5 essential iOS apps for working from home

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iPad on desk with coffee work from home iOS
Everything you need to work from home.
Photo: Leone Venter/Unsplash

We already gave you some ideas on how to work from home, and how to stop yourself from going insane while you’re stuck in COVID-19 lockdown. Today we’re going to take a look at some great iOS apps to use while you’re working from home.

Best iOS apps for working from home

You’ll probably have several mandated apps that you’ll need to connect to your company server, or to perform other areas of your work. If you’re a developer, that could include Xcode. You might need an FTP app to access servers or remote storage. Almost everyone will need email, Safari and all that stuff. But what about taking care of your workspace? What other apps might you need to make working from home with your iPad viable, easy and maybe even enjoyable?

Focus

Never miss a break with Focus.
Never miss a break with Focus.
Photo: Focus

First up, know when to work — and when to stop. Focus is a timer app that reminds you to take breaks. I have it set to pop up a reminder after 25 minutes, and then to give me a five-minute break. After a few such cycles, it tells me to take 20 minutes.

Just as important as timing your breaks is taking breaks. Don’t just switch to Facebook and spend five minutes there. Get up from your desk, do some stretches and walk around. Leave your phone on the desk, too. The goal is to take a mental and a physical break. Too busy even for five minutes? No, you’re not. Take the break. You’ll be more focused because of it. And, if you do the right stretches, you’ll avoid any kind of RSI or other physical stress that’s otherwise inevitable, thanks to your lame home “office” setup.

The best thing about Focus is not just its customizability. It’s that it also syncs between iOS, Apple Watch and Mac.

Focus – Time Management

Price: Free

Download: Focus – Time Management from the App Store (iOS)

Slack

Slack, even on your iPhone.
Slack, even on your iPhone.
Photo: Slack

Slack is a great way not only to stay in touch with your co-workers, but also to goof off every once in a while and chat. Maybe your company already uses Slack (or something similar). If not, you might consider setting it up. That’s exactly what I did, many years ago at Cult of Mac, back when we used HipChat, which didn’t work well on mobile.

Slack, or alternatives like Basecamp, are essential for remote-working teams. You might consider setting up a Slack “workspace” for friends, too. It’s free, so you could set one up, and stay in touch without having to brave social media.

Slack keeps conversations in timelines, whereas email spreads everything everywhere. Slack lets you keep and access files, and it has excellent GIF support.

Slack

Price: Free

Download: Slack from the App Store (iOS)

Toggl

Tracking time with Toggl.
You can track your time with Toggl.
Photo: Toggl

Some folks may have to track the time they spend working. If that’s the case for you, then check out Toggl. I don’t use it, but it comes highly recommended from people who do. Remember when time trackers needed you to manually trigger them? That’s ancient history. Toggl can automatically record what you do, including noting any website you use for more than 10 seconds, for example. Like Focus, it can remind you to take breaks. It also can generate reports in pretty much any format you need.

Toggl also integrates with many other apps and services, including your calendar, to-do lists, Slack and way more. If you track time, then try it out. Like most of the other apps here, Toggl is also available for Mac.

Toggl: Time Tracker for Work

Price: Free

Download: Toggl: Time Tracker for Work from the App Store (iOS)

Fiery Feeds

Fiery Feeds: RSS FTW.
Fiery Feeds: RSS FTW.
Photo: CocoaCake

While in the midst of the COVID-19 media frenzy, everyone needs an RSS reader app. I like Fiery Feeds. It looks great, works with all the major RSS sync services, and is ultra-customizable. But you could pick Unread 2 or Reeder. Or you could simply use an online RSS aggregator like Newsblur.

What is RSS? When almost any website publishes new content, the post gets added to that site’s RSS feed. And an RSS app is a news-reader app that captures that feed. It then lists all the new articles, from all your favorite websites, in one place. It’s like a cross between Twitter and email, only it’s better than both.

You can organize feeds into folders, and save articles to read later. These days, it’s good to keep all those coronavirus stories in one place, so you only need to bother yourself with it once a day.

Fiery Feeds: RSS Reader

Price: Free

Download: Fiery Feeds: RSS Reader from the App Store (iOS)

Pick a game, any game

Your iPad or iPhone is a great gaming machine. And playing a game for 10 minutes is a great way to forget the world around you for a moment. Maybe it’ll be a quick blast on Mario Kart Tour or a relaxing slide through Alto’s Odyssey. Or, if you subscribe to Apple Arcade, pick from any of the hundreds of free games there.

Got your own favorite iOS apps for working from home?

Yes, working from home is mostly about working, but you have to pace yourself. You might prefer a break to read a book, or to meditate, but make sure you do something that isn’t just sitting at your desk, eating a sandwich, and checking Twitter.

Working from home isn’t easy, so hopefully the right apps will help. If you’ve got your own favorite essential iOS apps for working from home, drop them in the comments below.