Business apps

Business apps
Credit: Smartphone image via Shutterstock

If you own a business, you probably juggle dozens of tasks each day just to keep it running. With so many responsibilities, a pen-and-paper to-do list just won't cut it. That's where your iPhone comes in: With the right apps and a little know-how, there are countless ways to plan your day, week, month and year. And if you just need to remember to make an important business call one hour from now, there's an app for that, too.

Every iPhone comes with Apple's own Calendar app, which offers basic functionality to help you schedule meetings, remember appointments and more. But the default app can't do it all. Other apps offer deeper options and more streamlined functionality to help you stay on top of your daily duties. Here are five of the best.

Appointment Scheduler: SetMore Appointments (Free)

Appointment Scheduler: SetMore Appointments (Free)
Credit: Alminder Inc.
SetMore Appointments lets your customers schedule an appointment with your business quickly and easily. The platform has an online interface that connects to your business calendar, letting customers see open appointment times at a glance. Everything is handled through the SetMore website, so the system works even if you don't have a dedicated website for your business. SetMore Appointments even lets customers book a time through social media sites like Facebook.

Calendar: Fantastical 2 ($1.99)

Calendar: Fantastical 2 ($1.99)
Credit: Flexibits, Inc.

Fantastical 2 is a top-rated alternative to the stock iPhone calendar app because it strikes a great balance between deep features and ease of use. It has all the features of competing apps, including the ability to view your calendar by day, week, month or year, and easily drill down to view individual events. And it lets you add events using natural speech, such as “Meet Ted for lunch at 2:00 on Tuesday.” Fantastical 2 parses your sentence to fill in all the relevant information and then automatically notifies you when the event approaches. Most important, the app is intuitive and easy to use. For example, moving an event to a different time or day is as easy as tapping and holding, and then dragging it to the correct spot on your calendar.

Day Planner: Schedule Planner (Free)

Day Planner: Schedule Planner (Free)
Credit: Intersog.

Schedule Planner puts the focus squarely on the minutiae of your daily tasks, and then provides the tools you need to see if you're spending your time wisely. It features an easy-to-use interface to help you quickly plan out your day in the morning, and lets you place items in color-coded categories, such as Work and Free Time. The app then generates charts to help you see, at a glance, where your time is going — a key feature for small business owners who make their own schedules. Like other day-planner apps, Schedule Planner allows users to set custom alerts, repeat tasks and move items around with easy cut-and-paste functionality.

To-Do List: Wunderlist (Free)

To-Do List: Wunderlist (Free)
Credit: Wunderlist
Wunderlist takes the simple power of a traditional to-do list and adds functionality, to help you burn through your tasks. The app makes it easy to add items, then eliminate them by crossing them out as they're completed. And it boasts a number of features you won’t find on competing apps, like the ability to add tasks through Siri using voice commands, which lets you use the app without ever opening it. I also appreciate the ability to add location-based reminders. For example, Wunderlist can remind you to stop at the post office when your phone’s GPS sensor detects that you’re driving past it on your way to the office.

Personal Assistant: Siri (Free)

Personal Assistant: Siri (Free)
Credit: Apple.

If you use your iPhone for business, Apple's voice-activated personal assistant is still one of the best ways to manage your schedule on the go. When you use Siri, adding a new event or appointment to your calendar is as easy as stating the details aloud. It even allows you to edit the details of an event, cancel events, or invite one of your contacts to an event, all through simple voice commands. Siri can also show you your calendar or tell you when your next appointment is — just ask. Siri isn’t exactly an app; the software is built into the iPhone operating system and is activated by pressing and holding the home button on the device.

Smart Calendar: Calendars 5 (Free)

Smart Calendar: Calendars 5 (Free)
Calendars 5 combines the best elements of a traditional calendar and a personal assistant. The app features most of the same functionality you'll find in a solid calendar app such as Fantastical 2, but it adds extra functionality like the ability to set appointments using natural language – for example, you could say “Meet Linda at Starbucks at 2 p.m.” and Calendars 5 will intelligently update your work calendar. The app also features a task manager than makes it easy to track your daily tasks and check off to-dos as they’re completed.