Best productivity apps in 2021

best productivity apps
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If this is the year you're vowing to get more done, make sure to have one of the best productivity apps on your phone. Thanks to larger screens and more powerful processors, your phones can be a mobile workstation, letting you tackle tasks when you're out and about.

But which productivity-boosting apps deserve a space on your home screen? We've gone through mobile app stores to find some great options, from note-taking apps and mobile office suites to calendar apps, timers and to-do lists. These are the best productivity apps that you can install right now on your iOS or Android device.

The best productivity apps you can download today (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps

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Busy people often forget daily tasks and chores, but is there to keep your schedule on track with to-do list, reminders, notes and the ability to share lists with and assign tasks to others. One of the best productivity apps, lets you sync between phone, desktop, web, and tablet to keep your lists up to the minute. 

A voice-entry feature lets you add items to your task list just by speaking. Calendar integration is available for better task list management. Further enhance your productivity with cross-platform support for sub-tasks, notes, and file attachments. And iOS 14 users will appreciate the ability to view tasks in home screen widgets. Choose either a free or premium version with advanced features for $9.99 a month.

Download Android, iOS

Flow (iOS: $1.99/month)

best productivity apps flow

(Image credit: Moleskine)

When it comes to jotting down ideas, you can go with the built-in note-taking app that's already on your phone. But anyone with an iOS device can turn to Flow by Moleskine, which not only captured an Apple Design Award last year but also took home Apple's honors for the best iPad app of the year. 

Users can draw or take notes on an infinite-width canvas that lets you customize everything from your writing tools (virtual pens, pencils and markers in a variety of colors and sizes) and paper (from Moleskine's traditional ivory paper to black, white, and blue, with options for grids and more). Flow provides a luxurious drawing experience that fully supports iPhone and iPad interfaces. 

The app is free for a 7-day trial, with subscriptions costing $1.99 per month. With that fee, you get cloud storage and app updates.

Download Flow: iOS

Todoist (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivty apps Todoist

(Image credit: Doist)

One of the best productivity apps is the aptly named Todoist, a multi-platform planner app that keeps things efficient with a clean, gimmick-free approach to interface and task management. 

Featuring a powerful natural language engine that can easily transform a jotted down thought into a one-off or recurring task, color-coded priority levels, shared projects, and productivity graphs that record your progress, Todoist is a handy companion for getting things done. More advanced users will appreciate the powerful integration with services like Dropbox, IFTTT, and Slack. Updates have added features like Sections for organizing all of your projects and to-dos in groups and Quick Add to speedily add items to your lists.

A recent update brought the Upcoming view, which makes it easier to visualize the tasks you've scheduled for the future. While its iOS version is great for swiping week by week, it looks great on desktop, where you have more space to see your tasks day by day, weeks into the future.

The app is free forever, though premium subscriptions unlock additional features for $3.99 a month.

Download Todoist: Android, iOS

Word, Excel & Powerpoint (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps Microsoft Word & Excel

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Microsoft's Office suite of programs has long been a gold standard for desktop productivity, and the mobile versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint continue that tradition. Designed to provide maximum file compatibility with their desktop versions while modifying the interface for touchscreen devices, each of the three apps allows users to view and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations respectively. 

Cloud support for services such as OneDrive, Drive and Dropbox make for easy sharing and collaboration. While the free tier is OK for basic viewing and editing, you'll get the most out of the apps with an Office 365 subscription.

If you'd just as soon combine all those individual apps into one, Microsoft just released a new mobile version of Office for Android and iOS that features Word, Excel and Powerpoint, while also making the productivity suite more mobile-friendly.

Download Word: Android, iOS
Download Excel:
Android, iOS
Download Powerpoint:
Android, iOS

Drafts 5 (iOS: Free)

best productivity apps Drafts 5

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Agile Tortoise makes a mean note-taking and quickfire writing app with the aptly named Drafts, now in its fifth iteration. 

Fire Drafts up, and the app throws you a quick blank page with a keyboard at the ready. New entries and notes get placed into an Inbox so you can tag and sort them later. Alternatively, you can use any of the dozens of useful quick actions and app integrations to turn your jotted-down text notes into documents, tweets, social media notes, emails or messages, while Inboxed notes can be tagged for sorting, flagged for importance, or archived. The text editor itself is highly customizable, allowing you to tweak everything from spacing to line heights and margins. 

A premium subscription ($2.99/month) lets you add and edit quick actions; it also adds themes and icons while introducing workspaces and other handy productivity features.

Download Drafts: iOS

1Password (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps 1Password

(Image credit: AgileBits)

Nothing wastes time you could be spending doing something productive like trying to remember a password. 1Password is one of the best productivity apps because it saves you the mental energy of trying to recall every single password you've ever created, and it does it in a secure way. 

You can store many different things within 1Password — logins to apps and websites, credit cards, bank account info, passports, licenses and more — with a single Master Password protecting all that info. With end-to-end encryption and encryption keys that stay on your phone, you're the only one who ever sees your password. iPhone users with newer models will like how the app works with FaceID. 

You can try out 1Password for free for 30 days before signing up for a $3.99 monthly subscription.

Download 1Password: Android, iOS

Just Press Record  (iOS: $4.99)

best productivity apps Just Press Record

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Just Press Record is a versatile one-tap recording app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch that also adds some useful features like built-in transcription features for easy note taking. Users can record from a long press on the app icon, from a lockscreen or notification widget. (There's also an Apple Watch Complication for Just Press Record — see our guide on how to use the Apple Watch for more on that.) 

The app can transcribe speech with support for a number of languages and spoken punctuation commands. Recordings are sorted by date and time, and can be manually renamed. The transcription also allows you to search through recordings for specific terms. Recordings and transcriptions sync to iCloud, and you can share them to a variety of apps.

Download Just Press Record: iOS

Otter Voice Meeting Notes (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps Otter Voice Notes

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Another option for device-assisted voice note-taking is Otter Voice Meeting Notes, a smart transcription app. Otter can record from your phone's internal mic or through a Bluetooth device; it then automatically transcribes your work nearly in real-time, complete with punctuation, speaker ID, and searchable playback of your recordings. Users can edit transcripts to fix any errors, and transcripts can be exported to text or to other apps, or shared with a group or through public, view-only links. 

The free plan for Otter Voice Meeting Notes doesn't even hobble the experience, offering users 600 minutes of transcribed audio every month. A $9.99-per-month subscription ups that to 6,000 minutes.

Download Otter Voice Notes: Android, iOS

Memento (iOS: $3.99)

best productivity apps memento

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iOS users who want to improve the look of their reminders should check out Memento, which offers a choice between a traditional vertical view of upcoming to-dos and a more visually pleasing grid look. The app also appears as a Widget on the Today screen on your iOS device, and a For You tab helpfully provides an at-a-glance look at your most important reminders. 

Memento's share extension even lets you create reminders from other apps, and since Memento syncs with the built-in iOS Reminders app, all your existing to-dos easily transfer over to the new app.

Download Memento: iOS

Cloze (Android, iOS: $17 per month)

best productivity apps Cloze

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Keeping track of your business and professional contacts can be a dizzying to-do, so a good contacts manager can be a big help. Cloze tries to build an all-in-one contacts, social network and email command center. 

The app syncs details about your contacts from your social networks and email so that your information and profiles are always up-to-date. Cloze also functions as a one-stop social networking command center, allowing you to tweet, update your status, like or share links, and more. Additionally, Cloze uses your interactions and messages to identify "Key People" and automatically surfaces tweets, status messages and other related updates from them.

Download Cloze: Android, iOS

LiquidText (iPad: Free, $29.99 unlock)

best productivity apps LiquidText

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LiquidText is a remarkably powerful tool for working on documents on the iPad, providing a versatile workspace for you to annotate, compare, search, and review documents on you Apple tablet. 

With LiquidText, you can annotate right on the document, or jot down notes on the side and connect them to snippets of the document simply by drawing connecting lines. That creates connections across multiple pages or even multiple documents, linking together your ideas for ease of reference, without sacrificing the natural ease of use of handwritten notes. You can pull up excerpts and compare pages of different documents, annotate freely within a document or onto your workspace, and share your project with others by exporting your project workspace to PDF, Word document, or full LiquidText file.

Download LiquidText: iOS

24me (iOS: Free)

best productivity apps 24me

(Image credit: 24me)

24me is a smart virtual assistant app that helps you make sense of your business day and appointments by combining calendar features, a to-do-list, and note-taking.  The versatility of this tool makes it one of the best productivity apps.

The calendar syncs with a wide range of calendar services such as Google Calendar, iCal, Exchange and Outlook. 24me also provides smart notifications such as a heads-up notice for the next day's events and tasks, the right time to leave for your next appointment based on traffic conditions, and weather alerts. Voice controls make it easy to take down notes and set appointments, and you can even create tasks through Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Apple Watch. 

A premium subscription provides extra features like more customization options and the ability to turn emails into tasks.

Download 24Me: iOS

Toggl Track (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps toggl

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Toggl Track is a free time tracking app available for desktop and mobile that makes it a snap to keep tabs on your time. You can start, stop, and log times and tasks on your mobile phone or desktop with data syncing between the two platforms, allowing you to easily record hours spent on projects or tasks. Included tools help you organize, bulk edit, or tag entries for easy auditing and reporting, with the ability to import or export data in PDF or CSV formats. 

Premium subscriptions add features like locking time entries, reminders, rounding rules for billable time, as well as project and team management tools.

Download Toggl: Android, iOS

Adobe Acrobat Reader (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps Adobe Acrobat Reader

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Adobe Acrobat Reader is a highly functional annotation app, which users rely on to view and sign their PDFs. Open PDF files from email, the web, or any app that supports sharing as you search, scroll, and zoom in and out. You can comment on PDFs using sticky notes and drawing tools or highlight and mark up text with annotation tools. Fill out PDF forms by typing text into fields and use your finger to e-sign any document. Save and share documents through a free Adobe Document Cloud account or Dropbox. 

In-app purchases let you create PDFs, reorder pages, and convert Microsoft Office files and images. We also include the desktop version of Adobe Acrobat reader among our best PDF editors.

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader: Android, iOS

IFTTT (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps IFTTT

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If you find yourself wasting a lot of time with repetitive internet tasks, or just want to automate tasks on your phone, try IFTTT. The app comes with a variety of pre-built "applets" that automate tasks like backing up photos to cloud accounts, messaging your roommate or family if you're near the grocery, or having your smart lights turn themselves on when you return home from work. 

In addition to the pre-built applets, Users can also build custom tasks from these applets and services, combining multiple tasks and triggers in an "If This, Then That" structure (from which the app takes its name).

Download IFTTT: Android, iOS

Edison Mail (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps Edison Mail

(Image credit: Edison Software)

Edison Mail is an all-in one mobile email app that supports a variety of email clients while also bundling in a handy smart assistant and many helpful mail management features. The app offers configurable swipe controls, auto-sorting of email by categories, and a handy bulk unsubscribe feature to help you get off spammy mailing lists. 

Real-time travel notifications immediately alert you to any travel-related messages such as flight delays or gate changes, and the package-racking system makes a search for tracking codes a thing of the past. Edison's app supports Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Exchange, Outlook, Office 365, Hotmail, AOL, and IMAP accounts. 

Download Edison Mail: AndroidiOS

Google Drive (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps Google Drive

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Google's cloud storage service, Drive, serves as a great productivity aid due to its integration with the rest of the Google ecosystem. Users can easily upload and download any file, and efficient file sharing and collaboration features let you easily work on shared projects collaboratively. 

Easy configuration of sharing settings, folder structure, quick access to recent files and details, and built-in viewing of documents, PDFs, photos and videos make for a versatile cloud storage tool whatever mobile OS you use.

Download Google Drive: Android, iOS

Trello (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps Trello

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Trello is a highly customizable digital bulletin board that you can use to set up anything from to do lists, tasks, notes and more. Users create "lists," which are dynamic containers that can be filled with "cards." These can be anything from tasks, notes, ideas, pictures and more, which you can then drag and drop up and down the line, or move to other lists. All of this can be shared with other users, with provisions for creating new cards, adding comments, and assigning tasks.

Download Trello: Android, iOS

Ayoa (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps Ayoa

(Image credit: OpenGenius)

Droptask took a highly visual approach to project coordination, and that's continued now that the app has been merged with iMindMap and relaunched as Ayoa. 

Use Ayoa's Mind Map feature to plot out ideas, turning branches of your mind map into tasks. From there, you can tap Ayoa's planning features to prioritize your workload, set deadlines and create reminders. Chat, sharing and task assignment features let you use the app with your team. 

You try out Ayoa for free for seven days; after that, you can stick with a free basic plan or upgrade to a more advanced plan, with pricing starting at $10 per month for one user. (Prices scale up for more users, and Ayoa is capable of supporting 60-plus users.)

Download Ayoa: Android, iOS

Slack (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps Slack

(Image credit: Slack Technologies)

Slack takes conventional instant messaging a step further to make a more useful group messaging and coordination tool. Slack covers your IM basics with real-time messaging synced across devices. 

The app also supports file sharing, direct and group messaging tools. In addition, Slack features a system of chat channels, allowing you to quickly set up subgroups for task or topic-oriented discussions. Slack archives your communications, allowing you to search through old messages, channels and shared files, and includes integration with a variety of services such as cloud storage, Asana, Zendesk and more. Premium plans provide more features, such as expanded file storage and better app integration. We rounded up some of the best Slack tips and tricks.

Download Slack: Android, iOS

Asana (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps Asana

(Image credit: Asana)

Asana aims to avoid the hassle of keeping track of multiple email threads by putting your team's project management and communications all in one place. Rather than coordinating over multiple messy email threads, Asana users can create projects, assign tasks to individuals, set deadlines, comments, requests and more. This way you can easily look up who is supposed to do what, check what's already been done, share ideas, comments and efficiently communicate with the entire team whether on Android, iOS or in the Web app. 

You can use Asana and create projects and tasks with teams of up to 15 people for free, with premium tiers increasing this cap and unlocking more organizational tools.

Download Asana: Android, iOS

Basecamp (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps Basecamp

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Basecamp has a long history as a powerful project management and team coordination tool, and the latest major version, Basecamp 3 delivers tried and true tools, as well as new refinements. 

The app features threaded messaging and quick messaging with its group Campfire as well as Pings, to-do lists, centralized schedules and document and file storage. New tools include a Clientside mode for quickly getting feedback from clients while keeping your internal group content separate, a notification scheduling system so you don't get notifications after work hours or during the weekend. 

Basecamp Personal is free, but limited to three projects and 1GB of storage. If you need more, or have to support more than 20 users, you'll need to turn to the $99-a-month Basecamp Business tier.

Download Basecamp: Android, iOS

LastPass (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps LastPass

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You never need waste time fiddling with your logins and passwords ever again with the LastPass, which is one of the best productivity apps for Android and iOS. The LastPass Premium app is a password vault, strong password generator and browser all rolled into a single mobile app. 

Users can sync their password vaults, and then have the LastPass browser automatically fill in forms and login details when surfing the Web and accessing sites, either through the in-app browser, Safari or Chrome. Users can also generate new passwords, as well as add or update their list of Form Fills. Additionally, the app includes Secure Notes features for important information that you want to bring along in encrypted form. Best of all, Lastpass now includes unlimited cross-device password vault syncing to all of its users, free of charge.

Download LastPass: Android, iOS

Evernote (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps Evernote

(Image credit: Evernote)

Evernote is the premier cross-platform note-taking services, making it one of the best productivity apps to have on your phone. Evernote allows users to take and upload notes, pictures, audio and video snippets and organize them into cloud notebooks that can be synced across different devices. 

Loaded with powerful organization, formatting and sharing options, Evernote is still king even with competitors such as OneNote and Google Keep. The free version lets users upload 60MB worth of content monthly, with paid accounts allowing more options.

Download Evernote: Android, iOS

Pocket (Android, iOS: Free)

Pocket best productivity apps

(Image credit: Read It Later)

Have you ever wasted too much time reading interesting articles or links when you should be doing something else? Then put it in your Pocket. 

Pocket, the rebranded version of the venerable Read It Later service, is a great offline reading tool that allows you to select and save articles, pictures and videos for later viewing.

Download Pocket: Android, iOS

OneNote (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps OneNote

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft may have been a bit slow in bringing Office over to the mobile side, but OneNote is here and continuously evolving. A cloud-syncing note-taking and uploading app, OneNote also shines with its collaboration features, such as the ability to have multiple users working on the same note or document. OneDrive integration is yet another selling point, especially for those who use Windows 10. (You can read more about getting started with this app in our Beginner's Guide to OneNote.)

Download OneNote: Android, iOS

Dropbox (Android, iOS: Free)

best productivity apps Dropbox

(Image credit: Dropbox)

One of the best and most popular services that gave birth to the cloud storage boom, Dropbox is the go-to solution for many people's cloud storage and sharing needs. 

At its core, Dropbox is an online storage locker for your files, documents, photos and other data that you can access anywhere (as well as download for offline access). You can also use Dropbox as a way to share files for collaboration, as well as upload new material.

Download Dropbox: Android, iOS

Fantastical (iOS: $4.99/month)

best productivity apps Fantastical

(Image credit: Flexibits)

Fantastical is a great iOS calendar app that's only become more impressive with a new update. Version 3 unifies the app across the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch, with the iOS version in particular getting a pretty extensive new look, with support for a dark mode as well as a new full-screen vertical view. 

Users can create events through a traditional menu based interface, or simply type in or speak a quick audio note that the app automatically parses into an event (which users can further tweak). The Day Ticker is especially great, allowing users to view and manage their events and reminders. And we particularly the addition of a new feature for proposing meetings as well as extended support for to-dos from Todoist and Google Tasks to go with iOS's own Reminders.

The app now costs $4.99 a month to use (or $39.99 annually), but that gives you the ability to use Fantastical across all Apple platforms. (And Apple named Fantastical its Mac app of the year for 2020.) Give it a try and you'll find out why this is one of the best productivity apps.

Download Fantastical: iOS

Jackie Dove

Jackie is an obsessive, insomniac tech writer and editor in northern California. A wildlife advocate, cat fan, and photo app fanatic, her specialties include cross-platform hardware and software, art, design, photography, video, and a wide range of creative and productivity apps and systems. Formerly senior editor at Macworld and creativity editor at The Next Web, Jackie now writes for a variety of consumer tech publications.