Looking for the best iPad productivity apps for 2024? You’re lucky because I’ve compiled this list of the best iPad productivity apps. I love iPad productivity apps. It’s a broad category, including cybersecurity, event planning, writing, and task management.
Ready to find your new favorite tools? In this article, I’ve put together my evaluations with screenshots, pricing, pros, and cons; by the end, you will be ready to download your next iPad productivity app! Some are free, while others are paid or subscription-based.
Let’s get to it.
This Article Covers:
What Makes a Great Productivity App for the iPad?
There are thousands of productivity apps on the app store, but not all are good quality. Some are okay, decent even, but others need a lot more work, are overpriced, or are stuffed to the brim with ads. How can you tell which ones are worth your time? I’ll give you the quick highlights. Then, I’ll show you how I evaluated them.
- Best iPad Productivity App for Students: Apple Notes
- Best Cybersecurity App: NordVPN
- Best iPad Password Manager: 1Password
- Best Calendar App for iPad: Google Calendar
- Best Productivity App for Design: Canva
How I Evaluated Productivity Apps
The top productivity apps for iPad (and iPad alternatives) all have a few things in common. Below, you’ll find some of the qualities that the iPad’s best productivity apps usually have. Note that an app doesn’t need all the traits below to be good!
- Display no advertisements – Ads aren’t inherently bad, and it’s natural for some apps to have them. After all, apps must make money to ensure their development is worthwhile (and support their servers, developers, and more). However, if an app is so full of ads that it hampers its function, it may be time to consider alternatives. Additionally, if you pay for an app’s ad-free premium version, you should be able to expect that there won’t be any ads anymore.
- Fulfill a purpose and improve your work process – Productivity apps should be able to meet the purpose they were made to fulfill. What good is an app that promises one thing but can’t deliver on the said promise?
- Bring convenience – The best productivity apps on iPad should bring you greater daily convenience. Great apps allow you to skip a few steps in your work routines or streamline the entire process.
- Allow collaboration – Some of the best iPad apps for productivity allow collaboration in real-time or by making it easy to share what you’ve worked on. However, it’s worth mentioning that not all apps will require or offer collaboration.
- Ensure better organization – The best iPad productivity apps should improve your organization, keeping your device, files, and links organized and easy to navigate. However, it’s not just organization apps that should be able to help you stay organized. In many cases, you’ll want your productivity apps to be easy to navigate and provide features for organization, such as tags, folders, and the like.
- Provide good user interface and experience – Not all users are tech wizzes who know how everything works. Thus, great productivity apps should provide intuitive user interfaces and experiences to make them accessible to all users.
- Allow automation – Not all apps will offer automation features, so we’ve put this criterion last. However, it’s reasonable to look for at least some automation processes in purpose-built productivity apps meant for work. For example, some apps will allow you to use templates to let you work faster. Others will allow you to duplicate work or create recurring tasks.
iPad Best Productivity Apps for Security
Ensuring your iPad’s security against online threats and managing your accounts well is essential for continuous productivity. Here are two apps that you’d need in this regard.
NordVPN: Best Cybersecurity App for iPad
NordVPN is an affordable but effective app that helps protect you against malicious eyes on the web.
Why I Chose This App
The best iPad productivity apps help you do more without exposing your data. That’s what makes this my top choice for cybersecurity. It’s the foundation for every other internet-connected app, as it protects my data as I interact with websites and other mobile apps.
I’ve been using NordVPN for years. It’s my go-to VPN for desktops and functions just as well on iPhone and iPad. I like the mobile app, especially because it’s just a single click to log in.
I also like the pricing. If you can score discounted pricing during their Black Friday sale, NordVPN is just about the cheapest, trustworthy VPN on the market. If you plan to use it, dole out a little extra for the two-year commitment because it offers the best value for a cybersecurity app.
- Cross-functional on tablet, phone, and desktop
- One account is shared between all devices
- Low monthly cost for annual plans
- A good workaround for accessing international sites
- The monthly price is high if you don’t use the 1- or 2-year plan
- $12.99 per month
- $2.99 with a 2-year package
- Black Friday pricing
1Password: Best iPad Productivity App for Passwords
1Password keeps your passwords and login credentials in one place — securely. While its subscription-based model might cost a premium, it makes for efficient and safe password storage and retrieval.
Why I Chose This App
Cybersecurity is critical, even for your tablet. With hackers and bad actors developing more sophisticated techniques to access your accounts, using a password manager is vital.
These popular cybersecurity apps keep all your login details safe. And, while you may not think of it right away, a password vault is one of the best iPad apps for work. It can keep all your login details safe, so you only have to remember one password for your vault.
No more rummaging through notes and sheets of paper for your login details and clicking “forgot password?” every time you visit a website!
There are other popular cybersecurity iPad apps, but you’ll want one that works across all your devices. That’s why I chose 1Password as the best app for passwords. It’s available on practically every platform you can think of. You can download their apps and browser extensions right from the 1Password website.
- Save your login details and access them whenever necessary
- Available on any platform
- Works with biometric login, so you don’t have to enter your 1Password password every time (though you’ll need to enter it every two weeks)
- Has a password generator so that you can create a strong password in one click
- With proper permissions and browser extensions, you can use 1Password to enter your login information automatically
- Subscription-based model
- On rare occasions, slow or buggy
- Personal: $2.99 per month billed annually
- 1Password Families: $4.99 per month billed annually
- 1Password Business: $7.99 per user per month; get your custom quote (with free family accounts)
- 1Password Teams Starter Pack (for teams of ten or fewer): $19.95 per month, billed annually
- Enterprise: Contact sales
Best iPad Productivity Apps for Work
Power your daily work, whether at the office or home, with these profession-related iPad apps.
iA Writer: Best AI Productivity App for NaNoWriMo
iA Writer provides the environment that almost every writer yearns for — one free from distractions. It can be pretty expensive, though.
Why I Chose This App
If you find yourself constantly distracted by all sorts of things when trying to write, iA Writer might be worth considering. This simple and minimalistic app lets you focus on what matters while writing. It also uses markdown for formatting and now allows you to link your documents for easy navigation.
I’ve used this regularly on my iPad. My favorite part about it? It has a mode especially made to eliminate distractions. There’s a reason this app advertises itself as a good companion for NaNoWriMo. It’s made to get the most out of your writing time. That makes it my top choice as a productivity app for writers.
The only downside to this app is that it’s pretty expensive, especially if you want to use it across different platforms. For example, if you want to use this app on Mac and iPad, you must purchase it twice!
Luckily, it’s a one-time purchase rather than a subscription, so you won’t have to pay $40-50 a year like you would for other apps. If you’re on a budget, Google Docs is a free alternative. Note that, when set up correctly, neither requires internet connectivity.
- Has a focus mode to help you minimize distractions
- Works on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
- Great features for writers
- Relatively expensive
- Requires you to buy it on every platform you want to use it on
- Sees intense competition from ChatGPT and Google Bard.
- Free 14-day trial on macOS and Windows
- Free 30-day trial on Android
- No trial on iPadOS or iOS
- One-time purchase at $49.99 for macOS, iOS & iPadOS (you must purchase the app on each platform separately)
- One-time purchase of $29.99 for Windows and Android
- Alternatively, you can subscribe for $4.99/month paid yearly on Android
- More information is available here
PDF Expert: Most Useful iPad App for PDF Editing
You don’t need to convert PDFs to Word first to edit them. PDF Expert helps you bypass this process and edit the files directly.
Why I Chose This App
If you use your iPad for productivity, you’ll likely need to work with PDF files. You can open and read PDF files natively within your iPad and add annotations and highlights without downloading anything. So why do you need PDF Expert?
PDF Expert allows you to do more — you can edit your PDFs, including text and images, and annotate and add markup as needed. Plus, you can sign documents, open ZIP files, and fill out any forms. You can use PDF Expert for free, but most unique features are locked behind the paywall.
This app has so many features that we don’t have room to discuss them. So, instead, you can view them on the PDF Expert website.
- Offers tons of features to make working with PDFs a breeze
- Recognizes text with Optical Character Recognition
- Allows you to sign PDFs
- Converts your PDF to other file types
- Only compatible with Apple computers and devices
- Free forever tier with limited features
- Premium: Yearly at $79.99 ($6.67/month)
- One-time lifetime purchase: $139.99 for one device only
- All plans offer a money-back guarantee for 30 days
Canva: Best Design App for iPad
Canva offers easy graphic design that even beginners can achieve. While many of its features require you to be a paid user, it offers many free templates you can utilize.
Why I Chose This App
Canva has exploded in popularity over the past few years. Today, it’s one of the best ways to create graphics, especially since it enables anyone to make them regardless of design background (or lack thereof).
You can use Canva for free with the free forever plan, although you’ll experience many limitations. If you want access to more features, you’ll need a Canva Pro subscription.
This is something our team uses all the time. It’s relatively inexpensive, especially compared to hiring a designer, and incredibly easy to use.
I like using Canva’s Pro features for their extensive photo library, which plugs directly into their templates. For those on a budget, the free plan also has many features. If you’re looking for something that lets you do more actual drawing and illustrations, you’ll want to check out Procreate instead.
- Has a free forever plan
- Great for solo users or teams
- Loaded with tons of handy features for creating graphics and documents
- Plenty of templates
- Many features and templates are locked on the free account
- Free forever plan with limited features
- Canva Pro (one user): $119.99 per year or $12.99 month-to-month
- Canva for Teams (2+ users): $149.90 per year for the first five people, or $14.99 for the first five people month-to-month (then an additional cost per user)
Best Apps for Taking Notes
Taking notes is one thing, and keeping them organized is another. Here are the best iPad note-taking apps you might want to consider:
Apple Notes: Best iPad Productivity App for Students
If you want a note-taking app that stays within the Apple ecosystem, Apple Notes would be for you.
Why I Chose This App
If you’re an Apple user, Notes is one of the best free productivity apps for students. Using Notes, you can create checklists, which can be used on big projects or for your daily to-dos.
The app enables you to write freely (or use voice-to-text) to jot down what’s happening in your head. Best of all, this student productivity app is free on iOS devices. You’ll find it on your iPhone and iPad at no extra cost.
To get the most out of the Notes mobile app, pin documents that you may need to refer to frequently in the future. Remember that you can include hyperlinks, tables, and reading lists or bibliographies for essay research. That makes it invaluable for students, especially those who want to leave the laptop at home while taking notes on a tablet.
Most importantly, the Notes app is free forever. Just remember that you’ll need an Apple device. It’s not available on Google Play.
- Native to Apple devices
- Collaborative with others in the Apple ecosystem
- Available offline
- Not available on non-Apple devices
- Free forever, though you need an Apple device
EverNote + Penultimate: Best Student Productivity Apps for Note-Taking
Evernote offers more than just simple note-taking. It’s better known for its note organization style and the extra features that make note-taking much easier.
Why I Chose This App
Evernote is one of the best note-taking apps around. It’s been around for almost two decades (founded in 2004) and has since added more features to make organizing your life a breeze.
You can use this app for whatever purpose, whether school, work, or personal. Because of its age and enthusiastic fan base, Evernote earned a spot on the list of best productivity apps specifically for note-taking.
It’s important to note that Evernote doesn’t handle handwriting as naturally as GoodNotes 5. You must add a sketch separately or use the Penultimate app to sync your notes into your Evernote. Fortunately, you can use Evernote for free with limited features. Use it to track your handwritten notes and to stay organized at school or work.
- Create all sorts of notes
- Use Evernote for free with limited features
- Use the browser extension to clip websites, images, text, and more quickly
- Subscription-based pricing model
- Not the most intuitive handwriting experience
- Limited free forever plan
- Personal Plan: $79 per year or $8.99 month-to-month
- Professional Plan: $109.99 per year or $10.99 month-to-month
- Evernote Teams: $14.99 per user/month
Best iPad Productivity Apps for Time Management
Managing time is always one of the biggest hurdles to staying productive. Make that easy with these two apps for time blocking and scheduling.
Fantastical: Best Productivity App for Work Events
Fantastical is a calendar and event-management app that you can use to track and set up your online appointments.
Why I Chose This App
If you’re looking for iPad apps for work that can make your life easier, consider Fantastical. It’s not the cheapest option out there, but it’s one of the best iPad business apps for those who can’t seem to keep track of their schedules.
Fantastical is a calendar app that lets you keep track of all your calendars and entries into a single app. Creating new events and appointments is even easier — as simple as typing a single line of text!
This calendar app has features to make your life much easier to manage. You can purchase a subscription for yourself (individual) or pay for a family account (for up to five users).
Unfortunately, Fantastical is only available through a subscription. Subscribing gives you access to Fantastical and Cardhop — a similar app for managing your contacts. Fantastical offers a free trial of premium services if you want to try them before you buy. You can use the limited free forever version if you choose not to renew.
- Attach files and photos
- Use various views to organize your agenda
- Manage tasks right within Fantastical
- Time zones feature makes it easy to schedule things no matter where you are
- Use widgets on your phone or tablet
- Only for Apple devices — no luck if you’re a Windows or Android user!
- Pricey subscription model
- Free forever version with many limitations
- Premium subscription
- Individuals: $4.99 for the first month, then $6.99 month-to-month; $3.33 per month when billed annually
- Family (up to five users): $7.99 for the first month, then $10.49 month-to-month; $5.42 per month when billed annually
- Flexibits states that Fantastical Premium is for individuals and families and for personal use only. If you want to use Fantastical for your business or organization, contact Flexibits for more information
Things: Best Task-Tracking iPad App
Things is a task manager known for its simple but effective interface. It can be pricey, though, given its simplicity.
Why I Chose This App
As I evaluated the best productivity apps for iPads, I wanted to consider at least one dedicated task management app. Things fit the bill.
This app takes care of your digital planning in a simple, uncluttered, and elegant way. You can manage everything with drag-and-drop, including deadlines and subtasks. The main downside here is the price. While I love a free trial, a $10 app means you’ve got to make sure you’re on board for this kind of to-do list app.
I like Things because of its accessibility on the iPad. It also has Apple Watch functionality, which means you can take your task management on the road with you. That makes it the best option for people who track to-do lists with wearable tech.
- Simple, uncluttered, and elegant
- See your agenda for the day and the evening
- See your upcoming schedule
- Intuitive, even for the non-tech-savvy
- For Apple devices only
- Requires you to purchase the app for every device you want to use it on (except for iPhone/Apple Watch)
- 14-day free trial, then a $49.99 one-time purchase for macOS
- $9.99 one-time purchase for iOS and Apple Watch
- $19.99 one-time purchase for iPadOS
Google Calendar: Best iPad Calendar App
Google Calendar is a great alternative if you want a free calendar app and don’t mind stepping outside the Apple ecosystem.
Why I Chose This App
Google Calendar has several features that make it a handy companion for your studies, such as the ability to create recurring tasks and block out time. If you need to organize your workflow into different categories, the app lets you color-code events. On top of that, you can invite others to meetings and events when collaborating with them.
Because Google Calendar sits inside Gmail, you can view your schedule while responding to your messages. Wherever you’ve downloaded and signed into the app, your calendars will automatically sync across those devices. And if you have an iPhone or iPad, you can add Google Calendar widgets to keep track of each day.
- Completely free
- Available on most devices
- Lots of customizable features
- Users must have a Google account
- No downloadable apps for Windows and Mac
- Free forever
Top iPad Productivity Apps for Teams
Working with your teammates and colleagues is an essential part of productivity. Connect with them seamlessly with these software programs.
Google Productivity Suite: Best Overall Suite of iPad Apps
The Google Productivity Suite allows you to do all your work in one place. Moreover, they’re all available on the cloud, making sharing with teams easier.
Why I Chose This App
How could I not include Google’s productivity apps? Google offers some of the best free apps today, benefiting students and professionals. You can use apps like Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Keep, and Google Drive straight from the web or download them onto your iPad for ease.
Google Docs is a fantastic Microsoft Word (or Apple Pages) alternative, while Sheets makes an excellent Microsoft Excel (or Numbers) replacement. Google Drive is a great way to store your files and sync everything across all of Google’s apps, including the two mentioned above.
Since you’re looking for productive iPad apps, you might also want to consider Google Keep. Google Keep is a great free app that allows you to take text-based notes, set reminders, create checklists, record voice notes (on mobile), organize, and collaborate. With the Google Chrome extension, you can clip snippets of text, images, and websites into your Google Keep app. It’s pretty handy for keeping track of stuff you come across!
- Available for free, though you can access more apps and features through a Google Workspace subscription
- Compatible across platforms, mobile apps available
- Seamlessly integrates with other Google apps and products
- Get 15GB of Google Drive storage for free
- Requires internet for best use
- Sometimes buggy
- Some apps can be resource-intensive, especially when loaded with a lot of data.
- Sign up for Google Workspace: 14-day free trial, then a monthly or yearly subscription per user; pricing information is available here.
Slack: Best Productivity App for Office iPads
For effective real-time communication, I recommend Slack. It’s not just a communication tool, though — you’ll be surprised with the other software you can integrate.
Why I Chose This App
With a free app, Slack lets you use one channel and one workspace. This should be enough if you need to create a group chat with the other people studying your course. The ability to integrate up to 10 other apps is something to consider if your attention is currently spread too thin. If you’re already using Slack to communicate with your team, this is the most valuable productivity app for office iPads.
The free version of Slack lets you view your message history up to 90 days later. You can, however, upgrade to a paid version for everyday business usage. It’s worth it when your team prefers Slack to Teams or Discord. And the individual iPad apps don’t cost anything extra.
- Available on smartphones and tablets
- Free plan available
- Responsive app interface
- Free plan limitations may be restrictive
- Free plan available
- Slack Pro: $8.75/mo / $87/yr
- Slack Business+: $12.50/mo / $180/yr
- Slack Enterprise: Custom pricing
Which Apps Should You Download?
To make the judgment, I recommend downloading them all and getting a feel of them first — you can always hit the Uninstall option later. But to make it easier for you, here’s a summary you can use:
|Choose this app for…
|Secure and private online work at affordable VPN rates
|An efficient and safe method to store and recall your passwords
|Well-managed meetings, established event schedules, and more
|A distraction-free writing environment
|An easy way to edit PDFs for work and school
|Easy graphic editing and tons of creative templates
|A good note-taking experience without going outside the Apple ecosystem
|Organized note-taking with extra features, like web clipping
|Simple task management interface
|Free but effective time management
|Google Productivity Suite
|Seamless experience across documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows
|Effective real-time communication within your team
Frequently Asked Questions
I want to ensure I cover everything you need to know about productivity apps for iPad, so I’ve included some of the most common questions I hear on the subject.
How Can an iPad Increase Productivity?
Many people rely on tablets for productivity. The key to making the most of it is the apps you choose to use. That’s why I created this list of the best productivity apps for iPad.
While these tablets are fun, they’re only effective business tools when loaded with the right software. Of course, that means different things for different industries. A project manager may find enormous value in Evernote or Slack, while a designer may find the most value in a productivity app like Canva.
What Is the Best Free iPad App for Productivity?
There are countless free productivity iPad apps available today, some even built right into your iPad (like Apple Notes or Freeform, if your iPad is updated and compatible with the latter).
However, there’s a clear set of products that provides the most value. My team uses Google Suite every day. I use it personally and professionally, and I can’t imagine trying to use something like Microsoft Office in place of it.
How Much Are iPad Productivity Apps?
The best work apps for iPad come in varying price ranges, with some available for free and others costing upwards of $60 per year.
Some apps are available on a subscription-only basis, meaning you’ll need to pay for continued access. Others are available through one-time purchases, which may be more economical.
Is Procreate Free on iPad?
Procreate is an excellent app for designers, but it isn’t free. Because Canva offers a robust free tier, it earned a recommendation on my list of productivity apps.
What Is the Best iPad to Buy for Office Work?
Your tablet choice isn’t as important as the apps you install. When shopping for an iPad, look for a newer model (ideally something in the past three years) and make sure it supports the latest version of iOS. If it does, you’ll be fine with just about any of them. Note that Amazon often offers discounts on older iPads.
How Can I Make My Old iPad More Efficient?
Remove your old apps if you want to speed up your old iPad. While Apple is notorious for planned obsolescence, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your tablet work more quickly. You can factory reset the device and install the productivity apps you plan to use. This is the easiest way to make an old iPad faster.
With countless options available on the app store, it can be overwhelming to decide which apps to install on your iPad. Luckily, many apps offer free versions or trial periods to let you take things for a test drive before committing. That’s why I made this list of the best iPad productivity apps.
In some cases, the free versions of the apps may even suffice for your needs, and you won’t have to purchase anything. That said, I also included some paid options. These are included for their robust features, and they’re a worthwhile start to any iPad productivity tech stack.
Want more productivity hacks? Check out this online course to improve your productivity and time management! Learn to take control of your mindset and energy levels to increase your productivity while creating a personal plan that fits your personality and style.