Productivity can mean a lot of different things to different
people. To some, it means easier note taking. To others, it’s a
virtual public assistant. To still others, it means keeping track of
billing hours. When it comes down to it, though, productivity apps are
those applications that will make it easier for you to get things done
– at home and at work.
there are tons of apps out there, so finding ones that actually do what
you need or want can be a bit difficult. So here are 20 iPhone
productivity apps to keep you on track.
To-do lists and notes
are lots of apps that allow you to take notes and organize them and do
all sorts of nifty things with them. But if you want to access that
note from, say, your father’s computer because you’re not at home and
your iPhone ran out of power, you better have e-mailed it to yourself.
Or have Evernote,
which allows you to skip the e-mail part of the process but gives you
access to your notes, lists and other stuff anywhere you have an
The app is free and so is the basic service, which gives you 40MB of storage a month. For $5 a month,
you get 500 MB of storage, more document types supported, the ability
to search within PDFs and the ability to allow others to edit your
notes and documents, turning it into a collaborative tool.
free to-do list app, ReQall, gets high points from many reviewers.
Besides integrating with the calendars on Microsoft Outlook and Google
(on the free ReQall account, it’s done via iCal, on the pro account,
the integration is direct), you can share your reminders with others
and it converts voice memos into text notes if you so desire. Like
Evernote, ReQall will sync your memos and reminders to an online
account so you don’t even have to have your phone with you to look up
or add memos or reminders.
The free account allows you to
convert spoken memos of up to 30 seconds into a text note and organizes
your notes according to date and type. A pro account adds location to
the organization and also will find any Evernotes relating to your
ReQall items. The pro account runs $24.99 per year.
‚Ä¢ Remember the Milk
app gets high marks on most reviewers’ lists for being simple and
intuitive. The app is free – but only if you have a Remember the Milk
pro account online. That’s $25/year. You can set it to auto sync when
you have a connection, or work offline. You can auto-link to e-mail
addresses in your address book or URLs on Safari and you can set up
specific dates for tasks or develop Smart Lists that give a group of
tasks the same criteria.
It sends reminders via e-mail, SMS text or instant messenger (including Skype), depending on your preference.
one’s a little different. Jott transcribes voice notes to text and can
post them to Google Calendar, Twitter, Facebook and a host of other
services. There’s also a desktop app and you have an account on
Jott.com it gets synced with. It can even work with Remember the Milk,
as well as Blogger and WordPress. I guess if you want to dictate a
(short) blog post, this is your app.
As with any voice-to-text app, there are sure to be some glitches in the translation, but that’s only going to improve in time.
app itself is free, but you have to have a Jott account ‚Äî the basic
account is $3.95 a month, a pro account is $12.95 a month. You can also
get Jott a la carte, $6.95 for 5 minutes of recording time, up to 60
seconds per message.
Password and account management
‚Ä¢ Personal Assistant
app allows you to keep track of all your online accounts – from credit
cards and banks to Netflix and eBay; from frequent flyer miles to
social networking. Granted, it could be a bit unnerving putting all
those accounts behind one single security wall, but Pageonce assures
its customers about that, informing customers it “uses 256 bit data
encryption, 128 bit data encrypted SSL systems and is insured by a top
10 A+ rated insurance carrier” on Personal Assistant.
The premium version is $9.99
and has a few extra features, such as allowing an unlimited number of
accounts, real-time flight information and refreshing all your accounts
with one click. Both versions alert users when there may be fraudulent
activity on their accounts, as well.
app’s website suggests you can save your web site login credentials,
driver license info, social security numbers, credit card account
information and the like in the app, locked behind a four-digit code
AND a master password, both of which you have to set up. So don’t use
“123password.” Once you’re behind the lock and key, you can use the
information stored in there to auto-fill your information on sites you log into on the app’s built-in browser.
can backup your data on your PC or Mac and the pro version allows you
to cut and paste information from the app into Safari or other apps
opened independently of 1Password. The app costs $4.99 ‚Äî $7.99 for the
Not only will eWallet store all
your username and password information for pretty much everything, it
also keeps track of your security questions and answers. You can sync
your information via wi-fi with your desktop – but only PCs running
Windows, so it’s not for everyone. But the company behind it, Ilium Software, has been around a long time,
with apps on Windows Mobile and Palm for more than a decade, so it has
a track record. The information is behind a 256-bit AES encryption. And
you can customize the look of each account you have in there.
is a free version, but you can only keep information on 10 accounts
there. The full version, which allows you to store unlimited accounts,
‚Ä¢ Dragon Dictation
A voice recognition application, Dragon Dictation is supposed to be five times
faster than just typing (hey, on an iPhone keyboard, that’s
believable). You see your message as you dictate, and can use it to
text or e-mail your friends, update Facebook or Twitter or send notes
to yourself. It’s free.
This app is for making
quality recordings with your iPhone. iTalk has selectable sample rates of
11.025kHz, 22.05 kHx or 44.10 kHz and you can either e-mail the
recording to yourself if it’s not too large, or transfer it via iTalk
Sync wirelessly to your computer. The free version won’t e-mail
recordings larger than 2 MB, though you can still transfer them via
The premium app has advanced playback controls,
while the free version has just basic controls. The premium usually
runs $5, but was $1.99 at the time of this writing.
Document viewing, editing, sharing
‚Ä¢ Air Sharing
app allows you to wirelessly drag-and-drop documents of a variety of
formats between your iPhone and your computer (Mac, Windows or
Linux-based). One nice feature: Air Sharing has controls that allow you to delay
or prevent iPhone auto-lock if you’re in the app. You can
password-protect certain files if need be, as well. Basically, it turns
your phone into a wireless USB drive. That you don’t only store
documents on, but also view and edit them. OK, a lot more than just a
wireless USB drive.
The standard version is $2.99, but you can
go pro for $9.99. The pro version allows you to access files in your
computer remotely and even print documents out. From. Your. Phone.
app also lets you use your iPhone as a sort of USB drive. For $4.99,
you can copy files from a PC or Mac onto your phone – and wirelessly,
if you get a second, free download. You can view most file types through FileMagnet,
including PDF, Office Suite and iWork ’09. You can e-mail the docs to
others and password-protect on here, too.
a portable version of Microsoft Office, basically. You can view, e-mail
and edit attachments in Microsoft Word and Excel. You can
password-protect files and have access to some of Office’s tools, such
as smooth scrolling, text underlining and word count. You can write in
English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Simplified
It’s usually $19.99, but at the time of this writing, was on sale for $7.99
‚Ä¢ Documents Free
can use the Documents Free app on or offline to edit and manage spreadsheet and text
files. It can open documents in Microsoft Excel and Word, Apple
Numbers, TextEdit, Notepad, Open Office and other office suites and it
can be synced with your Google Documents account so you can open the
files when you get home or to work on your Mac or PC.
Timewerks allows you to track the hours you’ve spent on various projects for
various clients and even send invoices from it. There’s even a built-in
stopwatch to keep track of the amount of time you’re spending on a
specific task: And it keeps running even if the app is closed. You can
also export the invoices to tab-delimited files via wi-fi to your
computer. And integration with Credit Card Terminal (which usually runs
$49.99 for the app, but is on sale for just 99 cents right now) allows
you to accept credit card payments directly through your phone.
before shelling out $9.99 for Timewerks, you can try the free “lite”
version. It has all the functions available in the full version, but
can only handle one project at a time.
TImeLogger also allows you to set timers and export your data in a CSV file to
a default account or by regular old e-mail. You can configure default
categories for different clients or types of jobs and keep track of
your time on projects or types of work. Jobs are sorted by client so
you keep track of what you’re doing for whom.
There’s a way to backup or restore data from a WebDAV or MobileMe account, too. The app costs $3.99.
‚Ä¢ Billings Touch
Billings Touch app can be used as a standalone or synced up with the desktop app on
your home computer. It’s a Mac-specific application, though, so if you
have an iPhone and a PC, it might not be as useful. You can track your
time spent on a project, mileage, expenses, invoicing and payments.
Those are in the free app.
For the $14.99 pro app, you also
can sync your data wirelessly with your desktop and e-mail invoices
directly from your phone. The desktop application is $39.99.
hard to find an article about productivity apps that doesn’t include
Instapaper. The app creates offline versions of any article from the
web. That way, if you’re taking the subway, flying cross-country or
riding a yak across the tundra, you can read the articles on your
phone. It takes a little pre-planning, as you have to actually save the
articles you’re interested in reading, but if you know you’re going to
be out of signal range and have some reading you need to catch up on …
basic version of Instapaper is free, and ad-supported. For $5, you get
a bunch of extra features, perhaps the best of which is the ability of
the app to remember where in the article you were (very handy if you’re
reading something long from The Wall Street Journal or The New Yorker
‚Ä¢ Mocha VNC
you can see your computer’s files, programs and other resources via
your phone using Mocha VNC. It has an encrypted password signon, zoom and control,
landscape mode (hey, not every app does!) and the ability to handle 20
host configurations. The full version also has a key for Ctrl+alt+del,
as well as extra keys such as the option and Apple keys and mouse
The lite version is free, and the full version is $5.99
‚Ä¢ Remote Desktop
from MochaSoft, Remote Desktop lets you, unsurprisingly, see your desktop
remotely. The catch is that it has to be a PC running Windows XP
Professional or Vista/Windows 7. You get full access through wifi or
the phone network and can work on any files or programs on your
computer through your phone.
The premium version is $5.99 and
for that has some extras the free version doesn’t have, including extra
mouse functions and text macro support.
‚Ä¢ Dragon Search
say what you want to search for and the app will give you simultaneous
results from a variety of sources ‚Äî Google, Yahoo or Bing (depending on
your defaults, and on the iPhone, for now, that’s generally Google),
YouTube, Twitter Search, iTunes and Wikipedia among them. Sure, YouTube
and Wikipedia generally show up high in a regular search, but this
gives you their searches separated out.
Depending on your needs, there are plenty of apps out there in all price ranges to help you organize your life and generally be more productive. There probably are more notetaking/organization apps than anything else, but most applications have free (or very cheap) versions you can try out before upgrading to the pro. If you’re not sure if the app is right for you, we’d suggest downloading the “lite” version and giving it a spin.
If you already have a desktop or web-based account with any of the applications, it probably would be worth your while to just get the iPhone app for it.