’s iCloud and Google Calendar, and comes stocked with some nice features. The app will alert you to the weather and estimate travel times to your events. The monthly heatmap is a great way to see at a glance what your upcoming days are looking like.
If you’re looking for a sleek calendar upgrade, then check this one out. The download gets you a free trial, after which you will need to subscribe for $1.99 per month or $11.99 per year to access the full features.
Apple’s Notes app should already be installed on your iPad, but there’s a lot more to this app than just jotting down memos. If you’ve been ignoring it, then it’s time to jump in and explore some of the extra features Apple has added to it. One of the most powerful of these is the ability to use it as a document scanner. Check out our Komando guide to harnessing Notes as a scanner for digitizing papers.
Notes also lets you narrate to Siri, create checklists, add attachments and sketch with your finger or an Apple Pencil. It’s a surprisingly versatile app that can help you organize personal or work notes and scan, annotate, and share documents.
PDF Expert is a $9.99 app that thrives in a world of cheap and free apps. The reason is because it’s good. If you deal with a lot of PDFs, then this app will help you organize, highlight and sign them. An additional upgrade option gives you the ability to edit PDFs and hide sensitive data. If PDFs are a part of your daily workflow, then this app is an investment that can pay for itself by saving you time and giving you the power to wrangle all your PDF documents.
Tweetbot 5 for Twitter
You live and breathe Twitter. Social-media power users can get a better handle of their Twitter activities by using the $4.99 Tweetbot 5 app. You can create curated timelines, set up customized mute filters and take control of your Twitter user experience. The iPad version of the app supports a second column so you can see more content on one screen. It also removes inline ads, giving you a cleaner view of your timeline.
Need a little motivation? The $4.99 Streaks app can help you form healthy habits that will boost both your personal and work productivity. Streaks is a different kind of to-do list. You can use it to track up to 12 tasks you would like accomplish each day. It then encourages to you to complete them and compile streaks where you achieve your goals day after day. It integrates with Apple’s Health app.
Streaks can be harnessed for a lot of different purposes, whether you’re aiming to work out more, reduce your coffee intake, or get up from your desk more often.
Voice Record Pro
You can turn your iPad into an easy-to-use recording studio with the free Voice Record Pro app. While it’s geared for voice memos or recording lectures, it can also do a decent job of picking up music, even using your iPad’s built-in mic. It’s straightforward to learn how to use and it puts a ton of sharing options, ranging from Dropbox to Google Drive, right at your fingertips. You can also do quick trims of the audio file, or tackle more advanced edits. It’s everything you need for basic voice recordings in one simple app.
Your iPad can be a great entertainment machine, but it can also help you get your work done. These apps are all great ways to perk up your tablet productivity and get more out of your Apple device.