Top 15 iPhone Apps for Contractors and Freelancers

Now that the iPhone is available on all mobile networks it seems to be taking over the communications world – day by day it grows more ubiquitous, especially amongst business people.

As you’d expect with an Apple device, the iPhone looks great and makes you feel flash just by pulling it out of your pocket, but it’s not just a pretty face: more and more applications are being created for busy professionals, aimed at doing everything from keeping track of your calendar to finding your client’s new offices. So here’s our review of some of the best iPhone apps on the market.

Best for Productivity

There are numerous apps aimed at increasing your day-to-day productivity and helping you organise yourself: if you’ve an ever-increasing list of projects and demands to deliver, they might make life that little bit easier.

star

CalenGoo – £3.99

If you use a Google calendar then this is app a great way to manage it on the iPhone: it allows you to view and modify your calendar, send out invitations and track the status of people’s responses.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: a powerful app that offers a great alternative to Apple’s own calendar, it’s popular with users and well supported by the developers.

star

SimplyDo To Do List Manager – £0.59

If you want a simple task tracker where you can group things together using good old-fashioned lists and folders, this application is for you. One particularly handy feature is the ability to add notes against a task.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: a great looking, easy to use app that will help any freelancer keep on top of business and packs a lot of punch for the price.

star

OmniFocus – £11.99

If you’ve bought into David Allen’s popular time management philosophy, Getting Things Done, you’ll want this app. OmniFocus offers a more advanced way of managing your tasks, such as categorising actions by projects and contexts.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: uncluttered and efficient, this is a great app – but it’s difficult to justify the price tag unless you truly believe in Getting Things Done.

Best RSS readers

Smart phones like the iPhone are a great way to get the most out RSS feeds – as the name suggests, you’ll have the latest articles and headlines fed straight to your phone, allowing you to browse at leisure. You select your own feeds so you receive information on the websites, blogs and forums that interest you the most.

star

RSS Runner – free

If you’re trying RSS feeds for the first time, start here: RSS Runner allows you to see how handy they are at no cost. It has a basic interface but its proven reliability gets a big thumbs-up.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: in our tests it proved itself to be reliable 100% of the time. It’s not feature-packed, but does an RSS feed app need to be?

star

Byline – £2.39

If you have a Google Reader account, this app allows you to access your feeds on your iPhone.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: if you want to continue to manage your feeds in Google Reader then this is the best way to stay synchronised when you’re on your iPhone.

star

News Rack – £2.99

A nice RSS application with an interesting interface and loads of feeds to subscribe to. All the features you’ll ever need and an intuitive interface make this app very easy to get on with.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: if you’re a hardcore RSS user then this application comes highly recommended.

Most useful tools

Do you ever stumble across an application that proves so useful you wish that you’d found sooner? Add these handy features to that list: they’ll quickly prove themselves useful for all manner of tasks.

star

0870 – Free

Mobile providers don’t normally add 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers into your inclusive call time, so this app is designed to find the equivalent 01 or 02 phone number – you simply enter the original number and it will do the rest.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: in our experience, it was 50/50 as to whether this app found an alternative number but, given the amount of time and money you can waste listening to the drone of ‘on hold’ customer service music without it, it is well worth the download fee.

star

iPark – £0.59

Being out and about in unfamiliar locations is a common occurrence for contractors and freelancers, and after a long meeting your vehicle geographical instincts aren’t always at 100%. This app is your homing pigeon: start it up when you’ve parked your car, record your location, go and do business, then let it guide you back.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: simply does what it says on the tin. For a few more points we’d be looking for a parking meter timer and warning alarm.

star

LinkedIn – Free

The professional network of choice is now, unsurprisingly, accessible through an iPhone application. Keep in touch with your connections and monitor profile updates whenever and wherever you like.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: a neat way of accessing LinkedIn on the iPhone but criticised recently for a few instabilities that are sure to be fixed quickly.

Best location services

One great feature of the iPhone is its ability to locate your position thanks to the built-in GPS navigation software that comes with the 3G and 3GS handset. But there are also plenty of navigation apps that are well worth having in your back pocket.

star

Co-Pilot – £26.99

You can completely replace your stand-alone Sat Nav with this excellent application. Just make sure you keep your phone plugged into a power source as the GPS drains the battery fast.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: for years now Tom Tom has been the market leader in this category, but Co-Pilot, at about half the price, kicks all its competitors into touch.

star

AroundMe – Free

This is an interesting one: we’re not entirely sure what its latest feature, ‘Augmented Reality’, is useful for, but we like it! There are plenty of apps that take your current location and identify points of interest close by, such as cafes, banks or car parks. AroundMe goes a step further (if you have the 3GS) by converting this into landscape mode. As you pan around the app uses the phone’s in-built compass to determine the direction you are looking towards and shows all the points of interest in whatever direction you are facing along with the distance to them. Bizarre but fun.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: this app is always handy when you’re out and about, and especially entertaining if you choose the augmented reality view.

star

Kayak – Free

A useful and nicely presented app that allows you to search, review and book your flights, hotels and many other travel related services online.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: arguably easier to use than many websites that offer the equivalent services and brilliant if you need a train seat or hotel bed quickly. Well worth a download.

Best for Jobs

It‘s good practice to have your finger on the pulse in terms of what the freelance and contractor markets are currently doing, and these apps give you access to everything you need to know to make sure you’re first in the job hunting queue.

star

Jobsite – Free

Search contractor jobs by area listed on the popular JobSite website.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: not the best interface to search and navigate, but usable nonetheless.

star

iFreelancer Lite – Free

Search and review freelance work from numerous sources including oDesk and Elance. If these sites are you resource of choice when it comes to picking up work, this handy app gives you constant access while you’re on the go.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: uninteresting interface but generally ok at what it does.

star

iElance – £1.19

The website elance.com is a great place to find freelance work, and this app allows you to quickly search by category and skill, plus you can bookmark interesting items.

Looks star star star star star
Usability star star star star star
Features star star star star star
Value star star star star star

Verdict: doesn’t really replace the full browser experience but useful for checking Elance while you’re on the go.