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Best iPad apps in 2023:
 Notetaking, productivity, and more

My favorite iPad apps on my iPad Pro ❤️

Hi everyone! In today’s post I’m going to be showing you what’s on my iPad and share some of my favorite iPad apps for notetaking, productivity, creativity, self-care and more. So stay tuned if you’re interested in finding out the best apps in 2023. Most of these are also free to download.

1. Best iPad Digital Planning & Notetaking Apps

I love using my digital planner to stay organized and track things like my schedule, to do list, goals and habits. An iPad is an ideal device for digital planning and notetaking as using a stylus pen makes it super easy. As a former paper planner addict, I’ve been enjoying these notetaking apps to use my digital planner.

GoodNotes (Free to try, $8.99 to unlock premium features)

GoodNotes is my favorite note-taking app to use for digital planning on Apple devices. I import digital planner PDF files into the app and write on with my apple pencil. Using the planner helps me stay organized and track things like my schedule, to do list, goals and habits.

Collanote (Free)

Collanote is a free note taking app with lots of useful features and this is what I recommend for digital planning if you are looking for a GoodNotes alternative. There is also a free version of our happydownlaods digital planner for those who want to try digital planning for free.

2. Best iPad Widget Apps

Here is the list of widget tools I’ve discovered to make and customize widgets in different styles.

Photo Widget (Free, In-App Purchases)

I use Photo Widget to create image widgets and there’s a huge selection of cute and aesthetic widgets for things like time and date, calendar, battery, quotes and more.

Widgetsmith (Free, In-App Purchases)

Widgetsmith has similar widgets to Photo Widget, but more minimal style.

Pinterest (Free)

Pinterest Widget lets you browse images and save them to different collections and display them.

Bears (Free, In-App Purchases)

Bears is a cute app that lets you create countdown widgets for things like birthdays, upcoming events and deadlines.

Zen Flip Clock (Free, In-App Purchases)

Zen Flip Clocks is a widget with a minimalist design that helps you get into distraction-free zen mode.

MD Clock (Free to try, $9.99/year for full version)

MD Clock offers cute, animated pixel widgets that make your heart go aww.

3. Best iPad Drawing Apps

There are a number of iPad drawing apps that can supercharge your creative power. They are all easy to use and you’ll have fun playing with them!

Procreate ($12.99 one off payment)

So far, Procreate has been my favorite drawing app.  It’s super intuitive and easy to use, and you can also create your own brushes. I also use it to decorate my digital planner to add colors.

Sketchbook (Free, In-App Purchases)

Sketchbook has all the basic drawing tools and it’s free!

Art Set 4 (Free, In-App Purchases)

I had so much fun playing with Art set 4. It has realistic tools like oil paint and the colors blend in with so much realism and I can’t wait to create a painting with this.   

Pixelable (Free, In-App Purchases)

For pixel art lovers, Pixelable lets you create your own pixel art and you can choose your own grid size and create layers.    

4. Best Useful Tools for iPad

Digital planning is more fun with custom fonts and colors. For those who want to take further with digital planning, here are the tools you might find useful.  

iFont (Free, In-App Purchases)

I use iFont app for installing custom fonts to use in my digital planner, and you can find a ton of free fonts.

Coolers (Free, In-App Purchases)

If you’re looking for aesthetic color palettes, Coolers lets you browse and save different palettes and you can copy and paste the hex codes into note taking apps like GoodNotes.

Calculator (Free, In-App Purchases)

I also have the Calculator app which you can have open in a split screen, and I like that you can customize it with different color schemes.

5. Best iPad Productivity Apps

It’s easy to get distracted by iPads and other devices. These apps can help you to focus on getting your work done. From the Pomodoro technique to habit building, these are my favorite iPad productivity apps.

Forest ($3.99, In-App Purchases)

Have you heard about the pomodoro technique? It’s the productivity technique that I’ve been using to stay focused, in which you work on a task for 25 minutes and then take a break. Forest app lets you grow trees for your forest when you succeed working for 25 minutes. If you stop the timer before it’s complete, you’ll kill the tree. 🙁

Smile todo (Free, In-App Purchases)

Smile todo is a cute app for tracking your daily habits. You can choose their frequency and when you complete a habit you just tap on it to color it in, and there’s also a widget for your homescreen.

Habit (Free, In-App Purchases)

For those looking for more detailed habit tracker, Habit lets you track exactly how much progress you’ve made on a particular habit like the number of steps you’ve walked in a day.

Structured (Free, In-App Purchases)

I love making to do lists and you can structure them into a daily timeline using Structured, and you can also get notifications and widgets for your homescreen.

Routinery (Free, In-App Purchases)

Routinery lets you create routines like a morning routine and then add habits into this routine. You set how long each habit takes and you start the timer to begin doing it.

6. Best iPad Coloring Apps

Do you like coloring books? Then you don’t want to miss out this section. 

Lake (Free, In-App Purchases)

Lake is a coloring app with a big collection of coloring books. I also love that you don’t have to worry about going over the lines, and you can either color in using brush strokes, or using the paint bucket option which lets you fill an area with a single tap.

Color by number (Free, In-App Purchases)

Or how about making coloring as a game? Color by number is a coloring game app that is super easy and fun to play.

7. Best iPad Self-Care Apps

We all have busy lives, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. Recently, I’ve been focusing more on self-care and these apps have been helpful.

Finch (Free, In-App Purchases)

Finch lets you take care of a virtual pet, and when you complete self care exercises it helps to grow your pet and you earn rewards. You can set daily goals and there’s lots of mindful exercises you can do.

Insight Timer (Free, In-App Purchases)

Insight timer is a guided meditation app with soundtracks for relaxation and sleep. Also you can add inspirational quote widgets to your homescreen to get daily dose of motivation.

I am (Free, In-App Purchases)

If you like quotes on your homescreen, I am is a super simple app that gives you daily positive affirmations.

Stoic (Free, In-App Purchases)

Stoic app has daily quotes and prompts for you to reflect on and journal about for improving mental health and changing negative thoughts.

Dailybean (Free, In-App Purchases)

Dailybean lets you keep a daily journal where you tap on different chioces to record things like your mood emotions and activities. Also, you can add in a daily photo.

8. Best iPad Reading Apps

I’ve been trying to read more and keep track of books that I have read. If you are also interested in that, I’d suggest you to check out these apps.

Reading List (Free, In-App Purchases)

Reading list lets you quickly find and add books by searching the title or scanning the barcode. You can rate books and write a note, and create different books lists.

GoodReads (Free)

GoodReads is great for finding new book recommendations and reading book reviews.

9. Best iPad Learning Apps

Here is a list of learning apps for those who want to pick up new language or expand their knowledge.

Duolingo (Free, In-App Purchases)

Duolingo is a simple, fun language learning app with over 40+ languages. I’ve been using Duolingo for improving my mandarin, and the lessons and quizzes are very good and fun to use.

Quizlet (Free, In-App Purchases)

Quizlet lets you create your own study flashcards or you can find ones created by other people.

10. Best iPad Photo and Video Editing Apps

Taking photos and videos are one thing, but editing can be time consuming. But help from these apps, photo/video editing can get more simple. 

Inshot (Free, In-App Purchases)

InShot is a powerful video and photo editor that is easy to use. You can add transitions, effect, stickers and text using the app to your video and photo.

Capcut (Free, In-App Purchases)

Capcut is another video editing app that offers intuitive and simple functions like InShot.

Lightroom (Free, In-App Purchases)

Lightroom from Adobe has great tools for editing your photos and videos like brightness, saturation and hue.

Prisma (Free, In-App Purchases)

Prisma turns your photos into art style paintings, and there’s lots of different art effects to choose from.

11. Useful Default Apple Apps

iPad comes with a number of default Apple apps. Here are the ones that I have been using often to get organized with my digital planner. 

Shortcuts (Free)

If you want to automate your tasks and schedule, Shortcuts is worth a shot. Shortcuts is super useful for setting up custom shortcuts to apps and files, and I also use this for linking between my digital planner and apple calendar.

Calendar (Free)

Organizing your life starts with using the calendar. I often add links to my calendar from my digital planner so I can get all my schedules synced across devices.

Reminders (Free)

I use the Reminders app for displaying reminders on my homescreen, and I like that you can drag and drop handwritten notes from apps like Goodnotes.