Check out a developer’s picks of 10 essential iOS apps, which focus on security, productivity, and more.
Over the past 13 years, as iPhones and iPads have become fixtures in more users’ lives, the number of apps and the Apple App Store ecosystem have expanded to offer services and apps that iOS users rely on each day. If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, chances are, you have pages of apps installed, but which ones are really must-haves?
This is my list of essential iOS apps that I use every single day. Some of these apps manage device security, some hold memories, and even more keep me organized, productive, and able to move throughout my day with ease.
The iCloud Keychain is great for most users to manage passwords and website logins; however, 1Password handles multiple logins, two-factor authentication (2FA), and multiple shared vaults with ease, making it my go-to password management software. The multiple vaults that can be shared with business partners or others is a no-brainer feature that makes the software worth its weight in… well, passwords. This software supports multiple languages and is a 96.8MB download.
A free trial is available, with different pricing plans for personal and families. Plans start at $2.99 per month.
Day One app
Image: Day One
The Apple Notes app on iOS is great, but what if you want to have multiple journals, the ability to map out entries, everything sorted by date added, and to top it all off, Markdown support? Well, the Day One app has been one of my must-haves for years because of these features and many more. I love that it now has the ability to add videos and unlimited photos, as well as recording audio, to posts. Plus, you can have your favorite journals printed in a real book, and all entries added to a journal can be encrypted. There’s even API access available through IFTTT that can automatically add entries to your journals (I have one set up to automatically log every tweet I post to Twitter as backup). This software supports multiple languages, iPad, iPhone, and Mac, and is a 95.1MB download for the iOS version.
The software is $34.99 per year for unlimited online storage and syncing. A free trial is available.
DEVONthink To Go app
I love having a paperless office, and DEVONthink is the tool that I use on my Mac and iOS devices to make that happen. I use the Mac version to scan documents and have them automatically transcribed into searchable PDF documents and synced to iCloud; then, I use this iOS version of the app to be able to search, sort, view, and look up information while I’m on the go. You can also add documents and files directly into the iOS version, but only the Mac version supports scanning and OCR-ing documents into searchable PDFs. I love the fact that no matter how much I seem to put into this app, a decade’s worth of PDFs containing mail, emails, and more is searchable within seconds on iOS, making it an app that I cannot live without.
The software supports multiple languages and iPad and iPhone. It’s a 103.8MB app and costs $14.99 with an optional $7.99 Pro Package that supplements the base set of features with even more.
In today’s world, receiving shipments is an everyday occurrence, and managing those deliveries can be a headache–that’s where the Deliveries app comes in. What started as a handy OS X Tiger Widget back in the day on the Mac has grown into a must-have app on iOS and macOS. It can sync with either iCloud or “JuneCloud” (the app’s own syncing service) to get shipment information between all of your devices. It gives push notifications for up-to-the-minute package tracking, and includes the ability to search all of your past deliveries as well as see current deliveries on a map and scheduled delivery dates without ever having to leave the app.
The software supports multiple languages and shipment carriers around the world, as well as iPad and iPhone. The app is a 17.2MB download and costs $4.99 one time.
Google Photos app
I use and love iCloud Photo Library, but at the end of the day, I don’t trust my photos and precious memories to just a single cloud photo provider–that’s why I also use the Google Photos app to automatically back up photos to my Google account as well. I set the app to automatically back up all of my photos from my device whenever new photos are added to the Apple Photos library. As long as you don’t force quit the app from your device, it will keep backing up without any intervention.
The software supports multiple languages, and iPhone and iPad. The app is a 161.8MB download. Google Photos prices may vary depending on additional storage requirements beyond the free storage from Google.
Image: Golden Hill Software
RSS readers are still a thing, and have made a comeback in recent years as many users’ default way to read websites. Unread is a minimalist RSS reading client that can sync with multiple service providers, including Feed Wrangler, Feedly, and more. It downloads the full content of the articles so you don’t have to navigate out of the app to another website to read the full text, and it features keyboard and gestures that give prominence to the content over the app’s UI. Swiping left will bring up menus that let you share articles, add to Pinboard or Raindrop, or other services that can be configured in the app.
The app costs $19.99 per year (after trial) and is a 15.1 MB download from the App Store.
Carrot Weather app
The iOS weather app isn’t the most reliable for every user, leaving many to rush to third-party apps like Dark Sky; but, with the recent acquisition of Dark Sky by Apple, its future is unknown at this point. One of my favorite weather apps, Carrot, uses the Dark Sky API to get weather data, but is infinitely configurable to use many other services, or even your own personal weather stations (like those from Netatmo and WeatherFlow). The app also has a very interesting “personality” that makes me smile every time you check the weather. This, coupled with the ability to use Siri Shortcuts, the Apple Watch app, and customization, makes it well worth the price.
Carrot Weather is $4.99 on the App Store, and includes in-app purchase for yearly subscriptions for additional features and services. The app is a 74.8MB download.
If you’re like me, then you hate carrying around loyalty and membership cards. While some stores and memberships have gone digital, some still rely on plastic cards that you have to remember to tote around with you. Enter Stocard, an app that can scan in the barcodes of your cards and organize them digitally. When you go to a store, simply pull out your phone and let the barcode get scanned. You can even store a photo of the front and back of the card if the digitized barcode refuses to work or you need additional proof of your card.
This app is a free 102.3 MB download from the App Store.
Sometimes it can be important to connect back to your desktop computer to perform a simple task while on the go. With Screens, you can easily start a screen-sharing session from anywhere as long as your Mac or Windows computer is connected to the network and turned on. With the keyboard and mouse support in iPadOS, you can perform even more complex tasks while on the go, thanks to this app. With keyboard shortcuts, curtain mode, and gesture support, this app is a help when you’re in a pinch and need to access your desktop computer.
The app costs $19.99 one time, and is a 23MB download on iPad and iPhone.
Being able to take useful notes is important for business meetings and classroom instruction. The Notability app lets you take hand-written notes or typed notes with drawing abilities while recording the audio of the room with your iPad or iPhone. With the ability to sync recorded audio to the typed notes, share notes with a presentation mode or in various other ways, including PDF, and sync to multiple cloud services including iCloud Drive, this app is a must-have whenever I need to take notes in person and don’t want to miss anything that was said.
Notability costs $8.99 one time and is a 215.4MB download for iPhone and iPad.
Top 5 smartphones for business professionals in 2020
Here are five smartphones to consider the next time you’re shopping for a new mobile device for work.
Busy professionals need devices that keep up with their workday pace, and for many people their most essential device is a smartphone. There are many reasons why it may be more convenient to use a smartphone instead of a laptop, such as being away from your desk, working in the field, or not wanting to sit down in front of a larger screen when a smaller, more portable one will do.
If you use your smartphone for work, you need one that’s reliable, which is where these five devices come in. Each smartphone on this list has unique features designed for business users who may have different use cases.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20
Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note device is practically tailor-made for professionals, with its in-device stored S Pen designed to make note-taking and on-the-go organization a snap. The S Pen in the Galaxy Note 20 is improved over last year’s version, and it’s redesigned to eliminate lag; plus, it has auto-synchronization with Microsoft OneNote, the ability to turn handwritten notes into text, and note-taking capabilities with the screen turned off.
The Galaxy Note 20 is available for preorder and will start shipping on Aug. 21, 2020. Pricing for the Galaxy Note 20 starts at $999.99, and pricing for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra starts at $1,299.99.
Caterpillar Cat S61
This rugged Android smartphone is manufactured by heavy equipment company Caterpillar and is designed to stand up to the abuse that electronics in the field inevitably take. It’s drop-proof to 1.8 meters, can be submerged in 5 meters of water for up to an hour, and meets the MIL-SPEC 810G standard for device hardiness; it also comes with a built-in FLIR thermal imaging camera, indoor air quality monitor, and laser measuring tool. It’s essentially built to be the ultimate device for professionals whose jobs entail tasks that would destroy lesser devices. Caterpillar offers free screen repairs.
The Caterpillar Cat S61 is available now from the Caterpillar site. It is currently priced at $729 USD.
iPhone 11 Pro
If you work in an Apple shop, the iPhone is the de facto device to choose because of the interoperability Apple has baked into its devices; the iPhone 11 Pro gives other reasons as well. TechRepublic sister site CNET calls the iPhone 11 Pro’s camera its best feature, and it also notes that the iPhone 11 Pro can get more than a day of battery life on a single charge; Apple states that it improved the battery enough to get an additional four hours out of it over the standard iPhone 11. The iPhone 11 Pro’s video capture capabilities are great as well, with Apple saying it’s able to produce the highest quality video on a smartphone. Creative professionals should definitely check the iPhone 11 Pro out.
The iPhone 11 Pro is available now from the Apple site. Pricing for the iPhone 11 Pro starts at $999, and pricing for the iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at $1,099.
BlackBerry KEY2 LE
If you miss the days of smartphones with physical keyboards, the BlackBerry KEY2 LE is the device for you. The BlackBerry KEY2 LE is enterprise ready–it is immediately compatible with MDM solutions and has zero-touch deployment capabilities. It also has dual account support, enough battery life for 22 hours of mixed-use time, and a software locker where secure duplicates of apps can be stored. It’s not the newest device, but for those missing the days of tactile typing response, the BlackBerry KEY2 LE is ideal.
The BlackBerry KEY2 LE is available now from Best Buy and other retailers. Pricing starts at $399.
Google Pixel 4A
If you’re a developer who works with Android, or just an Android aficionado who wants the newest of everything, this Pixel smartphone from Google should be your choice. Because the device is manufactured by Google, it’s usually the first to get the latest Android updates, and they run as close to stock Android as you can get. The Pixel 4 would be on this list, but Google recently discontinued the flagship device after running out of stock earlier than anticipated; the Pixel 4A is a solid phone despite being a budget device; it’s actually good for professionals because of its flagship-like features and Google Pixel update schedule without the nearly $1,000 price tag.
The Pixel 4A is available for preorder now from the Google Store and will ship out beginning Aug. 20, 2020. Pricing starts at $349.
Here are the top 15 companies for remote part-time work
A FlexJob roundup includes familiar names such as Appen, Robert Half, Pearson, Supporting Strategies, Kaplan, and Achieve Test Prep.
Not everyone has the interest or ability to work full time, even when working remotely, and with that in mind, FlexJobs recently identified the top 15 companies for remote part-time jobs. For the study, “part time” refers to jobs that require 35 hours or less.
Part-time remote jobs (PTRJ) include tutors, substitute teachers, specialized teachers (i.e., SAT, ACT, music, drama, etc.), and online instructors—nearly half of the top PTRJs are variations of jobs in education. In general, other PTRJs include data entry, office administration, personal assistant, telemedicine, therapist, proposal writer, accountant, public relations, technical writer, investor relations, human resources, web development, troubleshooter, and graphic designer, among others.
SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Based on an assessment of 50,000 companies in the FlexJobs database, here are the top 15 companies hiring for PTRJ:
1. Kaplan is a for-profit educational institution, operating in more than 30 countries globally, and 89% of work offered is remote and 83% are part-time positions.
2. VocoVision is a children’s therapy telepractice program that looks for applicants comfortable with tech and have excellent communication skills. All positions, 100% are remote, require advanced education and professional certifications, and associates are given access to a discussion board to share their concerns and to brainstorm ideas; 30% of jobs are part time.
3. Supporting Strategies is comprised of Financial Operations Associates (FOAs) who hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting or a related field of study, as well as 10-15 years of industry experience; jobs, which are 100% remote, are in accounting and finance, bookkeeping, human resources and recruiting, and 95% of those jobs are part time.
4. Robert Half International, a global professional staffing and consulting firm, was founded in 1948 and was named by the Human Rights Campaign as one of the best places to work, as well as one of the 50 happiest companies in America by CareerBliss. Seventy-two percent of the company’s jobs are remote, with 7% of jobs part time.
5. Pearson offers flexible jobs in many professional fields in and beyond education & training and has posted temporary, freelance, seasonal, occasional, part time, flexible schedule, and work-from-home jobs in the past and employs a staff of 32,000, in more than 70 countries. The London-based company offers 54% remote work, and 45% part time.
6. Appen is a technology services company, which recently acquired Leapforce and works in 130 businesses globally; 99% of jobs are remote and 89% are part time.
7. K12 is an online educational programs and solutions company for youth in kindergarten through 12th grade and is designed for kids, teens and families to serve students “in the home or on the road.” A majority, 99% of jobs are remote, with 16% part time.
8. Edmentum provides educational solutions to 8,000 school districts nationwide and was created by the merger of PLATO Learning and Archipelago Learning; provides more than 14 million students with individual teaching approaches and online learning solutions. Ninety-six percent of its jobs are remote, with 64% being part time.
9. Lionbridge provides localization and data services in more than 350 languages and operates throughout the US and internationally. Team members work from home or from one of the company’s 55 offices spanning 26 countries, and 98% of jobs have remote work options, and 74% are part-time jobs.
10. Independence University was one of the earliest (1978) “distance learning” schools. The nonprofit now includes four schools: healthcare, business, graphic arts, and technology. The Utah-based university offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs. It offers 100% remote work options, with 31% part time.
11. Rasmussen College is a for-profit school offering associate’s and bachelor’s degrees from campuses across Minnesota and other states, which offers more than 70 academic and professional programs in such subjects as business, tech, nursing, health sciences, design and education. Part-time work is popular, with 94% of jobs requiring 35-hours or less, and 78% are remote.
12. Achieve Test Prep is an academic support organization that provides test prep and college-education consulting services. Its employees are 100% remote, and 47% part time.
13. LanguageLine Solutions was established in 1982 to provide more effective communication methods for non-English speakers and now provides face-to-face, over-the-phone, and video-conference interpreting and document translation services, and is the largest professional interpreter employer in the world. The Monterey, CA-based company has 100% remote work options, with 29% part-time work.
14. FlexProfessionals is a privately held staffing and recruiting firm that specializes in flexible work arrangements for seasoned professionals with 73% both part time and jobs with remote work options.
15. Cactus Communications is a privately held company, based in Mumbai, which provides communication solutions specializing in academia and pharmaceutical and device companies, offers 100% remote work and 56% part-time jobs.
FlexJobs identifies an additional 15 companies that offer PTRJ.
54% of SMBs plan to hire in 2020
Despite the “extreme challenge” of COVID-19’s impact, 47% of small and midsize businesses polled by Paycor are “somewhat confident” the US economy will bounce back.
When referencing the US economy, it’s common to make attributions to corporate America and big business, but small and midsize businesses (SMBs) actually make up 99.8% of all US business, according to a 2020 report from SMB Group. In other words, despite comprising only 0.2% of US business, that sector makes the most noise. But it’s the SMBs that are, according to the press release for a new report from Paycor, a human capital management company (HCM), “the engine of the US economy and have felt the impact of the coronavirus.”
According to Paycor’s research, 33% of SMB leaders found the first wave of the pandemic “extremely challenging,” but 47% are “somewhat confident” the US economy will bounce back—so much so, that 54% of SMBs indicated they plan to hire in 2020.
Referencing the 33% of respondents who found tackling the pandemic “extremely challenging,” Karen Crone, chief human resources officer at Paycor, said, “71% of business leaders said the pandemic was ‘challenging’ and that it disrupted their business.”
COVID-19 quickly set the enterprise to innovate, as its impact made many businesses not only shift in-office staff to remote, but taxed the responsibilities and stress of its IT staff.
SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF)(TechRepublic)
The majority of SMBs either furloughed or laid off workers, yet those polled insist team morale only took “a moderate hit.” On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being no change, here are the responses to how COVID-19 affected team morale:
- (no change) 6%
- (big impact) 5%
To improve team morale, 45% of respondents said there was more frequent communication, 35% said there was more transparent communication, 10% gave financial incentives for performance, and 7% offered other rewards.
Detailing COVID-19’s impact on small business
Nearly six months later, nearly everyone works differently, but many unknowns prevail, including how to budget and how to move forward. Paycor surveyed nearly 600 human resources (HR) and finance leaders to “understand exactly how the coronavirus impacted SMBs and its workforce.” There was a disruption in productivity said respondents, with the following results on this scale:
- (no change): 27%
- (big impact) 2%
Most SMBs survived the early stages of the pandemic, received government funding, and are cautiously optimistic about the future, and nearly half believe that not only will the economy bounce back, but plan on new hires this year.
“Nearly half quickly transitioned to a work from home environment,” Crone said. Respondents (54%) said their staff is split between remote and in-house workers, while 11% said they all work from home, and 35% said they traditionally came into the office.
The SMB new normal
Contrary to other reports, very few SMBs believe working from home will become the new normal, even though 47% moved to remote at the start of the pandemic, 6% temporarily closed, 1% “always worked remotely,” 38% classified as an essential business so they stayed open and 9% chose “other.”
When things level out, responses were varied: Only 3% polled said remote is the new normal, 40% said they would return to the office, 48% said there will be a hybrid, and 9% weren’t sure yet.
The game-changing events of the last few months include government funding, furloughs and layoffs, working remotely and addressing team morale and the now-remote office culture. The SMB workforce had to make adjustments: 6% had reduced benefits, 30% furloughed, 27% laid employees off, 20% reduced salaries, and 32% chose “other.”
Most respondents (87%) said their business attempted to take advantage of the government tax or loan program (13% said they did not); 96% said they did receive the requested funds and only 4% said they did not. Those who replied yes received funds from:
- PPP: 67.6%
- CARES Tax Credit: 33.2%
- Other: 4.4%
- EIDL: 3.8%
SMBs (45%) predict the cost of benefits will rise, but are unsure if they will change their current benefits’ plans (22% predicted no increase and 33% were unsure).
Paycor’s top 7 benefit changes SMBs are considering
- Enhanced access to telehealth
- Waived or reduced payments for COVID-19 testing
- Enhanced leave/paid time-off benefits
- Enhanced wellbeing benefits
- Enhanced healthcare benefits
- Decreasing benefits as a cost-containment strategy
- Expanded reimbursements for over-the-counter medications
The future for SMBs
In addition to the 47% who were “somewhat confident” the US economy will bounce back this year, 14% were very confident, 30% were not confident, and 8% said they had “no idea.”
But 54% said they plan to hire full-time employees, 11% said they’ll hire part-time people, 35% said they’ll hire both, and 35% said they will not be hiring in 2020. A majority (78%) of SMBs expect a less than 10% growth of their workforce, 16% said 11%-20% growth, 3% said 20%-30% growth, and only 1% said 40% or more growth.
Crone said: “Despite these headwinds, we were surprised and encouraged to find that more than half of business leaders plan on hiring before the end of the year. That reveals a fundamental confidence in the short-term future; it’s a wonderful piece of good news in a difficult time.”
Those surveyed were primarily HR directors and CFOs and represented companies of the following sizes:
- 50-99 people: 36%
- 100-249 people: 44.1%
- 250-499 people: 14.1%
- 500-999 people: 4.8%
- 1,000 + people: 1%
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