30 Must-have Apps on Your iPad

30 free and paid best ipad apps

Loved the read? Please share or comment, and we'll deliver even better content!

You know, to me, my iPad isn’t just another gadget; it’s like a super-tool that can tackle almost anything I throw at it. I’ve been on a bit of a mission lately, diving into the App Store and trying out a bunch of apps in my daily life.

And guess what? I’ve stumbled upon some real treasures that have seriously upped my iPad game, especially for kids, high school and college students, and teachers.

So, I thought, why keep all this goodness to myself?

I’m excited to share with you my handpicked list of the 30 must-have apps for your iPad, perfect for organization, taking notes, homeschool education, and having fun.

Whether you’re looking to boost productivity, unleash your creativity, or just have some fun, I’ve got you covered.

Please keep in mind that I’ve updated the prices for the paid apps on my list as of January 2024.


1. GoodNotes

Imagine turning your iPad into a digital canvas for all your thoughts, sketches, and notes.

GoodNotes makes it a reality.

Plus, its latest update lets you search your handwritten notes – a true lifesaver for note-junkies like me.

And the best part? You can customize your notebooks to make them as funky or professional as you like.

You can use the app for free, but there are some limitations. To fully unlock its potential, you have the option of a yearly subscription for $9.99 or a one-time payment of $29.99.

However, if you want to enjoy GoodNotes on various platforms including Windows and Android, check out this guide to find the subscription plan that best fits your needs!

Introducing Goodnotes 6: Notes Reimagined

2. Gmail

Just to let you know, if you have several accounts from different email providers and prefer to handle them all within a single app, Apple Mail is the top choice.

But if you’re deep in Google’s ecosystem and appreciate features like automatic email organization into Primary, Promotions, Social, and smart response suggestions, then Gmail is the winner.

It integrates smoothly with other Google apps like Calendar, Meet, and Docs.

So, when you’re emailing someone, you can easily schedule a meeting in Google Calendar, or make a call with Google Meet, all from within the Gmail app.

And if someone shares a Google Doc link with you, it opens directly in the Docs app from your Gmail inbox.

You can even attach files from your Google Drive to your emails hassle-free.

Gmail for iPad Tutorial

3. Google Docs

Let’s talk about Google Docs, the smart, reliable buddy who’s always got your back with any writing you need to get done.

First off, it’s completely free, which is music to anyone’s ears, right? Google Docs lets you create and edit your documents on the go, and your work automatically saves – say goodbye to the panic of a crashed computer eating your homework.

What’s really cool is you can share your docs with friends or classmates, making group projects a breeze instead of a headache.

Everyone can chip in at the same time (you can literally see them typing), which means no more waiting around for that one person to email their part.

And if you’re working on a big essay or report, the Explore feature is a game-changer – it helps you find info and images, and even cites sources for you.

Google Docs for iPad Tutorial 2019

4. Google Drive

Imagine Google Drive as your go-to app for storing and sharing files. It’s like a digital filing cabinet that you can access from anywhere.

The best part? It’s free and comes with a generous 15 GB of storage space – much more than iCloud Drive.

So, whether you’re working on your computer, tablet, or phone, your important files are always within reach.

Google Drive is great for team projects too. Multiple people can edit documents together, which is handy for your school or work projects.

And when you need to find something, its search feature is super helpful even in large storage repositories.

Google Drive for iPad Tutorial 2020

5. Forest

Need a nudge to stay focused? Forest gamifies your concentration time.

Plant a virtual tree and watch it grow as you work. But beware, the tree withers if you get distracted.

It’s a cute and effective way to boost productivity, and it’s yours for just a one-time purchase of $3.99.

Plus, the app is a partner of Trees for the Future, which means you’re basically helping the planet just by focusing on working.

FOREST APP Walkthrough | Full Tour of the best PRODUCTIVTY APP

6. ChatGPT

Ever wished for a smart companion to bounce ideas off of? ChatGPT is that AI buddy.

From drafting emails to spitting out creative ideas, this app is like having a mini brainstorming genius available 24/7 in your pocket.

It’s constantly learning and evolving, making it an indispensable tool.

While the app is free, you can enhance your experience with faster response times and priority access by subscribing to ChatGPT Plus for just $20 per month.

How to Use Chat GPT on iPhone - Getting Started Tutorial for Beginners


1. CapCut

This video editing app is a hidden gem in the video editing world. It’s surprisingly powerful yet remains user-friendly.

Whether you’re a vlogger, an aspiring filmmaker, or just love creating videos, CapCut offers a plethora of editing tools, effects, and filters.

Its recent updates have brought advanced features like keyframe animations, making it a strong contender against professional editing software.

And the cherry on top? It’s totally free!

CapCut Video Editing Tutorial - COMPLETE Guide (2021)

2. PicsArt

Transform your photos into stunning visuals with PicsArt.

It’s not just about applying filters; this app lets you dive into detailed editing with layers, masks, and graphic elements.

Whether you’re creating social media graphics or just playing around with your photos, PicsArt is like a full-fledged photo studio at your fingertips.

PicsArt is free, but some features require a subscription.

How to Use PicsArt App - PicsArt Editing Tutorial

3. Procreate

A favorite among digital artists, Procreate turns your iPad into a canvas.

Its intuitive interface makes it easy to use, yet it’s packed with powerful features that professionals love.

With a vast array of brushes and the ability to create your own, it’s like having an art studio in your bag.

The app’s recent updates have introduced new features like Animation Assist, making it even more versatile.

Procreate is available for $12.99, a steal for an entire art studio.

Introducing the Procreate Beginners Series


VSCO is more than a photo editing app; it’s (a holy grail for anyone who wants their Instagram to look effortlessly cool) a community for photographers.

VSCO offers high-quality presets that make your photos look like they were shot by a pro, and tools that encourage creative expression. It’s like a mix of a professional photo lab and an art social network.

While the basic app is free, VSCO also offers two other plans, starting at $7.99 per month, which provide access to a full suite of presets, advanced multimedia tools, and early feature access.

Introducing VSCO Spaces

5. Snapseed

Developed by Google, Snapseed combines professional-level editing with an easy-to-use interface.

It’s perfect for quick touch-ups or in-depth edits, and with the selective adjustment feature, you have precise control over your photos.

With all of these features, the app being free is an incredible deal, especially for anyone who loves seamlessly removing people from their photos!

Snapseed Beginner Tutorial | Android and iPhone

6. Splice

Splice brings desktop-level video editing to your iPad.

Its intuitive interface makes it easy to splice together clips, add music, and apply effects.

Whether you’re making a travel vlog or a short film, Splice is like having a video production studio in your hands without all the complicated buttons and dials.

Here’s the best part – Splice offers you a free trial, giving you full access to all its features with no limitations for a few days.

However, if you’re eager to make the most of the Pro features, which are easy to spot with a cool blue crown, you might want to check out their subscription, priced at just $0.99 for the first month.

Splice: The Basics

7. Canva

Canva is a dream come true for anyone who needs to create beautiful designs but is not exactly a Photoshop wizard.

Canva is mostly free (yep, you heard that right), and it’s packed with tons of easy-to-use templates and tools so you can create professional-looking designs in a snap.

The app is super user-friendly, making you feel like a design pro without all the confusing techy stuff. 

They’re always adding new features – like more templates, fonts, and even animation options – to keep your creations fresh and on-trend.

And if you wanna go all out with their premium features, Canva Pro is there for you at about $14.99 a month.


1. Grammarly

This app is like your personal writing assistant to help you say goodbye to embarrassing typos and grammatical errors.

Whether you’re drafting an email, a report, or a social media post, Grammarly ensures your writing is clear, correct, and impactful.

It doesn’t offer only spell-check, but also improves your writing style and tone.

The basic version is free, but there’s a premium version available starting at $12 USD/month for those looking to enhance their writing.

What Is Grammarly?

2. Duolingo

Learning a new language? Duolingo makes it fun with its game-like lessons.

You’ll be saying “Hola” or “Bonjour” in no time, and the app breaks everything down into bite-sized lessons that feel more like you’re collecting points in a game than actually studying. 

They’ve been adding cool features, like speech recognition to practice pronunciation and leaderboards to compete with friends or random language learners worldwide. 

While most of its features are free, Super Duolingo offers an ad-free experience and unlimited lessons, even if you answer too many questions incorrectly for $7.99/month.

Duolingo in Three Words: Free, Fun & Effective

3. Quizlet

If you’re a student, Quizlet is your new best friend.

It turns boring study sessions into interactive quizzes and flashcards. You can create your own flashcards or use sets made by other students. 

Quizlet also has these fun study modes, including games and tests, which make studying feel less like a chore and more like you’re playing a game. 

Recently, they added a feature that lets you explain why an answer is correct, so it’s like teaching yourself while you learn – pretty neat, huh?

The basic app is free, but Quizlet Plus offers more features for $7.99/month.

4. AnkiMobile

Need to memorize tons of info? AnkiMobile takes flashcards to the next level using spaced repetition to help you memorize things efficiently.

Whether you’re studying for a medical exam or learning a new language, the app is like having a memory coach in your pocket.

The Anki desktop app is completely free to use, while the iOS app requires a one-time payment of $24.99 for these reasons.

If you’re already an Anki user who has dedicated many hours to studying on your computer, AnkiMobile offers a convenient way to continue your studies from anywhere, all while benefiting from Anki’s advanced scheduling and formatting features.

Digital Anki Flashcards: Create & Study in Anki Pro App

5. Zotero

Imagine this: you’re working on a huge research paper, and you’ve got about a million tabs open for sources. 

For the students and researchers out there, Zotero is a must-have on your iPad.

It organizes your references and makes citing sources a piece of cake. Think of it as a magical library where all your articles, books, and papers are neatly sorted and easy to find.

Zotero itself is free, but extra storage comes with a fee.

Using Zotero on the iPad

6. Libby

Imagine having access to thousands of ebooks and audiobooks right from your local library, minus the late fee. Bookworms, meet Libby!

Libby links you up with your local library so you can borrow ebooks and audiobooks without even leaving your bed. It’s all free, as long as you have a library card.

The app is super easy to use; it’s like shopping online, but everything is completely free, so you can binge-read without breaking the bank.

NEW 2021: How to set up and use Libby, the Library app for eBooks and eAudiobooks

7. Khan Academy

Free education? Yes, please!

With a mission to provide free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere, Khan Academy is a treasure trove of knowledge.

The app is like your tutor for every subject imaginable (math K-12 through early college, grammar, science, history, AP, SAT, you name it!)

Khan Academy is always there to help you understand complex topics, all without a cost.

How to Use Khan Academy Mobile App


1. Webtoon

For a comic book lover like me, Webtoon is my paradise, and also your paradise-to-be.

Webtoon is a delightful app for comic enthusiasts. It hosts a vast collection of digital comics in various genres. 

Whether you’re into romance, superheroes, or something super quirky, Webtoon has got comics for everyone (literally.)

It’s like having a comic book store in your hands but cooler, updated daily with new content, and it’s free!

[LINE Webtoons] Intro to Webtoons!

2. Spotify

Spotify is the gateway to an immense library of music and podcasts.

Its personalized playlists and discovery features make it easy to find new favorites.

It’s like having a personal DJ who knows exactly what you want to listen to thanks to its algorithm.

The free version is great, but for ad-free listening and offline play, Spotify Premium for individuals is available for $10.99/month.

3. Netflix 

Does this app even need an introduction? Everyone knows Netflix!

This movie streaming app is our go-to app for binge-watching movies and shows every night, with a constantly updating library for every mood.

Plans start at $6.99/month, turning your iPad into a portable cinema in no time!

The Story of Netflix | 25th Anniversary | Netflix

4. Disney+

I grew up with Disney movies, so this app is an absolute must-have for me.

Disney+ brings the magic of Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and more to your fingertips. It’s like a magic portal to all your favorite childhood shows and movies.

The app is perfect for all ages, and the basic plan is available for $7.99/month.

Start Streaming Now | Disney+


1. Dashlane

In a world of countless social accounts, Dashlane is a lifesaver for keeping all your sensitive information secure.

It stores your passwords and personal data securely, making it a breeze to log in to your favorite sites and apps.

The basic version of this safe and convenient digital keyring is free, and premium plans offer more features from $4.99.

Understanding the different Dashlane apps

2. Todoist

Organize your life with Todoist, your future super-smart friend who never forgets anything!

This app is a lifesaver for keeping track of, well, everything – from your epic to-do list for world domination (or, you know, your homework) to that super important reminder to call your grandma on her birthday. 

The best part? It’s free for the basics, which honestly covers a lot, but if you want to go pro with more features, it’s around $4 a month.

3. Luna Display

If you’re always swamped with work (or, let’s be honest, when you’re multitasking between homework and YouTube), don’t forget Luna Display!

You just plug this tiny dongle into your Mac, and boom, your iPad is a second screen.

It’s a one-time hardware purchase (with no subscriptions) priced at $79.99, but think of it as splurging on extra brain space for your computer.

4. Splitser

Picture this: you’re out for pizza with your squad, and you’re struggling with playing math wizard trying to figure out the bill.

I’ve been using Splitwise for a while and thought it would be a great app for you too. However, they made some changes in the December 2023 update, now limiting users to 4 expenses per day and showing a 10-second ad after every expense added.

Don’t worry, though—I’ve found a similar alternative that you might like.

Splitser takes the hassle out of splitting bills – no more awkward convos with friends about who owes what.

Whether you’re sharing a meal or a vacation, it keeps track of who owes what. It’s like having a fair and friendly accountant in your pocket.

Best of all, the app is completely free with no restrictive expense limits, and each group can accommodate up to 150 members, making it ideal for roommates, travelers, and anyone splitting expenses.

And if you’re thinking about switching from Splitwise to Splitser, they’ve made it even simpler with their free transition service!

10 Best Apps for Expats in the Netherlands to make life easier (MUST DOWNLOAD!)

5. Mint: Budget & Expense Manager

Think of Mint as that super-organized friend who knows exactly how much everyone spent on their last road trip, down to the last cent.

Mint is your go-to app for keeping track of your cash flow, like a financial GPS.

It links up with your bank accounts and cards, automatically categorizes your spending, and shows you where your money’s going (and, yikes, how much you’re spending on coffee!)

It’s free to use, which is great because, you know, it’s all about saving money.

Plus, if you’re looking for advanced spending graphs, handy subscription cancellation tools, and an ad-free experience, you can grab Mint Premium for just $4.99 per month.

But here’s the twist – the app closed down on January 1, 2024. If you’re a Mint user, you’ve got until the year’s end to find a new money managing tool and move your data.

I’m also on the hunt for a similar app, so check out this guide, or the video below to discover your next financial sidekick! 

Mint.com Is Closing--Here Are The 5 Best Alternatives

6. Paprika Recipe Manager

Calling all foodies and cooking enthusiasts!

Paprika is your digital cookbook where you can save, organize, and even plan your meals like having a personal chef’s assistant.

The app lets you effortlessly save and organize recipes from all over the internet, so say goodbye to bookmarking random web pages and hello to an organized recipe collection.

When it’s time to go grocery shopping, Paprika has your back by automatically generating grocery lists based on your meal plans, ensuring you never forget an ingredient again.

In the kitchen, Paprika’s cooking mode is a game-changer – it keeps your hands free and your screen active, so you can follow recipes without worrying about messy hands.

Indeed, for just $4.99, Paprika is your solution to those never-ending “What’s for dinner?” dilemmas.

Paprika // The BEST Recipe and Meal Planning App

Loved the read? Please share or comment, and we'll deliver even better content!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *