Home Blog Productivity The Best Productivity Apps on iOS Exclusively

The Best Productivity Apps on iOS Exclusively (and a few for Mac too!)

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By Spike Team, October 06, 2020
best productivity apps on ios

When the iPhone hit the shelves way back in 2007, there was nothing quite like it. Its smooth lines and slick graphics brought Apple’s award-winning design to the masses, and while it wasn’t the first smartphone available in stores, it was definitely the most desirable.

 

However, it wasn’t until a year later that the true potential of the iPhone was unlocked. And it was all contained in a handy little app. In 2008, the Apple AppStore was made available to iOS users, opening up a whole new world of possibility. Now, your iPhone was a pocket-sized computer capable of the most amazing things.

 

Today, of course, the App Store is bursting with fantastic apps that are built to make your life easier, improve productivity, or just help you waste a little time while you’re waiting for friends. Here we take a look at a few of the best productivity apps for iOS that are exclusively available on iPhone, iPad, and the iPad Pro.

 

Bear productivity app

 

Bear

Bear is a beautifully designed note-taking app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. If you want to take notes on the go, then it’s a great choice, combining to-do lists, a wealth of editing and exporting options, plus the ability to share notes across all of your devices instantly with built-in iCloud sync.

 

Bear is a focused, flexible notes app used by writers, lawyers, chefs, teachers, engineers, students, parents and more! Bear has quick organisation, editing tools, and export options to help you write quickly and share anywhere and preserve your privacy with encryption.

 

It’s also among the best iOS productivity apps for software engineers, with an advanced markup editor that supports more than 20 programming languages. Bear is most known for being a Markdown editor that is popular among programmers and technical writers. The goal of Markdown is to make web markup language readable for editing. Instead of having to edit HTML code, writer can use **bold**, and then Markdown can later be converted to HTML for copying into a web content management system. Bear supports and highlights over 150 programming languages, so it’s compatible with almost everything.

 

One of the features that makes Bear a great productivity app to try is the ability to export your data. Bear can export into multiple options including HTML, PDF, DOCX, MD, JPG, and more. All your notes in Bear are stored in plain text for the ultimate in export flexibility.

 

Finally, its smart data recognition functionality and cross-note links help you to build up a body of work for any project. This ensures that notes are never lost or forgotten, and you can easily follow your train of thought even if they are little more than hastily written scribbles.

 

Bear Pro offers advanced features including iCloud sync between all your devices, over a dozen beautiful themes, and more export options. Bear is a highly rated app on all platforms, but it’s considered to be one of the top productivity apps for iPad. All this, and future Pro features, can be unlocked with a single in-app subscription that covers all your devices for $14.99 per year or $1.49 per month.

 

Key Features of Bear

  • Rich previews while writing
  • Encrypt individual notes and lock Bear with Face/Touch ID
  • Multi-device sync via iCloud
  • Hashtags to organize notes however you prefer
  • Multiple themes

 

productivity app

 

Timepage

 

If you’re a sucker for Apple’s sophisticated design, then you’ve probably already heard of Moleskine. The Italian brand manufactures sleek and stylish notebooks, planners, and schedules for everyone who still loves to use a pen. However, they’ve have now also branched out into the digital world with Timepage—and this smartest of smart calendars is one of the best time management apps for iPhone and iPad.

 

Designed to continue Moleskine’s minimalist aesthetic, Timepage combines events, maps, and contacts with intuitive split-screen features for managing two apps at the same time, alongside double view options so you can simultaneously manage your day and your week or month. It integrates directly with your existing calendars too, so setting up is quick and simple.

 

Timepage can be downloaded for free, but it requires a subscription of either $1.99 per month or $11.99 per year to use full functionality.

 

Key Productivity Features of Timepage

  • Split-screen mode allows the calendar to be viewed simultaneously with other apps
  • Desktop mode with live clock and daily schedule view
  • Expand the view fullscreen to see six weeks at once
  • Add events directly from the month-view
  • Double view options so you can see your daily schedule and timeline, the weather for the day and for the week, event details, and your timeline side by side

 

OmniFocus productivity app

 

OmniFocus

 

OmniFocus is available on Mac and iOS platforms, with web browser functionality for when you don’t have your devices to hand. It’s based on David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) philosophy and mirrors the structure and system of this approach as closely as possible, essentially combining an extremely powerful to-do list and project manager together in a single app.

 

It allows you to add Actions that serve as individual tasks, build Projects from those Actions and add tags, plan your days with Perspectives that allow an efficient overview of your to-do lists, and set custom reminders for project reviews. Notifications, device syncing, and full Siri support round off the feature list and ensure OmniFocus is among the best productivity apps iOS and Mac available today. OmniFocus for Mac is considered to be one of the most mature and well-designed productivity apps for Mac.

 

OmniFocus for Mac is either $49.99 or $99.99 depending on which version you choose while OmniFocus for iPhone is either $49.99 or $74.99. For people that use OmniFocus regularly, it might make more sense to subscribe to the $9.99/month subscription to unlock premium versions for iPhone, iPad, and the Mac.

 

Key features of OmniFocus

  • Best iPhone productivity app for ‘GTD’ method of working
  • Superfast cloud sync
  • Continual updates thanks to the subscription business model
  • Weekly review functionality keeps things from slipping through the cracks

 

 

Duet

 

If, like many people, you own a Mac, and iPad, and an iPhone, then syncing them together is one of the great joys of Apple’s advanced operating systems. However, when it comes to screen sharing, Apple never thought about your devices playing nicely together. it’s a shame to let all that screen real estate go to waste while you’re using your Mac, so why not open the Duet app and connect your iPad (or even iPhone) to be used as a second screen.

 

You can choose to mirror your screen or extend it, just like you would with any second monitor, and it’s the best iPad productivity app currently around for anyone who needs more screen space. Hook up your MacBook and iPad for two screens on the road or use it in conjunction with your iMac while at home to, say, manage your email or calendar on one screen and work on the other.

 

If you’re looking for a free solution, check out Sidecar for Mac. Sidecar lets you extend or mirror your Mac desktop to an iPad. Sidecar is Apple’s built-in solution, but it only works when both devices are signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID using two-factor authentication. In some enterprise settings, the Apple IDs might be different and therefore the app isn’t usable. Sidecar works with most Macs made in the last five years.

 

Regardless of which solution you pick, using an iPad as a secondary display is a great way to improve productivity when traveling as it gives you a second monitor in a hotel room. For that alone, it makes it one of the best iPad productivity apps.

 

Top reasons to use an iPad as a secondary display

  • Uses less power than a traditional monitor
  • Can be used in a hotel or coffee shop
  • Works over a cord or wirelessly

 

 

 

Productive

 

Productive is all about encouraging good habits and pushing you to achieve your daily goals. Build a routine of things you want to achieve throughout your day; schedule habits by morning, afternoon or evening; track your wins and keep motivation high with rewarding chains that push you to maintain your streaks. It’s simple to use and is sure to keep you on track—however distracting your day.

 

This handy little app sends you notification reminders when you’ve scheduled an activity. You can add notes to each completed activity and get week by week summaries of your progress. It’s ideal for all the little things you need to remember that don’t necessarily require a project planner. It also helps you focus on the now by automating smaller tasks, so you don’t have to keep them at the front of your mind all the time.

 

 

Due

 

If you’re looking for a super simple way to be reminded to do something, check out Due for iPhone. If you’re the type of person who always ignores a task popup, then Due is the app for you. Due is the alarm clock for your tasks. Because it repeatedly reminds you of things until you act on them, it‘s impossible to forget anything. To be so simple, Due is a powerful productivity app for the iPhone.

 

When you purchase Due today, you will have access to every feature in the app from the day your purchase—no further purchase required. You can optionally sign up for the premium version of Due, you’ll get all new features automatically.

 

Due can be purchased for $6.99, and the optional subscription is also $6.99 per year.

 

Key Features of Due

  • Auto Snooze repeatedly alerts you of missed reminders until marked done or rescheduled
  • Fast to set an alert
  • Parse dates and times that you typed or dictate and offer to set the due dates and times automatically
  • Supports simple daily and weekly reminders to the complex every-3rd-Wednesday-of-the-month kind of reminders
  • Syncs over iCloud or Dropbox to iPad and Mac versions

 

Email with tasks

 

Spike

 

Ok, we’re definitely cheating a bit here since Spike is available on ALL your favorite platforms. That’s iOS, Mac, Android, Windows, and web browsers. However, Spike really rocks the iOS platform, and it’s definitely among the best productivity apps for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

 

Spike combines the best of both email and instant messenger (plus a wealth of other useful productivity tools) together in a single app to ensure you can manage everything from your daily communications to your calendar. We’ve ditched the useless headers and footers, trashed the long and boring threads and created something more conversational. We call it Conversational Email, and it’s going to revolutionize the way you communicate with colleagues, clients, and your friends.

 

? If you’re more an Android than an iPhone fan, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check out our recommendations for the best Android apps to boost your productivity and leave all those iOS users in your wake!  Don’t forget to check out the Spike blog for terrific tips & tricks, great guides, and amazing advice on all the topics important to you.

 

 

 

lastpass screenshot

Lastpass

 

Looking for missing passwords to your favorite apps and website is a huge waste of time, so a lot of people end up using the same password for all of their logins. Reusing your password is a huge security risk as a breach on one site will put all of your passwords at risk across all of your accounts online. When a password list is breached and put on the dark web, hackers will try to use those accounts across all the popular websites to breach your accounts.

 

A better way to manage passwords is with Lastpass for iPhone. Using LastPass, you store all of your passwords in a single location that’s protected by a very strong “master password”. When you sign up for a new account on a website, LastPass can generate a random password that is hard to guess and then store it in the app. LastPass will sync all of your passwords to all of your devices as well.

 

ifttt screenshot

IFTTT

 

IFTTT stands for “If this than that”, and it’s an automation platform to keep you from repeating tasks manually. With IFTTT for iPhone, you can manage all of your “recipes” on your iOS devices. Using IFTTT, you can create automations like

 

  • Add calendar item if it’s going to rain tomorrow
  • Automatically post my Instagram photos to Twitter
  • Turn on my Hue lights when Pizza is on the way
  • Disarm your Blink alarm system when you unlock your August door lock

 

IFTTT does all of the automations their a cloud service so you don’t have to worry about keeping your devices online or connected to your Wi-Fi. Once you setup an automation, it’ll automatically run based on the triggers that you set up.

 

 

adobe reader screenshot

 

Adobe Reader

 

PDFs are a universal file format that that is able to be opened by Mac, PC, Linux, iPhone, Android, and possibly your Wi-Fi connected refrigerator. On the iPhone, Apple’s Files app can natively open PDFs, but Adobe Reader for iPhone takes it one step further by letting you fill out forms, sign them, and view and annotate PDFs to send off for review. Adobe reader also includes a Liquid Mode to make reading long documents easier on smaller screens.

 

 

flow screenshot

 

Flow

Flow for iPad and iPhone comes from the makes of Moleskin. With FlowDraw, you can sketch, and take notes in a digital Moleskine notebook that will then sync to all of your other devices over a cloud sync service. Flow includes sophisticated tools that are simple to use so don’t worry about being an expert from the beginning. Flow helps you get ideas out of your head and written down. The Flow app was awarded the 2019 Apple Design Award as one of the best apps of the year, as well as winning Apple Best App for IPad in 2019.

 

 

duolingo screenshot

 

Duolingo

If learning another language is one of your resolutions for this year, Duolingo is the perfect place to start. Duolingo lessons adapt to your learning style, and the exercises are tailored to help you learn and review vocabulary effectively at your own pace. Duolingo is fun as well! As you practice, you’ll earn virtual coins, unlock new levels, and watch your fluency score rise as you master new words, phrases, and grammar.

Duolingo works for language learning, and a study has shown that 34 hours of Duolingo practice are equal to 1 university semester of language courses.

The best part is you can take Duolingo on the go with you! The Duolingo iPhone app is the easiest way to turn your commute, doctor appointments, or carline pickup into a productive time. Stop scrolling social media and start learning!

 

 

Trello screenshot

 

Trello

 

Trello is a board-based to do list app, with each list containing cards of tasks, to-dos and assigned roles. There are numerous integrations available (such as calendars) but these are limited to one “power-up” per board on the free account so, to use the full spectrum of tools offer by Trello, a paid account is necessary. Trello can be used to create team boards for collaborative projects, but these are limited on free accounts with only one integration available.

With the Trello for iPhone app, you can stay up to date with your projects while away from your computer. You can easily drag cards to new parts of the board to signal to your team about a change. If you need to catch up on comments, you can easily reply right away from the app.

 

 

Pocket productivity app for iPhone

 

Pocket

If you’re most people, you have way more articles that you want to read than you have time for. With Pocket for iPhone, you can easily save articles that you want to read for later. When you launch the Pocket app, the articles will download directly to your iPhone so you can even read if you’re on plane without Wi-Fi access. While you can save articles, Pocket also lets you save videos and stories from any publication, page or app. Don’t try to leave tabs open as a “read later” space. You can add to pocket from their browser extension, forward via email, or save from your favorite social media apps. Pocket has a beautiful design that makes it a joy to use.

 

 

 

Tips for students

 

As a student, keeping track of assignments and having a good study plan is vital to success in the classroom. Our team at Spike has decades of experience in the classroom, so we’ve rounded up some of the tips and tricks that we believe made us successful. Write everything down in a place you’ll remember

  • Block off time for un-interrupted studying
  • Going to school is your job, so put in the time to go to class
  • Backup all of your critical files to a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive
  • Use a service like Grammarly to help check for plagiarism and for grammar help
  • If you’re in a group project, consider a tool like Spike Groups to organize planning, file sharing, and team conversations

 

Key Reminders on iOS Productivity Apps

iCloud is free, but apps might charge to enable syncing to other platforms. Apple includes 5GB for free. 50 GB is $1/month, 200 GB is $3/month, and 2 TB is $10/month.

If you work on multiple devices throughout the day, it’s a good idea to use apps that can be used everywhere you are, but it’s not a requirement. If an app is only for simple reminders, an iPhone pop up alert might be all you need.

Unless an app has ads, premium versions of apps are how the developers keep adding new features and fixing bugs. If a productivity app helps you be more efficient and get more done, you’re getting back a huge return on investment with any purchase.

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Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.

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