7 Must Have College Apps
We all have Angrybirds. We all have Facebook. Most of us have SiddurHD. There are some mobile apps, however, that are too school for cool. Yup, these apps have nerd written all-over. After much searching and discussing, I’ve distilled seven productivity apps that will keep you on track—or in the right location—for your next assignment.
WikiView Reader for Wikipedia
There are at least eight Wikipedia apps out there, but one clearly rises above the rest. The 99 cent WikiView Reader app offers substantial improvements over the free standard Wiki Mobile app. Readers of Wikipedia know the temptations of hyperlinking all-too-well, and this application is clearly built for those suffering from that all-consuming curiosity. You can press and hold links to read pages later, easily cache pages for offline viewing, and share articles to your fact-starved friends rapidly. Other features you wouldn’t have expected include the ability to save images, find articles near your geographic location, and, in true Wikipedia style, annotate articles.
Dropbox, the now ubiquitous storage device, has added yet another platform into its seamlessly integrated network. Reading PDFs, documents, and even slideshows has never been more elegant or easy on a iPad. You can effortlessly sync your data across all your devices and share documents with friends at the push of a button.
If you’re brining your mobile device to a class in Furst, you will need to remember to download the document into an offline folder, a frustrating catch I hope the development team remedies soon. That being said, the Dropbox team is constantly adding improvements, the most recent of which include cross-document word searches, photo storage, and greater customization.
One drawback of the system is an absence of a text processing system. You can view your Microsoft word documents on the system, but forget editing them—for that you’ll need Google Drive.
Like Dropbox, Google Drive is a cloud storage application. Unlike Dropbox, Google Drive was bread by Google engineers to edit text. You can type up notes, spreadsheets, and slideshows (even in Hebrew!) and edit them in real-time with multiple people, just like the traditional, computer-based Drive. Engaging offline editing allows you to, well, edit offline.
Google Drive has room for much improvement. The app can’t search within documents, add special symbols, or shortcut contacts when sharing a document. The platform can also glitch and crash at random moments, so be prepared for possible failures, especially if you rely on it for organizing Shabbat meals.
This 2012 App of the Year is advertised as “the easiest and most beautiful way to create on the iPad.” While I think they’re giving themselves a little to much credit, this app indubitably lives up to much of the hype. This drawing software can make even the clumsiest doodler look artistically inclined. It’s swanky sounding “expressive ink engine” bleeds and blends ink and delicately captures the textures of a watercolor wash. Movement is key in this app. The faster you run your finger across the screen, the bolder the pigment or line. After some time, the app becomes intuitive, entertaining, and useful.
If you ever need to draw up something for class—a simple relationship diagram, a logo, or a more complex sketch—Paper is the app to use. Annoyingly, and perhaps predictably, the app comes pre-installed with a limited number of tools. Want to mix new shades beyond the seven preinstalled? That’ll be $1.99. Want to use that oh so beautiful watercolor function? That’ll be another $1.99.
With an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on over 7000 reviews, Flashcards+ may be one of the most highly regarded apps on the educational market, and for good reason. Flashcards+ takes advantage of millions of free premade flashcard decks from Quizlet and Course Hero and digest them into a simple yet feature-packed app. You can mark off flashcards you’ve mastered. You can tap to hear the card. You can even shake to shuffle. In addition, the app supports Hebrew, contains no annoying ads, and has cross-device integration. While the app isn’t exactly stylish and can be sluggish and buggy, the sheer breadth of available content makes this app worth your while.
This app was praised by Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and Macworld for revolutionizing the way maps are displayed on mobile devices. The App basically stores an entire city’s worth of maps, travel guides, and addresses so you can access them offline. You can search for public transportation, entertainment, and even the nearest ATM. If you need to remember a location, the bookmark tool comes in handy. The New York map package is remarkably comprehensive and useful.
Extremely detailed and packed with too much useful information, this $2 app could easily be conscripted to help you find and impress your next Midtown date.
Apps Gone Free
AppsGoneFree is, in many ways, the ultimate app. It features a handful of handpicked apps (read, no robots) that have temporarily, er, gone free. The developer and administrator of the application clearly has his or her own idiosyncratic tastes, because the apps are basically family oriented puzzle games, weather centers, photo-manipulators, and digital note-taking widgets. In other words, the daily dose of free stuff can quickly become predictable.
That being said, every so often AppsGoneFree will feature boutique product—a $14 scripts writing app, an app developed by Montessori schools, or a mood tracker—that might be the app you’ve been waiting for all your life (though you will probably download and use but once).
However, for sheer cash-saving power, this app a worthy inclusion to this limited list. Furthermore, the untapped potential of this app to find even more productive products means that, in all likelihood, this app will quickly find itself at home on the coveted bottom tray.