The 10 Best Word Processing Apps for iPad in 2023

Like any computer, the iPad is a word processor when you have the right software

The iPad has become a serious productivity device for students and professionals. While early word processing iOS apps lacked features and functionality, Apple's mobile ecosystem now supports powerful, desktop-class word processors that will keep you effective and mobile. Here are 10 of our favorites, many of which are free or low-cost options.

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WPS Office Writer

WPS word processor on iPad
What We Like
  • Compatible with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more.

  • Easy to use.

  • Part of a free office suite app.

What We Don't Like
  • Premium features need a paid upgrade.

  • Can be slow to load.

  • May be too much if you just want a writing tool.

If you're looking for an all-in-one iPad word processor, Writer, which is part of WPS Office, fits the bill while throwing in a presentation maker, spreadsheet editor and PDF Creator. Writer's features include table creation, document sharing, and document encryption. You can open a Microsoft Word document, edit it, and save it all from within the Writer app.

WPS Office is free to download and use, but its VIP premium version ($3.99 monthly, $9.99 quarterly or $29.99 yearly) adds additional security features and functionality.

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Apple iWork Pages on iPad
What We Like
  • Free app that integrates with iPad photos and other apps.

  • Templates for digital books, reports, letters, and more.

  • Smart annotation feature.

What We Don't Like
  • No global search and replace.

  • Limited compatibility with Microsoft Word.

  • Advanced features aren't obvious.

Apple Pages, along with the Numbers spreadsheet app and Keynote presentation app, comprise a suite of versatile and powerful document editing and creation tools known as iWork.

The Pages app was designed to work with unique iPad features. Insert images into your documents and move them around by dragging them with your fingertip. Pages ​makes formatting straightforward with built-in templates, styles, and other standard formatting tools.

Another Pages benefit is the ability to save your document in multiple formats, including as a Pages document, Microsoft Word document, and PDF file. Plus, you'll have access to iCloud, Apple's cloud storage service, where you can save documents and access them from other devices.

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iA Writer

iA Writer app for iPad
What We Like
  • Minimalist, distraction-free user interface.

  • Great app for all types of writing.

  • Saves individual files in iCloud.

What We Don't Like
  • No rich-text capability.

  • Priced higher than competitors.

  • Offers fewer features than competitors.

The iA Writer app is a visually clean text editor that offers simple word processing with a nice keyboard that gets out of your way and lets you simply write. The app's keyboard is well-reviewed and includes an extra row of special characters. iA Writer supports the iCloud storage service and can sync between your Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

iA Writer doesn't have a free trial for its iOS version; the product costs a one-time fee of $49.99 on the App Store.

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Google Docs

Google Docs iOS app on an iPad
What We Like
  • Superior sharing and collaboration capabilities.

  • Saves documents automatically as you work.

  • Keyboard shortcuts work well.

What We Don't Like
  • Basic word-processing features only.

  • Missing some of the web version's features.

  • Doesn't connect with other cloud storage services.

Google Docs is the iOS-resident word processing app for Google's suite of web-based office productivity apps. Docs allows you to create, edit, share, and collaborate on documents stored in Google Drive, Google's cloud storage service. However, an internet connection isn't required to use the Google Docs app on your iPad or iPhone. Docs offers the basic word processing features you'd expect in a document editor.

A generous 15 GB of space is free with Google Drive. Keep in mind, however, that your Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Jamboard, Gmail, and Google Photos files are all competing for your free storage allotment. If you're getting low on storage, you have the option to upgrade to bigger storage plans with a paid subscription. 

Docs doesn't connect with other cloud storage services, however.

Google Docs is easy to use and versatile, especially if you work and collaborate within the Google ecosystem of productivity apps (for example, Sheets and Slides).

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Microsoft Word

iPad Microsoft Word app
What We Like
  • Full integration with OneDrive.

  • Features include track changes, commenting, and flow text around images.

  • Easily handles Word for PC documents.

What We Don't Like
  • Some features require a Microsoft 365 subscription.

  • Time lag when simultaneously editing a document with others.

  • No voice-to-text capabilities.

Not to be left out of the move to mobile, Microsoft Word is available as an iPad app, alongside other Office apps, including Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive. OneDrive is Microsoft's cloud storage service, where you can store and access your documents online.

The Word app version offers core features and compatibility for document creation and editing. You don't get all of the functionality found in the desktop software, but Word for iPad offers many features and handles well. There's an option to subscribe to the Microsoft 365 service for a fee, which will unlock additional features for all Office mobile apps.

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Docs To Go

Docs To Go iPad app
What We Like
  • View, edit, and create Word documents.

  • View PDFs, iWork, and RTF files.

  • Robust text formatting capabilities.

What We Don't Like
  • Free version includes ads.

  • Occasional syncing problems.

  • No option to print PDFs or documents.

Docs To Go is an app that gives you access to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files, as well as the ability to create new files from scratch. This app also supports iWork files.

Docs To Go offers extensive formatting options and features, including bulleted lists, styles, undo and redo, find and replace, and word count. This app also uses InTact Technology to retain existing formatting.

Docs To Go Standard is free to download and use and is ad-supported. There's a $16.99 Docs to Go Premium version that offers additional functionality without ads.

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Notes Writer

Notes Writer on an iPad
What We Like
  • Use the iPad camera to scan documents.

  • Take notes or annotate with an Apple Pencil.

  • Advanced word processor formatting options.

What We Don't Like
  • Cut-and-paste function can be clunky.

  • Page-load times can be slow.

  • Syncing process can be slow.

Notes Writer is a free app that specializes in note-taking, annotations, editing PDF files, and much more. Students and professionals alike can use an Apple Pencil to take notes, create memos, highlight textbooks, and more. You can also organize and manage your notes in unlimited notebooks, folders, and subfolders.

Notes Writer is completely free to download and use.

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Werdsmith app on an iPad
What We Like
  • Helps you generate engaging content.

  • Helps writers focus and meet their writing goals.

  • Clean, easy-to-use interface.

What We Don't Like
  • You'll need to upgrade to a paid version to access intriguing features.

  • Not as many high-level editing tools as some items on this list.

Werdsmith is an AI-powered writing assistant designed to motivate writers to push past writer's block and develop efficient and fluid writing habits. Add your ideas to an Ideas list, and if you're feeling stuck, the Ghostwriter AI helper will offer you inspiring prompts. Werdsmith helps you set and accomplish writing goals and track your daily stats.

Werdsmith is free to download and use, but to unlock various features and become a member of the Werdsmith community, you'll need a paid subscription, starting at $4.99 a month and going up to $99 per year.

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Ulysses writing app on an iPad
What We Like
  • Built-in proofreader and editing assistant.

  • Manage extensive projects in your personal library.

  • Integrated grammar and style-checker.

What We Don't Like
  • Markdown syntax won't appeal to all writers.

  • You'll need to pay a subscription fee.

  • You'll need to read tutorials to understand the app.

Ulysses is designed as a tool for focused writers, offering a clean interface and distraction-free editing using markdown syntax. Markdown syntax is meant to help writers stay immersed in their work and leave formatting for later. Ulysses has excellent document management features and easy exporting and syncing functionality.

Download and use a fully functioning version of Ulysses for a trial period. Then, you'll need a paid subscription starting at $5.99 monthly or $39.99 yearly.

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Scrivener writing app for iPad
What We Like
  • Write in any order and worry about organizing later.

  • Import your research material.

  • Multiple sharing and editing options.

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey compared to some of the other tools on this list.

  • You'll need to use Dropbox for syncing; iCloud isn't an option.

  • May be too complex if you're looking for a basic writing tool.

Scrivener is designed as a true writer's tool and works particularly well if you're planning to write a long manuscript. Compose your text in any order as you write about what inspires you, and then fit your ideas into the greater manuscript later. It's easy to import your research materials and view them as you write to ensure accuracy and attributions.

Scrivener has multiple formatting, viewing, structuring, and organizing options, but all this functionality isn't cheap. You'll need to pay a one-time $23.99 price for Scrivener.

  • What comes on an iPad for word processing?

    The iPad doesn't include any built-in word processing apps. It does include the Notes app, which offers limited word processing functionality. To get the full benefits of word processing on an iPad, download a third-party iPad word processing app and connect a wireless or Bluetooth keyboard to your iPad.

  • How do I get the App Store on an iPad?

    The App Store app comes pre-loaded on iPads. If your iPad is missing the App Store, go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > iTunes & App Store Purchases. Select Installing Apps and tap Allow.

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