Must-Have Productivity Apps

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Top Apps for Professionals

Smartphones, tablets and now phablets have given today’s business people the unprecedented ability of be productive wherever they are, which is great until these working bees end up in an airplane, conference or other no-reception zone without that crucial “one last thing I need.” Flagship smartphones and tablets don’t just give you access to your work files – they think ahead of time and plan for contingencies. Modern smartphones are like your personal assistants – these tools can make your job a lot easier and your productivity a lot more powerful.

So what apps can help you achieve the ultimate productivity with your mobile device? Here’s a brief outline of some productivity apps, tried out, approved by thousands of users, linked and ready for installing; and the best part is most of these applications are free of charge while those that aren’t free cost peanuts, really.

IFTTT [iOS]

IFTTT stands for “If this than that.” Would you like to have screenshots of your iPhone saved exactly where you want them by default? Would you like to notify your colleagues automatically when they are mentioned in one of the Reminders you create on your iPhone without having to manually email them? Would you like to see every photo on the Facebook where you have been tagged from your iPhone? This application makes this sort of two-step automatic actions entirely possible for iPhone users. The most difficult part here is to come up with the pattern that you would like your phone to follow, but once you toy with the tutorial a bit, you will be able to get a real sense of just how easy many things can be done without your having to even do anything about them. This is a great app with an immense potential and we surely recommend you give it a try and see what a major boost it can give to your productivity.

The app was recently released for Android, and you can get a better idea of its capabilities in this overview.

IFTTT download link on iTunes.

Tasker [Android]

Android power users have long been praising Tasker for its unrivaled customization and personalization magic it works on rooted Android devices. In a way, it is similar to the above-mentioned IFTTT, but has a larger functionality. it gives you the ability to create virtually unlimited number of rules for your Android device for the ultimate automated performance.

This app allows you to create basically mini applications that will perform actions that you would like to be automated. The overwhelming functionality lets you create all sorts of profiles and rules, programming your device and make it even more flexible than the stock Android.

The ability to copy – paste tasks, profiles, actions, as well as multiple IF – THEN conditionals saves a great deal of time.

Xposed [Android]

This is a totally new level of Android booster, a powerful customization and personalization tool for rooted Android devices that lets you tweak and fine-tune your Android to squeeze the maximum for both productivity and entertainment purposes. Customization here means critically more than any custom launcher from Google Play can help you achieve – you can make your device really yours, interfering with stuff otherwise inaccessible due to Google or wireless carrier policies and restrictions. You can tweak everything – from looks, performance, monitoring to removing ads from youtube or changing the lock grid to a 5*5 or 6*6 grid, and the like little, yet very nice tweaks that make your device unique.

Xposed Installer download link

TripIt

TripIt is a top-notch travel personal assistant, and it becomes really powerful if you grant it access to your email inbox. This way, it will be able to scan your emails for upcoming trips, itineraries and tickets. Once you set this smart app up, you basically don’t have to do anything except tap to open the application once in a while and get all the relevant details: confirmation number, departure time, your hotels, address and telephone number, the distance to the conference center, the address and the contact details of the restaurant you’re supposed to eat at, as well as its website and detailed menu. If you install this app before your journey, you will be surprised just how easy it is to organize everything without having to do all things manually. TripIt holds your travel details so that you can view them while you are off-line, for those instances when you’re not allowed to use Wi-Fi on the plane.

TripIt download links for iPhone, iPad and Android.

QuickOffice/MS Office

There are a good dozen of mobile productivity apps that are supposed to work well with MS office documents, or at least that’s what they claim, but eventually you end up with a useless app that only allows read-only access. On the other hand, those applications that offer editing tools want you to commit to their own cloud storage schemes. This is not the case with this nifty app, QuickOffice. Recently acquired by Google, this application works as a purely utilitarian open – edit – save solution for urgent adjustments and quick views. As important as information mobility is nowadays for business, this app offers a wonderful way for mobile workaholics to access their files on the go and work with them with almost full functionality.

QuickOffice download links on iTunes, and Android Google Play.

MS Office is free for read-only functionality, but those of you who have a subscription will be able to use the fully enhanced functionality second to none in the productivity sphere.

Pocket/ Instapaper

It is up to you to decide which of these two works and looks better, but both Instapaper and Pocket do what they were designed for remarkably well. They were designed specifically to read news articles and blog posts, and other sorts of web content in as simple and streamlined manner compatible with mobile devices. Essentially, these apps strip web content down to basic text and core images, and save them to your device, so that you can read them later at any time, wherever you are, even if you don’t have Internet access by the time you’re ready to read. In addition, these applications allow you to choose your favorite font for reading.

Pocket download links on iTunes and Google Play.

Instapaper download links on iTunes and Google Play.

Agenda/Fantastical

Native calendar applications on iPhones and Android smartphones can be frustratingly useless. Especially if you consider all the design efforts that have been put into these applications, the native Calendar apps manage to cause users way too much headache rather than facilitate daily routines. The big question is, why can’t users simply get an agenda view of everything happening today when they launch the app? How is it possible that a simple process of entering the event’s date and time feels like unlocking a bank vault? Here are two suggestions of highly productive calendar applications – Agenda Calendar 4 and Fantastical 2. The first one is able to make smart guesses about when you want to schedule events, as well as shows your daily routines in a pleasantly designed window, and actually gives a lot more links and relevant information than the native iOS or Android calendar apps. If you like iPhones reminders function, you may try out Fantastical 2, which integrates smartly into your iPhone’s reminders and alerts system.

Agenda download links on iTunes and Google Play.

Fantastical 2 download links on iTunes.

Chrome or Dolphin Zero Browser

This one may seem like a surprise item on our list because both Android smartphone and iPhones have their own native browsers, and why would you want to install a different browser that shows the same websites and has the same functions as Safari, or any browser you might have on your Android smartphone? There is one big reason for you to use Chrome on your smartphone: if you use it on your desktop computer and sign in both on your smartphone and desktop with your Google account, you will be able to see and open all tabs you had open on your desktop when you left it. Alternatively, you can simply start typing a few words from the page you’re looking for and chrome will remember your searches, open tabs and quickly give you options of the search results. In addition, Chrome is Google Voice compatible, so in many ways it is really a magical web browser for the productivity nerds.

Chrome download link on iTunes and Google Play.

Dolphin Zero

Dolphin has become one of the top choices for browsing for both Android and iOS users. It is widely known as fast and efficient feature-packed browser, perfect for multimedia websites and social networking. However, it is not my favorite in terms of privacy and security because it requires too much privileges at installation, including the ones to control your audio and video hardware.

If you want some privacy, be ready to compromise on features. If you do not wish to grant your apps permissions to control your webcam and microphone, choose a simpler and more modest application with minimum permission requirements. Probably folks at Dolphin understand the increasing need for privacy with Android users, so here comes Dolphin Zero.

CloudCube[Android] or Mobile Backup & Restore by Avast

Chances are you are already backed up and cloud-connected, and have the possibility to work with your files from anywhere you have Internet connection. Many of you are so backed up in the clouds that you sometimes have difficulty remembering in which cloud some of your files are, or which cloud storage has enough room to place the next big file. CloudCube was designed to work with most popular synchronizing services, such as GoogleDrive, OneDrive, Dropbox, SugarSync, Box and more. It gives you an unprecedented freedom to move files between clouds and get an overview of contents of each of your accounts and synchronize folders between your Android devices and the service of your preference.

CloudCube download link on Google Play.

Mobile Backup & Restore by Avast allows you to backup your Android device to a cloud storage by setting backup schedule for your apps, settings and data. You can synchronize your device with the cloud storage and use the latest backup to create a new phone, in case your existing device gets lost or stolen. Avast Mobile Backup & Restore free backs up contacts, text messages, call logs and photos. Premium edition allows you to back up your multimedia files, such as music, video and applications.

You will need to tweak some settings to schedule the backups, and you have options here: do a backup on a specific date, or after a phone call or sms, or after each new app installed, or after device start, plug in or WiFi connection initiation.

You can protect your backed up data by a PIN, access it online and/or restore it to a new device. You will have a personal Avast account, and this is where your contact list and text messages get backed up while photos go directly to your Google Drive, so yes, you will need a Google account to use that app.

For more suggestions on backup apps for your files and data, see this tutorial.

We welcome your suggestions about business apps that you think are critical to get the job done on the go or while you are disconnected. Stay tuned and thank you for reading!