The 90 best iPad apps

21. Handy Photo

Best iPad apps Handy Photo

Despite the lack of Adobe polish, Handy Photo is a seriously good photo editor
  • Price: $2.99/£2.06

Despite the lack of Adobe polish, this iPad app is a seriously good photo editor, and it won't break the bank either. The selling point to Handy Photo is its interface, which uses the corners of the screen to cater for rotating menu options.

It’s all designed to keep the central area of the screen clear, allowing you to use swipe gestures to tone your effects up or down, much like Luminance. The editing options for the large part work well, although the orange and blue menu palette didn't convince us. Where Handy Photo really excels, though, is the depth of its effects. It’s not without its problems, but thanks to the excellent airbrushing arsenal on offer, you can fix most blemishes with a bit of patience.

22. Flowboard

Best iPad apps Flowboard

This free iPad app enables you to create portfolios, presentations and photo slideshows
  • Price: Free

Should you ever find yourself having to prove the iPad's credentials as a tool for creativity, you could do worse than turn to Flowboard. This elegantly designed iPad app allows you to create portfolios, presentations and photo slideshows, and it produces beautiful results.

You can start from scratch or choose from a large number of templates. After selecting a template option, you tap on a box and add an image, video or some text. The boxes themselves can be dragged around and re-sized, and their content can be scaled using the familiar two-fingered pinch and un-pinch gestures.

23. Flipboard


Flipboard: reinventing RSS and social feeds as a beautiful iPad magazine. And making many magazines look comparatively rubbish
  • Price: Free

AKQA's founder Ajaz Ahmed is a big fan of social news reader Flipboard, primarily because it succeeded in totally reinventing newsreader apps, making your feeds more enjoyable to consume. "That's because of the rhythmic way it presents stories, rather than bombarding you," he explains. "Flipboard is great because it is not chronological but more aesthetic and has a better flow, including feeds from all the sources that are important to you."

24. Hopscotch

Best iPad apps Hopscotch

Hopscotch teaches kids to code in a fun and playful way
  • Price: Free

Hopscotch is an iPad programming language that teaches kids to code in a fun and playful way. Making it easy for youngsters to create and publish programmes, Hopscotch allows them to be able to make digital stuff just as easily as they make tangible real-world stuff.

Crafted by five New York City based web designers, they founded Hopscotch so they could build the toys they wish existed when they were growing up. Already gaining five star reviews across critics and users alike, Hopstoch is much more than child's play.

25. net magazine

  • Price: Free (container app)

The iPad edition of web design title net magazine has recently been completely rebuilt from the ground up as a tablet-optimised reading experience. It now features a beautiful new design, exclusive screencasts to accompany the practical tutorials, and additional imagery, audio and video content you won't find anywhere else. The container app is free to download and then you can buy a subscription or individual app as an in-app purchase.

26. Drawnimal

Best iPad apps Drawnimal

Teach your kids the alpahabet with this adorable app from designer Lucas Zanatto
  • Price: $1.99/£1.49

Help teach your kids the alphabet with this adorable new iPad app from designer and animator Lucas Zanatto. Drawnimal aims to motivate children to draw around the device and encourages them to think outside of the box.

Helping them to leave the digital screen, it shows children how to draw the main features of animals with animations to help them to learn the alphabet. Drawnimal is available for iPhone and iPad, with over 30 different animated animals and sounds. You can also switch between four different languages.

27. ColoRotate

Best iPad apps ColoRotate

ColoRotate is a useful colour-matching tool
  • Price: $4.99/£2.99

Developer IDEA claims the tool is based on "neurological studies of how colours are seen and processed by our eyes and brain". So basically, you plot colours on the 3D shape (the dots), the vertical dimension represents lightness and darkness, the horizontal dimension saturation, and the circumference of the radish contains all the colours of the colour wheel. This helps you visualise all the colours and their relationships to others.

A 'Precise' view lets you control hue and tint in multiple colour spaces such as RGB, CMYK, or HLS. There’s also the ability to generate random schemes when you need a bit of inspiration. The fact it can connect to Photoshop to automatically change foreground/background colours and add swatches is a further boon.

28. 3D World container app

  • Price: Free (container app)

The number one magazine for 3D artists, 3D World on iPad is more interactive than ever! Watch video tutorials immediately with the tap of a button; enjoy professional and student animation and VFX videos; and get all our tutorial files downloaded to your workstation. The container app is free to download and then you can buy a subscription or individual app as an in-app purchase.

29. Marksta


Images: © John D McHugh
  • Price: $1.99/£1.49

Like many creatives, photojournalist John D McHugh is sick and tired of people ripping off photos he's posted online. So he's created an iPad app that enables you to watermark your work, adding your copyright information or logo direct from your iPhone before uploading them to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, or other sites. It's very user-friendly, with a choice of fonts for your text, and the fact that the app's been designed by a pro photographer shines through.

30. App Cooker


Create your own app icon and share it to get feedback
  • Price: $29.99/£20.63

App Cooker is a rapid prototyping iPad app. It enables you to design and create interactive prototypes that can then be shared using a variety of options, including Dropbox.

Its mockup tool is absolutely brilliant. Not only does it support linking and gestures, but you can add a multitude of components to your screens. App Cooker gives you access to Apple UIWidgets, a wireframing kit, bitmaps, shapes, text, and even your own images. For the truly inspired, it also includes a drawing tool. All in all, we can't recommend this app highly enough.

31. DesignPad


DesignPad comes from the creators of QuarkExpress
  • Price: Free

Quark - maker of veteran desktop publishing software QuarkXPress - is behind this layout creation tool, which is part-sketchbook, part-wireframe design tool, and part-layout starter kit. This iPad app isn't meant for making finished layouts ready for repro, but you can knock together a wireframe-style page layout with pictures and text in minutes, email yourself the QuarkXPress version, then fine-tune it in Quark's professional desktop publishing software.

32. ImagineFX container app

  • Price: Free

ImagineFX is the only magazine for fantasy and sci-fi digital artists. Each issue contains an eclectic mixture of in-depth workshops from the world's best artists, plus galleries and interviews, community news and product reviews. Digital editions from August 2012 include streamed workshop videos, workshops files and interactive links. The container app is free to download and then you can buy a subscription or individual app as an in-app purchase.

33. Foldify

  • Price: $2.99/£1.99

Foldify lets you create, print and fold 3D figures on your iPad. Created by Pixle, the app includes loads of free content so you can create cool papercraft figures with precious little artistic skill required. A real-time 3D preview mode helps ensure your little character is spot-on before printing. You can print wirelessly using Airprint, and share your creations with other users.

34. PicLab HD

best ipad apps for designers

Edit your images easily with PicLab HD
  • Price: $2.99/£2.06

PicLab HD makes image editing an absolute doddle - enabling you to either snap a photo or grab one from your photo library, then go to town on it. As well as adding typography - lots of fonts and full control over size, positioning, opacity, rotation, and colour - you can layer illustrations, ornamentation and other design elements.

35. PDF Cabinet 2

  • Price: Free

PDF Cabinet is a fast and easy-to-use editor and organiser for the portable document format. Tap and hold a document to drag it into a folder, delete, print, or share it via email, wifi or Bluetooth. The iPad app integrates with Mail and Safari, plus you can download documents directly from a URL and photos from your photo library.

36. FormIt

  • Price: Free

A free iPad app that allows design professionals to to create and collaborate on design concepts, Formit comes from Autodesk, the 3D design company behind 3D tools Maya and 123D Catch.

The software supports a Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflow in the concepual stages of a project, and uses real-world site information using the iPad's location services to support early design decisions with real building data.

FormIt supports RVT and SAT file formats, and desgns can be stored and shared in the cloud using Autodesk 360 cloud services.

Next page: 20 more great iPad apps for designers