The best 25 free iPad and iPad 2 apps in 2012

On this years there are a lot of apps for iPad and iPad 2 was developed, so here the list the best 25 free iPad and iPad 2 apps in 2012 version of

1. AccuWeather for iPad

Annoyingly, most free iPad weather apps refuse to believe that the UK has any weather (or that the country exists), so AccuWeather gets props for merely working. Happily, AccuWeather also proves to be a decent – if quirky – weather app. The interface is odd (but fun) and there’s a ‘lifestyle’ page that determines how your current local conditions might affect over 20 activities, including dog-walking and stargazing.


2. Adobe Ideas 1.0 for iPad

Adobe Ideas 1.0 for iPad is a digital sketchpad that offers simple vector-based drawing tools and works nicely as a standalone app for jotting down creative ideas or as a companion to Adobe Illustrator. Usefully, you can trace over photos, email drawings as PDFs and avoid worrying about mistakes, because there’s a 50-level undo.

Adobe ideas

3. Air Video Free (universal)

Despite naysayers whining about the iPad screen’s 4:3 aspect ratio, it’s a decent device for watching video, although it lacks storage for housing large video collections. Air Video enables you to stream video (converting it on-the-fly, if necessary) from your Mac or PC. The main limitation of the free version is that it only shows a few items (randomly selected) from each folder or playlist.

Air video

4. Beatwave (universal)

Beatwave is a simplified Tenori-On-style synth which enables you to rapidly build pleasing melodies by prodding a grid. Multiple layers and various instruments provide scope for complex compositions, and you can save sessions or, handily, store and share compositions via email. You can also buy more instruments via in-app purchases.


5. Bloomberg for iPad

With an eye-searing white-and-orange-on-black colour scheme that’s a little like being repeatedly punched in the eyes, Bloomberg isn’t an app you’ll want to spend all day staring at. However, for business news, stocks and major currency rates, it’s a usable and efficient app.


6. Comics (universal)

On the iPhone, Comics is innovative, but zooming each panel and constantly rotating your device gets old fast. By contrast, the iPad’s screen is big enough to display an entire page without the need to zoom or scroll. And with dozens of free comics available via the bundled store, comic book fans should lap this app up.


7. – Dictionary & Thesaurus – For iPad

We approached Dictionary with scepticism, since most free dictionary apps are sluggish interfaces to websites. That’s certainly what this looks like, but it works offline, providing speedy access to over a million words and 90,000 thesaurus entries. The app’s search is also reassuringly fast.


8. Dropbox (universal)

Dropbox is a great service for syncing documents across multiple devices. The iPad client works like the iPhone one (hardly surprising, since this is a universal app), enabling you to preview many file types and store those marked as favourites locally.


9. Evernote (universal)

Like Dropbox, Evernote (a free online service for saving ideas – text documents, images and web clips – that you can then access from multiple devices) works the same way on the iPad as it does on the iPhone. It benefits from the iPad’s larger screen, which enables you to see and navigate your stored snippets more easily.


10. Feeddler RSS Reader for iPad

Feeddler RSS Reader for iPad is fairly basic as RSS readers go, but once you’ve pointed it at your Google Reader account it’s efficient, stores text offline, enables you to browse by feed and has a built-in browser so you’re not booted to Safari when you want to visit a link. As with many iPad apps, you get a full-screen view in portrait mode.


11. The Guardian Eyewitness

A showcase for engaging photography, The Guardian Eyewitness provides a daily, visual reflection of global events. You get access to the most recent 100 photos, which can be viewed full-screen or with a caption and ‘pro tip’. You can also save photos to your iPad or share them via email.

Guardian eyewitness

12. iBooks

Going head-to-head with Kindle, iBooks is a decent ebook reader, backed by the iBookstore. As you’d expect from Apple, the interface is polished (if not quite up to the standards of iPhone app Eucalyptus), and on downloading the app you get a free copy of Winnie the Pooh.


13. IM+ (universal)

Although third-party multi-tasking is coming to the iPad this autumn, it’s not here yet, making things tough for instant messaging fans. However, IM+ Lite enables you to run a number of IM services (including Twitter and Facebook) in a single app, and there’s also a built-in web browser for checking out links.

IM plus

14. Kindle (universal)

Amazon’s Kindle iPad app for reading over 500,000 books available at the Kindle Store is a little workmanlike, and doesn’t match the coherence of iBooks (you buy titles in Safari and ‘sync’ purchases via Kindle). However, Kindle’s fine for reading, and you get options to optimise your experience (including the ability to kill the naff page-turn animation and amend the page background to a pleasant sepia tone).


15. Movies by Flixter (universal)

One for film buffs, Movies figures out where you are and tells you what’s showing in your local cinemas – or you can pick a film and it’ll tell you where and when it’s on. The app is functionally identical on iPad and iPhone, but again the extra screen space improves the experience.


16. PaperDesk Lite for iPad

Effectively a souped-up digital notepad, PaperDesk Lite for iPad enables you to combine typed words, scribbles and audio recordings in user-defined notebooks. Pages can be emailed (typed text is sent along with a copy of the entire page as a PDF), although be mindful that this free version restricts you to three pages per notebook.

PaperDesk lite

17. PCalc Lite (universal)

PCalc Lite‘s existence means the lack of a built-in iPad calculator doesn’t bother us (in fact, we’d love to replace the iPhone Calculator app with PCalc Lite as well). This app is usable and feature-rich – and if you end up wanting more, in-app purchases enable you to bolt on extras from the full PCalc.


18. Reuters News Pro for iPad

Spurious anti-competition complaints meant the BBC News app took a while to come to the UK; in the meantime, Reuters offered the next best free news app for iPad with its Reuters News Pro for iPad. It’s a little US-centric, but can be skewed towards UK coverage via the Settings app, and it’s worth downloading for a more international take on news coverage than BBC News provides.


19. Twitterrific for iPad

The iPad version of Twitterrific reportedly marks a new beginning for the app, which the developers think has become too complicated on iPhones. On iPad, things are more bare-bones, but this ensures Twitterrific is a simple, good-looking and usable Twitter client.


20. Wikipanion for iPad

The Wikipedia website works fine in Safari for iPad, but dedicated apps make navigating the site simpler and faster. We went back and forth between Simplepedia and Wikipanion, eventually plumping for the latter, largely due to its efficient two-pane landscape view with excellent bookmarking and history access.


21. eBay for iPad

Use eBay for iPad and you’ll never touch eBay in a web browser again. It’s fast and efficient, beautifully showcasing important details and images in its main results view. The app also enables quickfire sorting and drag-based definition of price-ranges. It’s a little feature-light (no notifications), but eBay promises aspects of eBay Mobile will be integrated soon.

eBay for ipad

22. Soundrop (universal)

Soundrop is a minimal generative sound toy that offers an endless stream of balls, which make noises when they collide with and bounce off user-drawn lines. The overall result is surprisingly fun and hypnotic. For more advanced features – save, multiple instruments and gravity adjustment – there’s a £1.19 in-app ‘pro’ purchase option.


23. Granimator

Wallpaper apps litter the App Store, but are mostly dull, offering photos of brick walls or bored animals. Granimator is a bonkers art tool, enabling you to choose a background and spray all manner of shapes around. Compositions can be fine-tuned by dragging objects, and then shared to Flickr, Twitter or your device’s Photos app.


24. Google Earth (universal)

It’s not the smoothest app in the world, and it lacks some elements from the desktop (such as street view), but Google Earth is nonetheless a joy on the iPad. Touch gestures are an intuitive means of swooping around the planet, and the optional layers enable you to display as much or as little ancillary information as you wish.

Google earth

25. Explore Flickr (universal)

Explore Flickr provides an engaging way to discover new photography. On launch, your iPad screen fills with a grid of thumbnails, drawn from’s top daily images. Tap one to view (and, if rights permit, download to your device), or just leave the app lazily updating (every now and again, a thumbnail spins to reveal a new image) while your iPad charges in its dock.

Explore flickr