iPad Apps I Actually Use

iPad AppsI’m talking iPad apps other than Mail and Safari and Calendar and Notes. Those are a given, and they come preinstalled, so it’s not like you have to make a decision (and aren’t decisions the worst?) Below are the ones I’ve chosen, and then actually used, unlike the dozens of other iPad apps that just sit there looking at me in that accusing way they have. (BTW, I have finally developed a method for vetting new apps. I put them on the back page of my home screen, then once I actually start using them I move them to a folder.)


Notesy is not the only notes app I use. I probably use the Apple Notes app more for quick reminders, phone numbers I won’t need to keep, etc. But when I want to keep information: recipes, ideas, plans, whatever, I love Notesy. You can create as many folders as you want and store multiple notes in each folder. I use it especially for recipes I find online so I don’t have to remember which website I found it on. Notesy integrates with DropBox if you want it to, making your notes available on your computer as well. You can open them in any text editor.


I have to admit, I mostly use FaceBook on my iPad because I can read and respond while lazing in bed. The FaceBook app has improved over the last few years so that now it’s not extremely annoying. There are other apps (like HootSuite) that aggregate posts from FaceBook, Twitter, and other social media, but I prefer to just use the straight apps.

NetFlix and Hulu

Of course! I don’t have cable TV, so I watch what I want when I want by using NetFlix and Hulu. They both require subscriptions, but I save so much on cable that I don’t mind paying $7.99 a month for each of these apps. I watch them on my computer sometimes, but I really don’t mind the teeny tiny screen on my iPad mini. I just use stronger reading glasses.

HeyWire and Skype

Bless HeyWire and Skype! My children (and grandchild) live a thousand miles away. Rather than pay exorbitant rates for long distance, I use Skype to communicate with them. But we all have busy lives, so we need to coordinate our Skyping. Enter HeyWire. I don’t have a cell phone, but my children do, and they are constant texters, as are all people their age. HeyWire lets me text them for FREE! Even though I’m in Canada and they’re in the U.S. And HeyWire gives me a dedicated phone number so my kids can text me! What more could you ask. Sorry for all the exclamation points, but it’s pretty darn cool.

Skype, of course, is the long distance parent/grandparent’s saving grace. I only see my granddaughter once or twice a year. But with Skype, I can still see how she’s growing, and she can still remember who I am between visits. How did grandparents live without Skype in the bad old days?

Excel (and Word)

Okay, I know everyone thinks spreadsheets are boring. I get it. But really, how do you keep a budget, make retirement plans, keep lists of choir members without a spreadsheet? So finally Microsoft broke down and made Word and Excel available for iPad. And they’re free! You can store documents in DropBox (or OneDrive if you want to go all Microsoft on me) and access them from either your computer or your iPad. What could be more convenient? I use both apps all the time, but especially Excel.


GoodReader plays a big part in organizing things I find on the web in PDF (Portable Document Format). My collection consists of sheet music, knit and crochet patterns, and scripts. They don’t seem to take up that much room on my iPad for the amount of information they contain, so I probably have more information than I need, but what the heck. You can create folders to organize stuff, you can change the names of the documents, and a few other functions, but nothing too fancy. I’ve been using GoodReader for a long time and there may be something better out there, but I like it and I’m used to it. That counts for a lot.

OverDrive and Audible

These two apps help me maintain my audiobook (and ebook) addiction. OverDrive allows me to download audiobooks and ebooks from the library; my Audible library (all the audiobooks I’ve bought from Audible over the past 13 years of my membership) can be accessed through the iPad (and iPhone) app so I always have something to listen to as I cook, or clean, or do yard work, or travel.


This category really reflects individual taste to much to make any recommendations. I play solitaire (Solitaire City) and Scrabble and that’s pretty much it. Try Angry Birds once but, I warn you, it will eat your time. I finally deleted it.

Music Apps

Again, this is my personal preference. Other people will have more travel apps, or more restaurant guides or whatever. I have music apps. I have a whole folder of various pianos. There are tons of them. I’m still trying to decide which I like best. Piano HD might be winning.

The music apps I use most, though, are the ones that show how to play every guitar chord (7 Chords) and every ukulele chord (UkeMaster and UkeChords). They not only show (almost) every chord, they show how to play them five or six different ways at different places on the neck. Super useful!

There are also apps for storing your chord/lyric sheets. I love OnSong for this. It’s expensive, but if you need it, you need it. It’s good for performance because you can set a scroll rate for the text. No flipping pages! I have to say the type on my iPad mini is pretty small for this purpose, so I may store the songs in OnSong, but I usually print them out when I’m actually going to play.

And, of course, AnyTune, an awesome app that lets you slow down any part of any song in your iTunes library. So useful when you’re trying to learn a lick or even very fast lyrics (Into the Woods, I’m looking at you).

So, there you have it. These apps make my life easier and more enjoyable. How about you? What are your faves? Please share. I may find some new apps to love.

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