The best productivity apps of 2014

As part of our best apps of the year series, our expert app editors voted for the best apps in 8 different categories. After choosing a top 5, they narrowed it down to one winner in each category. Here, we’ll go through the best productivity apps of the year, those that help bring organization and order into our lives.

Picking the best app was difficult, mostly because we all swear by different apps that help us get our work done and stay organized on a daily basis. After a lengthy discussion, our editors were able to decide on 1Password as the best productivity app of the year. Why? Read on to find out, and check out the other 4 apps that made the top 5 list.

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1Password

1Password LogoPassword manager 1Password emerged as our best productivity app of the year, mostly because there were a ton of security threats in 2014 that using a password manager could have circumvented. Never before were there as many password thefts as in 2014, with over a billion hacked or stolen passwords. This was reason enough to put 1Password at the top of our list.

With 1Password, you can create and save credentials for websites and store an unlimited amount of secure information in an encrypted file. The fact that it’s available for almost every platform makes 1Password seamless across devices. The icing on the cake is an excellent user interface.

Download 1Password for Android | iOS | MacWindows

Microsoft Office Mobile

microsoft office mobile - logoMicrosoft Office is a name familiar to almost everyone. In 2014, however, Microsoft’s flagship suite found its way onto mobiles, for free. With the latest version of Office for iPad, Redmond ensured that things will stay free too. The individual apps bring almost full functionality of the Windows version to tablets. Tablet versions optimized for Android and Windows 10 are just about ready to be released.

Even if all you want to do is have a quick look at working documents in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, it’s worth having Office for Mobile installed on all of your devices.

Download Microsoft Office Mobile for Android | iOS

OneNote

onenote - logoOneNote is one of the best note-taking apps on the go. With OneNote, you can not only make grocery lists, but do anything from take notes in class, to brainstorm ideas at work.

The Windows classic, after a year long wait, was finally made available for Mac OS X and all other major operating systems this year. OneNote is perfect for group collaboration, and the fact that it’s free means that it trumps any other competition in the category.

Download OneNote for Android | iPhone | iPad | Mac | Windows 8

Inbox by Gmail

inbox by gmail - logoThis year, Google managed to bring a completely new conceptualization of email to the table with Inbox.  Inbox combines e-mail with task management into a single app, letting you reply to mails or edit tasks in one common inbox. Instead of sending yourself email reminders, you can simply add them to Inbox to get notifications.

Swipe gestures help define the usability of Inbox, where almost every movement is attributed to an action. Moving a message to the right marks it as done, while a swipe left lets you save to edit later.

Download Inbox for Android | iOS

Sunrise Calendar

sunrise calendar - logoCalendar apps are far from sparse, but there’s rarely one as well thought out and easy to use as this year’s Sunrise Calendar. By syncing with a ton of services including Google, iCloud, Exchange, and Evernote, you can manage multiple calendars in just one app. Thanks to a uniform interface for iOS and Android, you can use Sunrise Calendar as easily on one device as you can on another.

On Android, the app goes beyond a handy widget for your home screen: you can add contacts from your address book to meetings, and then use a link to Google Maps to find your way there.

Download Sunrise Calendar Android | iOS | Mac | Webapp

More innovation on the horizon

With the proper apps, your smartphone can become a practical working tool. Don’t settle for Whatsapp, pre-installed email managers, and a few lackluster games, when your smartphone can actually bring productivity to your fingertips, on the go.

While 2014 saw some great productivity apps, however, there was nothing really game-changing. In 2015, we expect a whole new trend. With wearables hitting the scene in a big way, we now have a portable control center for productivity, something that’ll surely unleash a whole new set of apps next year.

Check out the rest of the best apps of the year in our Best apps of 2014 series.

Follow me on twitter: @mkasanm

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