The 6 Best Writing Apps for iPad - Our Choice

In the past, writers and authors had to document their thoughts through pen and paper, styluses on clay pads, typewriters, and other writing tools. Computers allow us to write, edit, format, and rearrange content. 

With ongoing digitalization, we have modern writing apps, writing tools, and software that provide the writer hassle-free functionality.

Many writers love Apple iOS devices and use apps on the iPhone or iPad to help them write. Some of these writing apps have features that include distraction-free writing. It's worth mentioning apps like Final Draft and Scrivener, which are perfect for users who need an easy-to-use, simple text editor or word processor. 

As a beginner writer, you can start with Pages (free) or Word ($70 per year subscription) as a beginner. But, if you take your writing seriously, you'll want to graduate from this. So, let's look at some great writing apps you can use on your Apple iPad device to support your writing and help you create your next article, blog, or even novel.

What you should know about writing tools

Before you begin with any of the suggested apps, consider the following:

What do you plan to write?

There are five aspects to consider:

  • Fiction or nonfiction

  • Prose or Poetry

  • Long-form or short form

  • Writing platform (print or web)

  • Leisure writing or professional writing

The types of writing you plan to do influence your choice of app.

The 5 different stages involved in writing

Most writing projects involve five distinct steps. While some apps target some of these steps, others focus on all five stages.

1.  Prewriting

This includes topic selection, research, brainstorming, and planning what you need to write. This crucial first step allows you to collect and arrange your thoughts. 

2.  First Draft

The first draft of your writing doesn't need to be perfect and will likely be different from your final write-up. Your primary focus here should be writing without distraction or being unsure about yourself.

3.  Revision

This takes your first draft to the next level, where you add, remove, and rearrange content and structure. It involves improving the words, clarifying the vague content, and removing unnecessary text.

4.  Editing

This is fine-tuning your writing, including spelling, punctuation, and grammar corrections, checking for clarity and enhancing the text. This is an important step, especially with professional writing. A professional editor may use a separate app for tracking edits and making suggested changes.

5.  Publishing 

Publishing can be in two mediums, print or web. Some apps have settings that allow the writer to post on several web platforms directly, create ebooks, or develop and download fully-formatted PDFs.

Word processors do not allow you to separate style from content

Many writers use word processors for their writing projects. But be aware that these are not the best tools for professional writing projects.

Word processors are not designed for composition. Word processors were mainly intended for business use. As such, a lot of emphases is placed on presentational elements.

It's why Word or Google Docs start to format your work, typeset your text, etc., immediately.

Many of the features in a word processor cause distraction. They don't allow you to focus on ideas generation and the creation of words. Your mind is diverted to the final document. This is a big, time-wasting problem.

A writer's main purpose is to write. Anything else is a distraction. Though all the features provided may be useful later in the editing and publishing steps, initially, they will hinder your writing. 

Pro writing apps are different and focus on helping the writer to write. Once the writing process starts, they allow formatting and style to get in the way. Any extra features that may be useful to writers at a later stage can stay out until needed.  

Now let's look at the six best writing apps we've reviewed for the iPad. We'll list the pros, cons, and pricing for each. Remember to use the above points to help you decide which app is best for you.

The 6 Best Writing Apps for the iPad 

#1 Ulysses

This is a simple text editor that hides a lot of power. Its strength lies in its simplicity as a basic word processor. 

Ulysses treats everything that you write as one single document. No stylistic formatting and no distractions.

Pros:

  • Quick access to whatever you are writing

  • A great feature set for optimized writing experience

  • The ability to share in multiple formats

  • Export files directly to publishing mediums

Cons:

  • Trial available only after subscription

  • New users are required to learn Markdown and keyboard shortcuts

Pricing:

Ulysses is a subscription app and can be used across Mac, iPhone, and iPad at an annual cost of $50 per year.

#2 Scrivener

Many book writers recommend Scrivener as an enjoyable writing experience. It's designed for long-form content, such as books, academic papers, etc.

As you progress, you can organize and rearrange your chapters, topics, etc. (very difficult to do in Word or Pages).

Pros:

  • Allows you to set writing targets for your entire book project or just for a current session

  • Store research, e.g., drafts, notes, web links, images, PDFs, videos, audio files, etc., in your book

  • Quick access to everything you need

  • Built-in spelling and grammar checks

  • Polish your writing and prepare it for book printing or sending to publishers. 

Cons:

  • Learning basics takes some time as a beginner

  • Freezes at times, and takes a while to backup

Pricing:

For Mac, Scrivener costs $49 (one-time fee).

#3 OmniOutliner

As the name suggests, this is an 'outlining' tool. Its main element is to help in expanding ideas. It's exceptional in outlining everything from novels to non-fiction books.

This app allows you to jot down thoughts and then helps you arrange, elaborate, manage, and grow them until your work is complete. It's ideal for bloggers, video creators, and freelance writers.

Pros:

  • Easy to learn and use

  • Well-designed interface

  • Variety of easy-to-use templates

  • Keyword filtering

  • Mind mapping tool

Cons:

  • No feature for internal PDF export

  • Full-feature software is expensive compared to other apps

Pricing:

Available for both Mac and iOS, OmniOutliner is $99 on either platform (the stripped-down OmniOutliner Essentials costs $19.99).

#4 Drafts 5

One of the most basic note-taking apps, Drafts 5 allows you to speed up your composition and writing work. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned writer, you can start composing and writing fast.

Once the text is ready, the app can publish it as a blog post on your website, an email, or various other actions in just a tap.

Pros:

  • Easy to use and cost-effective

  • Transcribes from video and audio content

  • Great user support

  • Regular updates

Cons:

  • Freezes when sharing large files

  • Simplify feature can sometimes delete important information

Pricing:

Drafts 5 is free to use, while Drafts Pro subscription is $20 per year.

#5 iA Writer

This helps you stay focused and clarify your message.  Even before Mac introduced its Focus Mode, iA Writer already had this unique feature.

A unique feature is the ability to have all your writing fade to grey, except the sentence you are working on. This takes distraction-free writing to the next level.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive

  • Next level distraction-free design

  • Option to highlight superfluous adjectives, weak verbs, and repetitions for improving your writing

  • Supports Markdown formatting with plain text commands right in the text

Cons:

  • No templates available

  • Limited tools for organizing and arranging files

Pricing:

For Mac, the cost is $29.

#6 Final Draft

Despite many new competitors, this screenwriting app remains the leading choice for television and film writers. Although Final Draft is a word processing app used for letters and prose, its strength lies in its ability to automate screenwriting formats. 

The settings in Final Draft help you concentrate on your storyline, characters, and dialogues by automatically formatting as you write!

Pros:

  • Crafted for screenwriters

  • Easy to use

  • Availability of extensive developmental tools

  • Different types of writing templates are available

  • Instant formatting as per industry standards

  • Supports real-time collaboration with other writers

Cons:

Expensive in comparison to other software

Collaboration with other writers can only be done one person at a time

Must sign in to the platform to work from there

Conclusion

A professional writing app is probably unnecessary if you're just starting your writing journey. Try using an app that serves your writing purpose and the one you're comfortable with. This will allow you to focus on your writing rather than getting to grips with an app.

A word processor like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or Apple Pages can be all you need. If you have a device like a Mac or iPad, you can opt for a note-taking app like Apple Notes, Evernote, or your preferred text editor.

But suppose you're a professional writer or serious about writing in a particular field. In that case, spending your valued time and money on an online app designed specifically for your purposes is wise. Most of the apps on our list have a trial version.

The money you spend and the time you invest getting to grips with a new online writing app will be returned many times as you learn to compose and write content fast and efficiently.

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