Download these great apps for your iPad today
Having a tablet isn’t really the same as having a phone, so the selection of essential apps is a little bit different. There’s a lot of crossover, sure, but iPhones and iPads are useful for very different things. Still there are over 1.5 million apps on Apple’s App Store, and finding the ones that are actually worth downloading is a serious challenge. How do you know what’s brilliant and what’s a steaming pile of garbage? We’re here to help out.
Whether you’ve just bought yourself a new iPad Mini 4, had an iTablet in your possession for quite some time, or eagerly anticipating the super-sized iPad Pro these are the best apps that you should have installed.
VLC for iOS
If you’ve ever had to deal with multiple media filetypes, chances are you’ve heard of VLC. VLC is the ultimate media player, because it can handle any filetype you throw at it. That’s especially handy on the iPad, because it means you can watch and listen to all your stuff without having to convert it to an Apple-approved format first. It also synchronises with multiple cloud storage services so you don’t even have to plug your iPad into your computer first.
Free | Download VLC for iOS
This is a remote that’s designed to synchronise with iTunes, and lets you control your iTunes library and play it as if you were sitting in front of your computer. Browse and play your music, update your playlists, and play ITunes Radio. Another handy thing is that it also functions as an Apple TV remote, which is handy since there’s a brand new one in the way.
Free | Download Remote
A tablet is perfect for reading, and if you’re a comic person buying and reading them is easy as hell. It’s made by Comixology, which is the most popular digital comics store on the web, and has over 200 million comics from the biggest publishers for you to buy and download.
Free | Download Comics
E-readers are great and everything, but nothing quite beats being able to read e-books on a multi-purpose device like an iPad. The official Kindle app should be a staple download anyone who wants to read electronically, letting you browse Amazon’s e-book store, before purchasing and downloading them to your device. The great thing is that if you’ve already bought e-books from Amazon, you have access to them all in the app.
Free | Download Kindle
Chunky Comic Reader
It’s more than possible to acquire comics without resorting to services that use DRM, but if you do you’ll need something to read them. Chunky Comics Reader is your best best on the iPad, letting you import CBZ, CBR, and PDF comics from cloud storage services, iTunes, or your PC and Mac (pro version only). Chunky Comic Reader’s upscaling and auto-contrast will make sure your low-res comics look great, and the library organises itself automatically so that you never lose anything.
Free | Download Chunky Comic Reader
Skype for iPad
Streaming services are drawing huge audiences away from live TV, and Netflix is one of the best. It’s got a huge selection of TV shows and films available to watch anytime, along with an ever-increasing selection of original programming. The app lets to experience that content anytime and anywhere, just as long as you have a solid internet connection. Sadly Netflix doesn’t allow you to download programmes for offline viewing, but then again other services don't have House of Cards and Daredevil.
Amazon’s streaming service is much like the other offering online, offering a selection of existing and original TV programmes and films for you to enjoy anytime and anywhere. The key difference here is that Amazon recently started allowing people to download content to watch offline, so you can make sure you have plenty to watch on the bus into work. It also lets you access video content that you’ve bought or rented through Amazon, and lets you vote on which TV pilots will be ordered to series. Just remember you need a subscription, unless you’re a paying member of Amazon Prime.
Free | Download Amazon Video/UK
A staple piece of software on Macs everywhere, Garage Band is the ideal app for musicians to create and edit music on a device that’s a lot easier to carry around than a MacBook. Garage Band includes a touch-controlled piano, organ, guitar, and drum kit, meaning you can play, record, and mix songs everywhere you go. If that wasn’t enough, you can throw in your own voice, or plug in an electric guitar to use your iPad as a mini amp.
£3.99 | Download Garage Band
When iOS 8 arrived, it finally meant that iOS users could install third party keyboards that offered features that aren’t available with the Apple-made default. SwiftKey Keyboard is one such keyboard, and it comes with an auto-correct system that shouldn’t end up embarrassing you at inopportune times. It’s an intelligent system that learns how you write, and improves the predictions over time. It also offers up multiple predictions, and you have easier control over what gets thrown at you as you type.
Free (With In-App Purchases) | Download SwiftKey Keyboard
Keeping track of the things you own can be a real hassle sometimes, whether it's a specific collection you you just like to keep track of all the little bits and pieces you have lying around the house. Rather than filling your photo gallery with pictures, or your notes app with big long lists, you should give Snupps a try. It's specifically designed for keeping track of all your things, and lets you take pictures and organise everything onto virtual shelves. It doesn't matter what it is, Snupps will keep track of everything in a way that's easy for you to come back and refer to.
Free | Download Snupps
The age of the typewriter is long gone, but it you still appreciate the aesthetic give Hanx Writer a try. It’s a word processing app specifically designed to mimic the typewriter without losing any of the convenience of typing on an iPad. The app itself is a relatively minimalist word processor, free from distractions, and you can use the actual keyboard in all of your apps as a third-party offering.
Free (With In-App Purchases) | Download Hanx Writer
Astropad Graphics Tablet
For artistic types, having a dedicated graphics tablet means you can create artistic creations on your computer without having to scan in pieces of paper. These days you could do that with an art app on your iPad, but if you;’d rather used the fully fledged software available on a Mac then you need this. Astropad actually turns your iPad into a dedicated graphics tablet that works with any Mac app, connecting via Wi-Fi or USB and offering a lag-free experience. That means no having to go out and buy an expensive dedicated graphics tablet.
£14.99 | Download Astropad Graphics Tablet
App in the Air
Travel by air has its advantages, but it can be a bit of a pain keeping track of everything. App in the Air is a personal assistant everything you need to make it easier, including real-time flight information, airport tips and navigation maps, as well as a profile with all your flight logs. That means you’ll be able to find everything you need at the airport, including places to eat security wait times, internet passwords, and more. It also has notifications that immediately inform you about any changes you should worry about, and they even work offline using SMS.
TV Catchup Live TV
Stretch your knowledge of the constellations beyond Orion’s Belt with your iPad. StarMap 3D+ lets you point your iPad at the sky at instantly see all the relevant information about the stars straight above you. You can see planets, constellations, and even the real-time location of over 100 satellites orbiting the Earth. It’s a perfect tool for astronomers of any skill level.
£2.29 | Download StarMap 3D+
Turning your Apple tablet into a digital tracing paper book, the ultimate doodling tool for creative types loads up layers of tracing paper onto the screen and let’s you throw on more sheets to help you see the creative process from start to finish.
Free (With In-App Purchases) | Download Morpholio Trace
Speakerfy - Social Sound
So you need your music played, but you don’t have a decent set of speakers. Maybe it’s a party, or you want something playing in two rooms at once. Sounds like you need Speakerfy. Speakerfy syncs up to 250 iOS devices together via a local Wi-Fi network, turning them all into speakers. That means no more sorting out large-scale sound systems across the house.
Summer might be over, but there’s still plenty of time to squeeze in a holiday before the end of the year. If you’re jetting off somewhere nice then you need to make sure you have everything you need to have a good time. TripIt helps you build a personalised itinerary by using your hotel, flight, car rental, and restaurant bookings, so you’ll never not know where you need to be. It’s also got offline maps and directions, and syncs up with your calendar apps.
Free | Download TripIt
Love reading the blogs? You probably have a lot of regular reads, but if you’re looking for something else give BlogLovin’ a try. It’s the perfect place to find a whole bunch of blogs about topics you love, and read them all in one easy-to-use place that makes sure you never miss another post.
Free | Download Bloglovin'
It’s difficult to get back into things if you started the morning off the wrong way, so why not make it a lot less likely to go wrong with the Morning App. It’s a nice customisable app that everything you need to know about the day, including weather, traffic issues, calendar events, news, and even stocks.
£0.79 | Download Morning
Choose a layout, pick a domain name and, well, that's about it: welcome to your spanking new website, and it’s already optimised for mobile devices. Already rocking a Jimdo created site? You can still get all the benefits of the app by simply punching in your account details.Really sorting out your own website on the go has never been easier.
Free | Download Jimdo
Microsoft Remote Desktop
If you’re an iPad user with a PC running the latest version of Windows 8 then this could be a killer app. Access all your files and apps from anywhere, with multi-touch gestures and simple set-up, your iPad just got a bit more productive. It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you have a solid internet connection you’re never without your home PC. Plus, it’s free, which is rare for these virtual machine type apps.
Days of drawing and creating your own party invitations are long gone; there are apps for that now. Design the card through the app, customising everything from fonts and backdrops, to colours and alignment and then you can track RSVPs and even communicate with your guests. If you're not a design whizz, there are a load of pre-made templates to save you time.
Free (With In-App Purchases) | Download Paperless Post
With a design that fits well within the iOS aesthetic, Notegraphy lets you create beautiful looking text with automatic formatting and instant sharing through a whole host of social networks. Check out the gallery and feast your eyes upon other works of art. With a bit of work and patience you can create some really nice looking pieces, which look rather professional. It takes a bit of time though, but stick with it and soon you'll have a gallery brimming with top class looking text. The Instagram of writing? In time maybe.
Free | Download Notegraphy
Wellness Planner by Owaves
Owaves’ Wellness Planner is the latest and simplest way to plan your health and wellness goals each day. This visual, colourful and vibrant app features a novel 24-hour clock planner which allows you to plan your day 24 hours in advance. Owaves aims to guide you through a balanced routine and healthy lifestyle.
The iPad is a great work tool and the functionality that Noteshelf offers just furthers those credentials. This note taking app is packed with options, pen types, paper choices and syncing across multiple cloud services. It also works with a variety of tools, including FiftyThree’s impressive Pencil stylus.
£5.99 | Download Noteshelf
We’ve seen apps that perform similar functions to Scannable before, using your iPad’s camera to capture notes, documents and receipts, but if you’re an Evernote user this is the most seamless. It pulls in all your Evernote notebooks and settings, letting you easily add new content to your existing set-up. Scanning business cards automatically pulls out the information and creates a new contact card in your address book, adding in LinkedIn data to flesh it out further.
Free | Download Evernote Scannable
Flow for Instagram
There’s still no official Instagram iPad app and using the blown up phone version is hardly a treat for the eyes. Luckily lovers of sharing filtered pictures of their lunch need worry no more, as Flow is a fantastic replacement. The design is sleek, pictures are high-res and and the search tools are arguably better than the first-party app. Plus you’re in luck if you’re big on Instagram’s videos. Flow lets you watch them full screen, and wirelessly beam them over to Airplay-enabled devices.
Free (With Premium Upgrade) | Download Flow for Instagram
If you’re looking for a dual monitor set-up on the go, Duet is the answer. Once you’ve downloaded the companion app to your Mac, you simply connect your iPad (iPad 2 and up) with a Lightning cable and voila, your tablet is now an extension of your computer. Performance is great, mainly because it uses a wired connection rather than wireless, and there’s a couple of resolution options. Choose ‘Retina’ and you’ll get a better picture, but select one of the lower-res choices and performance will be improved.
£11.99 | Download Duet Display
While there’s nothing wrong with the official YouTube app from Google, this version is a bit slicker, lets you set your streaming quality even when you’re off Wi-Fi and, for us, the performance is a bit more reliable, especially on the iPad. The overall layout is very picture based, so you can scroll through a visual list of videos and there’s some sweet animations thrown in for good measure.
£2.29 | Download ProTube
Outlook is not only a really good email app, boasting plenty of features for both power and general users. Alongside support for multiple email systems, we’ve got Gmail and iCloud running at the minute, it narrows down your inbox into ‘Filtered’ and ‘Other’. ‘Other’ seems to be the home for your large amounts of junk, while ‘Filtered’ picks out all the important stuff. There’s a calendar built in too and you can link different cloud service, Dropbox or Google Drive for instance, so files are easy to find.
Free | Download Outlook
Workflow is probably one of the most important apps ever to be released on the App Store, simply because of how ingenious and powerful it is. What it does is lets you automate tasks on your phone, which you do by combining different actions together into a unique 'workflow'. Each workflow can then be activated in a number of different ways, including from within the app itself, as an 'app' that lives on your homescreen, or through the Today widget in your notification centre. There are 200 actions currently available, integrating with numerous different apps and services that you might have on your phone, meaning the possibilities are almost endless.
£3.99 | Download Workflow
Transferring big things between devices has always been fairly simple, but the little things were always a nuisance. If you wanted to send a link or some text from your iPhone to your desktop the best way often involved emailing it to yourself, but not with Pushbullet. Pushbullet lets you share all sorts of things between your devices instantly, including links, photos, and music files.It also forwards calls, texts, and notifications over to your desktop, without requiring an arduous setup process.
Free | Download Pushbullet
There are a lot of great image editors out there, but Pixelmator stands right at the top. Unlike some image editors, the mobile version still has all the great features that you'd find in the desktop version of the software. Like another popular image editor, Pixelmator is layer based and has everything you need to touch up and enhance existing images, creat paintings, or create your own unique image combinations. There are way too many features to list here, but if you buy it you certainly won't regret it. It even has iCloud syncronisation that lets you pick up your work on other iOS and OS X devices.
£3.99 | Download Pixelmator