The Lifehack Big List: 50 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone
Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity. There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category. Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at.
And everyone has the one they prefer.
It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together what we’re calling The Lifehack Big List to publish on a semi-regular basis when we want to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you to review at your leisure.
Today, we’re starting with 50 top productivity apps for iPhone. Let’s get started…
OmniFocus: This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.
Any.Do: A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.
Do.com: From the folks at Salesforce, this app has a great user interface and allows for collaborative task management. Lifehack’s Will Kelly recently spoke of the app’s latest features here.
QuickCal Mobile: If you want a calendar app that looks and works great, you can’t go wrong with this choice. and it allows you to add events using “natural language”, which increases productivity, well…naturally.
Agenda: Another calendar app, this app also has built-in messaging options that allow for easy communication when you’re running late or need to make changes to appointments.
Evernote: Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.
Flow: From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.
Evernote Hello: A companion app (of sorts) to Evernote, this app allows you keep tabs on who you’ve come in contact with and when you did so by syncing to your Evernote account. Clever.
Evernote Food: Much in the same way Evernote Hello syncs to Evernote for people you meet, Evernote Food does so for food you eat. A great way to be able to quickly remember where you had that great meal — and when you had it.
Captio: A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”
Drafts: A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.
Threadnote: Another entry into the “quick capture” arena, Lifehack contributor Michael Schechter has described it as follows: “(Threadnote) mimics the functionality of Twitter, but is intended only to be used for yourself.” (You can read more of his thoughts on the app here.
Calvetica Calendar: An early entry into the iOS calendar game, Calvetica Calendar is still a favorite among many users due to its power and clean look.
Doodle: This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.
Droplr: One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”
AwayFind: Rather than use Mail.app as your email app notifier, give AwayFind a go. You can have it notify you (a la Notification Center) and it will make sure that only the emails you want to have access to right away are the ones you have access to right away.
1Password: There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.
TextExpander Touch: I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.
Dropbox: Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.
iDolly: In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone. And since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.
Dialvetica Contacts: From the makers of the aforementioned Calvetica Calendar, this app makes dialling people up on your iPhone quicker. Much quicker.
Buzz Contacts: From the makers of Agenda, this app “is an iPhone dialer, texting & group text messaging app, and contacts app all in one.” (And the developer is right: it did wind up replacing the standard Contacts app in my Dock.)
Clear: A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.
Due: A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.
Steps: This app seems to be similar to Clear in a lot of ways visually — and was overlooked when it arrived on the scene as a result. Steps doesn’t rely as heavily on gestures to operate, syncs with iCloud, and allows for due dates and times. Definitely worth a look.
Checkmark:I use this app for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.
Free-Time: Want to know how much time you have free on a given day? Free-Time looks at your calendar and does the math for you. Handy if you focus on time management but don’t necessarily count the hours involved.
bloom*: bloom* keeps you grounded. Sure, it can remind you to take a drink of water or tell a loved one how you feel, but bloom* is more of a “centering” app in that you can use it as an escape from the “to do list” and get in touch with your “to be” list.
Nirvana: for the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”
GoodReader: This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but Lifehack Associate Editor CM Smith will give you plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.
Priorities: An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews, this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.
Orchestra To-Do: With Orchestra To Do, you can enter tasks, share them with others and even record audio. It’s not as feature-rich as other options out there, but the price (free) is right. (And they’re up to something over there called Mailbox — get the scoop on that over here.)
Astrid: Touted as “the personal assistant you’ve always wanted”, Astrid has been making waves in productivity circles — especially as of late. In fact, Astrid was voted the Most Popular To-Do List App by Lifehacker in a recent reader poll.
Day One: When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.
Streaks: This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.
Remember The Milk: Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.
Soulver: It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” (Read the rest of Ben’s thoughts on Soulver here.
Teux Deux: Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.
Wunderlist: Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.
RE.minder: This reminder-style app is a popular one as well — and it works offline, which is a bonus.
Toodledo: This is one of CM smith’s favorites. Says Smith, “I’ve personally used Toodledo on-and-off for almost 3 years now and I still think that it is one of the best apps for getting things done.” You can read more about his thoughts on the app (when it was part of our 12 Days of Giveaways Holiday Promotion from 2011) here.
Pop for iOS: This app is one of the simplest out there — and that’s by design. The idea is to simply treat Pop for iOS as a piece of paper, capture your thoughts and deal with them later. It is very quick and easy to use. While it may not be the backbone app of your productivity workflow, it very well can act as a starting point.
Cheddar: This app is fast as well, and it has Markdown support (which is nice for those who would rather write in Markdown as much as possible). It looks good and is getting better all the time as it is under active development.
There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 50 are among the best. If you’ve got suggestions of some that were missed — or perhaps you want to tell us which one you currently use — let us know in the comments below.