Best writing apps for iPhone and iPad

If you want to write on your iPhone or iPad, pick up one of these apps.

Both the iPhone and iPad can be great tools for writers, with both offering different experiences and capabilities. With the iPhone, you can write something no matter where you are, whether it's in line for coffee or just getting a quick though down at your desk. With the iPad, you can enjoy wider screen real estate, but with the single-app focus that keeps you from getting distracted.

There are a wide variety of apps available for writers who want to work on their iOS devices, from simple text editors to full-featured writing suites. It doesn't matter if you're taking notes, writing articles, or working your way to writing the great American novel, there's an app for that on your iOS device.

1Writer

1Writer

Easy to use but offering enough power to get your writing done, 1Writer is a great choice for anyone that writes in Markdown. The app is compatible with both Dropbox and iCloud Drive, letting you sync not just between iPhone and iPad, but also to your Mac, allowing you to edit your documents in the desktop app of your choice. Write in Markdown and get a rich preview of what your text will look like. 1Writer lets you create custom URL and Javascript actions to help you personalize the app just as you need to.

1Writer supports export in plain text, HTML, and PDF, and you can also add your document to Evernote using the built-in integration with the note-taking service.

Ulysses

Ulysses

Let's get this out of the way up front: yes, Ulysses has recently moved to a subscription model. You're either fine with that or you're not, and if you're not, this list is full of great options if you're looking to make a switch.

Ulysses offers a full array of tools for writers of any kind. This app is easy to pick up and start using, but offers a wide array of customization options for everything from writing to exporting. Choose to work in Markdown or create your own markup style. While the app for iPhone and iPad doesn't present the same visual customization options as those found on the Mac, it can still take advantage of those features, and you can download new themes in the Ulysses Style Exchanger to use on any device. When it comes time to publish, you can export your work in a variety of formats, including plain text, DOCX, and ePub. You can also publish your work to WordPress sites and Medium.

Your projects all sync with iCloud between Mac, iPhone, and iPad, with Dropbox support also available.

iA Writer

iA Writer

iA Writer puts an emphasis on simplicity, making it a simple matter to get started writing in plain text. That's not to say that there aren't advanced features, however, as there are quite a few. Syntax Control breaks down your writing to show you the structure, highlighting adjectives, nouns, conjunctions, and more. iA Writer's Focus Mode lets you focus on one line at a time to keep you from getting distracted. By default, the app's keyboard bar offers several useful controls, like buttons for one-tap list creation, but you can customize that bar to fit how you work. Link to other documents in iA Writer to combine them into a single projects, or link to images or spreadsheet files to see them in iA Writer's Preview screen in a number of different templates.

Like other apps on this list, iA Writer lets you publish to blogs, in this case WordPress and Medium. You can also export your work in Markdown, PDF, HTML, and Microsoft Word.

Scrivener

Scrivener

Scrivener brings all of your writing tools into a single app, whether you're organizing research notes for a paper or scene outlines for a script. The app supports writing all sorts of long-form documents, offers a number of granular formatting options no matter what you're working on. Make a plan and organize your ideas on digital notecards and lay them out on the app's corkboard to see how your work fits together. Import images, PDF and other media you've used as research to refer to it later, even bringing it in side-by-side with your text so your can quickly refer to your research while you're writing. Keep your work segmented for easier organization and editing, and easily reorder your work so it all fits together in the best way possible.

When you're done, compile your project into a single document, and export in formats like DOCX, rich text, PDF, and Final Draft. Thanks to syncing with Dropbox, you can share your work between Scrivener for iPhone and iPad and its big brother for Mac.

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Bear

Bear

A relative newcomer compared to the rest of the list, Bear might seem simple, but it offers a great deal of flexibility for handling text. It's true that Bear is good for both notes and todo checklists, but it's support for Markdown, variety of themes, and simple organization make it a great tool for many different kinds of writing. Add images, files, code blocks, and more to spice up your work and give it more context.

In terms of options, you've got few. Choose how to sort your documents, pick a theme, pick your font, and even control fine-grain details such as font size, line height and width, and paragraph spacing. If you'd like to sync your work between Bear on your iOS devices and Bear for Mac, you can purchase a $1.49 per month subscription to Bear Pro.

Pages

Pages

Apple's own writing app, Pages lets you create all sorts of documents. There are more than 60 templates in Pages, covering just about every kind of writing, from short essays to research papers. There are even templates for items like business cards and flyers. You can add images and shapes, lay out your documents in different styles, and more. You can also open password-protected documents using Touch ID on your iPhone or iPad.

Pages also makes it easy to collaborate with other people. Multiple people, whether they're on iOS, macOS, or even Windows thanks to iCloud.com, can collaborate on a document at the same time. You can share collaborative documents publicly or with specific users, see who is in the document at any given time, and follow their cursors as they edit the project.

Terminology

Terminology

While Terminology isn't, strictly speaking, an app in which you write, it's the kind of app that can prove itself essential to any writer. Terminology offers a combined dictionary and thesaurus, but it can also be much more than that. The word lookup functions, which are available both on and offline, let you mark favorites, lookup synonyms, antonyms, and more. But Terminology, developed by Agile Tortoise, also supports a wide set of custom actions that can turn the app into a powerful research companion through its integration with other apps and the web.

Terminology also features a share extension so that you can highlight text in any app and look it up in Terminology right from the share sheet. The app keeps your history, favorite words, and actions all backed up and in sync between devices with iCloud.

Your favorites

These are what we consider the best writing apps for iPhone and iPad, but what are your favorites? Let us know in the comments.