80 best free iPad apps 2014

The best free apps for the new and old iPads

41. Makr

DIY just got a little easier thanks to this fantastic little app called Makr. Full of design tools, templates and patterns, you're able to create just about any printed materials for any event. The only caveat seems to lie in the fact that you have to buy your PDF creation.


42. Dolphin Browser

Safari for iPad is a great mobile browser, but if you hanker for more features, Dolphin is a decent alternative. The browser has an Opera-like "speed dial" that provides one-touch access to favorites, and you can create personalized action gestures. There's also a distraction-free full-screen mode for when you really want to get into a website.

Dolphin Browser

43. Skyscanner (universal)

Skyscanner's website is pretty good, but the iPad app's another great example of how an app's focus can really help you speed through a task. You use the app to search over a thousand airlines, and it provides straightforward competitive journey lists and comparison graphs. If you're planning a flight, it's an indispensable download.


44. Dragon Dictation (universal)

There's always something slightly spooky about voice recognition software, as if Skynet's listening in or something, but such tools had for years been out of most people's reach. Now, Dragon Dictation is free for iOS.

It's eerily accurate, trainable and, despite the dev recommending you use an external microphone, the app works fine with the iPad's built in one. And unlike Siri, Dragon Dictation works on any iPad running iOS 4 or later, and it also has a bigger buffer than Apple's service.

Dragon dictation

45. Remote (universal)

Although pretty basic on the iPhone, Remote on the iPad is akin to a stripped-down iTunes when it comes to accessing network libraries and playing music. It's also indispensable if you have an Apple TV and want to control it with something other than the hateful metal chewing-gum stick that ships with the device.


46. Pulse News Reader

When unveiled, RSS reader Pulse was divisive, with an unresponsive oddball interface. But it's evolved to become free and fast, and is now a tactile, enjoyable way to catch up on news. The image-oriented interface, with slider-based RSS feeds and configurable tab groups, makes it particularly suitable for anyone who subscribes to image-heavy sites.


47. Fotopedia Heritage (universal)

Fotopedia Heritage is perfect for anyone who enjoys awe-inspiring photography. The app enables you to browse tens of thousands of photos of beautiful locations worldwide. It also provides information about each location, and can be used for travel planning through favorites and links to TripAdvisor.

Fotopedia Heritage

48. Yell Search

If you're in an unfamiliar place or traveling somewhere new, Yell Search is a great app for figuring out what amenities are available locally. The interface is responsive and efficient, and you can handily add any business you find as a favorite for easy access later on.

Yell Search

49. XE Currency for iPad (universal)

It's as ugly as they come, but XE Currency is the best free currency app you'll find. You define which currencies you want to see, along with the number of decimals to show. Double-tap a currency and you can set it as the base currency by tapping 1.0 in the calculator, or do conversions by typing any other value.

XE Currency Converter

50. Airport Utility (universal)

With apps like Airport Utility, it's increasingly clear Apple now sees the iPad as an independent unit, not merely an accessory to a PC or Mac. The app provides an overview of your Wi-Fi network, and enables you to view and change settings, restore or restart a base station, and get terribly angry at a flashing orange light that denotes your ISP's gone belly up.

Airport Utility

51. Skype for iPad

In theory, we should be cheerleading for FaceTime, what with it being built into iOS devices, but it's still an Apple-only system. Skype, however, is enjoyed by myriad users who haven't been bitten by the Apple bug, and it works very nicely on the iPad, including over 3G.


52. Skitch for iPad (universal)

Skitch is a screen-grab and annotation tool that was snapped up by Evernote. In its iPad incarnation, it enables you to scribble on grabs, photos, maps and web pages and then fling the result to Twitter, email or Evernote, or fire your work at an Apple TV.


53. Readability (universal)

The latest of the major read-it-later systems, Readability brings with it a clean interface and a lovely set of fonts. As with the likes of Instapaper, Readability strips junk from web pages, leaving only the content. As you'd expect, you can also send on anything particularly interesting to Twitter and Facebook.


54. iTunes U (universal)

If you're still convinced the iPad is only a device for staring brain-dead at TV shows and not a practical tool for education, check out iTunes U. The app enables you to access many thousands of free lectures and courses taught by universities and colleges, thereby learning far more than what bizarre schemes current soap characters are hatching.

iTunes U

55. Amazon Mobile (universal)

Amazon is one of the largest e-commerce sites out there, so why not have it in the form of a handy, free app? Amazon Mobile makes shopping much easier from the convenience of your iPad with all the same features of your usual Amazon experience.

Amazon Mobile

56. Google Search (universal)

Google Search might seem redundant - after all, the iPad's Safari app has a built-in Google search field. However, Google's own offering provides a superior search experience that's been specifically designed for iPad. Highlights include a tactile image carousel, visual search history and Google Goggles integration.

Google Search

57. TuneIn Radio (universal)

Output your iPad's audio to an amp or a set of portable speakers, fire up TuneIn Radio, select a station and you've a set-up to beat any DAB radio. Along with inevitable social sharing, the app also provides an alarm, AirPlay support, pause and rewind, and a "shake to switch station" feature - handy if the current DJ's annoying and you feel the need to vent.

TuneIn Radio

58. HowStuffWorks (universal)

HowStuffWorks is a fun app to pass the time reading articles about, well, how stuff works. There are also a bunch of videos and podcasts, plus endless content from popular HowStuffWorks' sections like cars, electronics, finance and much more for the ever-curious.

How Stuff Works

59. Netflix (universal)

Netflix has been described by some as the perfect way to experience everything a DVD bargain bin has to offer. And the iPad app includes AirPlay support and a resume function, so you can pick up where you left off on another device.


60. SoundCloud (universal)

SoundCloud is a popular service for sharing sounds, and the iPad app enables you to search and play myriad snippets and music tracks hosted on SoundCloud's servers. If you're a budding musician or oddball loudmouth, you can also record and upload sounds from your iPad, or record to upload later.


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

Though a UK oriented app, Telegraph Pictures for iPad still provides you with beautiful new imagery on a daily basis. In fact, The Telegraph's rather generous, 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 colorful 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 for iPad

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 organize the things you love. The iPad app has an elegant interface that pushes inspirational imagery to the fore, just as it should.


67. Vevo HD (universal)

With Vevo HD, you can browse an entire catalog of 75,000 music videos from more than 21,000 artists all for free. You can also stream live concerts, create playlists and more.

Vevo HD

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. TeamViewer HD

TeamViewer HD allows you to remotely access your PC, or a friend or family member's PC. Why would you want to do either? Well to help out someone in need who isn't as tech savvy as you, or to retrieve important documents.

TeamViewer HD

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 combines all your social communications (email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) into a single inbox and also prioritizes 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 re-blogs 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 colors 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.

Fotopedia Wild Friends

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.