The best productivity boosting apps for iOS

Image: Martin Dimitrov via iStock

Apple’s iOS has a huge number of apps in its store so it can occasionally lead to confusion over what the best ones are.

When it comes to productivity, there are almost an endless amount of tools offered by the biggest app store in the world. Arrow runs down just a few of them here.


It may surprise a number of people but Microsoft’s email client Outlook has gained wide recognition as one of the best – if not the best – out there. There are a huge number of choices available so to be the best, an app must have something special.

Outlook comes with a great selection of features, including a powerful search function, customisable swipe gestures and a unified inbox. It works with almost all email providers, including Gmail, Hotmail, Office 365, amongst others.

It has a built-in calendar and contacts list and users can attach files and photos from Dropbox, Apple’s Photos app and OneDrive.


To-do lists are plentiful in the app store but Any.DO has been a popular choice for a long time. The reason for this is its relative simplicity combined with a feature-rich user experience.

Its ability to sync across multiple devices is a big selling point. If a user has remembered something they have to do that day on their way to work, they can add it to their phone and have it waiting on their device when they get into the office.

Any.DO  has voice recognition so users can just say what they want to add and reminders can be scheduled to tasks. There is even the option to remind users of things on their lists based on their locations.

Evernote or OneNote

As with email apps, users looking for a note-taking app have a lot of choices. For many, Evernote just edges out the competition by providing the best features.

Although these features are locked behind a paywall, Evernote does offer different premium plans so the cost doesn’t need to be too high.

It integrates with IF by IFTTT (If This Then That), so certain tasks can be automated. Evernote can sync with the desktop app, which allows for a seamless experience switching between phone and computer.

OneNote can offer much the same, but for free. The Microsoft app has its own fans, based on useful features and organisational tools.

Users can add PowerPoint presentations or PDFs, take and enhance pictures and clip website articles. It is simple to share notes with colleagues, who can work together in a shared notebook.

Fantastical 2

Fantastical 2 is an award-winning calendar app designed to make things easier for users whilst providing a beautiful interface.

The app can recognise natural language so it is possible to say something like “Dinner with Jane on Tuesday” and the event will be created.

It can provide reminders and a map which can show users where their next event is located. When the phone is rotated to use landscape, Fantastical 2 shows a simple and appealing weekly view.

Repeat events can be expanded and offer a huge range of options, including every third Thursday or the first weekday of the month. There are even options to see contact information or send wishes when users tap on birthdays in Fantastical 2.

It supports the same calendar services as many calendars offered to iOS, including the default calendar app and Google Calendar.


When it comes to web browsers, users have their favourites and a huge proportion prefer Chrome, Google’s minimalist but powerful web browser.

As with many successful apps, simplicity is key to Chrome’s popularity. The singular search bar provided by the world’s favourite search engine is considered by many the best available. And the iOS version is just as effective as that seen on desktop.

As well as simplicity, Chrome offers syncing abilities. This means that bookmarks, most visited and last visited pages can be shared between devices.

If a user prefers to view a mobile website on desktop view, this option is provided. Incognito mode ensures that no trace of visited websites are left on the phone and there is a speed dial, allowing users to just tap on to their most visited sites.