My Top Free App Picks

Recently I talked about Technology Tools – To Get or Not to Get, as well as how well the iPad serves my needs.  This lead me to think about what apps are virtually indispensable to me, as well as how extremely overwhelmed I can become even looking at all the possible apps.

It’s not surprising to be overwhelmed by the number of apps – since it’s reported that there are more than 1 million in iTunes.  And it’s a personal peeve of mine that they don’t offer free trials – to see if the app will meet my needs before I spend money on it – even if it’s only $1.99 or some other “minor” amount.  Those small purchases can add up.  Yet, there are many free apps and I’ve only paid for 5 of the 100+ apps I have.  I’ve been grateful for the input of friends on what is worth getting.

Therefore, without further ado, here are my top free apps and why.

1. Evernote

I’ve talked about Evernote before, in Note Taking for Virtually Everything, and need to revisit this incredible cloud program again in my blog.  Since it’s a cloud program, it can be on most any device and offer you access to your account.  Evernote is amazing in how it can collect all the things you want to remember and be functional.  It can also serve as a place to back-up things from your iPad.

One view of Evernote

One view of Evernote

2. Dropbox

Here’s another cloud program that I talked about in my cloud computing entries, in Drop Files You Use – Here, which works with many devices to provide access to your account.  It also offers the option to back-up data from your iPad into it, like photos, and can be easier than Evernote to access any pdf files.

View of Dropbox

One view of Dropbox

3. Alarmed 

You probably know that I am a fan of timers – it’s a good tool to help keep you on track and to get a sense of the time things take you.  I have 11 free timer apps on my iPad from my exploration of timer options.  Alarmed is the one I use the most – it has both a reminder and a timer section and both allow you to create several alarms and choose from multiple alarm sounds.  I use the reminders as a repeating system to remind me to relax before bed and similar things when I might lose track of time.  The timer area has alarms for the washer and dryer as well as the “You can do 15 minutes” alarm when I’m struggling to get moving.

View of Alarmed timer

View of Alarmed timer

4. 30/30 

I hope to use this one more, especially since they’ve recently resolved some issues.  It’s similar to a timer app as it’s a self-proclaimed “task manager.”  It offers a visual display of what’s on your list, the time remaining on the task and what’s up next.  I’ve been using it to help me create new routines – many of us are familiar with how challenging it can be to get in new habits – and this gives me a framework for remembering and doing it.  I also use it for times when I might have a tendency to get off track – a system for keeping me focused on one area for a period of time before moving to the next area.  I really appreciate the visual aspects of this app – from choosing a color and an icon for each task as well as the ring with time elapsed moving along.

View of app 30/30

One view of 30/30

5. Dragon Dictation

This is another app that I don’t use all the time, yet when I use it, I really appreciate it.  It does require an internet connection and you have a limited amount of time to speak, yet it does a pretty good job in transcribing your speech into text.  From there you can send it or paste it into the app of your choice.  Considering this is a $200- computer program that is free for the i-devices – it’s great!

One view of Dragon Dictation app

One view of Dragon Dictation

There are more apps that I use and appreciate.  These 5 free apps are the ones that help me most – with simplifying, with organization, with productivity, with supporting me in my life.  Although these cannot help anyone if they sit unused on your device – you have to use it to make it helpful.  Next month I’ll share the 5 apps that I did actually pay for – and 4 of them made it to my indispensable list along with these 5 I talked about today.  Remember what matters most is finding and using the tools that will help you make the most out of your life.

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