If you’re an iPhone user, you’re no doubt familiar with the pre-installed apps, such as Calendar, Mail, Notes and Reminders. Indeed, these are key tools in any mobile worker’s arsenal – and yet all four have room for improvement. Some would say a lot.

Below, we’ve rounded up four great alternatives to the aforementioned apps, all of which will boost your productivity.

Replace Calendar with Fantastical

If you live and die by the calendar, as so many business people do, you’ve no doubt had some complaints with Calendar for iOS. Instead, try Fantastical, which provides a fresh, attractive interface for your appointments, and also simplifies adding new ones.

Specifically, you can create an entry just by typing a simple sentence: “Lunch with Thomas on Friday at Always Be Chewing.” Even better, you can dictate that same sentence and Fantastical will turn it into an appointment, with all the critical details filled in.

There are a few iOS-imposed limitations, but we find Fanastical to be exactly that, and well worth the £2.49 price of admission.


Replace Mail with Mailbox

The stock Mail app isn’t bad, but Mailbox makes inbox management a breeze.

It’s all about how you swipe. While viewing your message list, you can swipe right to archive an individual message, or a little further right to delete. Swipe left and you get built-in snooze options, an ideal way to make mail resurface at the top of your inbox at a later time and/or date.

Mailbox is free, but for the moment you’ll have to join a fairly lengthy waiting list to get it. Trust us: it’s worth waiting for.


Replace Notes with SpringPad

Bet you thought we were going to say Evernote. Anything is better than Apple’s anaemic Notes app, which can’t even sort your entries, but we find SpringPad to be the better information-management tool. For starters, it’s much easier to learn, with an interface that’s as straightforward as Evernote’s is confusing.

What’s more, it offers handy extras like task lists, reminders and contacts, and you can collaborate with co-workers on selected items. 


Replace Reminders with Astrid

We can’t survive without a to-do list, and while Apple’s Reminders gets the job done, it’s a pretty bare-bones task manager. Astrid is just the opposite, offering a wealth of task-management tools and an attractive, straightforward interface.

You can add tasks using your voice, copy tasks to your calendar, and, perhaps best of all, assign tasks to people in your contact list. It’ll even import your existing tasks from Reminders. Not bad for a freebie.