Mobile and desktop apps that every writer needs.


Jorge Quinteros via Compfight

There are plenty of apps for writers out there today. We are in the midst of an ‘app’ revolution, after all. Gone are the days of lengthy installs and beefy programs clogging up our hard drives: today, we can run miniscule app files within our browser, without having to stare at a blue ‘Installing’ bar for hours. Let’s face it: we never took the friendly program’s advice and made a cup of tea. We sat, and stared, and waited… until the inevitable ‘Installation Error’ flashed up at 97%.

Fortunately, those days are long gone. As a result, a whole variety of apps for mobile devices, tablets, and computers, are readily available at miniscule costs. Here are my personal favourite apps for writers, which I probably couldn’t live without. They have been crucial tools over the last few months of writing What We Saw. I would advise every writer to try them out and see what you think.



Creative Commons License bizmac via Compfight

Price: Free (for 2GB); Desktop, iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry

Data backup is absolutely essential for writers. Imagine loading up your computer to find a nice, strapping hard-drive failure staring back at you. Dropbox is essentially an online storage space, with apps for mobile devices and for your computer. Just drag the files you want to back up into the folder, and you can access them from anywhere in the cloud. It’s secure, and very easy to use.


Quick Tip: Use Evernote to back up your blog in real time

Creative Commons License Joe Ross via Compfight

Price: Free; Desktop, iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone

Another handy tool for writers, Evernote lets you make notes anywhere from your phone, tablet, or laptop, and immediately syncs them to your other devices. Got a great idea for a blog post whilst on a long train journey? Jot it down on Evernote, log in to your computer when you get home, and continue writing on your laptop, without having to transfer anything. I find the in-built ‘Notes’ app on iPhone similarly effective once iCloud is enabled, but Evernote wins for ease of use.


Android Buffer

Creative Commons License aimee daniells via Compfight

Price: Free (Premium: £9.99 p/m); Desktop, iPhone, Andriod

Since discovering Bufferapp, my social networking habits have changed dramatically. Basically, Buffer lets you schedule your tweets to post in the optimal time, based on your followers. If you sync it with the Chrome app, SocialBro, then you get even more accurate results. Although I believe that personal tweets should be tweeted live, Buffer is a great way of scheduling useful links to send out to all your followers. Just queue your tweets, and let Buffer do the rest.



Creative Commons License Johan Larsson via Compfight

Price: £2.49; Desktop, iPhone, iPad, Android

A-ha, got you! You thought I was going to say Instagram, didn’t you? No? Ah, well, Instapaper is a really smooth app. Once you’ve set it up, it creates a ‘Read Later’ button on your web browser/mobile device. Before Instapaper, I was always forgetting to check out articles I’d not had the chance to read through upon discovery. Now, I simply click the button, and the whole article is there for me to read later.

Mr. Reader

Price: £2.49; iPad

No serious writer in possession of a tablet computer should leave home without a decent RSS reader. Sadly, Google Reader is a clunky tool to use natively, which is why apps like Mr. Reader for the iPad are brilliant for collecting the latest posts from all your favourite bloggers. It works closely with Instapaper, too, which is great considering you don’t want a load of stranded apps floating around. Sure, there are plenty of reader apps out there – if you want a more magazine-based read, try the brilliant Flipboard – however, for a clean, structured iPad read, Mr. Reader is the way to go.

Most importantly…


The best way to get the most out of your apps is to use them together. Find an article on Mr. Reader before work in the morning, copy it over to Instapaper to read during your lunch break. Have a read, and if you like the content, send it over to Buffer to tweet at a peak time. Using apps in collaboration is rewarding and makes you feel incredibly organised, so give it a shot.

What are your favourite apps for writers? Are there any other tools not on this list that you would recommend?