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The iPad was first released in April 2010 and lots of apps already target it.

Which are the most awesome, must-have ones for you (excluding apps that come pre-installed)?

NB: For games, there's Awesomest iPad Games — let's dedicate this one to non-game apps.


  • One app per answer.
  • Use this format for the first and second lines of your answer:
    ## [app name](link to website)
    [App Store](link to appstore) (price in usd)
  • Include a short description.
  • Check for duplicates before adding new answers.

Disclaimer: As with OS X apps and iPhone apps, a well-pruned poll can be useful, even if it isn't the exemplary kind of SE question. (If you don't like this, consider ignoring it rather than trying to get it closed.) The voting system & ability to add and edit answers are all we need to keep this relevant and up-to-date.


locked by Daniel Nov 21 '13 at 6:10

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Daniel Nov 21 '13 at 6:10

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I understand that some think that these kind of questions are subjective and argumentative. But I believe that it can provide value for actual iPad users –  gyurisc Jul 15 '10 at 5:19

29 Answers 29


App Store (free)

Online file sharing (2 GB limit in free version, can be increased with referrals) and local caching on the device. Great app for storing pictures, movies, documents. Beautiful PDF reader.


One of the best iPad apps ever! –  daviesgeek Mar 16 '12 at 18:07
Still there is room for improvement - when I order files by most recent, folders are still ordered alphabetically! Why on earth? –  Dmitri Zaitsev Sep 19 '13 at 15:45


App Store ($4.99)

Great for "reading later" anything you've come across on the web (but didn't have the time to read then). On the iPad—designed for e-reader purposes—this is even more compelling than on iPhone.

Any reason why it is so higher voted than Pocket that is free and does basically the same? –  Dmitri Zaitsev Sep 19 '13 at 16:02
@Dmitri: My best guesses: 1) Instapaper was there first. 2) For a long time, there used to be a free version too. –  Jonik Oct 19 '13 at 1:14

Reeder for iPad

App Store ($4.99 / 3.99€)

Google Reader front-end. The best app for reading RSS feeds that I've come across.

It's elegant and gorgeous, but I notice it gets confused sometimes. It could well be that it's Google Reader being confused behind the scenes (that sometimes happens in the browser too!), but I wish Reeder degraded better when that happens. –  Dan Ray Sep 24 '10 at 12:25


App Store (free)

Flipboard is a "personalized social magazine", a new way to browse e.g. Twitter and Facebook. They have a video which explains it neatly.

The video link is broken :( –  Dmitri Zaitsev Sep 19 '13 at 16:05
@Dmitri: Can't find it on the website anymore, but Youtube has the original Meet Flipboard video. –  Jonik Oct 19 '13 at 1:19


App Store (free)

A recent update (3.1) to official Twitter iPhone app added support for iPad.

I think this is pretty sweet – inspired use of "folding" UI elements and no need to leave the app as you can read linked articles etc right there. –  Jonik Sep 8 '10 at 12:41


App Store

Great for reading PDFs and downloading them to the iPad from a NAS, FTP server or whatever. Great page flicking, table of contents support and cropping of pages to maximize real estate.



App Store (free)

Wifi remote control for iTunes library and Apple TV.

It's been available for iPhone for a long time, but version 2.0, released a few days ago, added proper iPad support. Finally something that the iPad is really good at (better than any other device I'm aware of)!

alt text



App Store (free)

Evernote for iPad lets you make new text and audio notes, as well as view your existing Evernote content all with a swipe or tap of your finger.


iA Writer

App store ($4.99)

Screenshot of iA Writer showcasing interface elements.

The key to good writing is not that magical glass of Bordeaux, the right kind of tobacco or that groovy background music. The key is focus. What you need to write well is a spartan setting that allows you to fully concentrate on your text and nothing but your text. Many professional writers use SimpleText or Textedit because these are the only writing programs that are totally distraction free. But text editors are not perfect. That’s why we made Writer.

Plus Dropbox integration, I use it a lot myself, it's slick and sports a supplementary button bar atop the keyboard to more easily seek through text by word and character without having to invoke the annoying loupe tool.

+1. Writer somehow inspires me to write, even if iPad as a device isn't optimal for that –  Jonik Jan 29 '11 at 10:15
I do more actual work in iA Writer than I do in Pages (not that that's saying much). –  msanford Feb 7 '11 at 15:27


App Store ($4.99)

Play a collection of highly expressive musical instruments designed for Multi-Touch that sound and play just like their real counterparts, but let you do things you could never do on a real instrument.

enter image description here


Air Display

App Store ($9.99)

Technically this is both an iOS and Mac OS X application. What it does is let you use your iPad as a second monitor with your Mac. When I am using my Mac my iPad isn't usually in use (unless a family member stole it) so I use Air Display to make it useful while I am using my Mac. You get a 1024x768 or 768x1024 display that rotates and flips automatically - like you would expect.

The Mac portion is free, but you buy the iPad App. Runs with Windows too. Operates over WiFi, but you can always create a private network if one does not exist or it is too slow!

The idea is great, but it never worked fast enough and stable enough for me (using latest MacBook Pro and iPad), so it works for show-off, but not for actual productive work. Of course, it's maybe something wrong with my particular setup and YMMV –  Alex Koloskov Oct 3 '10 at 0:36
Will this add the iPad as a third screen in a setup which already has an iMac and an external monitor? –  Thomas L Holaday Dec 15 '10 at 20:31
Yes works as 3rd screen. –  user588 Jan 25 '11 at 8:07
I use it for serious work with my iMac. Maybe it helps that I have a 5 GHz 802.11n wifi network, but it's honestly nearly as fast as a cable-connected monitor. –  msanford Feb 7 '11 at 15:29
I recently bought the most recent version and it works very well for me. Seeing the occasional criticism made me wary, but it's become invaluable. The only improvement I'd want is to allow it to work over bluetooth instead of wifi (even with the slower data transmission), but iOS doesn't allow for that yet. In places where wifi devices can't see each other (public wifi, mostly, like coffee shops) it doesn't work at all. I can set up an ad hoc wifi network to my MacBook and have it work, but then I can't access the internet. Still, great stuff. –  Matthew Frederick Feb 15 '11 at 0:34

Pocket (Formerly Read It Later)

App Store (Free)

A great alternative to Instapaper. Bookmarklets allows you to save content for later reading, and the content is accessible beautifully on the iPad.

The Digest feature (pro only) automatically organizes your saved articles into categories to create your own newspaper-esque interface.

Digest is a great in app add-on for this app. –  Ryan Sharp Mar 22 '11 at 19:36


App Store ($4.99)
App Store (free, some features missing)

AirVideo allows you to play videos from your PC or NAS onto your iPad. The most useful feature is that it will transcode from many formats (including DivX) to H.264 on-the-fly so there's no need to do lengthy conversions before watching anything.

Note: requires software running on your server.

If you like AirVideo, try OPlayer. I does the same thing, but you can transfer files so it doesn't require a server. Still supports streaming (though no upnp), but also downloading. –  Sietse Sep 15 '10 at 10:59
fantastic app! +1 –  gsharp Apr 1 '11 at 16:00
AirPlayIt is even better. I can easily stream all my videos to my ipad. –  crosenblum Feb 17 '13 at 4:21

TuneIn Radio

App Store (Free)

Excellent audio news and talk streaming app for both iPad and iPhone with the ability to share presets via the cloud. It has completely converted me to listening to radio (mostly NPR and BBC) via streaming rather than broadcast.

The Pro version ($0.99) has a record option which I find quite useful.

enter image description here

I love the schedule feature that shows you what's coming up! –  daviesgeek Mar 16 '12 at 18:08


App Store (€2,39)
App Store, Lite version (Free)

Plays almost every kind of video format, without having to transcode first. Transfer via iTunes sync or stream (or download) right from a web server. There's also an iPhone version.


Adobe Ideas

App store ($9.99)

Screenshot of the app with a drawing of a biker with a long black beard.

The Adobe® Ideas mobile sketching software app is your ideal companion for the drawing software you love, including Adobe Illustrator® and Adobe Photoshop®. Sketch design concepts while sitting in a cafe, or capture and store color themes while browsing through the photos on your phone. Any time you need to explore creative ideas, Adobe Ideas is there with you. Now with a new in-app purchase option, you can get up to ten drawing layers plus a photo layer for each sketch and control opacity for each layer.

Simple enough to keep in the Dock and jot down stuff whiteboard-style; share images easily but can't collaborate real-time.


Mint.com Personal Finance

App Store (Free)

enter image description here

I'm a big fan of the colorful and descriptive graphics and all the information offered. It's also fun to use and can really improve one's lifestyle.


ForeFlight Mobile HD

App store (Free app but subscription to flight data and planning is required after one month: $24.99/3 mo, $79.99/yr)

Screenshots showing airport information (left) and flight rules (right).

ForeFlight Mobile HD is the latest evolution of our critically acclaimed Preflight Intelligence™ app for pilots, now optimized for the iPhone and the iPad. The app provides access to high quality weather, airport intelligence, service providers, flight planning, and much more. See approach plates, routes, fuel prices, VFR/IFR charts, radar, flight rules, and airport maps in greater depth and detail than ever before. Tap out your route on the Map. Plates. Charts. A/FD. Rock and Roll.


Oscope Triggerable Oscilloscope. Has a fast fourier transform display that is actually useful in the real world for casually finding out such things as the speed of a motor.

Thanks for posting! Can you please add a link to the App Store so people know where to get this app? A screenshot may also be helpful. Thank you! –  daviesgeek Mar 16 '12 at 18:12


App Store ($40.00)
I'm a big fan of Omnifocus for task management. It's a little pricey, but worth it in my opinion.



App Store ($4.99)

Best photo editing app for the iPad that I've tried anyway. Does all the usual stuff you want: cropping, resizing, curves/levels, changing brightness/colour/contrast, rotating, sharpening and filters.


Antidote Ardoise

(App store) ($24.99 / 19,99 €)

Screenshot showing Définitions de saisir

THE FINEST FRENCH REFERENCE TOOL ON iPAD — Antidote Ardoise brings together eleven dictionaries and eleven language guides of the highest quality for your iPad.

Extrait du site en français :

Avec ses onze dictionnaires, ses onze guides linguistiques et son mode Découvertes amusant, Antidote Ardoise est la plus grande référence du français sur tablette numérique.

From people of varying proficiency, from learners of French to translators, Druide Informatique makes extremely useful reference and correcting tools. Admittedly, this will probably reach a very narrow audience on SE…


Triangle Draw

App Store ($2.99)

The designs created with Triangle Draw are very simplistic and almost retro in their triangular style.

enter image description here



App Store ($29.99)


Moog's foray in to iDevice instruments is nothing short of spectacular. The interface is gorgeous and it hides a serious amount of functionality behind a streamlined UI. And the sounds...the glorious sounds...are all Moog through-and-through. Pricey at $30, but consider you're getting Moog synth sounds in an interface that can be completely customized and it starts to look like a steal next to what proper, in-real-life Moog hardware costs. There are artist preset packs available as in-app purchases that further expand the patches and you can create and save your own patches too. It occasionally goes on sale too -- I picked it up for a few dollars when it launched.



App Store ($3.99)

An amazing video editor, perfect for organising and and collating all those home videos collecting on the hard drive.



App Store ($4.99)

A really nice Tumblr client for the iPad design to look like the Mail application.


Todo for iPad

App Store ($4.99)

Appigo Todo for iPad™ is the most connected iPad app and makes task management simple and fun.


Pulse - RSS Reader

App Store (Free)

Your News. Anywhere.
Choose from your favorite topics and interests, and customize your Pulse with unique pages and sources.
Read your favorite blogs, newspapers, magazines, and more.




App Store ($8.99)

Textastic Screenshot

The best code editor I know with Dropbox integration, syntax highlighting, cool search/replace functionality and net pull-down table of class and method names.


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