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My Must Have IOS Apps

by Kerry Dawson

I’ve written a lot about Mac apps and how IOS apps play an integral role in my workflow. I have both an iPad Air 2 and an iPhone 6 and the IOS apps, their integration with the OSX apps and my flow between the two has allowed me to be more productive than ever. I only expect this to continue. Yet, I thought I’d write about at least the ten most essential IOS apps on a daily basis.

The Apps, the Benefits I’m going to list these apps off not in any particular order of criticality. These apps are all essential. I’ll also describe the benefits of the app briefly. Hopefully, some of this might relate to your workflow.


Drafts is one of those applications that seems so simple at first glance is realizable immediately as marvelous. The basic premise behind Drafts is if you don’t really know where to record a piece of information throw it in Drafts. Later, when you know where things should be Drafts allows you to send the information to the appropriate application. This is incredibly handy. Often, you don’t know where to store a piece of information. Drafts not only allows you to store the information till you know where you want it but it allows you to write a full draft around the information such as an email etc. Drafts is an IOS application but it performs such a useful role in IOS. In my view, this is a must have application that you can accomplish so much with including never loosing little pieces of useful information.


The answer to this app lies in the name. Simply put, it’s fantastic. It runs on your Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad all designed specifically for each one. It not only works great, it looks great. Fantastical uses a parsing technology so that you can write natural English and it converts to your calendar entry. As an example, Lunch with Joe at The Pub at 10 on Thursday /c (the /c or whatever just simply stands for the calendar you want the entry in) converts perfectly to a Calendar entry with Joe. This isn’t only a time-saver but it’s fun. Fantastical, as far as I can tell, is loved by everyone.

Full Contacts One contacts app I love is Full Contacts. Cobooks joined the Full Contacts people and although Full Contacts is IOS only Cobooks still runs on OSX. On OSX, since it runs in the menu bar, no matter which screen your in you have access to your contacts.


This was a hard category to pick. Other programs in the task management area are excellent such as the Hit List and Omnifocus. Omnifocus is still seen as the powerhouse of task management based on the Getting things Done methodology but for many it is overkill. I personally find that although it’s good it’s awfully busy and it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. TODOIST though is nicely rounded without being overkill. It’s key strength though is it’s cross platform capability. You can run TODOIST on almost anything in any environment. This is particularly important with task management as people might be working on a project in a group and not everyone is going to be using a Mac. This is where TODOIST shines since everyone, regardless of device, can basically participate.

Microsoft Outlook, Mail Pilot and Dispatch For mail this was a particularly difficult choice to say one app can’t be done without. However, the app area of mail certainly can’t be done without. In the above three products what we see in common in each one is a new way to approach mail to process it faster. We’re being swamped with mail. Mail Pilot takes the approach to mail that it is basically like a task. As you complete the task it’s done and out of your mailbox. It incorporates many techniques to get it out of your mailbox before its done. The important thing to remember about Mail Pilot that all mail is either done or not done (read and not read don’t play a role). Until you complete it, it’s simply not done but it is a fantastic product to smash through your mail. Dispatch will make quick work of your mail and it puts you in complete control. It incorporates a number of measures to speed up how you process the mail. It also allows you to dispatch the mail to over 25 programs for managing that mail. If a mail item should be made a task, it support a variety of task managers to do this. Dispatch is a top notch program but it only runs on the iPhone and serious shortcoming. Microsoft Outlook however, is the powerhouse of handling mail. It runs across platforms which is tremendously significant. Basically, wherever you want to use Outlook you can. Secondly, Outlook incorporates advanced mail management concepts that are current and effective. On your IOS device, a swipe here and a swipe there can make quick work of the mail. Finally, although there is so much more, Outlook can be essentially programmed in the way it handles mail. You can write rules to deal with many aspects of mail management. I’ve written this amount around mail as mail is so critical to the function of our day. It certainly hasn’t died, even though it’s been around for a while and it doesn’t look as if it’s going anywhere.

Yahoo Weather

It might seem odd that I’m throwing in a weather app as a must have app and this is the one for me but the way the weather is going to be for the day or longer is important. There are a lot of good weather apps and some do a ton so stuff but Yahoo weather gives you a very accurate picture of what to expect and every time you go in to it there is another fabulous photo to look at. The weather my be going to be lousy but the app somehow picks you up with the stunning photos. This is an easy app to live with which tells you a tremendous amount but in one of the most pleasant ways.

Power One Light At some point during my day, almost every day, I’m going to have to do a calculation of some sort and for that I’ve chosen Power One but the Light version for this chore. I don’t want a plain jane calculator that only does the simple calculations but I don’t want a calculator that blows you out of the water. Power One Light is the perfect blend of simplicity with power providing you five specific approaches for different types of calculations. It’s fast, easy to learn, looks great and simply does the job.


To finish off what could be more appropriate than discussing the most powerful note taker available. Evernote is a fantastic product. It is a repository for both simple notes and detailed notes. Evernote is fully cross platform and your notes can go with you everywhere. On your IOS device you can both store and retrieve notes with aplomb. Evernote is something no one should be without. It just simply works and on IOS it is a tremendously powerful product. At the desktop, I might use DEVONthink due to a certain need to manipulate my notes but every note that is in DEVONthink is instantly ported to Evernote. That way I know I have my information with me wherever I go.

My List So that’s my list of the IOS and more importantly the iPhone products I utilize. Some things, one could say, are life changing for one reason or another. These apps though are simply life assisting. They help me get through my day certainly not perfectly but better than were I not to have them. I never discussed any of the social media apps. That’s simply because the only one I use is Twitter as I do think one can obtain some useful information. I don’t feel that the social media apps though are life assisting at all but just the opposite. Plus the time one can waste. I have tried to cover off my most important IOS apps in terms of category. These apps fall into different categories of what they do and how they assist. I think this helps somewhat with providing a structure to their use. We don’t want to be so structured that the slightest force would cause a snap but some structure is beneficial and thus the structure I placed around my most important IOS apps was simply to provide context and a degree of consistency.


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