iPad Utility Apps - dummies

By Bob LeVitus, Bryan Chaffin

An iPad is a pretty useful thing right out of the box, but you can make your iPad even more useful by adding some or all of these utility apps.

1Password for iPad/1Password Pro


1Password can open a Web page and then fill in the appropriate username and password with just one tap of the finger. 1Password refers to this little trick as Go & Fill.


The Go & Fill trick relies on 1Password’s built-in Web browser because (at present) Apple doesn’t allow third-party plug-ins for Safari on the iPad (or iPhone). It’s a bare-bones Web browser with no bookmarks or history, but it’s certainly usable in a pinch.

In addition to its awesome login trick, 1Password provides secure storage for other sensitive information, such as account numbers, software licenses, and notes of any length.

Atomic Web Browser


Atomic Web Browser includes several useful features, including tabbed browsing and full-screen browsing:

  • Atomic Web Browser does tabbed browsing right, offering an unlimited number of real tabs.

  • In full-screen browsing, the toolbar, bookmark bar, and tab bar disappear — so all you see is the Web site and a set of user-configurable translucent buttons at the bottom of the screen.


Another feature you may find useful is Atomic Web Browser’s Private Mode, which disables history and cookies. Plus, you can password-protect the Atomic Web Browser app itself so it can’t be launched by anyone who doesn’t know the password.


$2.99 for 230 days; $24.99 unlimited

iTeleport lets you control computers running Mac, Windows, Linux, or AMX (another touch-screen operating system) from your iPad screen, no matter where in the world you might be.

To prepare a computer to use a VNC (Virtual Network Computing, sometimes called screen-sharing) program, you first install software called a VNC server. For iTeleport, you download the free server software from the iTeleport Web site. As long as the computer has an Internet connection and is running the VNC server software, you can use a username and password to connect to and control the computer from iTeleport on your iPad.


Lifelike Alarm Clock and Weather HD


The Lifelike Alarm Clock and Weather HD app is incredibly easy to use. You don’t need a manual or instructions; everything works just as you expect. More specifically, it’s very easy to set new alarms, and it’s easy to choose a song or songs to use as alarms.


Also, you can see the weather forecast before you even get out of bed. And just tap the + button for additional details.


Pull the little windowshade hanger in the upper-left corner of the screen to put app into a nighttime display mode. When invoked, the screen turns black and displays the time and current temperature in very, very dim gray. But if that’s too dark for you, there’s a manual brightness control, as well.



There’s no shortage of apps that turn your iPad into a mobile sign or moving banner. Marquee provides the most bang for your buck, with plenty of options.

The first time you use Marquee, you see a list containing 16 sample messages. You can use them, modify them, or even delete them if you like. And you can create your own messages in the Edit Message screen.


Tap any message to display it on the screen; it appears in the orientation your iPad is in. Or you can use one of Marquee’s global settings to lock your iPad into either portrait or landscape mode. Other global settings include an optional alert after the last message in a group appears, a time limit so you don’t run down your battery, and the length of the delay between messages.

Air Display


With Air Display, your iPad turns into a wireless extension of your Mac or PC screen, giving you an additional 1,024 x 768 pixels of screen real estate. It’s a great place to park windows or palettes you don’t need on your main screen — and it works great. Just download and install the free Air Display server software on your computer, fire up the Air Display app on your iPad, and presto — you have another computer display screen!

Air Sharing HD


Air Sharing HD turns your iPad into a wireless hard disk, making it an easy way to get your files onto your iPad. Your Mac, PC, or Linux computer mounts the iPad like it would any network disk — and you can then view, e-mail, or print the files residing on it. (Sadly, printing is Mac- and Linux-only.) And you can browse the contents of Zip archives on your iPad without unzipping them! You can even share documents with other Air Sharing users on the same Wi-Fi network.

Audio Memos Free — The Voice Recorder


Audio Memos Free — The Voice Recorder does everything you’re likely to need (and more) — for free. You can send your recordings (up to 3MB) via e-mail, choose from three levels of recording quality, apply normalization and/or level boost to minimize distortion and clipping, and take advantage of a built-in server for getting your audio files onto your Mac or PC from the iPad.

Calculator XL


Calculator XL is free, and it includes all the functions you’re likely to need — addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division — plus memory. And it retains its memory even after you quit the app.

Free App Tracker


The Free App Tracker app shows you apps that have had their prices reduced, apps that have gone from paid to free, and the most popular free apps. Plus, if there’s a paid app you want but you don’t want to pay its current price, the app can track it and inform you if its price goes down.