Business apps

iphone apps, business apps
Credit: Smartphone image via Shutterstock

Smartphones, especially the iPhone, have become our all-in-one tools for business, thanks to an enormous library of apps made for productivity, communication and organization. There are nearly 2 million apps in the Apple App Store, so it can be tough to find the right ones for you. Here's our list of iPhone/iPad apps to help you have a more productive and efficient workday.

Calendar: Fantastical 2 ($2.99)

Data on Demand: Wolfram Alpha ($2.99)

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. 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 importantly, 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, then dragging it to the correct spot on your calendar. One newly added feature is detailed location info for meetings, including a map. It also has an easy-to-use reminder feature, so you can casually voice your tasks you want to be reminded of later.

Day planner: Schedule Planner (free)

PDFs: Adobe Reader (Free)

Schedule Planner puts the focus squarely on the minutiae of your daily tasks, then provides the tools you need to see if you're spending your time wisely. It has an easy-to-use interface to help you quickly plan out your day in the morning, letting 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 you to set custom alerts, repeat tasks, and move items around with easy copy-and-paste functionality.

To-do list: Todoist (free, with premium version)

Read It Later: Pocket (Free)
Todoist can help you burn through tasks by adding tons of extra functionality to the traditional to-do list format. In addition to setting up simple checklists, the app lets you set due dates and even rank tasks by priority to help you identify your next action item. A paid business version of the platform allows you to better collaborate with the rest of your staff. It includes project management features, including the ability to assign individual tasks to a larger project and designate tasks to a specific team member. Todoist features dozens of integrations with other apps, including Dropbox, Slack and Google.

Productivity: OmniFocus 3 (free, with premium version)

Productivity: OmniFocus 3 (free, with premium version)
Credit: Apple App Store
OmniFocus 3 is an all-in-one productivity app that allows you to record tasks and group them in projects. Organizing tasks this way can keep you focused on the projects you need to get done. You can customize your tasks and projects by adding location data, collaborators, priority and even energy level. It has an easy-to-navigate interface where you can review your list of tasks. Custom notifications will keep you on track and can even be sent to your Apple Watch. This app integrates with Siri, so you can record tasks with your voice.

Data on demand: Wolfram Alpha ($2.99)

Data on Demand: Wolfram Alpha ($2.99)
It's sort of like Siri, only smarter. In fact, parts of Wolfram Alpha are in Siri. This app is not only a comprehensive, live encyclopedia, but it gives you a serious computational knowledge engine that can help you with any type of math or science problem. Wolfram Alpha can give you quick answers to complicated math equations, making it one of the best calculators ever. It has a wide variety of uses and is knowledgeable in hundreds of subjects. From currency conversions to the nutrition facts of your meal, Wolfram Alpha is the ultimate reference guide.

PDFs: PDFelement (free, with premium version)

PDFs: PDFelement (free, with premium version)
Credit: Apple App Store
PDFelement is a powerful PDF reader and editor that has all the essential tools you need to handle PDF and more. The app has lots of editing tools, including font recognition and editing, so you can change the style, size and color of text. Its annotation tools let you leave notes in texts boxes or with freehand drawing. The camera feature allows you to snap a photo of a document and immediately turn it into a customizable PDF. You can convert PDFs to TXT, Word, HTML and dozens of other file formats. It integrates with Dropbox, Google and other services for easy sharing.

Read it later: Pocket (free, with premium version)

Read It Later: Pocket (Free)
When you find an article or video you want to read or watch but don't have time to at the moment, you can save it to Pocket. It syncs that content across phones, tablets and computers, and you can access it offline. It offers unlimited storage, and you can tag things for searching later. You can even recommend content to others.

Accounting: FreshBooks (free, with premium version)

Accounting: FreshBooks (Free)
For when you're on the move a lot and need an easy way to create invoices for your client, FreshBooks is an intuitive app that can handle several accounting situations. Optimal for businesses that are mobile and make house calls, FreshBooks lets you create invoices, receive payments, capture expenses and track billable hours. It can also create and send estimates to clients, and it backs up your data and syncs it with its desktop version.

Recording: Just Press Record ($4.99)

Just Press Record
Just Press Record is an essential app for business owners who want to record meetings, create voice memos or set voice reminders throughout the day. The app has a few marquee features, such as the option to transcribe audio and sync with Apple Watch. It supports 30 languages and also syncs with iCloud.

Notetaking: Paper (free, with premium version)

Sometimes the best ideas pop into our minds when we're working on other projects, but getting them written down and keeping track of where they are can be a real problem. Paper is a great app for iPhone users who prefer to jot down their notes by hand. It's like having a notepad that never runs out of paper and saves all your ideas to the cloud. You can create diagrams, charts and sketches with a wide variety of pens. It also has the organizational flexibility to make subsets for notes on random thoughts or specific topics, allowing you to keep track of individual projects. Paper also offers a stylus for sketching for an additional $54.

Additional reporting by Anna Attkisson and Matt D'Angelo.