The 50 best productivity apps for mobile devices in 2017

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With the advances made in mobile technology over the last few years and greater reliance on remote working, many businesses use mobile devices like smartphones and tablets to help them in managing their operations. Generally speaking, the days of relying on a PC to do everything are over – you can do it all from apps on your iPhone, iPad or Android. 

When you're running about in meetings all day, have hundreds of emails to read, and must meet tight deadlines, the attraction of mobile is undeniable. Apps, in particular, are changing the way we live and work in so many different ways.

And if you download the right apps to fit your business needs, then you can easily improve productivity. There's an app for almost every task and area, from accounting to product management. In this article, we've highlighted the very best business productivity apps – and in some cases web-based tools which you can use on your mobile – that are currently available.

  • Also have a look at our 10 best office apps for Android

Image Credit: ymgerman/iStock

There are a ton of web conferencing and collaboration apps out there, but they aren't always mobile-friendly. Enter Join.me, an online meeting tool that's easy to set up and can be used from any device – there's a web version which means you don't have to download anything if you don't want to. It provides free screen sharing and unlimited videoconferencing. There's a handy whiteboard feature as well, letting everyone contribute ideas virtually. The app is available on iPhone, iPad and Android.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

When you have so many things to do and not enough time to play with, you can easily become overwhelmed and fall behind. Gyst is the app that wants you to stay organised and get more done. It consolidates texts, contacts, calendars and to-do lists into one place. Because of this, you don't need to keep dipping into different apps and it will help you stay on top of things. You can also use the software to prioritise text messages, schedule meetings and communicate with your colleagues.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Basecamp is a veteran piece of project management software in the business world, having been around for over a decade. Features include the ability to keep and track client feedback, chat with your colleagues, set up work-related reminders, praise co-workers and give them tasks to complete, and share documents. Like Gyst, you're also able to create to-do lists, although you can easily pre-order them based on their priority and relevance.

An internal message board plays a big role in the app too. With it, you can post announcements, proposals and ideas. You can sign up and get 30 days' use for free, but beyond that you'll have to pay – and it isn't cheap.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: rom $99 (around £75) per month

Diary clashes are annoying but pretty common in the business world. This is where Doodle comes into the picture. It’s an app that helps you streamline meetings and stay productive. How does it work? You sign in, set up an event and suggest times to your colleagues. They then choose the times that work for them, and the app tries to find the best slot for everyone. What’s great is that your colleagues don’t even need to be signed up to the app in order to participate.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Trello is another great app worth checking out if you have a busy life with your work or business commitments. Aimed at helping you to get things done and stay organised, the app lets you create boards for all the projects you’re working on. You can work on these individually or add colleagues so they’re kept up-to-date with the tasks they’re undertaking. As well as this, you’re able to add to-do lists on boards, assign tasks, comment on items, upload files and videos, and attach files. It’s free to use, although you have the option to upgrade for added functionality.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

You could spend a good deal of cash on a package like Microsoft Office, or you could stick with Google Drive and pay nothing. Drive offers you a full suite of word processing, database and presentation applications. The great thing about them is that they’re cloud-based, so you can work on documents and files from any device – be it a laptop, smartphone or tablet. Everything is saved as you left it, and you have the option to view revisions.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

The market for communication apps is quite fragmented, but when it comes to keeping up-to-date with your colleagues and in-work teams, Slack is a no-brainer. It offers real-time messaging, and you can share files in one-to-one and group conversations. The app is known for its powerful search and archiving functionalities, so you’ll always be able to find past files and conversations easily.

And there are also integrations with apps and services such as Dropbox, Asana, Google Drive, Twitter, Zendesk and more. Slack syncs across all devices, from smartphones to computers, and it’s free with certain limitations (which you can rid yourself of if you upgrade to a paid subscription).

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Peakon is a web platform with an iOS app dedicated to maximising productivity within companies. It provides automated employee feedback and measures engagement to help firms create happier, more sustainable working environments. Sounds good, right? But you're probably wondering how it actually works.

That's pretty simple to explain. Peakon constantly asks you questions to build a coherent, realistic analysis of how you're feeling at your company. While you have to pay for a basic subscription, you can have a free 30-day trial to test the service out (no credit card details needed).

Platforms: iOS

Price: From £2.60 ($3.50) per user per month

Omnifocus claims to be a PC-grade, in-depth task management solution that you can use on your iPhone or iPad. While it costs £30 (a 14-day trial is available), the app offers flexible viewing options, location awareness and on-the-fly task entry features to help you get through a busy day. You can assign tasks based on location, people and energy level to accomplish jobs. Every task or piece of work you add to the app shows up in the iPhone's Notification Center, so you don't have to worry about missing deadlines.

Platforms: iOS

Price: $39.99 (around £30)

If you feel unmotivated, stressed or unwell, it’s likely your work will suffer. And in an ideal world, that’s something you’d like to avoid. Fortunately, online platform Nudjed is on a mission to boost employee health. It collects data across key areas of health to help employers build a picture of how their staff are feeling. Using this information, they can then step in and develop work-based health programmes so all employees are happy and thriving. The company was set up in 2013 by Welsh designer and entrepreneur Warren Fauvel.

Platforms: Web only

Price: Varies

Scoro is a worthy end-to-end work management solution. Available on the web or iOS devices, it allows professionals and businesses to control their entire workflow from one place. The tool also aims to streamline work and eliminate unnecessary processes that may affect productivity. Scoro's features include calendars, task and project management, quoting and billing, enterprise-level reporting and a real-time dashboard. While it costs to subscribe to Scoro, there is a free 14-day trial available.

Platforms: iOS

Price: From £15 ($22)

A simple pen and paper is always a great way to stay productive, and this aptly named app digitises the process. With Pen and Paper you can create handwritten notes and documents on your trusty smartphone or tablet. You draw with your finger or a stylus, and can doodle away if you wish and easily pull off tricks like resizing, adding text boxes or creating diagrams. The app works with Dropbox too, so you can import and annotate PDF documents and other files.

Platforms: Android and iOS 

Price: £2.99 ($2.99)

If you deal with a ton of social media feeds at work, then you ought to have a look at Buffer. It's one of the best tools you can get for scheduling posts on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The platform is easy to use, too. You simply link your company accounts to one email, and you'll be able to push out tweets and status updates in a matter of seconds. There are apps for iOS and Android, although you can use Buffer on the web too. An individual account with one social profile is free, but if you have multiple profiles or team members who want to use the service, you'll need to pay for a subscription (from $10 a month).

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Evernote has been around for a good few years and is one of the safest bets when it comes to using apps to boost productivity. It offers a variety of note-taking tools so you can change the way you work on and organise your personal and professional projects. You can write, analyse and store ideas in the form of notes, notebooks, checklists and to-do lists. Notes can be taken in a plethora of formats, including text, sketches, photos, audio, web clippings, PDFs and more.

The app syncs across all your devices, so you never have to worry about losing your precious notes and documents. It’s free to use, although there’s the option to upgrade to a pro version with more features.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

When it comes to working on projects with a large team, things can get pretty hectic. Allocating tasks ends up taking forever, and soon everyone’s confused. The solution? DropTask. It offers a vibrant, colourful interface that delivers an enjoyable but effective task management experience.

The main feature here is a customisable workflow board, where team members can allocate tasks and check what they’re expected to do. You can invite up to five colleagues to work on tasks in real-time, and you can assign items under multiple categories. Like many of the other apps listed in this article, DropTask is cloud-based and syncs across devices.

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Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

It's easy to fall behind when you have so much work to do, and it doesn't help when there are so many distractions to deal with. If you suffer with these sort of issues, Be Focused Pro could help you. This iOS app lets you focus on your work and get things done by splitting individual tasks into intervals, separated by small breaks. This, the creators claim, will help you retain motivation while you work. As well as being able to create and configure tasks, you can also track your progress throughout the week, month or year.

Platforms: iOS

Price: £4.99 ($4.99)

One of the banes of running a business is having to deal with time and expense sheets. Unless you're willing to shell out for an accountant, this is something you're going to have to tackle yourself. But Harvest makes the task a lot simpler. The app is a way for you to track time, log expenses and manage invoices on-the-go.

You can use the app to send invoices to clients and track when they've paid, add, view and edit time entries, take photos of receipts and upload them, monitor mileage, and much more besides. There is a basic free plan but it restricts the number of clients and projects available, so you'll need to fork out for a paid subscription ($12 per user per month) if you want to unlock those limits.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Are you a business owner? Then you’ll understand the importance of knowing how your employees are feeling. After all, if they’re not happy at your firm, then the chances are they’re going to underperform – or go elsewhere. TinyPulse is an app that lets you get to know your staff, giving you the ability to set them questions and analyse their feedback. Using this data, you can then make changes if they’re needed.

You can also share virtual suggestions with your team, ensuring they’re always included in strategic decision-making. And hopefully the result of all this will be a happier, more democratic working environment. You can get a free trial to test the system out, although you’ll need to contact the company for details of pricing plans when it comes to the full service.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Varies

Bria is a business-grade communication app available on iOS and Android. It creates a SIP-based softphone client using Wi-Fi or a cellular data network that can make and receive calls over the net. The service uses the phone's existing contact list and has been designed to facilitate easy, effective communication management. There's an intuitive interface that accommodates multiple calls, and functionality includes the ability to swap, merge and split calls, plus you can perform attended and unattended transfers. You needn't worry about security either, as it boasts built-in audio encryption.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: £7.99 ($7.99)

There’s certainly no shortage of to-do list apps out there, but equally there’s no denying that Wunderlist is one of the best. The app allows you to create as many task lists as you want and share them with your colleagues. They sync across devices, so you’ll always have them to hand. Note that the app is free, but there’s a pro version that’ll cost you a few quid a year. You can delegate tasks, set deadlines, add notes, create reminders and split items into sub-tasks – and the interface is easy-to-use, and looks good, too.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

When you have an incredibly busy home and work life, it’s easy to come across great articles or videos online but not have the time to enjoy them. Pocket lets you save items like videos, articles and e-books so you can access them when you have a spare few minutes at some point in the future. It’s a great way to stay organised too. Depending on the version you have, you can create tags to keep everything neat and tidy, or listen to articles with text-to-speech. There’s unlimited storage on offer as well. 

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

As they say, time is money, and you can easily waste both by spending most of the day staring at social media feeds and watching videos on Facebook. RescueTime aims to get you to change your ways and avoid bad working habits. It analyses the apps and websites you view the most, and breaks them down into a list so that you know where your time is going. The idea is you can then use this information to set productivity goals. The app is free, but the pro version lets you go a step further by blocking specific sites and setting up notifications. 

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Toggl is similar to RescueTime in that it wants to help you better utilise your time at work and stay productive. It lets you track multiple projects and clients to build a picture of your daily activities. With this information, you can then view graphs and timesheets, which is extremely handy if you work on a ‘per hour’ basis. All members of a team can use the app and split items into different categories to avoid confusion. The basic plan is free and caters for teams of five members or fewer, but if you need more than this, you’ll have to pay a subscription from $9 a month for the pro version or better.

Platforms: Android and iOS 

Price: Free

Asana is another well-known business app. If you’re not using it already, then you probably should be. It’s like Trello (which we’ve already mentioned) and will help you stay on top of things in general, but it’s a lot more text-centric. You can set up tasks, to-do lists, reminders and requests about pretty much anything, and you can comment on items and send images within the app. There’s functionality that lets you track progress, too, and you’re able to communicate with staff directly.

Asana works across multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets and computers. It’s free for teams of up to 15 members, but beyond that you’ll need to stump up for a premium subscription.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

If you like the idea of having a communications app like Slack but need something a little cheaper when it comes to paid-for options, you’ll want to have a look at HipChat. It may not be as complex or well-known as Slack, but HipChat boasts a free service for unlimited users which offers group chat and file sharing. Upgrade to HipChat Plus for a couple of dollars a month, and you also get group video chat, screen sharing, and unlimited file sharing and storage.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps available, although it’s not just for personal use. It’s also a handy communication tool for businesses, allowing you to communicate with colleagues in real-time. Using your Wi-Fi connection, it lets you send and receive text messages, calls, images, photos, videos and voice messages for free. You can also set up and participate in group chats, which is handy for team meetings and delegating tasks.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Freelancers are always looking for more work – and when it comes to that quest, Konsus could be a big help. It’s an on-demand freelancer platform based within the Slack app (which we covered in a previous slide). The app assigns projects to top-talent sole traders based on their skills and availability. For example, a user could request edits to a PowerPoint presentation or Word document, expecting to get it back by the next morning. There’s a team of project managers too, responsible for vetting freelancers and ensuring projects are completed to the brief.

Platforms: Slack Add-on 

Price: Depends on project

Unless you’re the next Einstein or have loads of research time on your hands, it can be pretty impossible to work out the most complex equations. This is where Wolfram Alpha can help – using a vast collection of algorithms and data, it can produce answers and generate reports for almost any question, not just limited to maths but covering a whole range of topics. The app isn’t free, though, and it’ll set you back £2.99. You also have the option to pay a monthly fee and get added capabilities, should you need them. 

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: £2.99 ($2.99)

It’s always a good idea to have a PDF reader at your disposal, and Adobe is arguably the best out there. The Adobe Acrobat Reader app, which you can get on both Android and iOS for free, lets you edit and add comments to PDFs. If you have an Adobe account, you can benefit from even more features. For instance, you can convert PDFs into various different formats and store them in the cloud. There’s the option of connecting the app to Dropbox too, and if you have an iPad Pro, you can use the Apple Pencil to annotate documents.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Not all businesses and sole traders have the funds to splash out on accountants, although keeping everything tracked and in order is essential. Wave, a free web-based accountancy platform complete with mobile apps, has been designed for small businesses, individuals and contractors. Using it, you can track your expenses, send and manage invoices, scan receipts, get expert accounting reports and more – and it doesn’t even cost a penny. There are various apps available for different functions on iOS (and one Android app – Receipts by Wave), although note that you can’t get the Payroll app outside of the US or Canada.

Platforms: iOS

Price: Free

LinkedIn is like Marmite – you either love or hate it. However, if you’re a business owner or professional, it’s worth creating an account on the platform. Widely accepted as the world’s leading social media site for pros, it lets you connect with colleagues, clients and other relevant contacts. What’s more, it’s a great way to show off your CV and to hunt for employment prospects. LinkedIn has a website, of course, alongside mobile apps for Android and iOS.

Platforms: Android and iOS

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Price: Free

If you have a hundred things to do at once, then effective time management is a must. Here’s one suggestion for a good app to help you out in this cause: Clear Timer. It’s a free timer and stopwatch solution to get you through the day. You can create as many custom timers as you want running simultaneously, which is handy if you have a stack of deadlines to meet on the same day. It sports an easy-to-use interface, a variety of sounds and skins, and timers you can start, pause and reset individually.

Platforms: iOS

Price: Free 

While cloud-oriented services like Google Docs are disrupting the business world, it’s hard not to give credit to stalwart Microsoft Office. The package of office essentials has been a gold standard for years. But you can now get popular programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint as mobile apps, letting you view and edit documents on a mobile device.

Platforms: Android, iOS and Windows Mobile

Price: Free (if you already have a Windows subscription already)

Sometimes it’s nice to have everything in one place. And, in terms of productivity tools, WPS Office offers just that. It’s an all-in-one app where you can create slideshows, presentations and documents. A number of well-known file formats are supported, including those from Microsoft Office. And you can get cloud support from services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

You’ve likely heard of MailChimp before (probably sponsoring a podcast), and if it’s something you’ve not tried yet, then you really should. It’s one of the best ways to manage complex mailing lists and create email campaigns, all for free. You can get the service on desktop, as well as mobile apps. With the Android and iOS apps, you’re able to manage your lists, add new subscribers, send campaigns you’ve drafted up on your computer, and view your reports. The service is free for up to 2,000 or fewer subscribers and 12,000 emails per month – any more than that and you’ll need to upgrade to a paid-for account.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Gmail is one of the most popular and advanced webmail services out there, and the mobile apps are great. Whether linked up to a Gmail account or a business one, you benefit from an easy-to-use app with loads of features. You can use up to five accounts at the same time, get search predictions, read emails with threaded conversations, respond to Google Calendar invites within the app, and send attachments.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

The chances are that you have several email accounts across different platforms, perhaps for a mixture of personal and business uses. If this is the case, you’ll want to download an email client so all your messages are in one place. Newton, formerly known as CloudMagic, is one to consider. Available for Android and iOS smartphones, smartwatches and tablets, it offers a variety of useful features. These include snooze, send later and undo send. The app works with Gmail, Exchange, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, iCloud, Google Apps, Office 365 and IMAP accounts. If you want to try the service out, there is a 14-day trial available.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: $49.99 (around £39.99) per year

Nowadays, with increased cybersecurity risks, it’s crucial that you use strong passwords for your personal and business accounts. But it can be a challenge creating and keeping track of multiple different passwords, particularly if they’re convoluted and obscure affairs (i.e. strong). LastPass generates secure passwords suitable for business uses and stores them at the same time, all within one app. It also boasts browser functionality, letting you fill in forms and login details automatically without having to go through a separate service like those provided in Safari or Chrome.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Getting your finances in order is probably one of the most important considerations when it comes to running a business, for obvious reasons. Expensify makes expense management easier. It captures your receipts, tracks your mileage and other outgoings, and creates complex financial reports. There’s also a function that, if you’re working in a financial department, lets you easily submit reports to your boss. The free account has certain limits – a maximum of 10 free SmartScans per month, for example – and if you want to go beyond that, then you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan from $5 a month.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

If you work in a big city and don’t have access to your own car, you no doubt use the bus, tube, or hire a taxi. But Uber will help you save time and money. The app allows you to organise an affordable ride within a few minutes, without having to make reservations or wait in a taxi line. Uber is already available in dozens of UK and US cities.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Do you own an Apple device? Then Apple Pay is a worthy business essential which makes paying for things much easier thanks to NFC technology. And with biometric login using the fingerprint scanner, you know you’re the only person who can make payments with the service. Most major banks support Apple Pay, as well as merchants. Apple has also formed partnerships with the likes of Visa, MasterCard and Amex.

Platforms: iOS

Price: Free

Genius Scan offers a handy facility that lets you create quality PDF documents by taking a photo. Free to download and use, you can generate your own PDFs through your phone’s camera. There are a plethora of options and settings to help you get the best results, including lighting and camera position. You can send your creations via SMS, email or a messaging app, and export them to services like Google Drive, Dropbox or Evernote.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

If you’re working in an international role and are constantly traveling, then you likely come into contact with a load of different languages. Duolingo will help you learn them, which should hopefully impress your overseas contacts. Taking a flashcard approach, it covers languages like Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Irish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and English. And you can do all this for free. 

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Many businesspeople have to book meetings abroad regularly, and travelling isn’t cheap. But Hopper tries to take some of the financial sting out of making trips aboard, by analysing billions of flights on a daily basis to predict how prices will change, advising you whether to buy or wait a bit. The app constantly monitors the best deals and notifies the user when they should book a trip. You could save up to 40% on your next plane ticket.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

In order to maintain a productive lifestyle, you need to stay healthy, which can be achieved by getting lots of exercise and eating good food. MyFitnessPal helps you get in shape while you battle it out with a busy working and home life. It’s one of the world’s most advanced calorie and dieting apps, with a database of over 5,000,000 foods. To check an item of food or drink, you just scan it using your phone’s camera, and information is pulled from the database. It also hooks up with devices and services such as Fitbit, Apple Health, Jawbone Up, Runkeeper, MapMyFitness and Strava.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Google Chrome has been the world’s most popular web browser for a good while, so it makes a lot of sense to have it on your Android or iOS device. The mobile app is fast, easy-to-use and full of features. For starters, it syncs across all your devices, saving your web searches and bookmarks. And you can make searches using your voice, open as many tabs as you want, use Incognito mode to surf the web without your browsing history being recorded, and read web pages in any language.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free 

Unless you’re a maths whiz, understanding and working out the most complex equations or sums can be an unpleasant experience. PhotoMath is a life-saver, letting you solve problems and produce answers just by taking a photo – it does all the hard work for you, and even shows its working step-by-step. Of course, it’s a bit of a cheat, but it’s a handy one. You now have a way to divide restaurant bills without having to work a calculator or fry your brain.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

If you’re looking for a reliable cloud storage service, Dropbox has got your back. It lets you store and send photos, docs, videos and other files from any device. You can view your files even when you’re offline, and they’re always synced to all your different devices. There’s also the ability to create and edit Microsoft Office documents from your smartphone or tablet. The app is free, although you can get in-app purchases to boost the amount of storage, for example to 1TB (or even unlimited!) should you need plenty of space.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

You can’t really beat Skype if you’re looking for a videoconferencing tool – and it’s available on both Android and iOS tablets. The app is completely free and provides you with message, voice and video call capabilities. It’s perfect for business meetings because you can add up to 25 people to group calls. As well as this, you’re able to share photos, video messages, your location and emojis within chats. There’s even an app for the Apple Watch, letting you stay up-to-date with everyone while carrying as little as possible on your person.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: Free

Creating a mind map is a great way to remember and bring your ideas to life, which is an important part of keeping productive. MindNode is an iOS app built for that exact purpose. Get the app up and running, and you and your colleagues will be able to jot down ideas in no time. You can make the canvas larger, so there’s always room for more doodles, and you can also add photos into the mix. Once finished, you can export your creations or save them for next time.

Platforms: iOS

Price: $9.99

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