90 best free iPad apps 2014

The best free apps for the iPad, iPad Air and the iPad mini

61. 30/30 (universal)

It's easy enough to ignore a to-do when it's lurking somewhere in the background on your Mac or PC, but on an iPad, 30/30's crystal-clear events (including optional repeating loops for work/break cycles) can't be so easily dismissed. Fortunately, it looks great and the tactile interface makes creating and removing items a joy.

30 30

62. Paper By FiftyThree

There's a certain train of thought that apps shouldn't ape real-world items, but we dismiss such talk. They just shouldn't ape real-world items badly! Paper by FiftyThree gets this right, with beautiful sketchbooks in which you can scribble, then share across the web. Books and the pen tool are free, and other tools are available via In-App Purchase.


63. Telegraph pictures for iPad

Rather like the Guardian Eyewitness app, Telegraph Pictures for iPad provides you with new imagery on a daily basis. In fact, The Telegraph's rather more generous than The Guardian, offering a dozen new photographs every 24 hours, and leaving a 14-day archive for you to explore at any time.

Telegraph pictures for iPad

64. Sticky Notes for iPad

If you're a fan of sticky notes, but not the sticky nor the waste, Sticky Notes for iPad provides you with the means to bung colourful rectangular notes on your iPad's screen, even dictating the text should you wish. Just don't have someone think they can't get the note off and then attack your device with a scourer.

Sticky Notes

65. Architizer

There are two levels to this beautifully designed app directed at architects and anyone else with an interest in buildings. On entry, you can select projects from a grid that's updated in real-time. Photography can then be explored full-screen. However, you can also dig deeper, finding out more about each project and who designed it.


66. Pinterest (universal)

Social network Pinterest is one of the very few to challenge the big guns in the industry. It provides a means to find and share inspiration, working as a place to collect and organise the things you love. The iPad app has an elegant interface that pushes inspirational imagery to the fore, just as it should.


67. National Rail Enquiries for iPad

For anyone commuting by train, National Rail Enquiries is a handy app to have installed. There's journey planning, timetables and a location-aware 'next train home' option, along with progress tracking, so you can see when a train's likely to show up. Note that you'll need a 3G iPad or Wi-Fi to use the app.

National Express

68. Quark DesignPad

One for the graphic designers out there, desktop publishing giant Quark's DesignPad is an astonishingly useful app for figuring out layouts on the move, or knocking about ideas in meetings. Plenty of ready-made documents can give you a head-start, and your finished work can be exported as a PNG or emailed for use in a QuarkXPress document.

Quark DesignPad

69. Gmail (universal)

Because of its single-app nature and big screen, the iPad's become a tool many people prefer to a PC or Mac for email. However, if you're reliant on Gmail, Apple's own Mail is insufficient, not providing access to your entire archive nor Gmail's features. Google's own app deals with such shortcomings and looks as good as Apple's client.


70. Solar Walk: Saturn (universal)

Really, this is a promotional app for Solar Walk, but what a piece of promotion it is! There's a ton of information and interactive components that concentrate on perhaps the most fascinating of planets in our solar system, and it looks particularly impressive on a Retina iPad.

Solar Walk Saturn

71. Netbot for App.net

App.net is a bit like Twitter, only it eschews adverts, has a subscription fee, and is hugely keen to attract (rather than repel) developers. Netbot is one of the finest clients for the service (having been created by the team responsible for the excellent Tweetbot, which it mirrors), and it's free.


72. Cloze (universal)

If you ever have one of those conversations where a friend swears blind they did reply, you say you didn't get the email, and they sheepishly mutter "on Facebook", Cloze is for you. It bungs all your social communications (email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) into a single inbox and also prioritises people who you most often deal with. It's a great time-saver.


73. Haiku Deck

If we're honest, we rather liked the original version of Haiku Deck, which stripped back presentations, only enabling you to add to each slide a single image, a heading and a sub-heading. The minimalism's gone (Haiku Deck now includes charts, graphs, bulleted lists and other 'improvements'), but it's still fun and easy to use, which is the main thing.

Haiku Deck

74. Tumblr (universal)

Tumblr has a perfectly serviceable mobile presence, but the Tumblr iPad app gives you a more tablet-oriented interface for using the site. It's therefore a cinch to manage your blogs, post new entries and reply to messages on your iPad. Additionally, there's also offline support, enabling you to queue posts, likes, replies and reblogs without a web connection.


75. Homestyler

In the professional world, Autodesk is best known for high-end 3D products: Maya, 3ds Max, AutoCAD. On the iPad, the company's been using its 3D smarts to churn out interesting consumer-focussed 3D tools. Homestyler enables you to photograph a room, then paint colours on the walls and add furniture, light fittings and accessories.


76. Podcasts (universal)

Podcasts was once one of those Apple apps that people looked at in disbelief, wondering whether anyone at the company had ever really used it. Now, it's a different beast: the interface is slick, and you can create custom stations that auto-update across iCloud, and on-the-go playlists with custom episode lists.


77. Calorie Counter HD

The iPhone version of Calorie Counter is a great way of ensuring you're not eating for several, but the HD iPad release takes things to a whole new level. The extra space enables the interface to breathe, providing plenty of room for charts, calorie breakdowns and interaction with fellow dieters.

Calorie Counter HD

78. Google Drive (universal)

It's curious to think how rapidly Microsoft made Office irrelevant to so many. Most people just want a simple app for documents and spreadsheets, and that (along with a storage repository) is precisely what Google Drive provides. Like Dropbox, it's also possible to store documents locally, for when you've no web connection.

Google Drive

79. Fotopedia Wild Friends (universal)

iPad displays have always been a fantastic way to explore photography (especially the newer Retina models). Fotopedia Wild Friends is one for nature lovers, packed with thousands of stunning images taken during hundreds of missions in dozens of countries. Being a conservation initiative, the photography's also backed with interactive maps, stories and information.


80. PlainText (universal)

The iPhone incarnation of PlainText is good for the odd bit of note-taking, but on the iPad PlainText is transformed into a minimal but highly usable writing tool with Dropbox sync. The lack of clutter provides a real sense of focus - even the single iAd is hidden from view once the on-screen keyboard appears.


81. Box (universal)

There's no traditional file system in iOS, but the likes of Box can act as a close equivalent, along with enabling cross-device/platform sync. Here, you get 10 GB of free storage, albeit less direct integration with iOS apps than rival Dropbox provides. Still, files are easily shared and opened, and there's a photo-upload option from the iOS Camera Roll, handy for getting snaps from your shiny new iPhone 7 (when it launches) to your iPad.


82. Groove (universal)

If you've a large music collection, it can sometimes be difficult to decide what to listen to next. Groove tries to figure out your listening habits and cross-references your collection with Last.fm data. The result is constantly evolving automatic personalised playlists that might just change your iPad music-listening habits for good.


83. Amazon Cloud Player (universal)

It seems every major player in media must have a cloud music service these days, and Amazon's no exception. The Amazon Cloud Player app is smartly designed, enabling you to easily switch between content stored on your Amazon account and music stored on your device. You can also download from the former to the latter.

Amazon Cloud Player

84. Mailbox (universal)

If the Gmail app isn't doing it for you, Mailbox is a more than capable alternative. It's clean and efficient, and boasts plenty of time-saving tools. Messages can be swiped to archives and the trash, or snoozed until later, automatically returning to your inbox when asked. You can also attach files from a Dropbox account.


85. GarageBand (universal)

Apple's GarageBand turns your iPad into a recording studio. Previously a paid app, GarageBand now has a freemium model. For no charge, you get full access to its features, including a range of smart instruments, MIDI editing and song arrangement. The only limitation is that relatively few instruments are included, but more are available via IAP.


86. Amazon/LOVEFiLM Instant (universal)

Much like Netflix, LOVEFiLM enables you to subscribe and then stream TV shows and movies from the cloud. Quite a lot of them are bargain-bin fodder, but the range continues to grow. Pleasingly, Amazon also enables you to stream whatever you're watching to an Apple TV via AirPlay.


87. Sequential

We've elsewhere mentioned Comics, but Sequential has a slightly different take on the medium. It's an altogether more upmarket affair, aimed at graphic novels and collections of sequential art that are supposed to be taken seriously. Therefore, this isn't so much everything but the kitchen sink, but a repository for a carefully curated selection of some of the best comics ever created.


88. Snapseed (universal)

Apple's Photos app has editing capabilities, but they're not terribly exciting — especially when compared to Snapseed. Here, you select from a number of effect types and proceed to pinch and swipe your way to a transformed image. It's a fun tool, but there's plenty of control for anyone determined to get their photos just so.


89. Flayvr (universal)

Flayvr is pretty interesting, in that it claims to make sense of a huge collection of digital pictures. It tries to automatically organise your photos and videos into events and build albums from them. Perhaps surprisingly, it frequently succeeds. Albums can then be browsed, shared privately, or sent on to a social network.


90. GroupMe (universal)

Although it's technically an instant messaging app, GroupMe comes across more like a mini-Facebook, but just for your friends. It has feeds, the means to 'like' posts, and private messaging. It's media-savvy, too, enabling you to post videos and photos, the latter being automatically turned into galleries you can browse from a sidebar.