Several people have recently purchased iPad apps and I always get asked the same question, “What apps do I need?”
There is no way to comprehensibly answer that question and have it apply universally. Every user has different needs and wants, but there are a few apps that are across the board useful to most everyone. This list is not meant to answer the question exhaustively or exclusively. I am not including games or social media apps in this list for the sake of space. These are the apps I use the most and have found to be the most beneficial and therefore recommend the most.
Evernote: This is the Swiss Army Knife app. It covers so much. It is by far, my most used app. I keep all notes for everything here. All the meetings I attend and lead (as pastor this is not a small number) require notes before and after. I do all of that in this app. I write all my sermons, teachings, and studies in this app. I keep track of quotes, articles, ideas, thoughts, teachings, events, and anything else I need to remember. This has virtually replaced the paper notebook I used to carry. It is free and seamlessly syncs across all of my devices and can be logged in online. I have no fear of losing any important information. The desktop app is great. It is not a word processor or layout program, but I rarely have need of any other program for word processing needs as I write almost everything in Evernote.
You Version: This app is a gift for the world from LifeChurch.tv in Oklahoma. It is absolutely free. It is also the number one Bible app in the world. That’s because it is more than just Bible reading app. There are reading plans you can follow and it tracks your progress for you. You can take notes, highlight, and bookmark passages just like you can in a paper Bible. Several of the translations are downloadable so you don’t have to have internet connection to read the Bible. There are many less obvious features as well such as the “Live” feature. Many churches use this feature to enhance the experience of each attender. When you go the “Live” under the menu you can search for a service or event based on your zip code. If the church you are attending uses this feature, you can follow along on your iPad or iPhone (also works with Android) with the service with the scriptures preloaded and a place to take notes, answer questions, and provide feedback. This is the one app I recommend to everyone.
Flipboard: This is my media and content reader app. This is literally the world at your fingertips. In one app, I can keep up with Twitter & Facebook posts, blogs, news, trends, and so much more. This app is also free and very easy to set up. You can add news outlets, choose from categories (such as golf, cycling, or football), plus your own individual list of blogs that you follow. Basically this what movies about the future predicted our media and print consumption would one day look like. The layout is like a magazine and it feels very natural and intuitive to use. There are hundreds of channels to choose from. It is almost ridiculous how much content is available. It is the main way I read blogs and is my main source of daily news.
Pages, Numbers, Keynote: I don’t use these as much as Evernote, but they are invaluable to have. Pages is word processing and layout. Numbers is for spreadsheets. Keynote is for presentations. With these apps and a bluetooth keyboard, many people would not need a laptop. I have traveled without my laptop thanks to these apps. My associate pastor has a desktop computer and uses his iPad for everything away from the office. These apps help make that possible. With an iCloud account, all my documents are available on my iPad, iPhone, and laptop.
Dropbox, Sugarsync: These are two apps/services that do the same thing. Their interfaces are slightly different, but otherwise they are identical. They are essentially desktop/laptop services that give you access to files on your mobile device. I use Dropbox for transferring of files among our staff and church computers as well as others. I use Sugarsync as an online backup of my files. They are both free and have paid options. Sugarsync gives you more storage with the free account. Dropbox is more universally known and used.
Google Drive: If you are a Google user and use Google Drive (formerly called “docs”), this is a must have app. It not only gives you access to everything on your Google drive, but it allows you to edit and create docs from within the app. We use Google docs for all the documents that each of us need to share. This is different then how we use Dropbox as a file transfer system. We prefer Google for the purpose of shared docs for the user friendly interface and because it has the ability to create and edit docs natively within the app or browser.
Kindle: The ability to carry dozens of books at once without adding weight is priceless. This app is like having access to your library everywhere you go (as long as you own the Kindle version of the book). I don’t buy paper copies of books anymore except to give away. I buy the Kindle version and then can read it and bookmark as well as highlight the book synced across all of my devices.
- Calendar: I have tried a few third party calendar apps and keep coming back to this one for it’s simplicity, elegant design, and seamless integration with my Google and iCal calendars.
- Mail: I have found no need for another email client. Though, my one wish would be a “Select All” feature.
- Safari: I haven’t had any reason to change the default browser. It works. It is simple to use. It looks nice.
- iBooks: Great reader for ebooks and PDFs. I use this a lot.
Are there any apps you would add to this list?