40 Fantastic Free iPad Apps

While I have no qualms in paying for apps, it’s vital to support the developers who work hard to make great software, it’s always good to get something brilliant for nothing. In that very spirit I have complied a list of some of the best free apps available for the iPad. If a family member or friend gets a new iPad, all you need do is direct them here…

Without further adieu.

Twitter

If you are a Twitter user then you would probably have found this app on your own. It does exactly what you would expect, and is a more than adequate way to use the service on your iPad. In addition, you can now share photos directly through Twitter using the app – even more useful with an iPad 2.

Evernote

Continuing the list with another big hitter, the Evernote app is a must-have. A beautiful way to keep all of your notes organised, Evernote allows you to easily keep all of your devices in sync. The iPad interface allows for easy writing of new notes, and manipulation of old ones.

Evernote Peek

If you’re in education, or are just a big fan of quizzes, then Evernote peek could be a great free addition to your iPad. It works by using Evernote notebooks in conjunction with the clever magnets of the Smart Cover, the result is rather ingenious – allowing you to easily test yourself by lifting just the first flap of the cover.

Air Video Free

Enjoy your entire video collection everywhere! Get more of your video library on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Air Video is a great solution to watch your AVI, DivX, MKV and other videos. We had a look at Air Video here on iPad.AppStorm a couple of months ago.

Dragon Dictation

Dragon Dictation is a superb iPad app, that it’s free is incredible. It allows rapid dictation of the spoken word in a multitude of global languages, some even argue that it’s faster than typing for writing emails and notes! An ingenious hands-free way to get things done, but also another one that’ll turn heads on the subway.

Amazon Windowshop

Amazon Windowshop is a great way to browse or search the vast Amazon catalogue from within an native iPad app. I really like the visual aspect of the experience and how tactile it is to browse items with your fingers – be careful though, it’s easy to get carried away!

iBooks

Perhaps this is a little obvious, but iBooks should be an immediate download for any new iPad user. It’s a great way to read on the go and there is an abundance of free content available for those unwilling to spend. Head over to Project Gutenberg and download a file that gives easy access to over 36,000 eBooks.

Flipboard

At lot was said about Flipboard in the early days of the iPad, most of it unerringly positive. For a free offering Flipboard is definitely worth a download, you may even find the way it displays content personally compelling. The issue here is with the lack of consistent updates or further development, meaning Flipboard may now lag behind some of its peers.

Zite

Continuing on with the reading theme, Zite is a more recent app that acts like a personalised magazine. It’s got great reviews, including one from us (here), and gradually learns just what it is you like to read.

Wunderlist

Everyone needs a way to keep track of their tasks and to-do items, Wunderlist is an excellent free offering. I really like the styling and character of the app and the edge towards simplicity. That it syncs across devices and the web, and allows you to share lists with people, makes you wonder why they don’t charge.

The Onion

If you haven’t heard of The Onion, then you’re in for a treat here. If you have then you’ll be simply delighted that they now have an excellent free iPad app. The premiere destination for satirical news, The Onion iPad app is the perfect way to browse through their unending catalogue of humorous articles and videos. It makes viewing the video clips ridiculously easy, while the overall design of the app is perfect!

Google Search

Pretty self-explanitory really, the Google Search app gives you an intuitive and effortless way to access the search engine. It’s clean and beautifully functional, I particularly like the voice search feature – although it could make people stare if you use it in a public place.

Google Earth

Continuing on the Google them, Google Earth is definitely worth a look. It’s free and gives entertainingly tactile access to the detailed maps of the earths surface, there’s an abundance of linked information including geo-located photos and wikipedia articles. Even if you’re not that interested in geography, spinning the earth with your fingers is something you’ve got to try…

Remote

A beautifully crafted app for controlling iTunes, you’d expect nothing less from Apple. Why it doesn’t come preloaded is beyond me. The interface is well designed and gives you unfettered control of your iTunes library via a Wi-Fi connection.

Word Lens

Word Lens is an incredible app, and one that you’ll want to show your friends – they won’t be able to help but marvel at the ingenuity! It translates documents and signs (or anything really) using the camera, right in front of your eyes. You may complain that Word Lens only comes with limited functionality as a free app, and you’d be right. The built in modes only allow for flipping words backwards and blanking them out, but as a show of the power that’s hiding in the App Store it’s still worth a download.

Bamboo Paper

This is currently the top of the Free iPad Apps chart, and it’s easy to see why. Bamboo Paper allows you to handwrite and sketch your thoughts on a neat digital notebook. It’s packed with functionality and is perfect for drafting charts and mind maps.

Calculator for iPad

This is exactly what it says it is, a superbly functional calculator that fills the gap inexplicably left by Apple. It allows use of both mathematic and scientific functions and even lets you use simple gestures, such as swiping backwards for a backspace action.

Gowalla

Gowalla is an ingenious social way to keep up with your friends, record your memories, share photos and highlights, and discover your city and the world around you. I really like the way you can get suggestions from friends about the best places to visit and eat. The iPad app uses the screen real estate really well, giving you a great social overview of the city you’re in!

ScoreCentre XL

If you’re a sports fan, and especially if you’re keen on american sports, ESPN’s ScoreCentre XL is an excellent free addition to your iPad. The sheer wealth of news and information is excellent, as is the ability to customise your top sports.

DropBox

It makes a regular appearances in roundup lists all over the web, but there’s a reason for it. Whether you’re a power user or new to the concept, DropBox is a utility that’s useful to almost everyone. The iPad app allows for easy access to all of your files and makes good use of the screen space available – browsing and viewing your files is a breeze.

MyPad

If you use Facebook, not only are are you in the majority, you are also well catered for on the iPad. Safari actually works really well to use Facebook, but if you’re a lover of native apps then perhaps MyPad will be the one for you? It’s a solid, feature-rich app that even lets you use the iPad 2′s cameras to upload photos directly.

Groupon HD

Chances are you’ve heard of Groupon, well the Groupon app for the iPad is simply a great way to keep up with all the latest deals. It makes it simple to keep track of all the deals you’ve bought and their expiration dates, you can even redeem deals from your iPad – although that feature may be more useful in the iPhone version.

Pandora Radio

Pandora Radio acts as your own personalised radio station! Simply select an artist or a song and Pandora will create a station that plays music tailored to your specific taste. It’s a great way to find new artists and discover new music.

Aweditorium

On the subject of finding new music, Aweditorium is a fantastic free app that encourages a musical voyage of discovery. It takes all of the information about an artist or song and brings it together in an immersive, tactile experience. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable way to treat your ears!

eBay

This one is pretty self explanatory really, but the experience of using eBay on your iPad is excellent. It allows for seamless transitions and a rich search experience – they’ve really made us of the iPad’s strengths.

Angry Birds Rio HD Free

As far as games go, you could do worse than download Angry Birds Rio HD Free. It’s a visually impressive and ever addictive version of the original that has a surprising amount of depth for the price tag, or lack thereof.

Fruit Ninja HD Lite

Opting to use the word ‘Lite’ instead of ‘Free’, Fruit Ninja HD Lite is another game definitely worth downloading. It’s really just a taste of the full version but it gets the concept across – get slicing that fruit. The Duel mode is wonderful fun!

Weather HD Free

It does seem odd to me that Apple wouldn’t include a weather app as standard on the iPad, Weather HD is a gorgeous attempt at using the iPad’s strengths in displaying the weather – although it’s not really a replacement for a more “normal” weather app. The free version is a good taste of the experience but does feature adverts.

WordPress

At first WordPress was a bug ridden mess of an app, but it’s gradually getting a lot better. If you run or write for a blog then this app could be a life saver. It allows you access to comments, posts, pages, and stats.

The Guardian Eyewitness

For a little visual pleasure you could do worse than The Guardian Eyewitness app. It’s designed as a showcase for the world’s most distinctive and provocative photographs, providing a daily, visual reflection of global events.

Bloomberg

If you have stocks and shares, or work in the financial world, the Bloomberg app would be a great addition to your iPad. It brings up to date news and share prices right to the palm of your hand – I’m a big fan of the experience on the iPad, the charts and graphs are that much more interesting when you can manipulate them with your fingers.

Dictionary.com

While not necessarily the most interesting free app available, Dictionary.com’s free dictionary and thesaurus is a powerful addition to any iPad. It’s a large app, but it comes packed with nearly 2 million words, definitions, synonyms, and antonyms – all available offline. You can even voice search!

Virtuoso Piano Free 3

For aspiring composers and amateurs alike, Virtuoso Piano is a free gem. For a free app Virtuoso Piano is excellent, the sound quality much higher than you would expect. It even uses the accelerometer to allow you to play softer and louder, adjusting not just the volume but the tone of the sound!

Solitaire

I’m not a huge fan myself, but there a clearly a lot of people out there who get kicks out of Solitaire. It’s a quality free offering and makes great use of the iPad’s gestures and touch screen. It also saves where you are in a game effortlessly, and could be extremely useful for passing the time.

IMDb

IMDb is a quality free service for even the casual film fan, but a veritable treasure trove for the aficionado. The app is an excellent example of native implementation of a web app, definitely check this one out!

TuneIn Radio

If you’d rather listen to actual radio stations than the ones created for you by Pandora, then TuneIn Radio is the app for you. It gives you easy access to over 50,000 radio stations, including thousands of AM/FM local stations, and is packed with features for a free app. You can even pause and rewind within the last 30 minutes!

Adobe Photoshop Express

Whether you’re a photoshop wizard or simply want to make a simple edit on a photo, Photoshop Express is the app for you. It gives easy access to a host of useful editing features right in the palm of your hand – it allows the use of simple gestures and is a solid free offering.

Find My iPhone

Find My iPhone is a fantastically useful app for all iPhone and iPad users out there. If you’re constantly misplacing your favourite devices, simply use this app to track them down again. It’s another app that features ridiculously futuristic technology…

Epicurious

A superb app for anyone who loves to experiment and discover new recipes, Epicurious is the perfect companion for any cook – and it’s free! It’s packed with functionality, including the ability to keep track of your favourites and build a shopping list. Not only does it have more than 30,000 recipes, Epicurious allows you to easily share your favourites with family and friends via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

Pulse News

We reviewed Pulse News not that long ago on iPad.AppStorm, Justin had this to say:

Pulse for the iPad is a great way to read and discover news, and news sources, from a sleek user interface.

Different news readers will inevitably suit different people, if you’re undecided then definitely give Pulse a try. It sports a slick interface and some delightfully quirky cartoons…

Your Thoughts

There are a huge number of free apps in the App Store, I have covered a mere 40 here. I use many of these regularly and would happily recommend them to my friends and family, I’m glad I now have a place to send them when they question me over what free apps to get…

What are your favourite free apps? As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts – simply post a comment below. I hope you’ve enjoyed it!


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  • Fuxus

    Where are the screenshots?

    I hate lists with icons.

    • Joel Bankhead

      I was going for short descriptions on this one, but I promise the next big roundup will be full of delicious screenshots!

      • http://www.hammyhavoc.com Hammy Havoc

        Excellent. Delicious screenshots are useful so that we can identify applications our friends and colleagues have been using at a glance.

  • Fishnpix

    Thanks for this great list! For your French readers, I would suggest adding Dailymotion’s app to the list of must-have free apps. And for those looking for more features in their internet browser, Terra is a good option.

  • SC

    The Aweditorium link is broken.

  • http://inspirationfeed.com inspirationfeed

    Nice collection!

  • photiscta

    Very nice!
    But, its missing the sugarsync, which in my opinion, is better than dropbox.

  • Simon

    A very good round-up you have here! I love TuneIn Radio and The Onion is as you said superbly done. Being Australian I can’t help mentioning Footy Live HD because it’s a great sports app that really makes the most of the iPad! Also the free Fotopedia apps are pretty good too.

    • Joel Bankhead

      Fotopedia is a great shout! I’ll have to make sure that’s in the next one…

  • http://alexbor.com Alex

    This is a good list! But I think Friendly is a better Facebook app than MyPad, its a lot more powerful and with the way Facebook is, compared to Twitter (making a comparison as they have basically stolen the design of the Twitter iPad app) I feel it works better.

  • http://mandiwise.com/ Mandi

    Thanks! Great roundup. Just downloaded 5 of them.

  • http://robwilc.wordpress.com Rob Wilcox

    Some on that list are a must .. I have :-
    Evernote
    Dropbox
    … as my top 2, I think. Followed closely by wunderlist, twitter, and ibooks.

    I would also suggest adding the Kindle app.

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