The best applications for iPad | popular science


The latest iPads, like the iPad Pro M2, offer incredible speed and visual clarity making them a favorite for work, school, and everything in between. However, to take full advantage of everything an iPad has to offer, you’ll need the right iPad apps. Your work and lifestyle will influence which apps offer you the most convenience and functionality. We’ve put together a list of the best iPad apps in a variety of categories, from those that keep you organized to apps for editing, drawing, and taking notes.

1. Best for taking notes: Microsoft OneNote

The home page of the OneNote app, showing a list of bike versions and an image of a bike on an iPad screen.
Do you need help getting organized? Screenshot: Microsoft

A note, created by Microsoft, offers excellent note-taking features that stand out for their ease of use and top-notch organizational features. The app is available in free and paid versions that come with Microsoft Office 2019 or a Microsoft 365 subscription. (Office 2019 costs $149.99 and Microsoft 365 costs $9.99 for a monthly subscription or $99.99 annually with an annual subscription ) The free version can do everything the paid version can do except store files locally in Windows and some stickers, which are images that offer another way to express yourself visually.

The organizational structure of the application includes Notebooks, which are divided into Sections, Pages and Subpages. Notebooks are displayed as colored tabs on the left of the screen, giving you easy access. The app takes a free-form writing approach by allowing you to write anywhere on the page, just as you would on a physical sheet of paper. Automatically opens in text mode for typing using a ipad keyboard or on-screen, but you can easily switch to “draw” and use an Apple Pencil to draw or leave handwritten notes. You can then tag lines of text so you can search for them later.

A big advantage of OneNote for iPad is the ability to draw and take text notes. You can add sketches, handwritten notes, or graphics over and above the text. The ability to draw around and through text within the same document is unique and separates OneNote from strong competition from popular note-taking apps like Evernote and Joplin. You can also add attachments anywhere in the text so they appear where you need them.

The only real downside to OneNote is that there’s only local storage on Windows, but it’s available on macOS, iOS, Android, and desktop versions. For an iPad, you’ll store your notes on Microsoft’s OneDrive, which means you’ll need a OneDrive account (free).

MicrosoftOneNote Is available in iOS, iPadOS, clockOSand Android.

2. Best for drawing: Pixelmator Pro

The landing page of the Pixelmator Pro app, featuring an editing app with a photo of a woman with artistically drawn text in the background.
Take your images to the next level with this powerful editing tool. Screenshot: Pixelmator

among the many drawing apps for iPad, Pixelmator Pro It comes out on top for its balance between simplicity, versatility and price. The application offers more than 100 brushes, pencils and other tools that will allow you to give variety to your sketches. You can paint with watercolor or use sponge brushes to create texture in sketches in ways you can’t when drawing on paper without a bucket full of materials.

Pixelmator also has a photo editing system, which includes features you can add to your original drawings. For example, you can use layers, apply effects, and adjust colors to give your work depth and character. You can also add shapes from the Pixelmator library or add text with different effects. Beyond drawing, the latest version also allows you to work with RAW imagesedit PDF files and create iPhone 15 mockups.

(Related: How to unlock the hidden and most powerful camera on the iPhone 15)

We also like that you can easily export your drawings in different formats and send them directly to cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive. Overall, the app puts incredible creative power in your hands and gives you multiple ways to share your creations on other devices. However, the learning curve can be steep for those with little graphics experience. Pixelmator Pro doesn’t have a large library or tutorials, so some of the learning will have to come from trial and error.

Pixelmator Pro Is available in iOS and iPadOS.

3. Best for planning: Todoist

The home page of the Todoist app, featuring abstract illustrations of flowers, mountains, and a man in a fedora.
Now you have no excuse to put off that side project. Screenshot: Todoist

Todoist falls somewhere between the ultimate to-do list and project management. This cloud-based service syncs with any device you have the app on, so you can access your lists from your iPad or a desktop computer, as long as you both have the app. An incredibly well-designed interface makes it easy to use even though it is packed with features.

You can schedule due dates, create tasks, and create lists. You can organize projects by tasks and subtasks. There are options to manually reorder tasks or set sorting options for the project. And Todoist lets you add tags so you can search through your projects later.

Plus, you can share it with multiple users, which is where the project management aspect comes into play. The free version allows users to organize five personal projects, provides space to upload 5 MB files, and maintains a week of activity history. The pro version, which costs $4 per month and is billed annually, offers 300 personal projects, 100MB file uploads, and unlimited history with task reminders and task duration options. Businesses may want the enterprise subscription, which costs $6 per month and is billed annually, to get 500 team projects, unlimited collaborators, and the option to limit access and control with admin and member roles.

(Related: How to use split screen on iPad and conquer multitasking)

With the paid version, you can assign tasks to people or add due dates, making it a solid way to manage a family schedule or a small business team. Todoist is powerful and the free version works well for personal organization. However, if you want to run a family or small business using Todoist, it’s worth upgrading to any of the paid versions.

Todoist is available in iOS, iPadOS, clockOSand Android.

4. Best for photo editing: Adobe Lightroom

The Adobe Lightroom home page, featuring the black logo with the blue letters L and R inside and three photos of a sailboat on the water, a portrait of a woman, and a photo edit of a mountainous area.
Lightroom makes it easy to make professional-grade adjustments on the fly. Screenshot: Adobe

Adobe Lightroom It is the best option when it comes to photo editing power. You upload your photos to the Adobe cloud, and once there, they are available for editing on an iPad. The iPad version of Lightroom isn’t as robust as the desktop version, but it still offers great photo editing tools. You can download it for free with in-app purchases to unlock the features you need. Monthly prices for premium upgrades range from $4.99 to $49.99 per month.

The app now has more advanced photo editing features such as local adjustments, corrections based on lens profile and also noise reduction. We like the local settings feature, which is fairly new in the iPad version. With this feature, you can select an oval or linear area to apply your edits to instead of the entire image. You have 17 adjustment functions to apply within the area, such as graduated or radial filters and softness and strength adjustments. Of course, there are more traditional editing tools, such as photo adjusters and lightness and shadow adjustments. You also have the option to take photos directly in the app, which is more tempting now that iPads come with higher quality cameras.

The downside of the app is that there are currently no great options for batch editing a large number of photos, for example for a wedding, which is strange considering the features are geared more towards professionals than beginners. But for individual photos, you can do everything you need from your iPad and send them to the desktop app when you’re done.

Adobe Lightroom is available for iOS, iPadOSand Android.

5. Best for calendar: Google Calendar

The Google Calendar home page on a desktop computer, featuring a Get Started button and a sample calendar with pulled entries as an example.
This calendar can help you avoid double booking. Screenshot: Google

google calendarThe versatility and collaboration options make it one of the best iPad apps for those with a Google account. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to get one, and it’s worth considering for the variety of features this calendar offers.

You can create multiple calendars and view them separately or together. Organize a family calendar with your spouse and children or keep one for extended family to coordinate events. Google Calendar can be especially useful when working with teams because everyone can share their work calendars and schedule meetings through the app. There are options to create tasks, reminders, and recurring events. Within each one, you can set times, invite participants, change colors, and add locations. Additionally, you can share specific events if you don’t want to share your entire calendar.

(Related: Five Google Calendar tips so you never miss an appointment)

That’s all with the free version, which is really all most people need unless you’re working with a large team. The premium version offers valuable analytics and insights, as well as the ability to schedule appointments or allow others to schedule appointments with you. Plus, you can sync all your calendars to keep your life organized in one space.

google calendar Is available in iOS, iPadOSand Android.

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