Apps for writers

You can keep your creativity flowing whether you're at home or on the road when you have the right writing and editing tools in your arsenal.

When I first started writing this list, I attempted to separate writing apps for iPhone and writing apps for iPad. But, I quickly realized that the best way to be productive when writing on the go is by using both. So, this list covers text editing apps that work best on the iPad, as well as writing tools apps that are useful on the iPhone.

If you are the kind of creative mind that can push out 2,000 words per day toward your award-winning novel, or just want to practice your writing skills, our list of best writing apps will help keep you working, even when you are away from your computer.

1. iA Writer

iA WriteriA Writer

iA Writer is a powerful writing app for Markdown—the formatting syntax created by John Gruber and used by many online tech publications, including iMore. There are dozens of amazing features, including a customizable keyboard that will make you wish everything you typed was so personalized. Focus mode lets you limit the words on screen to just the current sentence you are working on. You can also highlight syntax to help keep you aware of your writing skills. You can even preview your content the way it will look in its final, formatted form simply by swiping the screen to the left.

If you write to publish online and work in Markdown, this is a fantastic app for keeping you productive while you are mobile.

2. Scrivo Pro

Scrivo ProScrivo Pro

For fans of Scrivener that are still waiting on an official iOS app, you can bide your time with Scrivo Pro. It is designed specifically with the Scrivener user in mind. With it, you can create documents from scratch with drafts, research, tree structures, and more. Or, open Scrivener project you've been working on via Dropbox or iCloud. You can edit and sync index cards using the cork board view, open PDFs and save them as Scrivener files, and import Microsoft Word or PowerPoint files with no problem.

The extra keyboard row displays style and punctuation keys and you can move around on text with an on-screen cursor. You can also keep track of your writing stats, like character count, line count, average words per sentence, and reading time.

With Typewriter mode, you can focus on just a few sentences at at time, making it easier for you to stay on task while writing your research paper, speech class rebuttal, or whatever your creative mind thinks of to do.

Even if you don't use Scrivener, Scrivo Pro is a useful and powerful writing and editing tool. But, if you do use Scrivener, you'll appreciate the user interface and design.

3. Storyist


Storytist is the writer's dream for creating novels, short stories, screenplays, and more. It is compatible with Mac apps like Final Draft, Fountain, Scrivener, and more. It is pre-loaded with incredibly useful templates for character creation, scene setting, plot development, and location planning.

When you create a file, you can select a blank page, a novel template, a screen play template, or a rich text file. Each project includes different elements. For example, when you create a RTF, you can build publishable articles with heading prompts. The Novel project comes pre-filled with templates for character creation, chapter selections, and a title page.

If you are in the business of writing novels, short stories, plays, or manuscripts, Storyist is your mobile friend.

4. Editorial


Editorial is a plain text editor that works with Markdown, TaskPaper, and Fountain. You can also create TextExpander style snippets, templates, python scripts, URL schemes, and customizable workflows. You can quickly access the real-time publishing view of Markdown or Fountain text and get word counts for projects. When you know you'll be using a particular line of text a lot, create a snippet for it that you can access using the on-board lightning key, which is also great for accessing Markdown codes. If you already use TextExpander on Mac, you can import your snippets directly into Editorial.

It's most useful focus is on automation. You can create customized workflows to make writing easier and faster than you ever thought imaginable on the iPhone or iPad.

If you are big on automating your workflow and, especially if you use Python, get a closer look at Editorial.

5. TextExpander


When you are working on an iPhone while commuting via public transportation, TextExpander can be a life saver. With it, you can create clips of words and phrases that are linked to a shortcut abbreviation. For example, I could make a snippet of this entire list of best writing apps and attach it to the abbreviation "ba." Then, every time I type the letters "ba" it will automatically fill in this entire list.

If you use TextExpander on the Mac, then you can import all of your saved snippets into a dedicated keyboard on the iPhone and iPad. You must have a TextExpander account to use this free version, though, which is a companion to the Mac app.

You can purchase the standalone TextExpander keyboard app, which doesn't require a subscription account.

Free - Download now

6. Creative Writer

Creative WriterCreative WriterCreative Writer

Sometimes, you just get writer's block. We all feel it. Our brains just don't want to kick into creative drive and we find ourselves staring at the computer screen seeing nothing but blankness on the page and in our minds. Creative Writer was designed to kickstart your creativity by providing a pre-made list of words for you to write with.

The words are generated from actual classic novels, poems, movie scripts, and more. All you have to do is tap a word and a new set of options appears. You can keep tapping until you feel your creative juices begin to flow, or simply play around with words for fun. It's sort of like using refrigerator magnet poetry except that your word options regenerate with each submission.

Creative Writer comes with a poetry pack, but you can unlock such categories as dialogues, lyrics, cooking recipes, quotes, and more. All of this is supposed to help trigger some ideas so that you can go back to writing what you want without feeling like there is a wall of styrofoam in your head.

7. Dictionary and Thesaurus

No good writer is complete without an arsenal of words in her pocket. has been building the world's most comprehensive word finder for years now. With it, you can look up the definition, spelling, or pronunciation of more than 3 million words.

Can't think of a better word for inspire? Look up synonyms to help make your vocabulary sing. Check out the word of the day to learn something new. The Quiz widget will quiz you on your vocabulary skills. You can also research the etymology of words, which can be incredibly informative sometimes.

8. Anything Else?

What are your favorite apps for writing on the iPhone or iPad? Do you have any go-to tools that help keep the writing process going? Let us know in the comments.