Mobile Apps

As part of the ‘How I do, What I do” posts: Mobile Apps that I use daily

I am a power mobile user. I have an iPhone and an iPad both of which I use for work and for ministry. Because both of my devices are Mac OS, both of the synq contacts, email, and photos between each other. Another great thing about this is that the apps that I have on my phone are usually the same apps that I have on my iPad. Some of these apps I use every day and some of them are there for when I need them.

Here are the apps that I use the most.

The Bible App from YouVersion is the best Bible app without exception. This has replaced my other paper translations. The reading plans are a fantastic way to keep you accountable for daily Bible reading. And if you are driving, working out, or just don’t feel like reading, you can listen to the audio versions. Many versions you can download for use offline and its all free!

Google Chrome –  If you use Google’s Chrome Web browser on your computer, loading the free app onto your iPad is a no-brainer simply for the ability to synchronize your browsing history, passwords and bookmarks. Incognito Mode gives you the option of browsing more privately.

The Weather Channel for iPad is a fantastic source of information about weather conditions in your area, including information not available in other apps (e.g., the allergen report). The app includes a detailed 10 day forecast, an hourly forecast for the current day, full maps with precipitation radars, news, videos, and it can alert you to severe weather. The Weather Channel is a solid, feature-rich weather app that would be essential but for its distracting ads

CNN – When it comes to reliability, features, and good reporting, you can’t beat CNN. CNN doesn’t mess around, blanketing your iPad’s screen with a beautiful grid of photos and headlines the second you open it. Scrolling through the grid gets you near-infinite rows of four-stories to read. When you tap on an article, you’re brought into the full text, complete with video and more photos on the right to complement the reporting. Want to post a comment? CNN’s got you covered. Sharing to Facebook or Twitter? The familiar share-arrow icon is easy to find. Navigation through CNN’s app is seamless and fluid with intuitive menus. You won’t get lost here. The articles snap up with minimal load-time. Even more impressive is the ability to watch CNN TV live. If your cable company is a participating partner, you can log in and watch via Wi-Fi or cell connection.

Evernote works similar to the Notes app that comes with the iPad, but includes a number of super-charged features. Evernote is cloud-based, so you sign into your account to retrieve your notes. This means you can sign in with your PC, iPad or even Android device. You can create notes and task lists, email them from your Evernote account and organize them by tags. My data life is surrounded by Evernote. It is basically my security blanket and endless notebook rolled in to one. Information and tasks given to me IMMEDIATELY go in to Evernote. I can access these, add to, review, etc. from home or in traffic. Evernote is MY CHOICE for best organization app.

Penultimate is a hand-written note taking app created by the good folks at Evernote. Because it is owned by Evernote, as soon as you are done taking your notes, it automatically saves them into a designated Evernote folder for you. I love using this app for taking notes in meetings. Call me old school, but I find that typing on an iPad can seem obnoxious during meetings. People don’t know if you are sending email, surfing the web, or actually paying attention. So I use Penultimate along with a good stylus to write meeting notes by hand, that are later searchable in Evernote. This just feels and looks much more professional to me.

Instagram – A square-photo-taking, filter-adding, online-sharing shutterbugs can’t be wrong. Instagram has quickly turned into the preeminent photo app for the mobile generation, letting users instantly upload photos for their friends to comment on, and a video recording mode for capturing quick moments where a single photo just won’t do.

Facebook has taken over a significant role in keeping in touch with friends for many people, and with the iPad integrating Facebook into the operating system, it’s easy to share photos and websites with friends. You’ll want to connect your iPad to your Facebook account before downloading the app to get the most out of the experience. On the other hand, so many people have changed Facebook. Now so many people use it to show pictures of what they just made for dinner  or simple cartoons of encouraging or discouraging phrases and sayings. Others use it to show videos of not so smart people doing not so smart things. These are the exact reasons that I have pulled away from Facebook. I still check it on a rare occasion because of the people that I am connected with in ministry and the posts that I make in Twitter automatically post to Facebook, but mostly I use Instagram for keeping up with my nieces and Twitter for the rest. They all have their pro’s and con’s but for me and my life, I have found pulling away from Facebook to be a good thing.

Twitter – The official Twitter app for iPhone is not only designed well, it’s come a long way over the past several years. The Connect tab gives you loads of info at a glance including mentions, new followers, retweets, and more. The Discover section pulls in media and news from people you’re following that you may have missed otherwise. There may not be a huge amount of advanced features but push notifications and the basics are there. The thing I love about being connected on Twitter is the amount of resources posted by those that I am connected to. I can’t begin to tell you the worship ministry resources and ebook resources that I have because of the people that I am connected to on Twitter. Twitter is MY CHOICE for social media.

Google Drive – If you’re a Google Drive user, the Google Drive iPhone app (free) is certainly useful. Google Drive for iPhone is a file browser that lets you see the documents you have stored in the cloud. You’ll need other apps to actually edit those files or create new ones, however. It brings a familiar interface for die-hard Google Drive users and gets the job done. For documents stored on the Google drive cloud, there are separate apps that can even edit those files for you. This is the cloud drive that I use the most as it ties in with all of the other Google tools that I use. Google Drive is MY CHOICE for cloud storage.

DropBox is another great way to get  storage on your iPad. This cloud-based storage solution also lets you easily share files between your devices, so if you want an easy way to transfer photos from your iPad to your PC without bothering with a cable, you can use DropBox. And if you have a lot of documents on your PC you want to access from your iPad, you can use DropBox to store them.

Genius Scan – Genius Scan turns your iPad into a scanner. I have gone paperless at home and at work. No more messy stacks of paper scattered across my desk! Genius scan takes a picture of the document, and then exports it to your destination of choice. (I use Evernote). Rather than searching through a messy pile of paper, I can now just search Evernote and BAM there it is. This is great for tracing receipts, meeting handouts, or saving a picture of a whiteboard.
Spotify – If you haven’t checked out Spotify on smartphones lately, it’s worth another look. The recently-overhauled free version lets you listen to any playlist on shuffle–that’s far more generous than any other free streaming music service–while a $10 per month subscription gives you on-demand listening, offline playback and higher sound quality.
Kindle – If you love reading, you need to get the Kindle app on your iPad. Why do I use Kindle instead of iBooks? 1) Amazon is the biggest book company in the world, and has a bigger selection of books for often a better price.  2) Call me paranoid, but if Apple ever went downhill as a company – gasp – I will still have all my Kindle books that I can read on an Android tablet, online, or an actual Kindle reader. I am not locked into an iPad. And 3) I love being able to access all my notes at and save all of my highlights into Evernote for quick reference.
Wifi Photo – This is the absolute easiest way to download pictures to your desktop from your iphone or ipad. With this app loaded and both your ipad/iphone and desktop on the same network, it will give you an IP address to open in a browser and select the photos that you want to save to your desktop. At work we take a LOT of pictures so this makes it easy to save to our network for others to see.

There are so many other apps that I use on a limited basis but they are there when I need them. Honorable mention apps are:

  • Calculator – Pretty obvious what this does. In portrait mode it is a standard calculator. Turn it to landscape and its a scientific calculator.
  • Team Viewer – Simple software to connect for remote desktop control. Desktop version must be installed. Not the easiest software to use, but handy in a pinch
  • File Explorer – Simple way to view files on your network. I use it mostly to open movies stored on my server but works well to view files on your network.
  • Recorder Plus – Great app for audio recording. Allows mp3 output via email but great quality recordings.
  • Goodnotes – Very similar to Penultimate for adding notes to pdf files.

These are just the apps that I use in my day to day job and in the ministry opportunities that come up and I am always looking for ways to work smarter not harder so if you have an app you want to share, email me at and let me know.

Hope these help!