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10 apps every student should have on their iPad

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Best study apps for iPad

With most universities and colleges switching to online learning, these iPad apps are guaranteed to keep you on track and start the school year off right.

Staying organized as a student is not easy, especially now. With classes taking place mostly online, it’s becoming more and more tempting to miss just one more Zoom lecture, blaming it on “poor Internet connection”.

Setting your own study hours and actually sticking to them all by yourself can be overwhelming – and that’s why it’s good to use all the help you can get. And there’s plenty of iPad resources out there that can prove extremely helpful.

In this list, we selected our favorite picks from a variety of different categories: there are productivity apps that’ll help you with staying focused and distraction-free; to-do list makers guaranteed to help declutter your desk (and your mind, too!); there are some brilliant note-taking workspaces and book scanners; revision and education apps; and an app that’ll help you take a break, too.

Discover our picks for the best iPad apps for students below, or jump to one of the following sections:

Best iPad apps for students who…

…want to stay organized & distraction-free
…want to bring note-taking to a whole new level
…want to practice what they’ve learned or learn even more
…want to make incredible presentations
…want to take a break

Make sure to check out our other app roundups. We highly recommend taking a look at the best iPad reference apps – these apps will keep you in the learning mood. Use them to learn a bit more and improve a bit faster.

If English is not your mother tongue, make sure to explore the list of lesser-known iPad apps to learn English.

Best iPad apps for students…

…who want to stay organized & distraction-free

1. Todoist

Todoist for iPad - best apps for students

With over 10 million users and a 4.8 rating on App Store, Todoist has earned a reputation for being the simplest, most user-friendly and flexible to-do list app on the market.

Thanks to keyboard shortcuts, language processing and predictive language, adding tasks with dates, comments, priorities, tags and attachments is an extremely quick process – for example, if you type “Essay deadline Tuesday”, Todoist will automatically add the task “Essay deadline” with the next Tuesday set as due date.

What also makes the app stand out is the fact that it can be integrated with other popular apps, such as Google Calendar, Dropbox, or Zapier. Todoist has also been praised for syncing seamlessly across all devices.

However, as most reviewers underline, the free version is a little limited – you can’t access completed to-do lists and there’s a project limit, for example – so if you’re looking for a free substitute, Google Tasks is a great pick.

The good: Simple, user-friendly, and quick-to-use.
The bad: The free version is quite limited.
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone.
Price: Free – with limited features; Premium – targeted at individuals or teams up to 25 people ($3 a month billed annually or $4 a month billed monthly); Business – targeted at teams of 25+ people ($5 per user a month billed annually or $6 per user a month billed monthly).

Average rating: 4.8/5

⇢ Todoist

2. Freedom – Block Distractions

Freedom Block Distractions - best iPad apps for students

Procrastination is a student’s worst enemy – and Freedom might be just the weapon to fight it. Used by over one million people worldwide, the app temporarily blocks time-wasting apps and websites so you can be more focused (and, as the users report, gain an average of 2.5 hours of productive time each day).

Freedom lets you choose a timeframe during which select devices, apps or even the entire Internet will be completely locked for up to 8 hours at a time. It enables you to customize blocklists (you can, for example, choose to mute all chat apps only), schedule distraction-free sessions for later or as recurring events (for example, if you want to avoid Facebook or Twitter between 7AM and noon every day), and even offers a locked mode for extreme procrastinators that brutally prevents you from changing the settings in the middle of the session.

Freedom also syncs across all your devices – no matter if you’re using a computer, tablet, or phone (and there’s no limit to the number of devices you can use!).

However, keep in mind that Freedom has a rather bare-bones approach – it does not reward you for a successful distraction-free session, nor does it come with any incentives or goals – so if you’re looking for a more motivation-based distraction blocker, make sure to check out the app below.

If you want to try it out, Freedom offers a no-obligation, no-credit-card-required free trial with up to 7 distraction-free blocking sessions on all your devices.

The good: Blocks all distractions across chosen devices and offers quite a wide array of customization features.
The bad: Freedom will not motivate or reward you for successful sessions.
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone.
Price: Free – with all Premium features available, up to 7 distraction-free blocking sessions on all your devices; Premium – $6.99 per month or $29.99 per year.

Average rating: 3.9/5

⇢ Freedom

3. Forest – Stay Focused

Forest Stay Focused - top iPad student apps

If Freedom is a bit too straightforward for you, Forest is a must-have. With its unique approach, the app plants a seed every time you start a new distraction-free session – and as time goes by, this seed will gradually grow into a tree.

If you cannot resist the temptation of using your phone and leave the app, however, your tree will wither. Over time, all your focused moments create a lush forest, reminding you just how easy and rewarding it can be to stay off your phone for a while.

What’s more, you can earn rewards and unlock plenty of different tree species to plant. There are also plenty of small details like alternating messages (Don’t look at me! Hang in there!) that make going off-the-grid even more fun.

And the best part? In collaboration with tree-planting organization Trees for the Future, Forest plants real trees on Earth too.

The good: A unique distraction-blocking app that is not just extremely rewarding, but also has planted over 855,000 real trees (to date).
The bad: None. It’s absolutely incredible.
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone.
Price: With a one-time purchase ($1.99), you can download Forest and use it across all iOS devices.

Average rating: 4.9/5

⇢ Forest

4. Google Calendar

Google Calendar GCal - helpful iPad apps students

With the wide array of calendar apps available, Google Calendar is the undisputed leader. Not only does it work with nearly everything else on the market, but is also almost always compatible with timetable applications that universities use – making it possible to import your timetable into your calendar with the class number, location, professor name, and many more (synced automatically).

Like other Google apps, it’s effortless to get familiar with, and lets you create multiple color-coded calendars in a matter of seconds. Plus, it can automatically create events based on emails you receive – such as flights or concert tickets.

As a cloud-based app, it also syncs through all of your devices once you log in to your Google account – so no matter whether you’re on a desktop or on the go with a smartphone, you can still access the same calendar.

The only downside is that currently there is no macOS desktop version, and so Mac users can only access Google Calendar via browser. It is possible, however, to sync Google Calendar with the built-in Mac Calendar app – and it works flawlessly.

The good: Google Calendar is the standard go-to calendar app that works with nearly everything else on the market, making sticking to a schedule easier than it’s ever been before.
The bad: Does not offer a macOS desktop version.
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone.
Price: Free (with a Google account).

Average rating: 4.6/5

⇢ Google Calendar

…who want to bring note-taking to a whole new level

5. Notion

Notion - best iPad apps for students

Whenever I was about to start making notes during a lecture, first thing I’d focus on was the formatting. Should I use Helvetica? Times New Roman? Arial? Smaller? Bigger? In Italics? In Bold?

But just after I’d think I was satisfied with the way my notes look, the lecture would be halfway through, and I’d have absolutely no clue what was going on, and so I’d spent the latter half playing free online games or watching dog videos on mute. But that was before I was introduced to Notion.

Notion’s strength lies in the fact that it does all the formatting for you – with font customization reduced to the absolute minimum, it lets you focus on what matters most – the content.

It’s also an “all-in-one workspace”: what means you can make calendars, task lists, notes, financials, pages and subpages (that you can personalize with emoji icons!), toggle lists, and plenty more – all without having to open multiple tabs or switch windows every time.

So if, for example, you were to make notes for a particular course, you can make separate subpages for each covered topic or lecture under one collective page, add a list of deadlines, and even your timetable. Notion also has some great collaboration features.

And it’s actually free for students – all you have to do is sign up with a school email address.

Notion’s only downside is that it might take a while to get used to, but once you do – it’ll be extremely rewarding and change the way you think about note-taking forever. Oh, and this article was written in Notion, too.

The good: A decluttered and distraction-free all-in-one workspace perfect for note-taking, project management, collaboration and staying organized.
The bad: Takes a while to get used to.
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone.
Price: Personal – with sharing limited to up to 5 guests (free); Personal Pro – with unlimited guests and file uploads (free for students, educators, as well as first responders, researchers, and non-profits fighting COVID-19, and for everyone else – $4 per month billed annually or $5 per month billed monthly); Team – made for teams ($8 per member per month billed annually or $10 per member per month billed monthly); Enterprise – made to control and support your company (for pricing, you need to contact sales).

Average rating: 4.1/5

⇢ Notion

6. Highlighted: Book Highlighter

Highlighted Book Highlighter - top iPad apps students

Say goodbye to having to rewrite chunks of quotes from physical books onto your computer – will do it for you.

The app captures quotes, organizes them, and makes highlighting book excerpts easier than it’s ever been before. The interface is sleek, distraction-free, and incredibly intuitive, and the design itself is reminiscent of Apple’s original apps. And, most importantly – Highlighted Book Scanner is extremely quick to set up and use.

It is, however, not yet compatible with books in languages other than English, but the developers are currently working on making the app work with books in different languages.

Make sure to read our full review here.

The good: Perfect for scanning physical book excerpts and organizing them in a matter of seconds.
The bad: As of today, Highlighted works only with English text (but the developers are currently working on making the app work with books in different languages).
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone.
Price: Free.

Average rating: 4.8/5

⇢ Highlighted

…who want to practice what they’ve learned or learn even more

7. Quizlet

Quizlet - best iPad apps studying

With over 50 million students learning via Quizlet each month, the app is second to none when it comes to revision tools.

Quizlet lets you create your own flashcards (or choose from over 400 million user-generated sets) and practice your knowledge in a variety of different modes and fun games – such as Gravity, where correct answers prevent asteroids from hitting your planet, or Match, where you race against the clock to match terms and definitions, and compete against others to get the top score.

It is especially useful for those studying languages (or other courses that require a lot of memorizing).

The good: The ultimate iOS app for studying with flashcards.
The bad: The free version can be a little limited.
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone.
Price: Free – supported by advertisements and with limited features; Quizlet Go – an ad-free version with some customization features ($1.99 per year); Quizlet Plus – with plenty of personalized progress-tracking options and advanced features ($19.99 per year).

Average rating: 4.8/5

⇢ Quizlet

8. Khan Academy

Khan Academy - best iPad apps for students

If you’re a student, chances are you’re already familiar with the vast variety of YouTube channels like CrashCourse or The School of Life that manage to explain months’ worth of lectures and tutorials in just one video.

But not many people know that one of the most popular channels, Khan Academy, has also released a brilliant revision app (awarded Editor’s Choice on App Store!).

With the Khan Academy app, you can practice everything you’ve learned with thousands of interactive exercises and quizzes, articles, and videos, ranging from math, natural sciences, economy and finance, grammar, history, politics, and many more fields.

The good: A wonderful free app that covers an extremely wide variety of topics, perfect for revisions.
The bad: While the content of the app is great, some users have reported issues with saving progress and other bugs.
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone.
Price: Free.

Average rating: 3.8/5

⇢ Khan Academy

…who want to make incredible presentations

9. Google Slides

Google Slides - best iPad apps studying

Google Slides is the best free slideshow creation tool, period. It enables creating presentations anytime, anywhere (even offline), collaborating with others in real-time, and presenting from any device with Internet connection.

Incredibly user-friendly and intuitive, Google Slides makes creating professional-looking slideshows easier than ever.

The good: Google Slides has all you need to create a professional-looking slideshow within seconds.
The bad: Transitions and effects are a bit limited compared to PowerPoint.
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone.
Price: Free to use with a Google account.

Average rating: 4.7/5

⇢ Google Slides

…who want to take a break

10. Headscape: Meditation & Sleep

Headspace Meditation and Sleep - best iPad apps for students

There’s nothing more important than taking a break while studying – and Headspace is a perfect tool for that. This powerful meditation & mindfulness app helps you feel less stressed, regain focus and help reset completely.

With hundreds of guided meditations on subjects like focus, exercise, and sleep, as well as mini-meditation sessions perfect for quick mental resets or long-term everyday mindful fitness courses (and a lot more), Headspace has everything you need to make meditation part of your daily routine.

And, according to their website, just 10 days of Headspace can increase happiness by 16%.

The app also offers a student discount on the annual price of the Headspace Paid Subscription from $69.99 to just $9.99 per year.

The good: A beautifully illustrated app that is guaranteed to make you love meditation.
The bad: Premium subscription is a bit pricey.
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone.
Price: After a two-week free trial, Headspace offers two subscription options: $12.99 per month, or $69.99 per year (with a student discount that reduces the price to just $9.99 per year, or a family discount with up to six accounts for $99.99 a year).

Average rating: 4.9/5

⇢ Headspace

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