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My Top 10 Productivity Apps for iOS, 2017

Given the iPad’s svelte, near anorexic form, it comes as no surprise that many use it for productivity on the go, including yours truly. I have always loved the idea of creating my own app. But just thinking of doing something is not going to get you very far. Trying to make something like this a reality is what gets people the businesses and life they dream of. Even if you are still thinking about making this happen, for either a personal use or for your business, you could look into a site like to give you tips in order to make your dream of becoming an app developer real, or if you just want to brush up on your knowledge.

In this Top 10 Productivity Apps for iOS article I will divulge which Productivity Apps find a hallowed place on my storage challenged, 16GB iPad.

If you seek Productivity Apps for your iPhone or iPad then you are spoiled for choice for the iTunes store is positively coming down with them. Certainly their offer of a productive and fruitful existence is enticing but

which Productivity Apps can really help you get stuff done?

which Productivity Apps can really help you get stuff done and help you spend your time the way you want to spend it?

I don’t have all the answers but I can tell you which Apps live on my iPad and help me in a positive way, which I will explain during the course of the article.

There are undoubtedly a few unusual choices in there but I will do my utmost to explain their position in my Top 10 Productivity Apps for iOS.

1. MarginNote

If you ever have to review PDF files or electronic E-Books then this is definitely for you. Previously I had the bright idea of Automatically Mindmapping E-Books highlights as a quick and easy way to create study notes. So, picture this if you will. You highlight text passages on your iPad, perform a simple translation to a Mindmap and have those notes available for easy review and revision. Beautifully elegant I thought.

It turned out though that I had simply reinvented the wheel as the creator of MarginNote had already created an App that did exactly that, and more!

MarginNote allows you to import electronic books, highlight and annotate them and then have those notes served up cold on a beautiful Mindmap platter

MarginNote allows you to import electronic books, highlight and annotate them and then have those notes served up cold on a beautiful Mindmap platter. And if that is not enough for you, you can even have them as flash cards for those late night study sessions! I find it an excellent tool for study productivity.

MarginNote is priced at $9.99 and you can get MarginNote from the iTunes Store. If you want to know more, then check out my full MarginNote review.

My Top 10 Productivity Apps for iOS Marginnote

2. OneNote

Recently I penned an article, Why OneNote rules for Blogging (and other Stuff!) where I made the case for this underrated note taking App. Usually Evernote grabs the limelight when it comes to note taking apps, but free(woo hoo!) OneNote should get some recognition also. It is also a multi-platform App that has a myriad of advantages going for it. Among those,

  • Excellent search feature. Not only can you search for text and tags but also text within pictures. So, if you take a screenshot, OneNote will automatically perform Optical Character Recognition to detect any words and make those searchable.
  • Available on the Web, Windows, Android and iOS. I think for most people that covers all the platforms they will need to get stuff done on front of a PC, on a tablet or even their phone.
  • All the organizational tools that you could ever wish for. It has notebooks, sections, pages, subpages, tags, highlighters and so on. The owner of your local stationary store would be salivating over these options.

You can read my full article on OneNote to see the other features I am enamored with and get OneNote directly from the iTunes Store for the grand price of $0.

3. Chrome

Some Internet Browser had to be included in this Top 10 Productivity Apps list and in my case I tend towards Chrome. Here are the key productivity features that I use in this App. Admittedly they could probably be accomplished in other browsers but that’s not going to stop me from brandishing them with the same gusto that I employ when showing my 10 metre swimming certificate to unsuspecting guests.

  • Bookmark sync. I have several bookmark folders including the provocative “Actionable!” When I save a bookmark to that folder on my iPad, I can pick it up later for processing on my PC.
  • Save URLs to Pocket on my iPad. So, if I see an article I would like to listen to do later I send the URL to Pocket, which syncs with my phone and voila, is available for me to listen to on the way to work.
  • Send to Todoist. If any stuff you are browsing will for sure translate into an action you can send it directly to Todoist or other task managers directly from the browser.

Here is the iTunes link to get Chrome for iOS.

4. Todoist

Todoist is my current favourite for task and time management and so warrants a place on my Top 10 Productivity Apps. It has been one of the big dogs among To-do list apps for some time and for good reason. It is a slick multi-platform task manager with more than enough functionality for common folk like ourselves to keep track of the little bits and pieces that need to be done. Among my favourite productivity features are,

  • Available on all the platforms I need including native apps for windows, android and IOS of course.
  • Smart date entry. So, if you type “Doctor appointment at 3pm”, it will automatically recognize the appointment is for 3pm and set a reminder accordingly. This is even better when using voice to text so you only have to speak that statement for a reminder to be set. Cool.
  • Flexible project and task organisation. Can set up projects, tasks, subtasks. So a fairly flexible nested tasks can be setup to deal with more complicated projects if needed.

You can check out my related Todoist articles, Todoist for Windows review, Todoist for Android Review and Todoist vs. Wunderlist, Which is better? Todoist comes either as a function limited free version or the premium version at $29 per year. You can grab Todoist from the iTunes Store.

My Top 10 Productivity Apps for iPhone Todoist

5. Documents 5

One weakness of iOS that I mourn to this day is the lack of a decent filing system. It is always a hassle to get files on and off the iPad especially if you don’t have wireless connectivity at that time.

The way I currently manage it is either with cloud storage solutions or if I am at home using Documents as a Wi-Fi drive. With Documents, there are two options to get files to your iPad when the source computer and the iPad share the same wireless network,

  • Shared windows folder. You can configure Documents to find File servers on the network and to browse those locations. So, you can simply browse the Shared Windows folders and select the files you want to download to the iPad.
  • Use Documents as a Wi-Fi drive. In this case, you obtain an URL from Documents 5 that can be entered on your PC browser. This enables you to browse the Documents on your iPad and again to upload and download files.

You can get detailed instructions on how to set these up from the Readdle help site. Documents is available for free from iTunes.

6. iThoughts

iThoughts is thee go to Mindmapping tool for iOS.

Slick, elegant, polished and a host of other complimentary adjectives don’t do this Productivity App justice

Slick, elegant, polished and a host of other complimentary adjectives don’t do this Productivity App justice. I use iThoughts for scoping out new projects and in conjunction with MarginNote for reviewing notes from electronic books and PDF files.

A few highlights of the app,

  • Plays nicely with a myriad of other apps including Mindmanager, Freemind, and also picture export
  • Cross platform support for Mac and now iThoughts for Windows is available.
  • Single click research function to go from a Mindmap topic to a Google search.

iThoughts costs $11.99 and you can get iThoughts from the iTunes Store at the provided link. You can get more details about the iOS and Windows from my full iThoughts for Windows review and Full iThoughts review for iOS.

My Top 10 Alternative Productivity Apps for iOS iThoughts

7. iA Writer

If you compile reports or articles then some form of Word Processor will be needed. Microsoft Windows is an obvious choice but since I started with OneNote, MS Word has taken a back seat. While OneNote has many advantages, as listed above, I still like to pair it with the minimalist Word Processor, iA Writer. Moving stuff back and forward from OneNote is but a copy and paste. The reason I like it is because as stated in my iA Writer review, you feel closer to your writing with this minimalist style of App. So, in my case I am face to face with my reviews and, the occasional bit of gibberish! IA Writer is like a typewriter for the modern day. Even Steven Fry is a big fan of iA Writer so clearly it must be great! Here is the full iA Writer review.

iA writer costs $9.99 and you can get iA Writer from the iTunes store.

My Top 10 Alternative Productivity Apps for iOS iA Writer

8. Pocket

I am a big fan of voice to text and text to voice. The former enables me to speak to my phone and the latter enables my phone to talk back to me. On the face of it, this may seem like I am deranged in my fascination in having conversations with an inanimate object. But, trust me, there is some method in this apparent madness. Voice to text enables my phone to enter To-do list items without me having to fiddle with a small keyboard and text to voice enables my phone to read out articles and electronic books. It is the ability to read out articles that seals Pocket’s position on my iPad, PC and phone.

Pocket enables you to save any web article, sync it across your devices and it’s in-built text to voice capability then reads it out to you. This is great for making your commute more productive by enabling you to catch up on the articles you wanted to read but never got around to. And, another important point to mention, it saves the articles locally to your devices so you can even access the articles completely offline. This productivity App is certainly worthy of a place on the Top Productivity Apps for iOS.

Pocket is free from the iTunes store.

9. Dropbox

OK, I have to admit this is pretty popular productivity pick, and for a good reason! Simply put, it is the facilitator of the “sync magic”. Many apps depend upon Dropbox to share files when they have no dedicated servers. One key application for me is for iThoughts, whereby I can create a Mindmap on my iPad, configure it to export as a Freemind file to Dropbox, and pick it up on my PC whenever I want. One other great feature available on Dropbox since mid-2016 is the OCR from scanned images or photos. So, you can take a picture of a document and the words on the document are searchable. I don’t use this particular feature on Dropbox but I do on Google Drive for storing documents. If you’re looking to send big files online quickly and easily in order to collaborate on a project with colleagues, a solution like Digital Pigeon that utilizes enterprise-grade Amazon servers to ensure that files are secure and delivered incredibly quickly might be a great option.

Dropbox is free from the iTunes store.

Since this section was a little short it is the ideal time to digress with some off topic trivia. The Triple Distilled Bushmills whisky that I am currently drinking comes from the oldest Distillery in the World. Founded in 1608 and located on the northern tip of Northern Ireland, it has been churning out “uisce beatha”, (Gaelic for Water of life) for more than 400 years.

Let’s now get back to the point – No. 10 in my Top 10 Productivity Apps for iOS.

10. Google Maps

This is the second Google product to make my Top 10 Productivity Apps list, so Google must be doing something right. Google Maps does not find it’s way on here because of my lacklustre sense of direction but rather it’s ability to superimpose real time traffic information on the map so you can quickly see where the traffic hot spots are. An alternative to Google Maps is Waze, also owned by Google, which also can give you a heads up on traffic problems on your route saving you time and frustration! You can see what it looks like (on a PC) in the video below,

Google Maps is free from the iTunes store.

Top 10 Productivity Apps for iOS Summary

So, that’s my Top 10 Productivity Apps for iOS. If you have your own personal favourites, feel free to drop them in the comments section below. You may wish to check out my related articles on iPad productivity, “Pimp your iPad for Productivity“, and the “Ultimate list of iOS Keyboard Shortcuts“.

I hope you found this useful and if so, make sure to share on your social network using the little buttons on the left.


My Top 10 Productivity Apps for iOS 2017
Article Name
My Top 10 Productivity Apps for iOS 2017
In this Top 10 Productivity Apps for iOS article I will divulge which Productivity Apps find a hallowed place on my storage challenged, 16GB iPad.
Publisher Name
Done Before Brekky

Brendan Toner

Let me welcome you to this alcove of the internet. In this little productivity blog, I detail the trials and tribulations of trying to use my time more effectively utilising the latest productivity tools and techniques. I hope you enjoy the articles, cheers! Brendan Toner, author of Done Before Brekky

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1 Response

  1. April 24, 2017

    […] Brendan Toner lists his ten most useful iPad apps. I have five of them on my iPad and similar apps for four of the others. And we both drink Bushmills, so there’s that. […]

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