The iPad Pro (2021) will run all of the hundreds of thousands of tablet-optimized apps in the iOS App Store and with its 11-inch or massive 12.9-inch display, powerful Apple M1 processor, and optional Apple Pencil 2 and Smart Keyboard, it can run them at lightning speed. After all, the best iPad is the one that can run your favorite apps with no hiccups! Here are the best iPad Pro apps you should check out right now!
Don't have an iPad Pro? No problem! You can run all of these best iPad apps on your iPad mini or iPad Air as well.
For creating full digital paintings, you'll want to step into Procreate. It has dozens of highly customizable painting and drawing tools with a wide array of color options. You can paint on top of colors and blend shades for a very realistic art experience. It also has additional digitizing features, like adjustable motion and perspective blur, color balance, and more. The project tracking feature lets you record your progress as a time-lapse video that you can share with others.
Astropad lets you use your iPad as a graphics tablet for your Mac and it works supremely well. Now, Astropad will also let you use your iPad Pro as a big graphics tablet. It works with Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, Corel Painter, Manga Studio, Pixelmator, and more, so there's no need to get a separate surface for your computer. Your iPad Pro can serve double duty. And yes, it supports the Apple Pencil as well! Astropad Studio requires a subscription, you can pay $11.99 per month or $79.99 per year.
Turn your iPad Pro into a drawing tablet for your Mac. It works with tons of great drawing apps and when you're done drawing you can always use Sidecar to make your iPad Pro into a second screen!
Microsoft is still king of the Office apps and that's especially true for spreadsheets. If you've ever wanted to pivot a table or do any number of ledger-ly things, you've wanted to do it in Excel. What makes Excel for iPad especially great is that Microsoft prioritized it even over the company's own mobile devices and that head-start has made it not only a good Office app but a good iPad app. Heck, with split-view support, it makes it a great one. And Word, Powerpoint, and OneNote are no slouches either.
Fully featured spreadsheets. Make charts and graphs with ease and display your data however you see fit.
A photo-editing tool like no other for the iPad Pro, Affinity Photo was front and center at the 2017 WWDC Keynote. All the editing tools you need to turn your photos into works of pristine art are at your fingertips — and Apple Pencil tip. With support for unlimited layers, layer groups, adjustment layers, filter layers, and masks, you'll never overpower the software running on the iPad Pro's powerful A10X processor chip. Affinity Photo also has a huge selection of brushes to choose from and use with your Apple Pencil, and you can even make custom brushes on the fly — meaning you'll always have the tools at your disposal to achieve your desired effect.
When it comes to professional photo editors on the iPad Pro, Affinity is fast, powerful, and reliable. With a fantastic UI and all the tools you need to make anything you want.
You may recall that former iMore managing editor Serenity Caldwell reviewed the Apple Pencil entirely in sketch. The go-to app she uses for her amazing art is Paper. It is the perfect app for sketching out ideas, creating graphs, doodling, and more. There are also some impressive tools for taking notes and annotating images. It's an all-around useful app for sparking creativity.
With Paper, you can create numerous journals designed to capture your sketches and even notes. There is a nice variety of tools offered in Paper and it's very intuitive to use.
With Pixelmator, users can play around with advanced photo settings like single-tap color correction presets, beauty and facial editors that can easily erase imperfections, blemishes, and unwanted objects; the ability to pinch, bump, twirl, or wrap areas of an image; the option to edit images of up to 100 megapixels, and so, so much more.
You can even use Pixelmator to paint images directly onto your iPad, turning your tablet into a digital canvas of sorts. You can pick and choose from over 100 artist-designed brushes, smudge color with your finger to blend as you would IRL, use eyedropper tools to isolate and perfect your colors, and really bring your creativity to the forefront of your digital artwork!
Once you're done editing your images with Pixelmator, or creating and painting your artwork, you can easily save your images with iCloud and instantly publish your final product to your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.
If you're at all curious about game design, app design, or coding for iPad, Codea lets use your iPad Pro for creating all things iPad apps.
It's built using the Lua programming language and is specifically made to be a friendly and inviting coding editor. In Codea, you can just tap and drag elements to change how the code interacts and you'll see those changes in real-time. There's a great set of reference materials built right into Codea, so you don't have to worry about getting stuck.
Codea won't have you making a top-selling game on the App Store immediately, but it's an amazing tool to help you understand the fundamentals of game design and 3D graphics. And by surfing through the weekly App Store charts, there are many examples you can mess around with, helping you further draw inspiration and nail the fundamentals of a game design and 3D graphics.
A beautifully-designed crash course in game design and 3D graphics.
On the iPad, iMovie is already amazing. On the iPad Pro, we're going to need a bigger superlative. That's because, thanks to the Apple M1 processor, iMovie on the iPad Pro can handle not one, not two, but three streams of 4K video all at once, which is ludicrously great. Apple's other iPad apps also shine on the larger iPad Pro canvas, including GarageBand for music, and Keynote, Numbers, and Pages for presentations, spreadsheets, and documents.
Apple's own video editor. With fun effects, easy transitions, and a pretty simple interface, it's perfect for any home video enthusiast.
Apple's simple and easy-to-use interface makes it easy to create tracks. You can even create beats and loops with ease using the built-in instruments.
Apple's own word processor. Create documents from scratch or use the built-in templates for resumes, letters, business cards, and more.
Crunch the numbers, make tables, and all the other wonderful things spreadsheets can do.
Put together the presentation in a series of slides, with plenty of transitions and other features to make your visuals really pop.
Complete Anatomy Platform 2022
The world's most accurate, most advanced, and best-selling 3D anatomy platform uses new technology, models, and content. It's not just an atlas, the app is an anatomy learning platform with unique collaboration and learning tools. On the new iPad Pro, you can now study and take measures with a real human being and use that information to visualize and understand muscle movement and more.
See what's inside you
An Apple Design Award Winner, this app is prevalent at 250 of the world's top universities, including 20 of the world's top 25 ranked medical schools.
Plenty more apps out there
There you have it, some of our favorite apps updated for one of the best iPads: iPad Pro. But, that doesn't mean these are the only apps you should download. There are plenty of amazing iPad apps that will be awesome to put on any iPad, including your new iPad Pro. So go out there and explore that wonderful App Store.
Updated March 2022: These are still our favorite apps to run on the new iPad Pro (2021).