This post will be really geeky, but you’ll love it - an updated list of my productivity iPad Apps! Here’s the backstory: a few years back I co-wrote a book iPadOnly - How to use only your iPad to work, play and everything in between where I recommended a set of apps that help me get everything done on the iPad. In the meantime I got my iPad Pro and I kept updating this blog with my impressions of iPad Pros and iPadOnly work and I’ve also posted a list of apps I use on my iPhone but as lots of people keep asking me about this, here’s a list of the iPad apps I use now to get things done and make it my main productivity workhorse.
Bonus: experiment with app layout
Before we move on to the list of apps, as you can see on the screenshot of my iPad above, I’ve decided to experiment a little with my app layout recently. I just hated it that I had apps on different screens and was very often tempted to get distracted when I wanted to write something but opened the Twitter app as it was just “on the way” to my writing app… so I started using folders as my “focused environments” and group my apps together. These groups give me a few benefits, like:
- groups are focused on “jobs to be done” so I can concentrate on what I need to do, like writing, reading, etc.
- groups create order so I don’t install too many apps on my iPad and don’t bloat it
- groups fit on one screen, so at a glance I basically see all the apps I’ve got
- groups leave some empty space so I can use a nice inspiring background - a photo of San Sebastián I took when I was on vacation with my family :-)
OK, here’s the list of all of my apps from these groups:
Apps without a folder
Apps I need to be able to access quickly at any time
- Clock - I just like how it tells time directly on the iPad’s home screen + I use world clock a lot as I have virtual meetings with people from all over the world from different time zones
- Calendar - I still use the default calendar app. It’s fine for me. I use iCal and Google Calendar there (which we share in our team)
- Nozbe - I mange my tasks, projects, team and company all in Nozbe (duh!) thanks to private and shared projects. In my company we use Nozbe to build Nozbe.
Apps that help me set things up on my iPad
- Settings app
- 1Password - is where I store passwords. I use a few vaults - one is my personal and a few are with team
- Workflow - I love this, I have a few workflows done. Like journaling and adding notes to my book notes
- App Store
- Find iPhone
- Clips - my clipboard manager of choice for the iPad and iPhone, although it doesn’t work well when in “sync mode”.
Apps I rarely use, but still need to be there
- Home - I’m about to buy my first Home-kit devices…
- Find Friends
- iTunes U
- Crystal - my content blocker
- Tweetbot - if I need to browse Twitter in a different way
- Linea - for some hardcore drawing… testing this app right now
- VNC Viewer - very rarely used now
- Documents - testing it for document management on the iPad
- Home Design - I love this app! I use it when I’m trying to re-decorate my home office or we want to get some new furniture with my wife.
- IKEA catalogue - yes, we do shop there sometimes
Yes, iPad is still a great media-consumption device!
- Netflix - our main TV set these days.
- Amazon Video - I still watch Grand Tour there, although I think it’s not as good as Top Gear anymore…
- IMDb - my go-to app for movie information and trailers
- Trailers - yes, I’m a movie trailer junkie
- iTunes Store - when it’s not on any of the streaming services, we buy stuff there
- TV app - new thing, haven’t used it much
- Music - not much there, I use my iPhone for music more
Because iPad is a perfect travel companion
- Google Maps
- Booking.com - this is how I get my hotel rooms
- AirBNB - this is where we sleep when we travel with our family
- Eightydays - a new travel app I’m testing
- Ryanair - I don’t have it on the iPad but on the iPhone but it’s worth mentioning as this is my go-to airline in Europe and their app is really good now
Who said you couldn’t code or manage servers from the iPad?
- Transmit - my (s)FTP file transfer app of choice
- Prompt - how I access our servers
- makeSlides, makeDoc - a simple tool for making quick presentations from Markdown text files
- TestFlight, HockeyApp - how we test our Nozbe app
- Nozbe Dev - our development version of Nozbe
- TapTyping - best app to learn how to touch-type on the iPad - even using the on-screen keyboard!
Getting serious stuff done on the iPad
- Dropbox - my cloud file management tool of choice, happy premium customer
- iCloud Drive - for the Apple-related files
- Google Drive - don’t use so much, but need to have access for the Google Docs things
- Soulver - my calculator of choice for the iPad
- Numbers - this is where I do spreadsheets, the famous magic spreadsheet as well
- Word, Excel - I keep them for compatibility reasons - some people still send me files in this format
- Docs, Sheets - we use these to share some work-in-progress files with the team
- Dropbox Paper - we’re testing it currently
- Grafio 3 - I don’t use it as much anymore, but a cool tool anyway
Let’s connect and chat, post and share!
- Slack - our team’s internal chat tool, our water-cooler
- Messages - I use it a lot as most of my close friends and family use Apple products
- Zoom - our go-to way for team video meetings and webinars
- Gmail - to access my company email
- Mail - for my private email only
- Messanger - some people send me stuff through Facebook’s chat but I don’t use it as much
- Skype - if Zoom or Facetime fails, I still use it
- Buffer - to post my tweets
- Twitter - my favorite social media place
Let’s browse and explore
- Safari - my main browser
- Chrome - my other browser
- Amazon - I’m an Amazon Prime customer, so I use this for shopping
- Puffin - the only iOS browser I know that still lets me browse flash-based pages
I sometimes read, too. Not just audio-read.
- Pocket - all my read-them-later articles go there, I use this app in the afternoons to catch up on stuff
- Kindle - I still have a few books I want to read there…
- Pismo Święte - bible in Polish, I’m catholic and try to read a bit of bible every day
- iBooks - the other place for books
I love note-taking on the iPad Pro, especially with my Apple Pencil
- Evernote - still my external brain
- iThoughts - my favorite mindmapping tool in the whole world - I outline my blog posts, articles, everything there… I love mind mapping.
- Notes - I use it more now with the Apple Pencil
- Notability - I got back to it now thanks to the Apple Pencil and it’s becoming my note-taking tool of choice
- UID8 - a new prototyping and wire-framing tool made by a friend of mine - I use it now to sketch interface for Nozbe when I’m preparing for the Design Fight
- Foxit PDF - my PDF viewing and annotating tool of choice, although I think Apple should build Preview app for the iOS with note-taking capabilities of the Pencil if you ask me
- Skitch - still sometimes use it for annotating screenshots
- Paper by 53 - a tool that got me to draw on the iPad and I still use this app every now and then
I saved the best for last. My iPad Pro is my writing environment. Far better than the Mac!
- Editorial - the best writing app for the iPad - if only the dev behind it would update it more often than every other year… I started using the workflows inside the app recently and I love them
- 1Writer - the other best writing app
- Textastic - writing and coding app for the iOS - I’ve been using it for years to update my sites and fix scripts on my servers from the iPad
- Scrivener - when I need to write something longer… like one of my books
- Keynote - I do all my presentations there
- Pages - sometimes I need to prepare documents that are not just formatted in Markdown
- iA Writer - the third-best writing app
- Medium - I post there on my NoOffice.org blog
Which apps do you use? What am I missing?
Over the years I’ve been testing and using many different apps and once I stopped using something I simply removed it. That’s why this is now a complete list of the apps I use and recommend. This is how I get things done on my iPad. These apps let me be “iPad Only” and work from anywhere using my iPad Pro.
Question: Your recommendations?