TIME Tablets

50 Must-Have iPad Apps

Here's a list of essentials every iPad owner should consider. Each entry features alternative options to check out, too, for well over 100 apps. Did we miss something? Tell us about the apps you can't live without in the comments section.

  • 1Password

    1password
    AgileBits

    1Password creates hard-to-crack passwords for your online accounts and hides them all behind one, secure master password (don’t forget your master password). Aside from just login credentials, you can use 1Password to protect your credit cards, passport, bank account numbers and even notes you don’t want falling into the wrong hands.

    1Password in the App Store

    See also: Keeper Password & Data Vault, LastPass

  • Allrecipes

    Allrecipes Dinner Spinner
    Allrecipes

    Referencing an iPad while cooking is usually far less cumbersome than using a computer, and the free Allrecipes app puts thousands of recipes and step-by-step videos at your fingertips. You can even sync recipes and ingredients with your Allrecipes.com account’s recipe box and shopping lists.

    Allrecipes in the App Store

    See also: BigOven, Epicurious

  • BaconReader for Reddit

    BaconReader for Reddit
    OneLouder

    Reddit — the self-proclaimed front page of the Internet — gets a glossy makeover with BaconReader. The app lets you cruise subreddits, follow friends, use multiple accounts and upload photos that you can draw all over using the iPad’s touchscreen.

    BaconReader for Reddit in the App Store

    See also: Alien Blue, Pics HD for Reddit

  • BlogPad Pro for WordPress

    BlogPad Pro for WordPress
    Macroweb Ltd

    If you maintain a WordPress site, the $5 BlogPad Pro app deserves a spot on your iPad. The visual editor sports a ton of features, there’s an offline mode and the conflict-management feature prevents you from accidentally overwriting someone else’s work if you’re both trying to work on a post at the same time.

    BlogPad Pro for WordPress in the App Store

    See also: WordPress, Blogsy

  • Catalog Spree

    Catalog Spree
    Padopolis

    Under normal circumstances, you’d need a pickup truck to lug 350 catalogs around. The free Catalog Spree app shrinks 350 popular catalogs into digital form and lets you swipe through pages and pages of potential purchases without breaking a sweat.

    Catalog Spree in the App Store

    See also: Catalogue by TheFind, thredUP

  • Chrome

    Chrome
    Google

    If you use Google’s Chrome web browser on your computer, loading the free app onto your iPad is a no-brainer simply for the ability to synchronize your browsing history, passwords and bookmarks. Incognito Mode gives you the option of browsing more privately, there’s a feature that helps you cut down on mobile data use, and you can search by voice.

    Chrome in the App Store

    See also: Dolphin, Coast by Opera

  • Dictionary.com Dictionary & Thesaurus

    dictionary
    Dictionary.com

    Dictionary.com’s iPad app boasts audio pronunciations, daily content (Word of the Day, slideshows and more) and over 2 million definitions. Perhaps best of all, most of the content can be accessed offline, so if you’re in an area without connectivity, you’ll still be able to look stuff up.

    Dictionary.com Dictionary & Thesaurus in the App Store

    See also: WolframAlpha, Merriam-Webster Dictionary HD

  • Fan TV

    Fan TV
    Fanhattan

    There’s no shortage of streaming TV and movie services available, but launching separate apps for each one quickly gets cumbersome. The free Fan TV app acts like a slick launchpad to other popular streaming apps, letting you find and watch what you want with minimal fuss.

    Fan TV in the App Store

    See also: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video

  • Fantastical 2

    Fantastical 2
    Flexibits

    Fantasical 2 is a feature-full calendar app that lets you add reminders, tasks and to-dos using natural language phrases. You can event set up geofences to have the app remind you of certain events or tasks when you enter a certain area, such as your home or office. And like any good calendar app, it plays nicely with Exchange, Google Calendar and iCloud.

    Fantastical 2 in the App Store

    See also: Calendars by Readdle, Remember The Milk

  • Feedly Reader

    Feedly
    Feedly

    Some of us like to read our news the (relatively) old-fashioned way. Thankfully, cruising your RSS feeds is a breeze with Feedly. The free app presents your favorite news sources in a slick card-like interface, highlights which posts are popular with other users and lets you browse for additional sources to add to your collection.

    Feedly in the App Store

    See also: Feedler, News

  • FitStar Personal Trainer

    FitStar
    FitStar

    FitStar looks to play the role of your virtual personal trainer by way of its “dynamic progression algorithm,” which adjusts the difficulty of your workouts alongside your fitness level and goals. The app can be cast to your TV set if you’ve got an Apple TV box, and the workouts are hosted by NFL great Tony Gonzalez.

    FitStar Personal Trainer in the App Store

    See also: Workout Trainer, Daily Workouts

  • Flipboard

    flipboard
    Flipboard

    One of the best-looking apps on our list, Flipboard bills itself as “your personal magazine.” Browse handpicked articles on various topics and pipe in updates from your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr accounts for a one-stop shop that caters to your interests.

    Flipboard in the App Store

    See also: Zite, LinkedIn Pulse

  • Friendly+ for Facebook

    Friendly
    Friendly App Studio

    If you’re not too keen on Facebook’s own iPad app, you might consider ponying up a couple bucks for the Friendly+ app. It presents Facebook in a simple, well-laid-out interface and includes extras such as a PIN code lock, multiple account support and custom-configured birthday reminders. There’s a free, ad-supported version as well.

    Friendly+ for Facebook in the App Store

    See also: Facebook

  • GarageBand

    Garage Band
    Apple

    Apple’s GarageBand app lets you indulge your inner Van Halen by laying down up to 32 music tracks containing just about any instrument you could imagine. Connect four iPhones, iPads or iPod Touches over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to record you and your bandmates at the same time, then share your finished creation on various social networks.

    GarageBand in the App Store

    See also: Figure, Music Studio

  • Genius Scan+

    Genius Scan
    The Grizzly Labs

    Genius Scan+ helps you tame that mountain of paperwork, digitizing it so you can quickly deal with it later — much, much later. The app detects the edges of documents when you snap a photo, and can then save them as PDF files and back them up to popular online storage services. A free, feature-limited version is available as well.

    Genius Scan+ in the App Store

    See also: Scanner Pro, Doc Scan HD

  • Google Maps

    Google Maps
    Google

    The reigning champion of helping you get from point A to point B, Google Maps is a must-download. Sure, the app helps you get where you’re going (or figure out where you are), but it also pulls in restaurant recommendations leveraged by Google’s purchase of Zagat, and real-time traffic information leveraged by Google’s purchase of Waze. If your iPad’s got a cellular connection, you can use Google Maps as a GPS system, too.

    Google Maps in the App Store

    See also: Google Earth, Waze Social GPS, Maps & Traffic

  • Hangouts

    Hangouts
    Google

    Assuming you have a Google account and friends who have Google accounts, the Hangouts app is an easy way to keep in touch with everyone. Let your fingers do the talking with the IM-like chat features, then switch to free group video calling with up to 10 people once the discussion really gets going.

    Hangouts in the App Store

    See also: Skype, ooVoo

  • Hipmunk Hotels & Flights

    Hipmunk
    Hipmunk

    Hipmunk takes the traditional flight-search model and turns it on its head, showing options sorted first by “agony,” then by price and other factors. You’re treated to a grid of at-a-glance info about which flights and hotels have Wi-Fi, which flights have long layovers, and a “heatmap” of hotel options that shows you how close each hotel is to the action — all in a fun, easy-to-use interface.

    Hipmunk Hotels & Flights in the App Store

    See also: Kayak, Orbitz

  • Houzz Interior Design Ideas

    Houzz
    Houzz

    If you’re looking for a little inspiration when decorating your home, the super-slick Houzz app has it. Well, it doesn’t have a little inspiration, actually: It has a lot of it. There are over 2 million photos of rooms, furniture and other products, all of which you can clip and save to a virtual scrapbook.

    Houzz Interior Design Ideas in the App Store

    See also: Homestyler Interior Design, ColorSmart by BEHR Mobile

  • iA Writer

    iA Writer
    Information Architects

    When all you want to do is indulge in a bit of distraction-free writing, the sparse-yet-useful iA Writer has you covered. You can focus on as few as three lines when writing on your iPad, and files can be saved via iCloud or Dropbox to be accessed on your iPhone or other devices. The app’s special keyboard sports arrow keys and direct access to punctuation, too.

    iA Writer in the App Store

    See also: Apple iWork, Microsoft Office

  • iHeartRadio

    iHeartRadio
    iHeartRadio

    If you’re listening to the radio, there’s a good chance you’re listening to a station owned by Clear Channel. The iHeartRadio app offers live streaming from thousands of Clear Channel stations, on-demand talk shows and the ability to create your own station from over 18 million songs.

    iHeartRadio in the App Store

    See also: Pandora, TuneIn Radio

  • IM+ Pro7

    IM+ Pro7
    SHAPE GmbH

    If there’s an instant messaging service out there that’s even moderately popular, chances are IM+ Pro7 works with it. Whether your friends use Facebook, Skype, Google, AIM, Yahoo or one of several others, you’ll be able to communicate with each other without juggling a bunch of different apps.

    IM+ Pro7 in the App Store

    See also: AIM, Hangouts

  • IMDb Movies & TV

    IMDb
    IMDb

    Spend enough time in front of your TV and you’ll eventually want to know why that person in that one show or movie looks so familiar. The free IMDb (Internet Movie Database) app has info on over 2 million TV shows and movies and over 4 million actors, directors and crew members.

    IMDb Movies & TV in the App Store

    See also: iTunes Movie Trailers, Movies by Flixster

  • Intellicast HD

    Intellicast HD
    WSI Corporation

    Weather apps are a dime a dozen (most are free, actually), but Intellicast HD has some of the best-looking, most up-to-date weather maps around. You’ll know exactly what’s headed your way, and how bad it’s going to be once it hits. The app is free; an extra two bucks gets you access to real-time, high-resolution radar feeds and some other goodies.

    Intellicast HD in the App Store

    See also: Yahoo Weather, The Weather Channel

  • Jinni My TV & Movie Guide

    Jinni
    Jinni

    The promise of personalized TV and movie recommendations always seems to be something of a letdown. Jinni provides a ray of hope, though, analyzing thousands of data points while hooking into your favorite streaming services and your cable provider to serve up a watch list you might actually want to watch.

    Jinni My TV & Movie Guide in the App Store

    See also: IMDb, Fan TV

  • Kindle

    Kindle
    Amazon

    There are several worthwhile e-book reading apps to choose from, but Amazon’s Kindle platform gets the nod thanks to its availability on just about every other device on the market. If it’s rectangular, has a screen of some type and connects to the Internet, you can probably use it to read a Kindle book.

    Kindle in the App Store

    See also: iBooks, Nook, Audible

  • Mailbox

    Mailbox
    Dropbox

    Mailbox looks to tame your Gmail inbox by letting you quickly archive emails with a swipe or turn them into task-like entities to deal with later. The app’s design emphasizes speed and simplicity, helping you to slice through your mountain of messages in a matter of minutes. Yes, you’re basically engaging in digital procrastination, but at least it’ll help you feel somewhat organized. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of reaching inbox zero, if only for a short while.

    Mailbox in the App Store

    See also: Gmail, Yahoo Mail

  • Mint Personal Finance

    Mint
    Intuit

    Instead of downloading separate apps to keep track of each credit card and bank account you own, try Mint. The free app connects to all your accounts and displays your balances, lets you customize a budget and shows your spending trends organized by category.

    Mint Personal Finance in the App Store

    See also: Check, Spending Tracker

  • Morning

    Morning
    Tamper

    If you check your iPad first thing in the morning, why not get an overview of what you actually have to do each day? The Morning app shows you weather, reminders, traffic along your commute, news, calendar items, stock prices and more, all tucked into a handsome card-like grid that’s available in multiple colorful themes.

    Morning in the App Store

    See also: Planner Plus, Google Search

  • Notability

    Notability
    Ginger Labs

    In the old days, to get your written notes synchronized with an audio recording, you used to have to spend over a hundred bucks on a fancy pen and paper combo. Notability now offers similar functionality in an inexpensive app. Take notes while your iPad records the audio, then play it all back later. Your notes will reveal themselves in time with what’s being played back on the audio recording.

    Notability in the App Store

    See also: Springpad, Evernote

  • Paper by FiftyThree

    Paper
    FiftyThree

    Paper is a free iPad app with a simple interface that lets you write, sketch and paint in virtual notebooks. It may not seem like rocket science, but realistically replicating the feel of various writing and art utensils on a tablet screen is a complicated feat that Paper pulls off with style.

    Paper by FiftyThree in the App Store

    See also: SketchBook Express, ColorBox HD

  • PCalc

    PCalc
    TLA Systems

    If you’re going to load a calculator onto something the size of a tablet, you might as well go big. At $10, PCalc isn’t your ordinary calculator: It’s like a scientific calculator that fell in radioactive goop and now has superpowers. At the same time, however, it’s functional as a straightforward calculator for those of us who aren’t especially mathletic.

    PCalc in the App Store

    See also: Calculator, Calculator Pro

  • PDFpen

    PDFpen
    SmileOnMyMac

    PDFpen is a great go-to app for dealing with complex PDF files, letting you edit documents, create notes and sign forms with ease. And if you’re a Mac user, the app is available for your computer as well, working with Dropbox and iCloud to sync your documents between your iPad and your Mac.

    PDFpen in the App Store

    See also: Adobe Reader, PDF Reader

  • Photo Editor by Aviary

    Photo Editor by Aviary
    Aviary

    For a free image editor, this app from Aviary sports a wealth of features. Aside from being able to crop and rotate your photos, there’s red-eye reduction, blemish removal, teeth whitening and more. You can add doodles, text and stickers to liven up your images as well.

    Photo Editor by Aviary in the App Store

    See also: Photoshop Elements, iPhoto

  • Pinterest

    Pinterest
    Pinterest

    Pinterest, the web’s most popular pin board, makes for a great couch companion. Pass the time browsing your friends’ pins, or pin things from around the web for projects or vacation ideas that you’d like to revisit later.

    Pinterest in the App Store

    See also: Glimpse, Clipboard

  • Pocket

    Pocket
    Read It Later

    Pocket lets you grab various bits from around the web — articles, videos, images and more — and save them for later perusal. The free app takes text articles and strips out all the ads, buttons and other digital detritus to present a clean, easy-on-the-eyes reading experience.

    Pocket in the App Store

    See also: Instapaper, Readability

  • Procreate

    Procreate
    Savage Interactive

    Procreate is not to be confused with a baby-making app. Despite the silly name, this app helps you make some serious art: With 120 brushes and over a hundred layers, Procreate turns your iPad into a digital canvas that can be manipulated almost as well as the real thing. You can even record your paintings as high-definition videos, playing back each stroke as it happens.

    Procreate in the App Store

    See also: Paper by FiftyThree, SketchBook Express

  • Recorder Plus + HD

    Recorder Plus
    Turbokey Studio

    Recorder Plus + HD is a full-featured audio recording app that lets you record sound files limited only by the available space on your iPad. And if you need to edit those long files, there’s a built-in audio editor that’s easy to use thanks to the iPad’s touchscreen. You can even share your audio files directly over your Wi-Fi network. There’s a free version with fewer features, as well.

    Recorder Plus + HD in the App Store

    See also: Voice Record Pro, Voice Recorder HD

  • Scribd

    Scribd
    Scribd

    Do you like e-books? Do you not like having to pay $10 for each one? Scribd is like a Netflix for e-books, giving you unlimited access to over 100,000 tomes for nine bucks a month. If you read books like people binge-watch movies and TV on Netflix or download music all day on Spotify, Scribd is worth a closer look.

    Scribd in the App Store

    See also: Gutenberg Literature, Kindle, iBooks

  • Songza

    Songza
    Songza Media

    Sometimes you don’t want to put too much thought into your music. In that spirit, Songza offers up mood-based playlists cobbled together by music professionals. Stream a mix for working out or driving or unwinding or singing in the shower. The moods can get as specific as you like, and the service is free and unlimited if you’re willing to put up with some intermittent ads.

    Songza in the App Store

    See also: Pandora Radio, Rdio, Spotify Music

  • Spotify Music

    Spotify
    Spotify

    For $10 a month, Spotify acts like a giant music store where you download as much music as you want for offline playback from your phone, tablet or computer. There’s also a streaming radio option, and if you don’t want to pony up $10 a month for the premium version, there’s an ad-supported version that lets you listen to any song for free.

    Spotify in the App Store

    See also: Rdio, Slacker, Rhapsody

  • StumbleUpon

    StumbleUpon
    StumbleUpon

    StumbleUpon has long perfected the art of serving up random items of interest on the web to users who just want something to do. Choose an interest, hit the big Stumble button and give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to whatever is presented to you. Repeat.

    StumbleUpon in the App Store

    See also: BaconReader for Reddit, Alien Blue Reddit Client

  • Team Stream HD

    Team Stream
    Bleacher Report

    Bleacher Report’s Team Stream app has a pretty fitting name. You pick your favorite sports teams and the app serves up a heaping helping of scores, tweets, articles, videos and photos in short order. You can set yourself up to get various notifications as they happen, and easily share updates over social media and via text messages to your friends.

    Team Stream HD in the App Store

    See also: theScore Mobile, Yahoo Sports

  • Titan Downloader

    Titan Downloader
    Connect Technology

    The free Titan Downloader app features a built-in web browser that lets you save video files you find on various sites for playback at a later time. You can queue up multiple videos to play one after another and set a pass-code lock to prevent others from accessing your collection.

    Titan Downloader in the App Store

    See also: MyMedia, iDownloader

  • TripIt

    TripIt
    TripIt

    As a TripIt user, you can make travel bookings and forward the confirmation emails from your airline, hotel, car-rental service and more to plans@tripit.com; those bookings will then be organized into a coherent itinerary available from within the free app.

    TripIt in the App Store

    See also: WorldMate, TripCase

  • Tumblr

    Tumblr
    Tumblr

    Tumblr is a weird, wild, wonderful collection of musings, images and videos — the Internet is a better place for it. And the official Tumblr app pays the site a great service by being just as straightforward and well-polished. You can use it to share just about anything with a few taps, while keeping tabs on multiple blogs and all your messages. It works offline when you don’t have a connection, too.

    Tumblr in the App Store

    See also: BlogPad Pro for WordPress, Twitter, Facebook

  • TuneIn Radio

    TuneIn
    TuneIn

    Think of the free TuneIn app as being able to turn your iPad into a radio capable of pulling in almost any station from anywhere in the world. The service boasts over 100,000 live radio station feeds and 2 million podcasts to choose from.

    TuneIn in the App Store

    See also: Songza, Pandora, SiriusXM

  • Tweetbot for Twitter

    Tweetbot
    Tapbots

    There are plenty of free ways to interact with Twitter, but the $3 Tweetbot app is well worth the price of admission, with an eye-popping design, time-saving gestures that you can customize to perform various tricks and connections to several third-party web services.

    Tweetbot in the App Store

    See also: Twitter, Hootsuite

  • Vodio

    Vodio
    Vodio Labs

    In case you hadn’t noticed, there are a lot of videos on the web. Vodio stitches together the videos people are actually watching, and organizes them into various categories so you can watch the ones that interest you. The app even suggests videos to you based on the types of videos you watch on Twitter and Facebook, getting smarter over time.

    Vodio in the App Store

    See also: Frequency, Showyou

  • Yelp

    Yelp
    Yelp

    If you’re on vacation or new in town (or even not-so-new in town) and you want to learn about what’s around you — shops, restaurants, dry cleaners, gas stations, bars, you name it — Yelp has you covered, complete with user reviews so you can separate the good from the bad.

    Yelp in the App Store

    See also: YP Local Search & Gas Prices, AroundMe

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