Top 11 Productivity Apps for the iPad


ipad-productivity-appsAt it's release many heralded the iPhone as the productivity gadget that would change the world for working professionals everywhere. And yet, it only hinted at what the iPad now offers. It's hard to over estimate the difference that a larger screen and faster processor can have on one's out-of-office productivity ability.

For those that haven't tested the device, the iPad is still misunderstood. Gamers think it's is an oversized iPod touch. Artists think it's a sketchpad. But for writers and cube-dwellers, the iPad is a laptop without a hinge. With the right apps, iPad is a way to be productive and get some work done away from the confines of water coolers and morning meetings.

We all have bills to pay, but that doesn't mean that we have to slave the day away. Work wirelessly and without walls by loading your iPad up with the best productivity apps. Here are our favorite iPad Apps for taking care of business.

Notes Plus 9/10

Notes Plus (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Notes Plus
Developer: Viet Tran
Price: $9.99 Download on the App Store

New to this list—and the reason we moved from "Top 10" to "Top 11"—is Notes Plus. This iPad-only productivity app gives you the basics of note-taking: a nice electronic piece of “lined paper,” and faithful and artfully smoothed reproduction of your finger-written notes. It works great, but it’s the extras that set Notes Plus apart from other productivity apps. Here's the short list: close-up write mode; complete set of controls that are easily hidden away; record audio notes; edit vectors; use type, hand-writing or both in the same document. Read our full review of Notes Plus.

Pages 9/10

Pages (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Developer: Apple Inc.
Price: $9.99 Download on the App Store

Apple’s full-featured word processor for the iPad gives you charts, tables, graphics, and of course, word processing, within an intuitive interface. The iPad-only app can share with the Mac version of Pages, with Microsoft Word, or via PDF. Pages is just a very well-done word processor and perfect for productivity on the go.

PDF Reader Pro Edition for iPad 10/10

PDF Reader Pro Edition for iPad (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
PDF Reader Pro Edition for iPad
Price: $9.99 Download on the App Store

Adobe PDFs are how documents are shared in the modern world, and iTech leads the pack in putting the “portable” into Portable Document Format. The app can share PDFs via USB file transfer through iTunes, over WiFi or email. As the ultimate PDF program for iPad (there's also an iPhone version) the app supports searching, bookmarking, auto rotation and many more features for being productive with documents. If you’re telecommuting via iPad, you’ll need this app.

Things for iPad 8/10

Things for iPad (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Things for iPad
Developer: Cultured Code GmbH & Co. KG
Price: $19.99 Download on the App Store

How good does a to-do list – sorry, task organizer - have to be, to be worth $19.99? That’s the main argument against Things. On the other hand, it’s beautiful to look at and use, it’s deep and intuitive, and it’s much more than a bullet point list of tasks. You can sort them by various criteria, arrange lists into projects, and keep it all together with Things like with no other app. The iPad and iPhone apps (sold separately) can sync wirelessly with the desktop version of Things (also sold separately). Still, 20 bucks buys a lot of bits of string to tie around your finger.

Evernote 7/10

Evernote (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Developer: Evernote
Price: free Download on the App Store

After being beat up by our readers for choosing Things over Evernote, we decided to listen to the will of the people and add the much-loved productivity app to our list as well. (Although, to be fair, we have loved Evernote for a long time.) Evernote takes notes in whatever format is best for you — text, photos, audio — and syncs automatically with your Mac, PC and Web. No matter where you are your notes are accessible and if you pay for the upgrade ($45 per year) you can sync your files too. The current version of this app isn't getting rave reviews in the App Store, but it's free so you can test it yourself. It may turn out to be your must-have app.

Desktop Connect 9/10

Desktop Connect (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Desktop Connect
Developer: Antecea Inc.
Price: $14.99 Download on the App Store

“Only connect,” wrote EM Forster, and Antecea took it literally. That’s what Desktop Connect does. Period. Remote control your Mac or PC, Windows or Linux from your iPad. Browse the web — even Flash websites. Listen to music. Be productive. Access any computer on the wireless network — Desktop Connect will discover them automatically. Yes, it’s secure. Buy it.

Papers 10/10

Papers (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Price: $14.99 Download on the App Store

Science guys: Papers lets you organize scientific papers in your library and retrieve any of them at any time from anywhere, with all the usual search and annotation functionality you would expect. Plus, it gives you access to eight widely used scholarly databases with millions of available articles. Now you can support your thesis statement without spending all night in the library or prove you're right at the next Dean's List Mixer. And, in the spirit of true academia, Papers can easily share articles with other iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users over WiFi or email articles to colleagues who are still waiting for their grant to come through before they can purchase an idevice.

iQue 8/10

iQue (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Developer: Infomato, Inc.
Price: free Download on the App Store

iQue is called FORGET on the iPhone, and it’s for forgetful people. Passwords, account numbers, personal info you don’t want to just jot down in a non-password-protected note? No problem. iQue uses associative memory, mimicking the way a normal brain remembers to help your gadget-addled version work properly. It's basically a way of tagging the things that you NEED to remember so you can be more productive — even when you can't remember what you were going to do next.

Deskpad Office 8/10

deskPad Office (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
deskPad Office
Developer: Bluegrass Digital Inc.
Price: $49.99 Download on the App Store

Pretty much like Post-It notes on your iPad. Pedestrian? Maybe. But how many stickies do you have on your computer monitor? That's what we thought. Plus, these stickies stay on the inside of the iPad screen, so they don’t fall off, don't get stuck on the bottom of your shoe and don't end up in Sally's office down the hall.

Office2 HD 8/10

Citrix ShareFile QuickEdit: Create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations anywhere (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Citrix ShareFile QuickEdit: Create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations anywhere
Developer: Byte Squared
Price: free Download on the App Store

Word and Excel. The big kahunas. Oh sure, you can get apps that do things better than Microsoft in any given instance. But these are the formats you want once you’re back in the office — the physical one. Open, edit, or create Word or Excel files on your iPad for $7.99. E-mail ‘em or stick ‘em out on the cloud. Still a little buggy, but if you're going to be productive on the road then you will need to work with Word and Excel files. Bottom line, you need this app.

PrintCentral 8/10

PrintBureau (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Developer: EuroSmartz Ltd
Price: $19.99 Download on the App Store

The name says it all. Not everybody’s entirely paperless, so you can’t be either - Yet. Until that day, there’s this app. If you need to print, but don't have the ten bucks, then check out more options for how to print with your iPad.

HR at your Fingertips 9/10

HR At Your Fingertips For iPad (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
HR At Your Fingertips For iPad
Developer: HRSentry
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store

This is a pretty specialized app, so we'll keep the description short: HIPAA. FMLA. FLSA. COBRA. Recognize these terms? Then get the App. They’re all in here. HR at Your Fingertips is an essential for any small business owner. With a glossary of terms, section on federal law and how-to guide for creating your own employee handbook, this app isn't going to be "lite reading." However, it offers the perfect excuse to spend an afternoon at the park. Grab an Italian soda, kick back on the park bench and tell the employees that you're an HR seminar.

With these productivity apps, you'll be surprised how much business you can do with just your iPad! If you do it right, the boss will never have to know that you're playing hooky at the local Starbucks. Leave a comment and let us know what your favorite productivity apps for iPad are . Then, go and git 'er done!

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  • mememe

    2 suggestions: icurtain and smartnote look very good

  • Anonymous (:

    Top 10 Productivity Apps for the iPad: Okay, iPad, what are you? iPhone gamers think you’re an oversized phone. Ar...

  • 安吉

    #ipad #fb "Top 10 Productivity Apps for the iPad - iPhone Apps | The Best Apps Reviewed" ( )

  • Paul

    My Favorite iPad App is Tango Remote for the iPad. I use my iPad to play music and I can remotely control it with my iPhone.

  • mikepfs

    Top 10 Productivity Apps for the iPad -

  • Ak

    I will take off things of the list - way too expensive for no reason

  • Ian

    You have to be joking! Where have you guys been to write a review like this without Evernote! It's free and you only have to see the awards and reviews

  • Ronan

    I agre with AK, 'Things' charging $20 is NVTS.
    I work at Cohuman - our app is iPad ready and FREE... Making it iPad ready was an interesting challenge, but we did it:

  • Mani Karthik

    Top 10 Productivity Apps for the iPad


    RT @ManiKarthik: Top 10 Productivity Apps for the iPad

  • Rose

    I highly recommend 3banana for a note-taking application. SSL for security and syncs to account for free. I use an Android and use 3banana on that as well. Nice having my notes on my phone, ipad and laptop. I also prefer their simple interface, it's pleasant to use.


  • iPad Productivity App

    I use SpiveyWorks Notes to keep notes that I access from my phone, computer or an iPad. In today's world, the information is what makes you productive and the different form-factors of the devices have to give you access to that information.

  • h0nest

    I was happy to pay for Things as the nicely cracked desktop version it syncs with is easy to find :)

  • James

    Dropbox (share folders and files between computer and the iPad) should easily be in the Top 10 list. It is very functional, easy to use, and is free (including 2GB of online storage). With a minimum of fuss, you can even send a link in an email to someone, and they make a single click on the link to download the file to their computer.

  • kevin

    I am using my iPad to take notes.And I find Wondershare iDraft a good note taking app.

  • zzspring77

    I’m completely biased, but my own app is my favorite, though not yet optimized for the iPad. (free test sample available via Private Message, no purchase required) e.g.“Top 10 Best Free iPad Apps” from iFunia ipad column.

  • Piko

    I was surprised not to see any Mind Mapping apps on the list. These are the ultimate in productivity apps. Two I can recommend are MindNode and iThoughtsHD. :)


  • Piko

    Trying using a Mind Mapping app to take notes at a meeting. You'll never go back to any other sort of notepad app ever again. I swear it sill revolutionize the way you record information.


  • Jenn

    I think if I had an iPad I'd love to be able to manage contacts from it. iManage is on the app store and is on sale right now for only 1.99 and is well worth it. I use it on my phone, I can email directly from contact info, I can share contact info easily, I can search the web, facebook, and twitter all within the app etc. My favorite parts are being able to see how many contacts I have in different countries, cities, states etc... and that I can search for someone by just a few letters of their name, business or phone number and the search narrows down my options!

  • Appstrackers

    I agree, mindmapping apps are the best.. once you try it you'll never want to stop. You will be mindmapping EVERYTHING! haha

  • jerry cusick

    I love the iphone app isurgeon HIEDI YOURSELF. It is authored by a Miami plastic sureeon. Lets you change your facial and body features and it's FREE. It's a blast, thought I'de share it with all.

  • Missing Link

    Links are screwed up. Both Desk Pad Office and Office Pro links lead only to Desk Pad Office.

  • Proudestmonkey

    This one I found quite useful:

    you can set up the pages you like to surf regularly and it loads them up in a slideshow while your iPad is in the dock. It also has a nice thumbnail view like the safari homepage on my desktop.

  • John Karstens

    I have tried Things (as well as a bunch of other to do list organizers), and I didn't find any of the paid ones that were worth the money. I really needed an app that did more than to dos in order to really boost my productivity.

    I like Lifetopix - its worth 10x what I paid for it. Its real strength is in the way it can tie my tasks to so much else I need to manage. Its a universal app so I use it on my iphone and ipad.

  • Sue

    Next! just came out for the iPad. It's the first app that lets me combine to-dos with notes and documents. I have found it really useful!

  • Dom

    Thanks for the great list but many expensive apps...

    E.g. for task management, I would recommend much
    affordable yet decent app like Facetasks:

  • Winthrop T. Jackman

    There are a lot of good apps here, to be sure, but the inclusion of some is a bit odd. It's a redundant having Office2 and Pages, since both do much the same thing, with the exception of the Excel function. Also, while Papers is quite a good app (I have it) it's fairly specialized for people who need to keep up with scientific papers, such as academics and industry scientists, which makes it of limited used to the average productivity person. Finally, why two note apps, NotePlus and DeskPad Office? (That's not counting Evernote, which is also a note app!) A person realistically only needs one note app and there are plenty of good ones. Eliminate some of the "excess" apps in this list, and you have room for some others, such as mindmapping apps, Dropbox, or a favorite of mine, Bento.

  • Josie

    Thanks Sue! Next! is the best todo/GTD app I have found. The best part is the flexibility to link anything together - especially my attachments. I used to use a separate app for note taking, file sharing, and todos - but now I can do everything in Next!

  • Rose

    As a student, read both PDF books/documents on iPad, I recommend PerfectReader - Lot of my friends like and use this app everyday!

  • popo

    Great list! My one addition would be RetroCalc, since the iPad doesn't come with a calculator installed.

  • Kyle

    I like notes plus :) The rest are ok, though it would be nice to see more free apps. Does anyone know of any voip apps for iPads? I found one called Freephoo which uses your wifi or 3g network to call others. I dont think its available in all countries yet but you can find it at

  • Sapna

    Downloaded ccToDo a few months back and have been using it for a while now. It is really the best to do list app I have used so far that helps me stay on top of my schedule. It is a simple, cloud-synchronised taskmanager. It travels with you wherever you go and on whatever device you’re using – Windows, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac, Android, web and email. Free to download from

  • derek
    This app increases the practicality of iPad as well. Its freephoo which is a free voip app and i love making calls using it. Callsa re very clear, well connected and also i get to talk for long hours for free with my friends on this network.

  • Paul

    Hi !

    I tried a lot of productivity app, especially Evernote, but I recently found the best for me with Beesy which is a task management application. Beesy which generates a ToDO list, is a perfect time saver for your everyday life. Hope you'll like it.


  • Jeff

    Hello Paul.
    What about Must Do Today?

  • Jeff

    Hi, Mememe.
    What about Must Do Today?
    It's a useful app and full of functionalities!

  • Patrick Wallace

    Comics Head can also be appended in this list for making business presentations