My top five favorite apps I use as a student

With a huge amount of apps in the App Store, it’s sometimes hard to decide which ones are worth downloading. I’ve been a college student for a while now, and I’ve become aware that certain apps can really make your life easier.

As a current graduate student, here are the best free apps I use most for school. Keep in mind that this comes from someone who uses a mix of both Apple and non-Apple devices.


I use reminders to make to-do lists every week for studies, assignments, and other important things. This is useful because I can set due dates and times, set priorities, add subtasks and more. I use reminders across my iPhone, iMac, iPad and Apple Watch. When I think of something to add, it’s easy to add to my list or remove when done.

I also use Reminders quite a lot for both work and private use. This helps me with time management and makes my busy days as efficient as possible. I have a guided guide in the Reminders app if you would like to know more.

A note

While not the most popular note-taking app, let me know. OneNote is a great option for students who have a mix of Apple and non-Apple devices. For example, my current technical setup is almost exclusively Apple. However, I do have a Windows laptop that I have had for years and sometimes use.

Because I have a class notebook on OneNote, I can easily pull my notes up on both computers. I’m not limited to an app that only works on Apple computers. This is the note app I would recommend most to students who might be using an iPad to take notes but who do not have a Mac computer at their disposal.

OneNote can be downloaded alone or as part of a Microsoft Office subscription provided by many colleges and universities to students. Additionally, if you do not want to download another app, you can choose the web version.

PDF expert

The iPad is as well a tool for commenting on PDF files. I use PDF Expert for free on iPad and I can select presentations, documents and more right from my iPad. It automatically connects to the Files app, so you can easily download documents from your iCloud. You can also easily connect it to your Windows device and other cloud storage platforms like Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox. PDF Expert also lets you create a new PDF from scratch as well as convert documents, images and web pages to PDFs.

I use an Apple Pencil alternative from XIRON with my iPad to mark notes on PDF files, and I love it.

Google Chrome

While using Safari for general internet browsing on my iPhone and iPad, I prefer Google Chrome when it comes to my training needs. I have multiple Google Accounts, so I use Chrome as a tool to store my bookmarks, shortcuts, and extensions for each account. Again, it is convenient to use a student who has both Apple and non-Apple devices. It helps keep my workflow organized no matter what device I’m on.


Even though I do not use much paper in school anymore, sometimes I still have to scan. Back when I had an Android smartphone, I used to have a separate app for scanning papers. But with an iPhone, it is not necessary. The Notes app is perfect for scanning purposes. Once scanned, I can directly email, print, save, select or AirDrop my file. The convenience of doing all this in one app, not to mention a free app, is incredible.

To learn more about how to better use the Notes app, read my guide.

What apps do you use as a student?

What apps make your life easier as a student? I want to know what works for you. Tell me your thoughts in the comments.

FTC: We use revenue-earning auto affiliate links. More.

Incase Macbook case

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news: