Any.do is a versatile to-do list app for iOS and Android. One thing that always stopped me sticking with a to-do list app for an extended period of time was that adding new entries to the list either became a chore or something I needed to be reminded to do — which defeated the point that made me keep a to-do list in the first place.
Any.do remedies this by prompting you to plan out your day each morning, providing users with a quick touch-based interface. By raising a once-daily notification, Any.do does a good job of remaining visible without being overly invasive. You can also note tasks with voice commands, with or without the assistance of Siri, making Any.do a great app for people who’re still stuck using the iPhone 4.
Budgeting is arguably one of the hardest responsibilities that new students have to adjust to. Student loans and overdrafts afford most students purchasing power far beyond what they’re used to, and, especially if you make the mistake of taking out a credit card, bad financial decisions can quickly pile up into a serious problem.
Enter MoneyWise, a comprehensive Android app that makes budgeting simple. Bank statements are often inscrutable, with transactions often lacking any indicator of who they were with or when (POS and ATM are not good descriptions weeks after the fact). If you can keep on top of using it, MoneyWise keeps a comprehensive record of your finances and provides users with graphs that show what you’ve been spending and when. It can factor in your overdraft as well as your monthly overheads, as well as help you manage savings targets, making it a great choice if you’d like to travel over the summer.
It’s not the most attractive app in the world, by any means, but it’s comprehensive. Best of all, it’s free - so it’s one less thing to budget for.
Mailbox is an elegant email app for iOS, which is a great replacement for the default app. I’ve always had trouble with Mail, because it lacked a number of features, such as allowing me to mark email as read en-masse. The turning point came when someone pointed me in the direction of Mailbox. Not only is Mailbox a comprehensive mail client, but it’s great to look at and very easy to use.
Mailbox encourages users to keep a clean inbox with a number of swipe commands. Using swipe commands, users can archive mail once they’ve read and actioned the contents of the message, or set a reminder to return to it later. Like a lot of great apps, Mailbox allows you to work through a large number of tasks very quickly, and is perfect for staying on top of your inbox no matter how many unsolicited “offers” you’ve been receiving since Freshers’ Week.
At present, Mailbox only works with gmail accounts, but don’t fret if you use another provider — most services allow you to forward your emails to another address, including a majority of university email services. If you like Mailbox, then it’s a great excuse to finally consolidate all of those old email accounts and have them all direct to the same place.
Evernote is a staple of productivity-related lists, and for good reason; if you use it on your laptop and your phone, both will stay in sync, regardless of whether or not their operating systems are on talking terms.
Evernote is a great word processor and organizer of notes on desktop computers, and by using the app (available on iOS and Android), you can access them from wherever you are, making it perfect for presentations and last minute revision sessions.
The app also allows you to take recordings and photographs, so if you like audio recordings of your lectures but don’t want to carry around a dictaphone, Evernote is a great alternative. By allowing users to divide notes into a series of different notebooks, it’s also a great aggregator of information, so it doesn’t matter how many different modules you’re taking.
While Evernote offer a paid service, it’s not essential. The premium service allows you access to your files offline, as well as a record of changes for each document and the ability to search within PDFs. The base app is still excellent, and the service at large is free.
Publishers make a large amount of money every year selling cookbooks aimed at students — but why buy into them when there are a number of applications that offer the same information (and even more functionality)?
Enter Epicurious, a one-stop cookery app. Epicurious aggregates a large number of high-quality recipes, allowing you to search by staple ingredients and dietary preferences, as well as by the name of the recipe itself. It also provides a service by which it will put together a shopping list using selected recipes, so if you’ve still not learned how to shop efficiently, Epicurious can do a lot of the hard work for you.
Epicurious is also very cook friendly, as when turned on its side, it displays the current step of the recipe in a manner readable from a distance. A word of warning; longtime users have raised complaints over recipes going missing on the iPhone app (I have no complaints whatsoever about the Android version). However, despite middling reviews, Epicurious has the most comprehensive search function I’ve seen on an app of this type, coming highly recommended for that alone.
A great app obsoletes a real-world appliance. Dropbox has always been great for people either too frugal or disorganised to purchase and use a USB stick, and comes recommended for its ease of use and usability.
Many readers will use the desktop version of the application, which allows you to store small files in the cloud for free. The iPhone and Android versions allow users to take photos and videos and upload them to their own Dropbox. It also allows access to your favourite files offline, making it perfect for viewing files on the go.
What differentiates Dropbox from a USB stick is that even if you lose your phone or your computer, your files will still be accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. Pen drives are small and easily misplaced, and if you lose the only copy of your coursework or your notes on your person, a minor inconvenience can quickly turn into a nightmare. As such, Dropbox is a great insurance policy against forgetfulness and loss.
Camscanner is an old favourite of mine. Gone are the days where people are forced to use temperamental USB scanners; Camscanner uses the (often absurdly high-quality) on-board cameras available on most smartphones to take photos of documents. The application will then sort out the levels and contrast of the document, offering users the benefits of a scanner with none of the inconvenience.
Camscanner allows you to scan multiple pages of a document and then aggregate them into a single PDF. If you have access to Wifi, you can also share them quite easily, making Camscanner a quick (and highly convenient) fix.
I’ve used Camscanner for all sorts of documents, from lecture notes to contracts, and nobody I’ve shown has ever been able to tell the difference. It’s amazing that you’re able to carry something this useful in your pocket, but more than that, Camscanner is free — so don’t worry about budgeting either space or money for a scanner.
Staying on top of deadlines, part time jobs and fledgling relationships can be tough at first — so a good news application is perfect for staying on top of current affairs. Feed.ly is an excellent cloud-based RSS aggregator, available for both iOS and Android, and offering users the ability to consolidate all of their news sources into one feed.
A great alternative to premium-model news apps, Feed.ly is based on the now-closed Google Reader service. Users can select the news sources they want to receive and login to the service both on their desktop computer and on their phones.
iDrated is a charmingly named health app for iOS designed to keep track of your water consumption. If you’re living on a diet of coffee, energy drinks and alcohol, staying hydrated is really important to maintaining your health over the long term. iDrated manages to be both entertaining and useful, and although there are some reports that the numbers are slightly off, you can change the units as well as your target consumption once you’ve figured out what works for you.
Beyond an attractive user interface, iDrated logs your water consumption over the past seven days. It will also prompt you to take a break and get some water with a push notification if it notices you haven’t checked in with the application and drunk some fluid in a while. Unfortunately, iDrated is the only paid application on this list — but it’s still cheap, coming in at a meagre 69p.
Daily Cardio Workout / Daily Ab Workout
One of the most common gripes I hear from returning second-year students is that they begrudge themselves for wasting money on a gym membership they rarely used during their first year of study. However, your health is important, and it’s easy to neglect your body on a student diet.
Daily Cardio Workout and Daily Ab Workout are two free apps available for Android and iOS that provide users with a short exercise routine you can do anywhere you have the space. The apps aren’t flashy, but they’re fairly comprehensive, coming with video demonstrations of the routines. While Daily Cardio Workout has you hopping up and down on the spot (so if you don’t want to upset your housemates, you won’t want to do it if you’re not on the ground floor), both are risk-free alternatives to a gym membership and provide a structured workout program.