Ten essential (mostly) free back-to-school iOS apps for an awesome year

Sections: iDevice Apps, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch

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We’ve all got our back-to-school checklist: backpack, books (or ebooks!), new clothes, a sizable mini fridge, and, most importantly, a copious supply of ramen noodles. But there’s an important back-to-school checklist that requires a shopping stroll through the Apple app store, and that’s my list of ten essential and mostly free back-to-school iOS apps. Yes, there are some apps here to expedite the homework process and keep you organized, but there are also apps to keep your life balanced (all work and no play …).


myHomework (free)

Yes, this is obviously a homework app (sorry guys), but it’s a necessary homework app. You can finally ditch the agenda book thanks to myHomework.


Basically, the app allows you to track your homework, tests, projects, lessons, etc. From there, you can set reminders for when assignments are due. You can also input your class schedule, which I definitely could have used in the past (“What do you mean French class is in three hours?”). You can also sync that schedule to all your devices. As an added bonus, myHomework also works with if your teachers happen to use that.

Evernote (free)

I promise this is the last homework/studying app you will see on the list. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Evernote is synonymous with productivity. If you’ve ever taken up temporary residence in your school’s library while writing a research paper, you’re going to want to give Evernote a try. I’ll even link to an Evernote blog post about this exact subject: Evernote for Students: The Ultimate Research Tool.


Evernote is also great for dreaded group projects because it allows seamless file sharing between other Evernote users. No more “I never got your part of the assignment! I guess you’ll get a zero.”


Healthy Recipes by SparkRecipes (free)

Put down the Pizza Hut! We all know how easy it is to make a big bowl of Easy Mac, but that doesn’t mean we should.


SparkRecipes has tons of healthy (and easy) recipes that are sure to fend off scurvy or pestering parents.

Great Food Nearby: Ness (free)

I’m the first to tell you that cooking every night is tough, and sometimes you have to treat yourself to an evening out. So, why waste it on somewhere that’s going to disappoint? That’s where Great Food Nearby comes in.

Great Food Nearby

The app refers to itself as the Netflix/Pandora version of restaurants because it instantly recommends restaurants based on other places you like, what you’re in the mood for, and your location. You can rate, save and dismiss restaurants in order to modify and improve your selection.

BestOf… (free)

BestOf is a city search for the best in restaurants, entertainment, shopping and more in 32 cities. There’s a Winners section that lists the BestOf winners and finalists in your area, and you can bookmark your favorites for later.

BestOf App

You can also share your own tips via Facebook, Twitter, email or text message so that your friends are in the know too.


LivingSocial (free)

You’ve probably heard of LivingSocial, but if you haven’t downloaded the app, now is the time. It’s no secret students aren’t exactly “Rolling in the Cash” (the new hit Adele song), and LivingSocial can help you save.


With tons of discounts and deals, you’ll be able to put your money towards…more books! Or an iPod, you choose. Personal Finance (free)

Much like LivingSocial, the app will help with spending woes. is your own personal finance machine and it will help you keep things in check. CNN Money even ranked as one of the 6 best banking and budget apps, so you know it’s good! allows you to track, budget and manage all your money in one place, so there’s no excuse for spending your school budget on a flat screen TV.


Target (free)

Okay, this one might seem obvious, but the Target app actually comes in pretty handy. You have the weekly ad at your fingertips, you can shop and check out from anywhere, you can create TargetLists for things you need, and you can access coupons via Passbook.

Target App

And let’s face it: Target pretty much has the back-to-school scene on lock.

IKEA (free)

Another seemingly obvious app, but this app is especially useful for those of you finally moving off campus who need to supply your own furniture. IKEA’s prices can’t be beat, even though the assembly process is not exactly a picnic.

IKEA app

The app allows users to scan the catalog for products, but the cool feature is that users can now view what the products would look like in their rooms thanks to Augmented reality and 3D.


Zombies, Run ($3.99)

I’ve always been somewhat enamored by the concept of this game, especially since I’m not exactly a natural runner. However, this game makes it easy to head outside for a little jog because essentially you’re running for your life!

Zombies, Run

So, when the gym is all filled up, at least you’ll be able to take an unconventional run outside. Don’t let the freshman 15 win!

With these apps in the palm of your hand, you’ll be ready to take on academia like never before! Go get ’em, readers!

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