Best Apps for Students – 2017

School is coming back, and its time to look at the best apps for students. Find out what apps you can use to start of your day, what you could use during lessons, and apps for relaxing in the evening.

Before lessons


Carrot Weather

It’s probably a good idea to check the weather before you head out. Carrot Weather does just this, but with funny commentary depending on the conditions. You can also unlock over 40 different secret locations with Carrot Weather. Fun aside, Carrot can show you how much it’s going to rain in the next 45 minutes, and gives you accurate hourly forecasts.

Carrot Weather is £2.99 on the App Store.


Reading is something many people don’t have time to do, but they want to do it. Blinkist solves this problem. Non-fiction books are condensed down to be read in 10 to 15 minutes, so you can get the vital information from a book without the padding. You can download books to read offline on iOS and Android, and you can even download an audio recording of the book so you can listen to it. Blinkist is also available on the web.

Sign up for a free Blinkist account.


If you listen to lots of podcasts, Overcast may be the app for you. With lots of smart settings, you can listen to your podcasts in a clean app that allows you to get through more podcasts in a shorter space of time. You can check out my Overcast review here.

Overcast is free on the App Store.


If you listen to music, you won’t go wrong with Spotify. At just £10 a month (or £5 if you are a student), you can listen to millions of songs. You can also download songs to listen offline on your computer or mobile.

Sign up for a free Spotify account.

Apple News1

Apple News is a great way to see the most important news of the day with a clean and simplistic interface. Simply select your interests, and you are off. You can select specific channels to follow, so their content comes up in your feed.

Speaking of which, you should probably subscribe to The Nerdy Student on Apple News!

Apple News comes pre-installed on all iOS devices.

Google Calendar

Add your timetable to Google Calendar so you know whats going on in your day. Connect it to your devices so you can get alerts on whats next. If you are looking for a calendar app on iOS, Calendars 5 is a great choice. You’ll be able to see how far away your next lesson is in the today view, as well as getting alerts.

Google Calendar comes with all Google accounts.

During lessons



Of course, Evernote is my favourite way of taking notes. It syncs across all my devices and all my platforms, and its very powerful and flexible. You can check out my Evernote for Students post to find out more on how to use it in lessons.

Sign up for a free Evernote account.


Todoist is an awesome task manager. It’s great for managing tasks, so you can put your homework tasks in there and never forget a piece of homework again. Location reminders are also very useful. I’ve written lots of posts about Todoist, so you may want to read those too.

Get a free Todoist account.


Phones are very distracting, and Forest is a great way to stop getting distracted by your phone. Start by growing a tree, and as soon as you leave the app, the tree is killed. This stops you from changing app, and in turn stops you from using your phone.

You can check out my Forest review here.

Forest is £3.99 on the App Store.


Ulysses is probably one of the apps I use the most on my iPad. It’s a universal app, so you can get it on iPad and iPhone, and it syncs over iCloud or Dropbox. It uses markdown, a way of plain text writing that allows you to easily format things such as headers, bold and more. Once you have written your document in Ulysses, you can export it to six different formats, and you can go further and customise the look of each of these formats. If you write an essay in Ulysses, you can export it as a .docx document so it can be edited in Word, and many more other formats.

Ulysses is £23.99 on the App Store.

Microsoft Word

Free for iOS and Android, Word is the classic document editor. With powerful features that are found on desktop2, you’ll be able to easily edit any document. That being said, it doesn’t support markdown so changing fonts, styling and more can be quite clumsy.

Microsoft Word is free on the App Store.


Students use mind maps a lot, so you’ll want a mind mapping app. MindNode is a beautiful iOS app that allows you to make mind maps that look great, but it’s also a powerful app with over 12 export types, and allows you to publish your mind map online for easy sharing with friends. Add images, icons and notes to nodes in the mind map, and it’s really easy and quick to use.

MindNode is available on the App Store for £9.99.


PCalc is an awesome calculator app that lets you completely customise it to your liking. You can edit the skin, the icon, and even the key layouts to have the layout you want. Its also got a today widget, so you can easily access a calculator from the lock screen or any other app.

You can get PCalc for £9.99 on the App Store, or a more basic version for free.


Workflow is an awesome app that automates things with simple drag and drop boxes on iOS. However, don’t let this deceive you – its extremely powerful. Automate things like tagging and titling notes according to the lesson you are in, combining images zipping and unzipping .zip files and so much more. You can check out all my Workflow posts here.

Workflow is free on the App Store.

Drafts 4

Opening Drafts gives you a blank canvas to quickly write your thoughts down. No more navigating to a new note – just open the app and write. Drafts then gives you powerful actions that allow you to export what you just wrote to other apps such as Twitter and Evernote.

I suggest you read my Drafts review here – it will take you through all the details.

Drafts is the app I use to take my school notes. Workflow automatically assigns a title, tags and notebook to the note in Drafts, and then I type my note up using markdown. At the end of the lesson, I launch the action that adds the note to Evernote, and this action converts the top line of my draft to the note title, the second line to the notebook and the third line to the tags. I’ve written a whole post on this workflow, so you can check it out here.

Drafts 4 is £4.99 on the App Store.


Launcher allows you to quickly launch thousands of apps from the today screen. Add apps such as system apps, third-party apps such as Evernote, and any apps you want. With an in-app purchase you can unlock more launcher widgets, set widgets to show at certain locations or times, and much more. I really recommend checking out Launcher.

Launcher is free on the App Store.

Dropbox or iCloud (Cloud storage)

This is really a choice of preference. I use both – Dropbox is for my documents, and iCloud is for syncing of my apps. I do this because Dropbox is easy to access and has a great iOS app, and I also have it on my Windows PC and I can get it on Android. I use iCloud to sync my apps across my iOS devices. iCloud is also super cheap – its only £0.79 a month for 50 gigabytes of storage, which is a bargain.

You’ll want cloud storage to back up your work and to access it across devices.

After lessons



Of course, YouTube is a great way to relax after a day of work. With millions of channels, you’ll be sure to find something you enjoy. YouTube is one of the most popular apps on the App Store, and its a must have for anyone.

Wayward Souls


After being attacked by many bats
After being attacked by many bats

Wayward Souls is a dungeon crawler permadeath game for iOS. As you play each character, you find out their unique storyline as well as more about the strange tower you are in. It’s a great game with an awesome storyline for each character, and you want to progress more to find out more about the character. Permadeath ensures that you work hard to make sure you don’t die, and each character has an upgrade path so you can upgrade various aspects of the character. Every character is also unique, with a different play style, so it’s a new challenge every time3.

Every floor is randomly generated, so you won’t get bored with the same monsters and map layout. Every so often, you encounter a boss that you need to defeat to find out more about your character.

Another great aspect of Wayward Souls is the fact that you can pick it up and put it down so easily, but you can also spend hours playing it and not get bored.

I really recommend picking up Wayward Souls from the App Store for £6.99.


Another awesome game is Crashlands. It’s got great script and is really funny, as well as fun. Explore the land you crashed on to find resources to eventually defeat the boss. With varying modes of difficulty, you can play it again and again. There are also hundreds of unique quests to complete, so even after you completed the main storyline there are lots of quests to do.

Crashlands is £4.99 on the App Store.


Save things to read for later with Instapaper. If you come across an interesting article, you can quickly save it to Instapaper using the share sheet extension or browser extension. Then, Instapaper downloads the article on the iOS or Android app so you can read it offline later.

Sign up for a free Instapaper account.


There are so many great applications out there, and this post is just scraping the surface. I use all these apps lots during a school day, and I find them very helpful, and hopefully you will. Most of these apps are universal, so they work across iOS, Android and on the web, and some such as Evernote have desktop apps.

Thanks for reading!

What are your favourite apps for lessons? Feel free to comment below!

  1. On Android? You should check out Flipboard. ↩︎
  2. Though most require Microsoft 365 ↩︎
  3. My favourite characters are the Warrior and the Rouge. ↩︎