We take our smartphones everywhere we go, and with their powerful processors and LTE connectivity, they can be indispensable as personal assistants and productivity aids. If you're aiming to get more done on the go, adding some apps to your mobile device can be a step in the right direction. From note-taking apps and mobile office suites to calendars, timers and to-do lists, here are our favorite productivity apps that you can install now on your iOS or Android device.
Busy people often forget daily tasks and chores, but Any.do (Android, iOS) 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. The app 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. Choose either a free or premium version with advanced features.
Microsoft's Office suite of programs has long been a gold standard for desktop productivity, and the mobile versions of Word (Android, iOS), Excel (Android, iOS) and Powerpoint (Android, iOS) 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.
CamScanner turns your phone camera into a portable document scanner and OCR tool, allowing you to quickly turn photos of your paper documents into JPG or PDF electronic formats, which you can then save into your cloud storage or share through social media or email. Scan quality optimization and smart cropping let you handle everything from receipts to contracts and even office whiteboards with ease. The app is ad-supported, with watermarks on the free tier, while a premium subscription removes ads and the watermark and adds premium features such as OCR editing, auto-upload, expanded collaboration and more.
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 if you've got one of Apple's smartwatches.) 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.
Another option for device-assisted voice notetaking is Otter Voice Notes (Android, iOS), a smart transcription app. Otter can record using your device's internal mic or through a Bluetooth device, and 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 doesn't even hobble the experience, offering free tier users 600 minutes of transcribed audio every month, with a $9.99 per month subscription upping that to 6000 minutes each month.
Notability is a feature-rich note taking app that takes great advantage of a number of interface features of iOS. The $9.99 app's got you covered on all the note taking basics such as text, formatting, photos and sketching, while also including PDF and photo annotations and audio recordings all of which can be organized into folders. Handwriting features and support for the Apple Pencil make it a great option if you're more likely to jot down notes instead of typing them out, complete with support for search of handwritten text, and support for multitasking on new iPads make Notability a great research companion.
Keeping track of and logging your working hours, shifts, and schedules can be a headache. Enter Hours, a handy iOS time-tracking utility that comes with a visual timeline, helpful reminders, and other tools to log in your work hours with minimal hassle. Users can set notifications; easily stop, start, and change timers; set rounding rules for time logging; view tracked hours on a calendar; and track time by client, project, and task. You can add notes to your time log, view detailed reports in-app, and send out detailed CSV and PDF reports. A premium subscription ($7.99 per month) adds additional reporting features, multi-device sync and team creation and management.