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10 Essential Free iPad Apps for Newbies

Table of Contents

So you’ve just purchased your iPad (or iPad 2). Now what?

Here are the absolutely crucial iPad apps that must be on your device. These are the apps that other iPad owners will make fun of you for not having. And they’re all free.

1. Dropbox

It’s hard to understand why, but the iPad has no traditional methods of storing personal files such as documents. Dropbox fixes this with an elegant solution that allows you to access your data from your computer and portable devices both. An unquestionable requirement for all users.

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2. Kindle

No one in the universe has a bigger ebook store than Amazon. The Kindle app does everything the Kindle device can do — and in full color to boot. Amazon even updates it with new features regularly. There’s simply no reason not to have it. Good Alternative: Nook.

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3. Flipboard

This buzz-heavy app takes your Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr feeds and presents them in a magazine format. It’s clever, robust, and features a neato page-turning mechanic (oooh! aaaaah!). In addition to the social aspects, there are also a ton of partners who push content to Flipboard including Forbes, Salon, Wired, Etsy, Rolling Stone, NatGeo, and more being added all the time. Good Alternative:

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4. Netflix

Technically a free download, even if the movies and TV shows cost a subscription or per-title fee. Still, it’s the app for watching pretty much anything you want on your iPad, with an even bigger library than the iTunes Store. Also worth having: Crackle.

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5. Twitter

There are literally dozens of apps for following your Twitter feed, and after using the official Twitter app, I honestly don’t know why the others bother. The Twitter app has everything you need, and it works brilliantly. Also worth having: Friendly for Facebook.

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6. Moleskine

I’m really amazed that this app is free. Given all it can do, and it’s lovely interface presentation, I know of no better note-taking, calendar-keeping, to-do-list making, and idea-saving app. Good alternative: Evernote.

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7. CNN

Crave news? There’s simply no better free news app for iPad than CNN’s. It’s beautifully designed to visually show off the latest headlines with tons of pictures and video. Even if CNN’s not your favorite news agency, their app is loaded with features and easy to use. Highly recommended. Good Alternative: USA Today.

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8. The Weather Channel

The best, most comprehensive weather app, period. Everything you could need, all in one place. I’ve used it during bad weather and it’s remarkably up-to-the-minute with watches, warnings, and radar. Good alternative: AccuWeather.

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9. Life

The Life Magazine app is so good, it will easily supplant the print magazine’s place in your heart. Hundreds of photos from current events are presented daily in an easy-to-navigate format. Good Alternative:Guardian Eyewitness.

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10. Epicurious

What I love about the Epicurious app is that it gives you everything you need to follow a great recipe, including a build-in timer and an automatic shopping list of everything you need for the recipes you want to make, and all in a gorgeous presentation. Good alternative: Allrecipes.

Get it now

Picture of Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

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