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.
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.
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.
Buffer (Android, iOS) is a helpful social media management service that's particularly useful if you need to handle multiple accounts and schedule posts, as well as view detailed analytics. Buffer supports Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and other popular social media networks, with free users able to manage three accounts and have a scheduled queue of 10 posts per account. Premium plans allow users to schedule more posts, handle more accounts, and get access to more advanced features such as analytics, link shortening and content creation tools.
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.