My Favorite iPad Apps List

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As I mentioned earlier this week, I picked up a new iPad 3G a few days ago.  My wife and daughter have taken over my WiFi only model and I’ve transferred / synced everything I need over to the new iPad 3G.

I find that every time I either setup a new iPad or iPhone, or do a full restore on one, the process of choosing which apps to sync to the new (or newly setup) device and, even more so the process of organizing apps on home screens, is a painful one.  It’s also an opportunity though – an opportunity to cull less-used apps, devise new ways to arrange apps and home screens, and spend some time thinking on which are really your favorite and most used apps.

So I did some of that culling and thinking while getting my new iPad setup just as I want it during the course of its first couple days with me.

My culling was pretty effective, even though I still have nine screens worth of apps (though some of them are not completely full).

For what it’s worth, here is my latest approach to the organization of my home screens on the iPad, and which apps I’ve found are my current favorite / most used ones – with some quick thoughts on some of those apps as well:

The Dock – Top Go-To Apps

The dock is home to my most often used apps – which currently are:

Mail and Safari – the two built-in stalwarts for email and web browsing

Simplenote – my co-favorite note taking app, along with Evernote.  I often rotate which of these is in the dock, and which is on the first home screen.

Office2 HD – superb app for viewing and editing documents from Google Docs, Dropbox, and much more.

Things – Has been my favorite to-do / task management app on the iPhone, Mac, and iPad for ages.

Pastebot – excellent and essential app for clipboard-sharing between all my iDevices and my MacBook. This one is actually an iPhone app, but because of the nature of what it does (and how well it does it) I don’t mind at all using the pixel-doubled or 1X version of it.

Home Screen 1 – The Rest of My Most Used Apps

I’ve shown this screen at the top of this post.  Several of the iPad’s built-in apps are keepers for me here – including Calendar, Maps, Photos, Videos, iPod, YouTube, iTunes, Settings, and of course the App Store.  Oh, and iBooks.

Also here are:

Ego and Analytics HD – both are great for tracking statistics and what’s going on with the sites I run. Ego has an HD version but I’ve found I don’t like it much, and have relegated it to the second home screen until it’s updated – so the iPhone version is resident on this first screen.

Flipboard – review of this one coming soon.  It’s a very fresh and ‘social’ approach to keeping up with news from the interwebs.  You can add your own Twitter and Facebook accounts to from major news streams within it, and choose from various other popular categories and streams.

Pandora – always my favorite internet radio app, and offers a great, free, iPad version.

Keynote – Part of the iWork suite for the iPad.  I’ve had to come up with a few presentations over recent weeks, and I’m finding this app very nice to work with – even though I have never used it on my Mac.

Osfoora HD – gorgeous Twitter app – easily my favorite on the iPad.  My review of it HERE.

1Password Pro– another long time favorite on iPhone, Mac, and now iPad.  Great password manager app.

Evernote – as mentioned above, my joint favorite note-taking app.  Free, feature-packed, and available on iPhone, Windows or Mac, and online.

Weather HD – beautiful and impressive weather app.  Others offer more information, but this one gives me everything I need to see and presents it so well.  Review HERE.

Feeddler RSS Reader Pro – my favorite app for keeping up with my RSS feeds, with seamless sync with Google Reader.

Home Screen 2 – Next Most Used Apps


Calcbot and Digits – a couple of good calculator apps – until the iPad came along I never realized how much I’d miss the iPhone’s built-in calculator app.  Luckily these two are both much better than it.

Dropbox – a truly awesome online file sync and backup service, with iPhone and iPad apps to accompany it.  I’ve tried lots of these types of service, and Dropbox is miles better than the rest.

Sporcle – unique and excellent trivia site and now an iPhone app.  Another one that I don’t mind running despite it not being customized for iPad yet – because it’s so much fun. My recent review of it HERE.

Pages and Numbers – the other two members of the iWork suite for the iPad – covering word processing and spreadsheets respectively.

Skype – another iPhone app that has a useful enough purpose (and does not need to look pretty) to be more than welcome on home screen 2.

iBlogger – the best of a *very* bad bunch of iOS blog editor apps. Another iPhone app not yet updated for the iPad.

Terminology – Super useful, well executed dictionary + thesaurus + more app, with a gorgeous UI. Review HERE.

Chomp – my favorite app for browsing and sharing my own app reviews.  Very social and fun to use.

Home Screen 3 – News & Reading Apps

Lots of good ones on this page.  I’ll just quickly mention a few:

USA Today – my favorite newspaper app for the iPad so far.  Review HERE.

Wired Magazine for iPad – and this is my favorite iPad edition magazine. Review HERE.

The Guardian Eyewitness – superb app showcasing spectacular photography of events all round the world, with new images daily. Review HERE.

Life Wonders of the World – wonderful book on 50 wonders of the world, form ancient times through present day.  Review HERE.

Home Screen 4 – Art Apps

I’m not an artist – far, far from it – but I am fascinated at the amazing art being produced on iPhones and iPads (heck, I even started a site covering just that). So this screen is filled with apps that show off great art in one way or another, as well as a few good photo editing and similar apps for my own very rudimentary use.

Art Authority – an incredible virtual art gallery featuring thousands of the most famous and admired works of art from all round the world. One of the most impressive apps I’ve seen on iOS or any other platform.  Review HERE.

iCreated – a great showcase for many of the best of the new breed of digital artists who are using the iPhone and the iPad to create beautiful artworks.  Not updated for the iPad yet – hope it will be soon.

Brushes – one of the most popular and capable painting apps for the iPad and iPhone.  I’m still incapable of producing anything worth looking at, but my daughter does some lovely stuff with it.

Home Screen 5 – Games

It was tough to trim this down to one screen, and it’s always a fairly fluid screen – as new apps come and go and get added / removed from here as well.

Some current favorites include:

Crosswords – great crossword app with puzzles from numerous good sources and refreshed daily.  Review HERE.

Dominion HD – Risk-like strategy game about capturing territory.

iQuarters – the classic bounce a quarter into a glass drinking game given a whole new twist, with lots of obstacles and levels to get through.

Homerun Battle 3D for iPad – this was already an awesome game on the iPhone.  On the big iPad screen it’s even more so.

Home Screen 6 – Kids / Family Apps

This one is less full than it used to be, now that we have two iPads and these sort of apps are sort of spread between the two now. The majority of the apps on this screen are eBooks.

A few notable ones that my wife and I and our 7 year old daughter particularly enjoy include:

Green Eggs and Ham – the Dr. Seuss classic rendered beautifully for the iPad and iPhone, with options to have it read to you or read it yourself (or have your kiddos read it to you), and wonderful original artwork.  We have several other Dr. Seuss titles from Oceanhouse Media as well.

Toy Story 3 Read-Along – One of the best examples of eBooks that really take advantage of the iPad’s capabilities.  Lots of interactive elements and multimedia and of course superb animations.

Ocean Blue – like Koi Pond back in the early days of iPhone native apps – but taken much further.  This one features a host of different sea creatures, several ways to interact with them, some good background information on each, and great, realistic imagery and movement for the sea creatures themselves.  Review HERE.

Home Screen 7 – Tweener Apps

A handful (not a full screen’s worth) of apps that are not very often used but are worth keeping for one reason or other; and that are not rarely enough used to be demoted to screen 9.

Home Screen 8 – Review Apps

This screen is usually pretty full, and includes all the apps I’m either considering for review, or in the process of reviewing.

Home Screen 9 – Rarely Used Apps

The home for the built-in Notes app (which would be so deleted if it were possible to do so) and other infrequently used apps.  Some of these may not make it through the next culling effort.

So there ya go.  That’s some of my current essential and favorite apps, and my latest method / madness on arranging my apps and home screens.  I hope the list may provide an idea or two for some of you, or help you discover a few new apps.

I’d love to hear what your best methods are for home screen and app organization, and what some of your essential apps are.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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5 thoughts on “My Favorite iPad Apps List”

  1. Good list! I prefer mobile rss pro by far over feedler (or news rack).

    Also just started using TrendTopic for what’s trending now on google and Twitter.

    Agree on your reviews. Been using Flipboard and dropbox. Oosfora is great.

    Try Blogpress for blogging. That’s what I use. Works great.

    Enjoy that iPad! It’s great, huh?

    1. Thanks. I've tried Blogpress in the past and never liked it at all. It had a major bug with scheduled posts, and like all three of the major blogging apps it just lacks tons of features.

    1. Per the App Store page for the free version:

      There are more features in the Pro version:
      + Supports sync all subscriptions, and sync subscriptions in a folder/tag.
      + Customized batch syncing: sync all feeds or unread items only, sync from last sync, days or weeks. For faster syncing, we suggest "Unread only" + "FromLastSync."
      + Supports keyword search to find and add feeds.
      + Able to mark items as read based on age.
      + Able to mark items as read or star/unstar by tapping either side of a headline.
      + Able to automatically mark items as read while scrolling headlines.
      + Supports Twitter with automatic URL shortening using
      + Supports Instapaper.
      + Supports Read It Later.
      + Supports personal account.
      + Supports pinching to change font size of RSS articles. (iPad or iOS4)
      + Saves images by tapping images with two fingers. (iPad or iOS4)

  2. I accidentally Saved a website to my home screen sited of favorites. Only now I can't figure out how to delete it. I plugged it into iTunes but it wont let me delete it. Help

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