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 be more productive this year, 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.
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.
MyScript's Nebo is a feature-rich note-taking app built with the iPad and the Apple Pencil in mind. Featuring MyScript's Interactive Ink technology, Nebo automatically parses your handwritten notes into text, while allowing you to easily format your text, add extras like emphasis, underlining, bullet points, diagrams, mathematical notations, and picture annotation. Users can write equations and calculate or export to LaTeX, export text into Microsoft Office documents or text files, and search through your notes to quickly find something you've scribbled down. If you're more about jotting down notes as opposed to typing them down, MyScript Nebo is an incredibly versatile note taking tool. There's also a Windows 10 version designed to work with the Surface Pen.
WPS Office (Android, iOS), formerly known as Kingsoft Office is another popular mobile office suite, especially if you'd rather have an all-in-one app for word processing, slideshows, and presentations. WPS supports a broad variety of file formats, such as MS Office's .doc, .ppt and .xls, and is a full featured office suite for viewing and creating documents. Tabbed document editing allows you to easily work on and cross-reference multiple files, and cloud support through Google Drive, Dropbox and other services allows you to easily save and share your documents online.
Adobe Acrobat Reader (Android, iOS) is a highly functional annotatation 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 lets you create PDFs, reorder pages, and convert Micorsoft Office files and images.
The Microsoft Outlook (Android, iOS) app is a mobile productivity powerhouse, bringing your email, attachments, contacts and calendars into easy reach. Outlook's built-in analytic engine automatically surfaces important email (across multiple accounts) based on your communications, and quick swipe controls allow you to easily triage your email. It's a great mobile email app, and works with Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com, Gmail, Yahoo Mail and iCloud email accounts. Check out our in-depth look at Outlook mobile here.