The iPad is still the king of tablets — especially the latest, $330 9.7-inch iPad released in April — and there are a number of apps in the App Store that were built specifically for the device. We’ve been curating various best-of lists for years now, but this master list spans apps from a wealth of different categories. Whether you’re looking for great travel apps, games, productivity suites, or drawing software — it’s all here, the best iPad apps in every category. Let us know what you think in the comments section, or suggest something we may have missed.
Are you still undecided and don’t know which iPad to get? Check out our reviews on the iPad Pro, and the iPad Pro 10.5-inch. If are still unsure, read our comprehensive guide on how to choose an iPad.
Movies, TV, news, and sports
Best iPad apps: Movies and TV
HBO finally caved and created a subscription-based streaming app, no cable subscription required. HBO Now offers Game of Thrones and many of the other great shows on the channel. It now works with Chromecast, too, so you can stream it on the big screen. If you’re not casting, the iPad is the ideal place to watch your shows, as opposed to the small iPhone screen. Be prepared to spend $15 a month for it, though.
The PBS app lets you stream almost every show on the public TV channel in the app. Masterpiece hits like Poldark, Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge, Wolf Hall, as well as Nature, NOVA, and more are all available. New shows are added daily, and older episodes stick around for a while, so you’ll always have something educational to watch. The app can be customized to have shows from your local station, and it works with Chromecast, so you can stream it on the big screen.
Netflix is absolutely an essential app, especially on the iPad. Tons of films, TV shows, and random documentaries about drug cartels that look great on the Retina display. Subscription starts at $8 a month.
No cable? No problem. Hulu is the place to go for catching up on all of the shows on television right now. Most network and cable channels have shows available. Subscription to Hulu Plus starts at $8 a month.
For Amazon Prime subscribers who take advantage of the large video library provided by Amazon, this is the app of choice. Rent, purchase, and stream tons of videos. Amazon Prime subscription run $100 a year.
What good is all this streamable content if you can’t remember the names of the shows and movies or actors that you want to watch? IMDB is the answer, plus it provides movie news and showtimes.
YouTube used to be included in iOS until the Apple-Google breakup, but you should put it right back on your iPad. It’s the best place to watch user-submitted content and a great place to get your fix of cute animal videos.
If you want to reserve your tickets for a film before heading to the theater, Fandango is the way to go. This app is the difference between catching a film on opening night and heading home empty-handed.
The Funny or Die app pulls together all those funny videos, that often become viral, and delivers them right to your iPad. It has everything, from comical news to celebrities, and even the latest funny animated GIFs that are trending. There’s a dedicated menu tab just for those hilarious interviews on Between Two Ferns.
Best iPad apps: News and sports
BuzzFeed took the world by storm with its viral listicles and other fun content. You can customize the types of articles you see or check out the menu to see only quizzes, what’s trending, or news if you want to hone your search. It’s fun to view GIFs and the other visual content on the app. BuzzFeed also has a hard news app, which you can get here.
The New York Times is one of the most venerable newspapers in the world, and the publication has made the leap to mobile with an app that is elegant, easy to read, and loaded with nifty features such as morning briefings and notifications for important stories.
Feedly is a great way to follow your favorite websites, blogs, and YouTube channels. This RSS reader will feel familiar to any Google Reader users and is ideal for keeping up with tons of sources at the same time.
The Washington Post
Readers who want to stay abreast of the latest in U.S. politics should love that The Washington Post has a mobile app that beautifully translates the paper to a digital format. In addition to excellent reporting and long-form journalism, the app provides vivid images and graphics that really pop on the iPad’s display.
Reddit is like a great news aggregator that you don’t have to set up — just tap into the communities that produce great content. There’s no better way to navigate the site on iPad than the BaconReader app.
Seeing the scoreboard tally each point in real time isn’t always enough. Sometimes you just have to see it. WatchESPN lets you watch tons of sporting events live — assuming your cable provider allows it.
The NBA has one of the longest seasons in professional sports, and that can make it difficult for fans to stay informed. Thankfully, basketball fans can keep up with the latest in NBA news, scores, and schedules with the official NBA app. NBA League Pass subscribers can also use the app to watch games on their iPad.