Less weight, less worries

For my last trip to Asia I decided to leave my MacBook 15 at home.

Traveling light was my mantra so I only brought the iPad Pro 12.9 with me.

For some people the iPad Pro is still a big device but I don’t think you can be much productive on a small 10inch display.

Due to the limitations of a mobile OS, you will not be able to get a lot of complex tasks done.

Therefore I mainly focused on simple things like writing, sketching or note taking.

In this article I want to share with you the best iPad apps I used most to stay productive on the road.


best apps for ipad to stay productive on the road

My Basic Setup

Before jumping right into the tools, I want to quickly show you my setup, some essentials that I brought along my iPad.

 

iPad Case 

I personally hate to run around with a naked device. While this is still fine with a smartphone, I wanted to have a proper protection for my iPad, so I decided to invest in a proper case.

I decided to go for the Stilgut which is a bit more expensive but very well made and feels extremely well.

 

iPad Screen Protector

I’m using the pencil quite a lot, so I decided to purchase a screen protector to add another layer of security to avoid scratches on the screen. It’s not a typical film protector made of plastic/silicon, but made of tempered glass. The pencil still works fine with it but now I don’t need to worry about putting too much pressure on it. Yes, I am a bit paranoid when it comes to protection. After all, it’s a device that costs as much as a laptop.

 

Apple Pencil

I used to sketch a lot in the past, but previous iPad generations with their clunky styluses were just a pain in the ass to use. Not so with the pencil. It’s a magnificent piece of technology with a more so magnificent price attached. However, worth the investment because it’s damn useful.

 

Magic Keyboard

YES, the normal Magic Keyboard can be connected via Bloothooth to the iPad. And it’s working GREAT. In fact, I am writing this article right now on my IPad with the magic Keyboard.

Some people may ask why I didn’t get the Smart Cover with keyboard.
If you already use a magic keyboard in combination with your MacBook, then you will think twice of you’re going to invest another whooping 190€ for a simple cover and keyboard that doesn’t even have backlight. For me, it was just not worth it.

 

Magic Keyboard Case

Because I didn’t want to throw my Keyboard unprotected into my travel backpack, I looked for a case that is sturdy enough but thin and light at the same time. I came across the Canopy case, which is a super beautiful and minimal case. Exactly what I was looking for.


Evernote

During my trip, I probably opened this app the most. Evernote was and is still my main tool that I use to write articles and organize thoughts.
I’ve been using Evernote for years now. Although it might very complex for beginners (yes, it has a lot of features you might not use), it’s still the most reliable writing tool for me to this day. What I like most is the fast sync across my devices and the browser clipping plugin for chrome on desktop to save websites & articles.

Apple Notes App

I never used Apples note taking app before but with the pencil it became very useful.
What I like about the app, is that it’s very lightweight compared to Evernote.
Whenever I listen to podcasts or read a book and have a new idea, I open the app quickly and jot down thoughts with the pencil. No keyboard, no typing, just writing like on plain paper. It’s also great just for simple brainstorming.

Google Keep

Google Keep was my main note taking tool before I started to use Notes. The biggest disadvantage with Notes is that it only works with Apple devices. I am using an Android Device which works perfectly with Google Services. However, I found the Notes app much more precise when it comes to note taking with the pencil, because it’s optimized.

Google Drive / Dropbox

This one almost doesn’t require any explanation. I use Dropbox for all my professional work whereas Drive functions as my collection for personal stuff.

ProCreate

I use Procreate as my main app to refresh my sketching skills. While the app offers loads of brushes and settings, they’re well hidden under a simple interface so they don’t become overwhelming for beginners.

Paper35

Before the days of the pencil, paper app was my go to sketching app. I use paper mainly for sketching simple scenes for story telling purposes in projects. While Procreate is for more sophisticated and artistic work, paper is for quick and dirty sketches. Paper also organizes sketches in notebook style which is very useful.

Wunderlist

This is my favorite To-do list. I use Wunderlist to plan my day, creating a list with my 3 biggest tasks for the day. It syncs wonderfully between devices and has a neat design as well. Furthermore it’s offers the feature to collaborate with others which comes in handy quite often.

Lightroom

I shoot a lot of photos and in the past I used to edit photos one by one in Photoshop. Today, this task is handled by Lightroom and saves me tons of time. And the best thing, i can copy the same settings easily to other photos and sync all of them across my devices. This makes editing on the iPad and sharing on Instagram super smooth.

Snapseed

There are some things that Lightroom can’t do which Snapseed can (Spot removal). Snapseed is very handy when it comes to editing single photos quickly and many times It creates fantastic results.

Adobe Comp

I am relatively new to Adobe Comp, but found it very helpful to create quick mockups/wireframes or mood boards. The interface is extremely simplified and I love the way you create text boxes or image placeholders (just draw a rectangle with 2 diagonals).
Very useful to create concepts on the road!

Quik

I am not an expert in video editing. Quik takes all the effort from me. You only need to import video files and select the music. The app takes over the rest: compositing and clipping. You can adjust details later but the results are often very surprisingly good.
The only thing you wont have much control over is animation and text. But hey, if video editing only takes 5 minutes in total, who cares?

Behance

Behance is still one of my main sources to get inspired. Especially on the big vivid screen of the iPad Pro 12.9, visuals come across very nicely.

Flipboard

This is my main app to stay up to date with the latest trends in technology and business. I’ve been using Flipboard for a long time now and although some interactions are confusing, I still like the big and bold representation of news snippets.

Image Size

If you work on articles and need to use a lot of Images, you need to optimize those images to reduce bandwidth for the readers. While this task is easily done on a computer, it gets trickier on the iPad. Image Size was quite helpful to change the size for downloaded images.

ScrollCapture

A relatively simple app but quite useful. Sometimes I need to take full screenshots of websites. This app does the job. But be aware that it has some trouble when it comes to websites with scrolling elements (parallax, menu, sidebars, etc.)

Speedtest

This is a must app for all travelers who want to stay productive on the road. Speedtest measures the max download and upload speed of your current internet connection. As a result, you learn which coffee place or co-working spaces is worth your money 😉


Take Advantage Of The Latest iOS 11 Features

Last but not least, make sure you have updated your device to the latest version of iOS to take advantage of some new pretty nifty features that can improve your workflow:

  • advanced drag n drop
  • improved split view
  • new file manager
  • customizable control center
  • quick screenshot markup
  • etc.

Checkout this article to see more details:

Top 10 Productivity Features