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My five favorite apps I use as a student

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

As a current grad student, here are the top free apps I use the most for school. Keep in mind this is from someone using a mix of Apple and non-Apple devices.


I use reminders to create to-do lists every week for studies, homework, and other important items. It’s useful because I can set due dates and times, set priorities, add subtasks, etc. I use Reminders on my iPhone, iMac, iPad, and Apple Watch. Whenever I think of something to add, it’s simple to add to my list or remove when done.

I also use reminders a lot for my work and personal use. It helps me manage my time and make my busy days as efficient as possible. I have a guided tutorial on the Reminders app if you want to learn more.

a note

Although it’s not the most popular note-taking app, hear me out. OneNote is a great option for students who have a mix of Apple and non-Apple devices. For example, my current tech setup is almost entirely Apple. However, I have a Windows laptop that I’ve had for years and use occasionally.

Because I have a class notebook on OneNote, I can easily retrieve my notes on either computer. I’m not limited to an app that only works on Apple machines. It’s the note-taking app I would recommend the most to students who may be using an iPad to take notes but don’t have a Mac computer available to them.

OneNote can be downloaded on its own or as part of a Microsoft Office subscription, which many colleges and universities offer students. Also, if you don’t want to download another app, you can opt for the web version.

PDF Specialist

The iPad is such a good tool for annotating PDF files. I use PDF Expert for free on iPad and can annotate presentations, documents and more directly from my iPad. It automatically connects to the Files app, allowing you to easily retrieve 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 PDF.

I use an Apple Pencil alternative from XIRON with my iPad to annotate notes on PDFs, and I love it.

Google Chrome

Although I use Safari for general internet browsing on my iPhone and iPad, I prefer Google Chrome for my educational needs. I have multiple Google accounts, so I use Chrome as a tool to save my bookmarks, shortcuts, and extensions for each account. Again, it’s 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.


Although I don’t use a lot of paper for school anymore, sometimes I still need to scan. Back when I had an Android smartphone, I had a separate app for scanning papers. However, with an iPhone, this is not necessary. The Notes app is perfect for scanning. Once scanned, I can directly email, print, save, annotate or AirDrop my file. The convenience of doing all of this in one app, let alone a free app, is amazing.

If you want to learn more about the best way to use the Notes app, you can read my guided tutorial.

What apps do you use as a student?

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

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