Best productivity apps of 2020

Get more done from the comfort of your mobile device with these productivity boosters

With their powerful processors and extensive connectivity, the best smartphones have become indispensable personal assistants and productivity aids that are always at our side. If you’re aiming to get more done on the go, finding productivity-boosting apps should be at the top of your to-do list. And with Microsoft announcing plans to shut down its Wunderlist task management app this May, you may be on the hunt for productivity apps to take its place.

Not to worry: from note-taking apps and mobile office suites to calendars, timers and to-do lists, we’ve got the best productivity apps that you can install right now on your iOS or Android device.

Any.do (Android, iOS: Free)

Busy people often forget daily tasks and chores, but Any.do 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.

Download Any.do: Android, iOS

Flow (iOS: $1.99/month)

When it comes to jotting down ideas, you can go with the built-in note-taking app that’s already on your phone. But anyone with an iOS device can turn to Flow by Moleskine, which not only captured an Apple Design Award last year but also took home Apple’s honors for the best iPad app of the year.

Users can draw or take notes on an infinite-width canvas that lets you customize everything from your writing tools (virtual pens, pencils and markers in a variety of colors and sizes) and paper (from Moleskine’s traditional ivory paper to black, white, and blue, with options for grids and more). Flow provides a luxurious drawing experience that fully supports iPhone and iPad interfaces.

The app is free for a 7-day trial, with subscriptions costing $1.99 per month. With that fee, you get cloud storage and app updates.

Download Flow: iOS

Todoist (Android, iOS: Free)

Another excellent to-do list and planner app is the aptly named Todoist, a multi-platform planner app that keeps things efficient with a clean, gimmick-free approach to interface and task management.

Featuring a powerful natural language engine that can easily transform a jotted down thought into a one-off or recurring task, color-coded priority levels, shared projects, and productivity graphs that record your progress, Todoist is a handy companion for getting things done. More advanced users will appreciate the powerful integration with services like Dropbox, IFTTT, and Slack. Updates have added features like Sections for organizing all of your projects and to-dos in groups and Quick Add o speedily add items to your lists.

The app is free forever, though premium subscriptions unlock additional features.

Download Todoist: Android, iOS

Word, Excel & Powerpoint (Android, iOS: Free)

Microsoft’s Office suite of programs has long been a gold standard for desktop productivity, and the mobile versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint 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.

Download Word: Android, iOS  
Download Excel:
 Android, iOS  
Download Powerpoint:
 Android, iOS

Drafts 5 (iOS: Free)

Agile Tortoise makes a mean note-taking and quickfire writing app with the aptly named Drafts, now in its fifth iteration.

Fire Drafts up, and the app throws you a quick blank page with a keyboard at the ready. New entries and notes get placed into an Inbox so you can tag and sort them later. Alternatively, you can use any of the dozens of useful quick actions and app integrations to turn your jotted-down text notes into documents, tweets, social media notes, emails or messages, while Inboxed notes can be tagged for sorting, flagged for importance, or archived. The text editor itself is highly customizable, allowing you to tweak everything from spacing to line heights and margins.

A premium subscription lets you add and edit quick actions; it also adds themes and icons while introducing workspaces and other handy productivity features.

Download Drafts: iOS

1Password (Android, iOS: Free)

Nothing wastes time you could be spending doing something productive like trying to remember a password. 1Password saves you the mental energy of trying to recall every single password you’ve ever created, and it does it in a secure way.

You can store many different things within 1Password — logins to apps and websites, credit cards, bank account info, passports, licenses and more — with a single Master Password protecting all that info. With end-to-end encryption and encryption keys that stay on your phone, you’re the only one who ever sees your password. iPhone users with newer models will like how the app works with FaceID.

You can try out 1Password for free for 30 days before signing up for a $3.99 monthly subscription.

Download 1Password: Android, iOS

Just Press Record (iOS: $4.99)

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.

Download Just Press Record: iOS

Otter Voice Notes (Android, iOS: Free)

Another option for device-assisted voice note-taking is Otter Voice Notes, a smart transcription app. Otter can record from your phone’s internal mic or through a Bluetooth device; it then 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 for Otter Voice Notes doesn’t even hobble the experience, offering users 600 minutes of transcribed audio every month. A $9.99-per-month subscription ups that to 6,000 minutes.

Download Otter Voice Notes: Android, iOS

Memento (iOS: $3.99)

iOS users who want to improve the look of their reminders should check out Memento, which offers a choice between a traditional vertical view of upcoming to-dos and a more visually pleasing grid look. The app also appears as a Widget on the Today screen on your iOS device, and a For You tab helpfully provides an at-a-glance look at your most important reminders.

Memento’s share extension even lets you create reminders from other apps, and since Memento syncs with the built-in iOS Reminders app, all your existing to-dos easily transfer over to the new app.

Download Memento: iOS

Cloze (Android, iOS: $17 per month)

Keeping track of your business and professional contacts can be a dizzying to-do, so a good contacts manager can be a big help. Cloze tries to build an all-in-one contacts, social network and email command center.

The app syncs details about your contacts from your social networks and email so that your information and profiles are always up-to-date. Cloze also functions as a one-stop social networking command center, allowing you to tweet, update your status, like or share links, and more. Additionally, Cloze uses your interactions and messages to identify “Key People” and automatically surfaces tweets, status messages and other related updates from them.

Download Cloze: Android, iOS

LiquidText (iPad: Free, $29.99 unlock)

LiquidText is a remarkably powerful tool for working on documents on the iPad, providing a versatile workspace for you to annotate, compare, search, and review documents on you Apple tablet.

With LiquidText, you can annotate right on the document, or jot down notes on the side and connect them to snippets of the document simply by drawing connecting lines. That creates connections across multiple pages or even multiple documents, linking together your ideas for ease of reference, without sacrificing the natural ease of use of handwritten notes. You can pull up excerpts and compare pages of different documents, annotate freely within a document or onto your workspace, and share your project with others by exporting your project workspace to PDF, Word document, or full LiquidText file.

Download LiquidText: iOS

24me (iOS: Free)

24me is a smart virtual assistant app that helps you make sense of your business day and appointments by combining calendar features, a to-do-list, and note-taking.

The calendar syncs with a wide range of calendar services such as Google Calendar, iCal, Exchange and Outlook. 24me also provides smart notifications such as a heads-up notice for the next day’s events and tasks, the right time to leave for your next appointment based on traffic conditions, and weather alerts. Voice controls make it easy to take down notes and set appointments, and you can even create tasks through Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Apple Watch.

A premium subscription provides extra features like more customization options and the ability to turn emails into tasks.

Download 24Me: iOS

Toggl (Android, iOS: Free)

Toggl is a free time tracking app available for desktop and mobile that makes it a snap to keep tabs on your time. You can start, stop, and log times and tasks on your mobile phone or desktop with data syncing between the two platforms, allowing you to easily record hours spent on projects or tasks. Included tools help you organize, bulk edit, or tag entries for easy auditing and reporting, with the ability to import or export data in PDF or CSV formats.

Premium subscriptions add features like locking time entries, reminders, rounding rules for billable time, as well as project and team management tools.

Download Toggl: Android, iOS

Adobe Acrobat Reader (Android, iOS: Free)

Adobe Acrobat Reader is a highly functional annotation 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.

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader: Android, iOS

Outlook (Android, iOS: Free)

Microsoft Outlook 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 one of the best mobile email apps, and works with Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com, Gmail, Yahoo Mail and iCloud email accounts.

Download Microsoft Outlook: Android, iOS

IFTTT (Android, iOS: Free)

If you find yourself wasting a lot of time with repetitive internet tasks, or just want to automate tasks on your phone, try IFTTT. The app comes with a variety of pre-built “applets” that automate tasks like backing up photos to cloud accounts, messaging your roommate or family if you’re near the grocery, or having your smart lights turn themselves on when you return home from work.

In addition to the pre-built applets, Users can also build custom tasks from these applets and services, combining multiple tasks and triggers in an “If This, Then That” structure (from which the app takes its name).

Download IFTTT: Android, iOS

Edison Mail (Android, iOS: Free)

Edison Mail is an all-in one mobile email app that supports a variety of email clients while also bundling in a handy smart assistant and many helpful mail management features. The app offers configurable swipe controls, auto-sorting of email by categories, and a handy bulk unsubscribe feature to help you get off spammy mailing lists.

Real-time travel notifications immediately alert you to any travel-related messages such as flight delays or gate changes, and the package-racking system makes a search for tracking codes a thing of the past. Edison’s app supports Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Exchange, Outlook, Office 365, Hotmail, AOL, and IMAP accounts.

Download Edison Mail: Android, iOS

Google Drive (Android, iOS: Free)

Google’s cloud storage service, Drive, serves as a great productivity aid due to its integration with the rest of the Google ecosystem. Users can easily upload and download any file, and efficient file sharing and collaboration features let you easily work on shared projects collaboratively.

Easy configuration of sharing settings, folder structure, quick access to recent files and details, and built-in viewing of documents, PDFs, photos and videos make for a versatile cloud storage tool whatever mobile OS you use.

Download Google Drive: Android, iOS

Trello (Android, iOS: Free)

Trello is a highly customizable digital bulletin board that you can use to set up anything from to do lists, tasks, notes and more. Users create “lists,” which are dynamic containers that can be filled with “cards.” These can be anything from tasks, notes, ideas, pictures and more, which you can then drag and drop up and down the line, or move to other lists. All of this can be shared with other users, with provisions for creating new cards, adding comments, and assigning tasks.

Download Trello: Android, iOS

Ayoa (Android, iOS: Free)

Droptask took a highly visual approach to project coordination, and that’s continued now that the app has been merged with iMindMap and relaunched as Ayoa.

Use Ayoa’s Mind Map feature to plot out ideas, turning branches of your mind map into tasks. From there, you can tap Ayoa’s planning features to prioritize your workload, set deadlines and create reminders. Chat, sharing and task assignment features let you use the app with your team.

You try out Ayoa for free for seven days; after that, you can stick with a free basic plan or upgrade to a more advanced plan, with pricing starting at $10 per month for one user. (Prices scale up for more users, and Ayoa is capable of supporting 60-plus users.)

Download Ayoa: Android, iOS

Teamweek (Android, iOS: Free)

Teamweek is a project and time-management workspace that takes inspiration from Gantt charts to help teams quickly visualize who is working on what tasks, along with an easy drag-and-drop interface and organizational tools for team leaders and members to adapt on the fly.

Users can create, assign and color-code tasks on a shared calendar for ease of reference. Data gets synced across teams whether on desktop or mobile, with options to break tasks down further into checklists or share project timelines with clients.

The free tier of Teamweek lets you coordinate with up to five users, while premium tiers add extra features like project and annual views.

Download Teamweek: Android, iOS

Slack (Android, iOS: Free)

Slack takes conventional instant messaging a step further to make a more useful group messaging and coordination tool. Slack covers your IM basics with real-time messaging synced across devices.

The app also supports file sharing, direct and group messaging tools. In addition, Slack features a system of chat channels, allowing you to quickly set up subgroups for task or topic-oriented discussions. Slack archives your communications, allowing you to search through old messages, channels and shared files, and includes integration with a variety of services such as cloud storage, Asana, Zendesk and more. Premium plans provide more features, such as expanded file storage and better app integration.

Download Slack: Android, iOS

Asana (Android, iOS: Free)

Asana aims to avoid the hassle of keeping track of multiple email threads by putting your team’s project management and communications all in one place. Rather than coordinating over multiple messy email threads, Asana users can create projects, assign tasks to individuals, set deadlines, comments, requests and more. This way you can easily look up who is supposed to do what, check what’s already been done, share ideas, comments and efficiently communicate with the entire team whether on Android, iOS or in the Web app.

You can use Asana and create projects and tasks with teams of up to 15 people for free, with premium tiers increasing this cap and unlocking more organizational tools.

Download Asana: Android, iOS

Basecamp (Android, iOS: Free for subscribers)

Basecamp has a long history as a powerful project management and team coordination tool, and the latest major version, Basecamp 3 delivers tried and true tools, as well as new refinements.

The app features threaded messaging and quick messaging with its group Campfire as well as Pings, to-do lists, centralized schedules and document and file storage. New tools include a Clientside mode for quickly getting feedback from clients while keeping your internal group content separate, a notification scheduling system so you don’t get notifications after work hours or during the weekend. It’ll take a bit of setup and costs at least $29 per month for a team, but it’s a powerful, professional tool to work with.

Download Basecamp: Android, iOS

LastPass (Android, iOS: Free)

You never need waste time fiddling with your logins and passwords ever again with the LastPass mobile app. The LastPass Premium app is a password vault, strong password generator and browser all rolled into a single mobile app.

Users can sync their password vaults, and then have the LastPass browser automatically fill in forms and login details when surfing the Web and accessing sites, either through the in-app browser, Safari or Chrome. Users can also generate new passwords, as well as add or update their list of Form Fills. Additionally, the app includes Secure Notes features for important information that you want to bring along in encrypted form. Best of all, Lastpass now includes unlimited cross-device password vault syncing to all of its users, free of charge.

Download LastPass: Android, iOS

Evernote (Android, iOS: Free)

Evernote is one of the premier cross-platform note-taking services, allowing users to take and upload notes, pictures, audio and video snippets and organize them into cloud notebooks that can be synced across different devices. Loaded with powerful organization, formatting and sharing options, Evernote is still king even with competitors such as OneNote and Google Keep. The free version lets users upload 60MB worth of content monthly, with paid accounts allowing more options.

Download Evernote: Android, iOS

Pocket (Android, iOS: Free)

Have you ever wasted too much time reading interesting articles or links when you should be doing something else? Then put it in your Pocket.

Pocket, the rebranded version of the venerable Read It Later service, is a great offline reading tool that allows you to select and save articles, pictures and videos for later viewing.

Download Pocket: Android, iOS

OneNote (Android, iOS: Free)

Microsoft may have been a bit slow in bringing Office over to the mobile side, but OneNote is here and continuously evolving. A cloud-syncing note-taking and uploading app, OneNote also shines with its collaboration features, such as the ability to have multiple users working on the same note or document. OneDrive integration is yet another selling point, especially for those who use Windows 10. (You can read more about getting started with this app in our Beginner’s Guide to OneNote.)

Download OneNote: Android, iOS

Dropbox (Android, iOS: Free)

One of the best and most popular services that gave birth to the cloud storage boom, Dropbox is the go-to solution for many people’s cloud storage and sharing needs.

At its core, Dropbox is an online storage locker for your files, documents, photos and other data that you can access anywhere (as well as download for offline access). You can also use Dropbox as a way to share files for collaboration, as well as upload new material.

Download Dropbox: Android, iOS

Fantastical (iOS: $4.99/month)

Fantastical is a great iOS calendar that’s only become more impressive with a new update. Version 3 unifies the app across the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch, with the iOS version in particular getting a pretty extensive new look, with support for a dark mode as well as a new full-screen vertical view.

Users can create events through a traditional menu based interface, or simply type in or speak a quick audio note that the app automatically parses into an event (which users can further tweak). The Day Ticker is especially great, allowing users to view and manage their events and reminders. And we particularly the addition of a new feature for proposing meetings as well as extended support for to-dos from Todoist and Google Tasks to go with iOS’s own Reminders.

The app now costs $4.99 a month to use (or $39.99 annually), but that gives you the ability to use Fantastical across all Apple platforms. Give it a try and you’ll find out why it’s one of our favorite calendar apps.

All Rights Reserved for John Corpuz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.