Among the many benefits of owning an iPhone 5 is the ability to have a hundreds of apps at your fingertips to improve the quality of your personal and professional life. Productivity apps are useful in every sphere of your daily routine, from grocery shopping to exercising, working on a project to cleaning your home. But which free productivity apps are worth a download?
30/30 (Binary Hammer)
The App Store is filled to the brim with task managers and timers, so an app needs to do a lot to stand out. Not only should its user interface be simple and intuitive but it needs to be attractive without being too distracting so the user can easily focus on the tasks at hand. 30/30 by Binary Hammer meets all these requirements and exceeds them. Its minimalistic interface ticks down the seconds until the next task, with buttons at the three o’clock and nine o’clock positions to add or subtract time in ten second or one minute increments. Every task you add can be color-coded, changing the entire background of the interface as a reminder of what task you’re working on now. Switch between a huge selection of alert sounds to let you know when a new task has begun or a previous task has ended. Unlike most timers and task managers on the iPhone 5, 30/30 isn’t dry and over-laden with unnecessary settings. It’s clean, graphically beautiful, and a must download to keep yourself focused and on time.
The iPhone’s pre-loaded Notes app is simple but bland, and with a number of possible free alternatives available it’s an easy decision to download a replacement. But which alternative should you choose? Evernote provides a plethora of options for note-taking, scheduling, and task management. Write down an idea, take a picture and then mark your location, all in one clean note that is searchable. If you’re the sort who prefers to make your own audio notes, Evernote’s got it sorted. Record your note, tag it, and it becomes searchable, too. Compile your notes, lists and pictures into separate notebooks to ease your organization and streamline productivity. You can also sync the notes on your iPhone 5 with other devices to make them accessible wherever you are. If you have the spare cash you can upgrade and take advantage of premium features like a PIN to keep your notes secure, but the free version of Evernote is so multi-functional that it’s definitely not necessary.
Weave (Intuit, Inc.)
Now you’ve downloaded 30/30 to time and manage your tasks and Evernote to organize your thoughts and ideas. Your iPhone 5 productivity suite is filling out nicely. It’s time to get a project going. But what if you need to collaborate with colleagues, or plan a trip with friends, or divvy up housework with family? Weave has everything you need. Weave is a collaboration app that let’s you share task lists and plans with a group of people to stay organized and synchronized. Have a project due in a week for class? No problem. Use Weave with your classmates to assign duties, mark due dates, and make sure your project is turned in on time. You can track your own progress and that of your collaborators to see how much work you have left to do. Prioritize your tasks so everyone knows what needs to be done first and keep a record of how long each task takes so you can finish it even more efficiently next time.
Of all the free productivity apps available in the App Store, Dropbox may very well be the best. For years, businesspeople, creatives, and your regular Joe Public had to email themselves documents, videos, and pictures in order to access them on different devices. The flash drive revolution made it easier to carry content around but in the age of the iPhone 5, the fewer objects between us and our content, the better. Dropbox uploads your files to its website so you can access them anywhere you go, from any device. Download the app for free on your iPhone and iPad and download and install the application on your laptop or desktop. Move the desired file into Dropbox and bam, you can access and modify it through the Dropbox service from any connected device. If worst comes to worst and all of your devices somehow suffer complete system failure, you can still see and modify your files from Dropbox’s website. Think of it as a free backup service. Every free user is given two gigabytes of storage space to use in whatever way they like. Upgrading to premium services is always an option, but for most people, cycling in and out of that two gigabytes should be more than enough for your work documents or a few hundred vacation photos.
Many productivity apps either feature or center around the concept of making lists. Lists keep you organized and provide achievable goals that make you feel like you’ve accomplished something with your day. The best checklist app of them all is Any.DO, absolutely free for the iPhone 5. Unlike many other checklist apps (for example, the overly simplistic and costly $1.99 app Clear by Realmac Software), Any.DO offers a bevy of functions. Its voice-recognition support makes it hands-free — simply say what you want to do and the time, and Any.DO converts your words into text. It has a calendar function to look at your future and past plans and, like the best iPhone apps, takes full advantage of gestures and shaking, allowing you to swipe off and mark something as done and then shake away all of your completed tasks. Perhaps the greatest aspect of Any.DO is exactly what iPhone users want in an app apart from function — beautiful form. The gorgeous, sleek user interface is a perfect hyper-modern addition to your app collection.