The 8 Best iPad Pro Apps of 2020

Have fun, get creative, and power up your productivity with these apps

Your iPad Pro gives you a great screen and excellent sound—all packed into a fast, portable tablet. But you can also use your device to write long documents, create sketches, convert your handwriting to text, or just relax and read a magazine or play a game. Add your creativity, an Apple Pencil, and these 10 apps to get the most out of your iPad Pro.

01
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Linea Sketch: Create Beautiful Drawings

Animated GIF of Linea Sketch showing layers changing
The Linea Sketch app lets you draw on different layers.

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What We Like
  • A more capable drawing app than the free Apple Notes app.

What We Don't Like
  • Less capable than professional drawing apps, such as Procreate or Affinity Design.

Linea Sketch (free with in-app purchases) offers a sketching app that also supports drawing layers: When you draw on a layer, you can later move the layer in front of—or behind—other drawing layers. The app includes several pens, color palettes, and background textures. You may also use a transform tool to cut, copy, and paste portions of your drawing.

02
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MyScript Nebo: Convert Your Handwriting to Text

Animated GIF of MyScript Nebo writing "Nebo recognizes handwritten test" then correcting to "text"
MyScript Nebo converts handwriting to text as you write.

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What We Like
  • While many apps recognize characters in images when you search, MyScript Nebo converts characters into text as you write.

What We Don't Like
  • You have to remember how to write neatly and clearly for writing to be recognized.

You’ll need an Apple Pencil to use MyScript Nebo, which turns your handwritten words and sentences into text. If you make a mistake, scribble over a letter or word to erase it, then write your corrected text. MyScript Nebo (free with in-app purchases) supports drawn diagrams, too.

03
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PCalc: Add a Calculator to Your iPad

PCalc showing result of 118 divided by 256. (Answer is .4609375)
PCalc brings a customizable calculator to your iPad Pro.

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What We Like
  • Plenty of options you can configure.

What We Don't Like
  • PCalc may be more calculator than many people need.

PCalc ($9.99) delivers one of the most powerful and flexible calculators for your iPad Pro. You can choose to see a ticker tape of your calculations, set several different modes (engineering, scientific, accounting), or use RPN (reverse Polish notation). It’s also the only calculator we know of with a hidden augmented reality mode: Tap ​help (in the upper right) > About PCalc > then tap the large “42” icon that appears.

04
of 08

PDF Viewer - Annotation Expert: Annotate and Edit Documents

Animated GIF showing text highlighting, followed by a handwritten signature on a PDF
Edit, highlight, and sign PDF documents with PDF Viewer Pro.

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What We Like
  • Extremely capable PDF viewer and editor that works well with the Apple Pencil.

What We Don't Like
  • While we love to make notes on documents, we’re fairly certain no one really likes filling out forms.

PDF Viewer - Annotation Expert, which is available for free, makes it easy to edit PDF documents: Type text, highlight important parts of a page, and scribble notes—or sign your signature—with the Apple Pencil. An optional annual subscription upgrade (free with in-app purchases) adds the ability to annotate images, combine multiple documents into a single PDF, and password-protect your PDFs.

05
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LumaFusion: Edit Video Like a Pro

LumaFusion showing three images in edit view
Edit with the LumaFusion professional video-editing app.

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What We Like
  • Lumafusion delivers a professional-quality video editing app.

What We Don't Like
  • The many powerful features take a bit of time to learn. 

With LumaFusion ($29.99 with in-app purchases), you can edit high-quality videos with 3 video tracks and 3 additional audio tracks. That means you can show videos side-by-side or picture-in-picture-in-picture. And, of course, you can trim, resize, and position your segments anywhere in your video. LumaFusion supports Chroma key, too, so you can shoot video against a green or blue background, then replace the background with ​other videos—or an image of your choice.

06
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Ulysses: Write Long Documents

Ulysses iPad app; shows 127 works completed toward a goal (circle displayed in upper right).
Use Ulysses to write and edit long documents in plain text.

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What We Like
  • A highly capable, text-focused writing tool.

What We Don't Like
  • Subscription pricing ($40 per year or $5 per month) for a text editor isn’t for everyone.

If you write, take a look at the Ulysses app (free trial/subscription)—especially if you need to write a long document with many sections. You can set word count goals for each segment or for the entire piece. Ulysses supports Markdown, a way to markup format for the web. You can publish your work to WordPress or Medium from Ulysses, too.

07
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Jump Desktop: Connect to Your Desktop Apps

Animated GIF showing tap on a remote system, then connecting, then display of a Windows system screen.
Jump Desktop connects you to a remote computer from your iPad.

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What We Like
  • You can access traditional Windows or macOS systems from an iPad Pro.

What We Don't Like
  • Jump Desktop on the iPad only works with two Bluetooth mouse models.

Many people who use the iPad Pro also use devices that run Windows or macOS. With a bit of configuration, Jump Desktop ($7.99) lets you connect to these devices from an iPad Pro to give you full access to your desktop apps. You can even buy a mouse that works with Jump Desktop to achieve an even more traditional desktop-like experience.

08
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Sid Meier's Civilization VI: A Classic Strategy Game

Civilization VI game (turn 443), showing four cities.
Pick up your iPad Pro and play Civilization VI, a turn-based strategy game.

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What We Like
  • It’s the full-desktop class game on an iPad.

What We Don't Like
  • You’ll pay a full-desktop class game price (typically $59.99, although the developer periodically offers sales of 50-60% off).

This classic, turn-based strategy game arrived for the iPad in early 2018, marking the first time you could play the full version of Sid Meier’s Civilization VI on iOS (free with in-app purchases). No need to reach for your mouse or keyboard—the game’s designed to work smoothly with your fingertips. Veteran Civ players may appreciate that expansion packs can be purchased to add new dimensions to the game.