Mobile productivity: Four apps Matthew Miller can't work without

When you change mobile phones as much as I do, you quickly figure out the core apps that are installed immediately every time. These apps help me capture thoughts, prioritize tasks, and get work done.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

[Editor's note: We asked our writers and editors to name the iOS or Android productivity tools they can't live without.]

As a mobile product reviewer, I change phones on a regular basis. While I also test apps and typically install 50 or more on my phones, there are a few key apps I need to get work done. These four are among the first I install every time, on every device.


One feature about these four apps is that they are all available for iOS and Android, so you are not limited by the phone you select. All of these apps sync to the cloud as well, so when I switch devices or platforms, all my data appears across all the devices.


Free, in Google Play Store and iTunes Store

While I tried to use the free OneNote app on my Surface Pro and mobile devices instead of Evernote, I keep coming back to Evernote because I find it to have a better user interface and advanced mobile features.

Evernote is designed to help you capture thoughts, web pages, business cards, white boards, images, and more so that you can digitize and organize your life. It can serve as a project management and collaboration tool as well.

I also have a Dell Chromebook 13, so in order to compose my ZDNet posts, I jump into Evernote and write. When I move to the train for my commute, I continue writing in Evernote on my phone or tablet.


Evernote can be used for free, but I've been paying for the premium version for years and have no plans to stop using it as it continues to regularly improve.


Free, in Google Play Store and iTunes Store

Evernote can be used for creating task lists, but I personally find Wunderlist to be optimized for this specific function. Wunderlist has been around for a few years and is now owned by Microsoft.

It is designed to help you create intelligent task lists, including adding reminders to the tasks. My family also uses Wunderlist with shared lists so that household tasks can be developed and completed by all. Project teams can use Wunderlist in the same manner.

Google Keep


Free, in Google Play Store and iTunes Store

With two specialized apps such as Evernote and Wunderlist in my arsenal, you may be wondering what Google Keep is also doing in my list. Evernote could easily serve the same function as Google Keep, but I use it in a very specific way.

For quick thoughts and for those things that tend to have a shorter term, I use Google Keep instead of Evernote. I am able to jump in and out of Google Keep in seconds, and it works very well for capturing thoughts on Android Wear.


Google Chrome

Free, in Google Play Store and iTunes Store

Google Chrome is installed on Android devices but can also be installed on the Apple iPhone. Most of my time online is spent in the web browser, so the ability to sync my history, bookmarks, and extensions across platforms is extremely useful. In my experiences, nothing beats Google Chrome for these reasons.

Previously: Ed Bott's favorite mobile apps

Next week: David Gewirtz's favorite mobile apps

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