An intro to six iPad apps I paid for plus the free one. These apps get use daily for writing, planning, research, and building websites.
If you are new to iOS try the default apps first. They may do what you want.
Caption — You know the carnival game? Pay your money and get a pole with a string on it. Drop your string over the taut bed sheet. Wait till you feel a tug a haul up your bag of loot. What app did you catch? A good one, I hope. (click to enlarge image)
Or, go beyond the grab bag and see if my app choices suit you better.
- Reliable — No where did that file go and reliable iCloud sync.
- Ease of use
- Recognized as first class by multiple reviewers
- Features and flexibility — I can make the app do as I want. Example Ulysses publishes direct to my website, Spark sorts my mail, and Day One allows multiple books.
- Simplicity — I am willing to learn, practice, and read documentation. I gave several trials to markup language before an enthusiastic yes. But, I appreciate apps when I can get going now. Low frustration….
- Price — I’m not looking for free apps — subscriptions or upfront fees are ok if the app meets my needs.
- Apps are my choice no affiliate links or undisclosed kickbacks
Seven Essential Work Apps
- Ulysses — writing centerpiece, organization, publish WordPress and Medium
- MindNode — at the start to the end — brainstorm, outline, organize and inspire
- Things 3 — organize work by getting things done
- Spark — communicate, organize and archive
- Gladys — capture research links, text, and photos
- Encrypt.me — privacy and safety
- Day One — captures big picture ideas in an organized way for current and later use
Ulysses is my refuse to do without app. The other six apps are my preferred apps. They support my writing by tapping the power of Ulysses.
Category — Words — write them down
Ulysses, first rate text editor that uses markdown language to create a distraction free writing space.
- Organize sheets and projects (files & folders)
- Keep track of progress such as word count and stores additional notes
- Publish direct to WordPress and Medium
- Distraction free writing environment if wanted — just a white screen
- Sync through iCloud to apps on all apple devices — painless
- It exports a variety of file formats
Huge Caption Two shots showing the control Ulysses gives the writer. There are four distinct areas with the text entry area shown in both images. Left column shows general organization, to the right lists each note or sheet. In both images the text entry area, click and expand it fill the screen — distraction free. The far right column is for tracking word count, keywords, image storage, and notes. (click to enlarge)
Ulysses is use daily for short notes and long form writing. I used it right away. But, mastering the nuances of organization and exporting files added to my appreciation. Big caveat, this is not a word processor. The app’s designed to get words down on the page. It has distraction free modes. I organize files with smart folders, You can join little segments (sheets) into one big piece (powerful feature of long form).
The app keeps track of length continuously by word count or how long it takes to read aloud. This is a great feature for podcasters and presenters.
Ulysses ships with tutorials including markdown. You can buy a video and text instructions from Sweet Setup.
A podcast with Ulysses creator… A Kindle book Writing A Novel With Ulysses.
Price — 2 week free trial — $40 subscription a year, good for all your Apple devices, phone, tablet and Mac.
- Bear — markdown — low price alternate
- Apple Notes — solid note taker — free
- Pages — word processing — free
- Evernote — notes, organize, storage — free to expensive
- OneNote — notes, organize, storage — free
Category Organization — mindmap, brainstorm, outline, inspire
Use MindNode, iOS or Mac, to capture and organize ideas and stimulate formation of new ones.
- Full support for the iPad’s touch screen
- Easy to rearrange ideas
- You can breakdown the map into a more traditional outline
- Helps me get ideas out on the screen when I’m not sure where I’m going.
- Automatic color coding binds ideas together
- Sync iCloud OS and iOS
Caption Mind-map of this post and a larger project.
I use lists, mind mapping, and traditional ordered outlines. MindNode combines lists with the built by brainstorming. This app helps me get ideas down on the screen.
iOS version two-week free trial then $10 – $15 US in app purchase.
SimpleMind — free in app store — $7 US for full version
Category — Reminders and To-dos
This is a reminder app that blends well with Getting Things Done or building your own reminder system.
- Flexibility — make the app work the way you want
- Recurring tasks easy to enter
- Clean design — logical layout
- Check boxes in projects
- Upcoming list shows tasks, reminders, and to-dos for months ahead
- Syncs between Apple devices — Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Watch — features vary the watch app tell us what’s due today.
- Easy startup
Big Caption — Image iPad version, showing a check box list on a recurring task. Checking items off does not show them checked off when the reminder comes up again. It was one of a few things I needed to sort out as I learned the app. Overall, It all works but not the way I expected. (click to enlarge)
Opinion — I used Todoist for several years. I switched to Things 3 to see the world differently. I use Things daily. Overall less confusion and time spent in learning how to run the app.
Sensible app design eases scheduling.
I have written Culture Code a couple of times got prompt, friendly replies but not answers.1
Use lessons and Support Sweet Setup has advertised an upcoming guide to using Things 3. I’ll buy it when available. I use the app every day to keep me on track.
Price — An expensive app buy a new version for each device $10 phone, $20 iPad, and $40 US Mac.
There is a Free Trial Version For the Mac
An excellent app, Todoist, is available. So users will find Wunderlist meets their needs.
Category Email – Arranges, sends, receives mail
Running POP3 or IMAP the app’s smart inbox sorts messages into different categories, and it also shuffles mail to smart folders.
- I can make the app work the way I want
- With IMAP syncs between apps
- Built in quick replies
- Sophisticated search driven by natural language
- Works with iCloud, Drop Box, One Drive, Google Drive
- Calendar integration — pulls info from email to calendar
Little Caption Arrangement
I’ve use the standard Mail app and Airmail. They do the job. But, I appreciate the feature set that Spark offers. Sync has been flawless. When I get my new iPhone,™ this is the app I will use.
Mail the Apple default app and Airmail from app store
Category Shelf App — Mini Storage
Gladys holds pictures, text, links for easy recall to other drag and drop iOS apps.
- Home for odd bits that I might use in a post or story
- Acts like a temporary folder on a Mac
- Organize clips with tags/labels
- One dollar buys “unlimited” item storage on your device
- Split screen or floating screens available
- Syncs to iCloud Drive, see stored items in the Files app — Setup in app this is not a default setting
Caption: — Split screen Ulysses (left) and Gladys (right) — Drag items from Gladys
Opinion — Gladys speeds work by giving a temporary storage place. …big plus on iPad. It syncs with iCloud drive.
Free — $1 US removes 10 item limit in app
Yoink $3 US — works as well as Gladys but a different organization system. See Comparison
Change To Using TunnelBear VPN
- I’m a very low bandwidth user. So I can use the free plan. If you are watching shows and using VPN to fool the providers about where you are connecting from 500 meg free is not enough
- Convinced myself that my auto connect problems are with the app not my set-up.
- Easy set-up
- Unlimited plans Grizzle $60 paid yearly
Category — VPN — Keep Your Stuff Private In Public Places
VPN adds privacy and safety for our files. (credit card… on public WiFi at coffee houses, libraries….)
- Low priced mini plan
- Ease of initial setup
- Apps for most device and operating systems — mini plan covers all
- Developers responsive to questions
- Can switch the appearance of country where my computer is located. (The Canadian Broadcasting restricts so downloads to Canadian access only, for example.)
Tiny Caption Encrypted mode
Evaluation of this service and app providers are beyond my knowledge level. The app is on the list because I use it and if you use public WiFi a necessity.
Beware so called review sites. Many are fancy lists to affiliate contacts. That is how they make money. The Android version of this app turns itself on for untrusted connections. On my iPad, iOS 11, I check to make sure. Encrypt.me released an update for reliable auto-encryption on the iPad. However, I still check when using public WiFi.
Free trial — I use the 5 gig mini plan $3 US per month — unlimited $10 per month — other plans available
Check the app store for alternatives. I’ve tried a few others but saw no reason to switch.
Category Journal — Keeper of things with Date, Time, Location, and Categories
Day One is a journal app. It supports multiple jounals incorporating both media and text.
- Create journals for different areas of life
- Works for tradition journal entries, one topic books and project planning
- Incorporate rich media — no music clips
- Use share sheet to send to Day One
- Clear organization
- Easy to get started
- Sync and apps available for all Apple Platforms
- US Day One will print and bind paper copies of your journal
Little Caption Screen shows different journals, organization, sample entry, and map
I use the premium version. Stability and speed make it fun to use. iCloud sync means my entries are available on Mac and iPad. The reason I will keep using the app is for organization and portability. A spiral bound notebook has worked for me too.
Free but Premium Version $35 US yearly subscription
No experience with other journal apps, I used Evernote and Ulysses to accomplish similar ends.
I plan another post on iPad apps chosen from the ones I use and appreciate
Wednesday’s 10.5″ iPad’s home screen.
- Perhaps my fault for not being clear in my requests. For example I wanted to see if there were free trial version of the app. I was told no. True for the iPad but not for the Mac version. ↩