Top five free iPhone productivity apps

Our favorite iPhone apps let you aggregate various online accounts, back up notes and photos, create to-do lists, look up local businesses, and surf the Web offline--all without spending a dime.

I experienced a few lag-time issues when testing the app, but no real deal-breakers. For instance, the text-to-voice feature was accurate in my testing, but conversion from text to voice took about 10 minutes over EDGE. Also, there's inexplicably no way to edit a to-do or shopping entry from your iPhone once you've saved it, even to add the day and time the task is due. You can, however, edit and manage your saved entries on ReQall's nicely designed Web site. The current iteration of ReQall is free, but according to its Web site, the company will start charging for it soon.

4. YPMobile

Website | App Store link (requires iTunes)

YPMobile puts searchable Yellow Pages listings right on your iPhone free of charge, saving you from having to lug the Yellow Pages around with you. In addition to searching for specific business names, YPMobile can also search by category: restaurant types, dry cleaners, barber shops, and the like.

Provided you allow YPMobile to use your current location data, your search results display in order of the businesses nearest to your current location, which is a great touch. Each listing offers the business's address and phone number (you tap the number to call them), as well as a user rating based on a five-star scale. You can add listings to your "Plan" for the day by hitting a plus button at the bottom of the screen, and you can bookmark and share business listings by adding them as a favorite. YPMobile's usefulness doesn't stop there, thanks to an events tab that lists upcoming concerts and happenings. Of the batch reviewed here, it's the most bug-free.

5. Instapaper

Website | App Store link (requires iTunes)

Instapaper is a way to create offline versions of your favorite Web articles, allowing you to read them on your iPhone while you're on an airplane, in the subway tunnel, or otherwise out of signal range. However, in order to save a list of pages to read, you'll need to plan ahead and visit Instapaper.com beforehand using mobile Safari, choose your content, and then launch the Instapaper app to read it offline. I only wish it had integrated functionality with the iPhone's mobile Safari browser; namely, the ability to save offline versions of articles by simply tapping a button within Safari.

After performing that rather irritating ritual (it's much less frustrating to use your laptop or desktop to save your content with the Instapaper site), the Instapaper app displays a list of all the pages you've saved. However, clicking on my entries brought up another buggy usability issue: an error message that read, "Sorry, this page is not available offline." That's not entirely accurate, because tapping the "Text" button at the top of the screen brought up an offline version of each saved page. Once you get around the bugginess and the hoop-jumping, Instapaper is a nice way to read long articles offline, but the development team has a few kinks and usability issues to work out.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Moynihan

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?