Being an Apple aficionado doesn’t mean you have to suppress your Google-geek streak. Google has made many of its popular productivity apps available for iOS, so it’s not hard to design your own Android-esque ecosystem on your iPhone or iPad. Here are the five you should start with.
Gmail has more than 900 million users, and chances are you’re one of them. If so, you know that Apple’s mail app doesn’t always play nice with Gmail’s push feature. A few third-party alternatives promise to smooth out the relationship, but the easiest way to avoid it is to use the official Gmail app.
The app brings the best of Gmail’s features to your iPhone or iPad, including multiple-account support, instant push notifications, threaded conversations, and its renowned search capabilities. Archiving, labeling, and deleting is a lot more straightforward than in the swipe-centric mail app.
You’re already using Google for all your web searches. Download the talk-instead-of-type app, and you won’t have to be envious of your Android friends anymore (we know you are). Just say “OK Google” to find out where the nearest dry cleaner is, or to find out what time your favorite team is playing tonight. Even better, the Google app can help you with your productivity by reminding you to call a client or providing the status of your flight. Siri has some competition.
The native iOS calendar will sync with your Google account, but the experience is much better with the official Google Calendar app. The app’s default schedule view presents the days in a chronological scroll, which feels much more natural thanks to the many social feeds we thumb through regularly. If you don’t like that, you can opt for one-day, three-day, or week-long views. Its best trick, of course, is automatically detecting events and appointments in your Gmail account and adding them to your docket.
Apple’s stock Notes app has come a long way from its days as a digital notepad. Recent updates added more text formatting options, checklist creation, the ability to insert attachments into notes, and password protection.
Google Keep, however, remains the more mature note-taking app. It has all of the above features, plus scanning capabilities, OCR, and time- and location-based reminders. It also supports voice-dictated notes, an essential feature for capturing inspiration on the fly.
Two-factor authentication adds a layer of security to your login by requiring information in addition to your password. In the case of your Google account, it requires a one-time verification code, which this app generates. Once you configure Google Authenticator, it will supply the code even without a network or cellular connection. It also supports multiple accounts.
Have a favorite Google app that didn’t make this list? Let us know in the comments.
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Michael Ansaldo is veteran consumer and small-business technology journalist. He contributes regularly to TechHive and PCWorld.