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20 essential student apps

essential apps for students

Apps to make uni life easier

Your phone is a device that never leaves your side and for good reason, we like to be connected at all times and our phone is often an essential lifeline to our social and professional world. For broke students though, we need our smartphones to last longer and do more so that we don’t have to shell out essential loan money on a new phone.

So here’s our guide to help you get the most from your phone during University, maximising your smartphone’s potential so that if your laptop or computer does fail, it’s not the end of your world.

  1. iStudiez Pro / Lite – iOS - £1.99

    This is where your course should effectively live; serving mainly as a calendar, but also a task manager, reminder app and reference, iStudiez Pro allows you to store every step of your academic career so that you’re never lost for where to go next or what you need to work on.

  2. Wunderlist – iOS, Android - Free

    An attractive list maker that also serves as a task manager – letting you set reminders to make sure you’re getting your projects in on time. Wunderlist also syncs with its web app, meaning your task list can follow you everywhere you go – great for that forgetful student.

  3. Trello – iOS, Android – Free

    Trello is that app that maybe sits unused on your phone for a while – until that day when you’re assigned that dreaded group project. When a group task does arrive, Trello comes into its own, allowing you to collaboratively organise group tasks and view everyone’s progress at a glance. An absolute lifesaver.

  4. Cue – iOS – Free

    Cue is a fantastic little app that takes all of the dispersed data on your phone – your calendars, emails, appointments, memos and tasks – and sticks them all together in one easy to read and attractive place, meaning a more organised (and less frustrated) student.

  5. Splashtop – iOS, Android – Free/ £1.99

    Splashtop is a great app to have for a multitude of reasons. The app essentially allows you to control your PC or Mac from your phone or tablet, and you can either mirror your desktop completely or just use the device as a remote – meaning a phone remote for your presentation or movie or a simple way to access your desktop’s files whilst at Uni.

  6. Blackboard – iOS, Android – Free

    Most Universities now use the online blackboard platform to deliver course information, handbooks and assignments, so being able to access this essential information on the move is a must – which is where the Blackboard app helpfully saves the day, stopping you from using the poorly optimised mobile browser version of Blackboard.

  7. Google Chrome – iOS, Android – Free

    Chrome is a fantastic mobile browser for the same reasons it’s a brilliant PC one – it’s less intensive on your phone, has a nice clean design and is easy to use. For phone and tablet users, the best feature is tab syncing – meaning that your tabs can follow you from your PC or Mac onto your phone and out of the house..

  8. Moneybook – iOS - £1.99

    Another iOS app that’s great improved by the addition of a companion web app, Moneybook allows you to track your finances by staying on top of them – inputting purchases and outgoings on your phone and monitoring and managing them via your PC and iPhone. It’s easy and simple to use, stripping away a lot of the more confusing and unnecessary options that other money managers have.

  9. iWallet – Android – Free

    iWallet is crucially simple, a must when it comes to student money managing, and can display your expenditure on nifty little graphs and charts which may shock you into not going shopping quite as much.

  10. Readability – iOS, Android - Free

    A lot of students have heard about the usefulness of Instapaper – but many don’t know about the free and equally as useful alternative Readability. Save web articles from your PC, Tablet or Phone to your phone’s memory so that you can read the article later – when you may not have access to the Internet. Super useful for sending articles to your tablet or your phone to read on the bus or train.

  11. Kindle – iOS, Android - Free

    When it comes to eBooks, there’s simply no better alternative to Amazon’s Kindle app. Often the cheapest with frequent flash sales on even the newest novels, and with access to your books via the cloud, plus the added bonus of the app being available on every single platform you can throw at it, the Kindle app is your one stop shop for books of almost every kind.

  12. Dropbox – iOS, Android - Free

    Dropbox is an absolutely essential tool for the increasingly connected student – an easy way to back up, access and share your notes, presentations and files between computers and tablets alike. Plus it’s so simple to use. Though other alternatives are out there, you can’t go wrong with Dropbox.

  13. TED – iOS, Android – Free

    If you haven’t heard of TED, they’re a series of regular conferences around the globe where a number of experts in their field – be it science, medicine, technology or whatever – give short introductory lectures to their field of study. Often educational and entertaining in equal measure, there’s sure to be a TED lecture which can help with your course.

  14. Camscanner – Android – Free / Genius Scan – iOS – Free

    Camscanner and Genius Scan both offer great ways to forego expensive photocopying in the library and are much better than taking pictures with the camera app – they help you frame the best possible picture of your document before saving it as a PDF or text file of your choice for easier reading. Stupidly useful.

  15. Runkeeper – iOS, Android - Free

    Though other running apps have appeared and offered a good challenge, the original Runkeeper app is still king. Able to track your run, offer a breakdown of your speed and other readouts – all for free.

  16. Fitocracy – iOS, Android - Free

    Fitocracy is a great motivator for those who love exercise and sport but need a little encouragement – it logs all of your activities and charts you against friends and fitness idols, game-ifying fitness in a really inspiring way. As you work out, you level up and gain experience, winning awards and feeling better in the process. It’s also a handy way to track your regime.

  17. Snapchat – iOS, Android - Free

    Snapchat is just an ingenious idea; you send videos and pictures, decide whether to overlay text or scribbles, then send. The catch is that the media deletes after an allotted amount of time, meaning that the recipient will often never be able to show others what they received. Rude, lewd and often hilarious, it’s the perfect companion to student antics.

  18. Shazam – iOS, Android - Free

    It’s really annoying when you’re listening to a song on the radio and the DJ neglects to mention who the artist is, or you’re in a shop and there’s no-one around to ask about the track playing over the speakers, which is where Shazam has always proved it’s worth, telling you the artist and song name within seconds and providing a link to download it to your phone.

  19. LinkedIn – iOS, Android - Free

    LinkedIn is an essential app for networking and setting up contacts, though you probably won’t realise until your last year of University – get a head start and get on LinkedIn as soon as possible so that you can start building a professional network that will pay off come graduation.

  20. Flixster – iOS, Android - Free

    If you’re into your cinema, Flixster is the essential app to have, showing what’s on around you and allowing you to book a showing really easily, as well as detailing upcoming movies, collating Rotten Tomatoes information and showcasing what’s just hit the shops.

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