It's that time of the year again - time to put away the swimsuits and sunscreen and dig out those school books and backpacks. It's back to school time, and time to get some decent deals on those back to school "essentials" like computers and iPads. Now I would hardly call an iPhone or an iPad an essential school supply, but there are some useful apps available that will make the school year a lot easier on students. Here's a few suggestions for some useful back-to-school apps.


One of my all-time favorite apps, this is absolutely indispensable for anyone heading back to school. Evernote is the end-all note taking application; it allows you to take notes, photos and even voice memos from your phone or iPad and effortlessly syncs them up with your computer and any other device you may have. This means that no matter where you go on campus, you'll always have access to your important documents. Not to mention all the useful features like text recognition, searchable notes, and built-in word processor; even if you're not a student anymore, this is a fantastic app to have around. The base version of Evernote is free, but there is also a paid version that offers additional storage in the cloud.

For those times when you can't rely on autocorrect or you just need a better word than plain old "said," this app is incredibly useful. puts nearly 400,000 definitions right on your phone or iPad, without having to connect to the Internet. It also comes with a built-in thesaurus, as well as translation and 'Word of the Day" features. And it's much easier to transport than your full-sized Webster's Dictionary. is available for free, and there is a premium (ad-free) version and an iPad-only version available as well.

Kno Textbooks

Speaking of dictionaries, no one likes lugging around all those heavy textbooks all over campus. But for those of you bringing your iPad to school, Kno Textbooks can take a load off your back. Kno has over 200,000 different textbooks available for purchase. But it's not just a digital version of the physical book, Kno also adds videos, 3D models, web links and other multimedia features to enhance your textbook "experience." The Kno Textbooks app itself is free, but you'll still have to pay for the textbooks.


Textbooks aren't the only school essentials going digital; those tried-and-true study aids, flash cards, have also gone high tech with gFlash+. This app allows you to use either Google Spreadsheets or Microsoft Excel to create your own flash cards for any subject. You can even add your own sound clips or videos from YouTube to the deck, great for studying foreign languages and a number of other subjects. There's also a flash card directory with tons or pre-made cards all ready for studying. gFlash+ is available for free, but I would recommend upgrading to the $4.99 paid version, if for no other reason than to get rid of the super-intrusive ads on the free version.