Three great mobile mind mapping apps

Because of their simple drag-and-drop, quickfire creative power, mind maps are incredibly well suited to mobile platforms

All this week, I've been talking about how amazingly useful mind-mapping is for a variety of creative and business tasks. In my last post, I looked at a few of the best mind-mapping tools for Windows. Today we'll check out some of the coolest mind mappers for smartphones and tablets.

Mind mapping is an awesome activity for mobile devices, because it's inherently quick and requires very little typing. You can pull out your phone and tap up useful mind maps as you ride the train, wait to order lunch, or while you're standing in line at the airport. It's precisely this low-friction simplicity that makes mind maps such a powerful tool for productivity.

Here are a few of my favorite mind mapping apps for the most popular smartphone platforms.

SimpleMind+ for iPad/iPhone

There's no terrible shortage of mind mapping options for iOS, and some can set you back as much as $50. But for my money (which is about $0), it's hard to beat SimpleMind+. The basic version is free for either iPad or iPhone, and as of this writing the manufacturer offers an upgrade to the full version (which supports both iPad and iPhone) for $2.99 as an in-app purchase.

SimpleMind+ is simplicity itself. Tap a little plus sign next to any node on your mind map to add a subnode. Tap in a label and then create more nodes. Tapping and dragging instantly rearranges your maps, and you can drop one node onto another to reassign it as a subnode. In all my years of mind mapping, I've yet to find a mind mapper as cheap, easy, and insanely useful as SimpleMind+ on the iPad. The iPhone version runs a close second.

Thinking Space for Android

Android users need not fret over the absence of SimpleMind+ on their platform. Thinking Space, which is a free download from Android Market, is very nearly as streamlined and simple as SimpleMind+. It also supports the same XML file format as Freemind, the great open-source mind mapper I recommended for Windows users in my last post, so it's ready to share maps between your smartphone and your PC.

MindBerry

Keypad-based BlackBerrys aren't exactly ideal for mind mapping, because they require too much futzing around with the trackball and readily break your train of thought. But the BlackBerry Storm can be almost as good as an iPhone or Android device for mind mapping if you use MindBerry. This $17 app is available for both the Storm and for keypad-equipped BlackBerrys, but I wouldn't recommend the non-Storm version any more than I'd recommend a keypad-based smartphone (which I wouldn't).

Many, Many More

There are dozens of other mind mapping apps out there, including options for WebOS , Windows Mobile, and Symbian. I can't possibly cover them all here, but I've tried plenty of the available alternatives and the ones I've listed here are my best suggestions for anyone looking to take their digital mind maps on the road. Search your platforms app marketplace, and you'll find no shortage of competing choices, ranging from simple (and some not-simple-enough) freebies to powerfully complex tools that come with price tags approaching $50, like OmniGraffle and Mindjet for iOS.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags productivityCell PhonesPhonesPhone applications

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.

Robert Strohmeyer

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

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?