Skip to main content

The best iPad apps to download: ready for 2021

The best iPad apps
(Image credit: Apple)

While the iPad is undoubtedly the all-conquering best tablet range right now, without the best iPad apps it's basically just a souped-up Chromebook.

Nobody wants that - so we're here to help you, whether you want the best iPad Pro apps to make use of the Apple Pencil, the best iPad mini apps to work on a smaller screen or just something to reinvigorate your time with a tablet.

We've spent hundreds of hours testing the best free and paid-for iPad apps, and have helpfully split them into multiple categories on the following pages to let you browse for what you actually need. 

Of course, if you need a better iPad, our list of the best iPads around is there for you too - but if you've just been given a new tablet, then these are the titles that you need to be checking out - starting with our favorite new app this month.

Oh, and if you're looking for something fun, then we've also rounded up the best iPad games you can download right now.

iPad app of the week: Pixaki 4 Pro ($26.99/£23.99/AU$41.99)

A screenshot showing Pixaki 4 Pro

(Image credit: Rizer Creative Ltd)

Pixaki provides iPad owners with a way to craft pixel art. The style originated by necessity during the 1970s and 1980s, and might seem obsolete in an era where individual pixels are impossible to see on a screen. But the aesthetic remains popular, perhaps because you instinctively know thought has gone into the placement of every dot.

With this latest revision, Pixaki feels modern. The interface is sleek, offering fast access to key tools and yet getting out of your way when you want to draw. More transforms would be nice (such as flip and rotate), but the shape, fill and brush tools are excellent, the layers system works well (and allows you to import reference images), and there’s a keyframe toolbar when you want to make artwork move.

Unsure? Check out the free ‘intro’ version, which limits canvas size, layers and animation frames, but is otherwise full-featured.