BusyCal offers a more feature-rich alternative to Apple's Calendar app.
BusyCal offers a more feature-rich alternative to Apple's Calendar app.

11 Indispensable Apps

BJT’s editor reviews software that can help you stay efficient, organized and productive.

1 & 2. BusyCal/BusyContacts (Mac). BusyCal, which replaces Apple’s built-in Calendar, integrates a to-do list with events info and adds automatically downloaded weather forecasts, graphic enhancements and numerous other features. BusyContacts, an equally souped-up replacement for Apple’s Contacts, offers such benefits as customizable views; smart filters; and integration with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and BusyCal.

3. iBank (Mac, iOS). Intuit’s Quicken has been great in the Windows environment but everything the company has released for Macs has garnered deservedly awful reviews. Enter iBank, from a small Vermont-based startup, which does an excellent job of tracking income, expenses, investments and net worth. It can sync automatically with your accounts at most financial institutions, export data to tax software and create budgets and a wide variety of detailed reports.

4. 1Password (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android). Having trouble remembering a long list of user names and passwords? Or are you courting disaster by using the same simple password for everything? With 1Password you can use an unlimited number of long passwords yet need to memorize just one. In fact, if you’re using an iPhone with TouchID, you don’t have to memorize anything. The software—which encrypts all its data—suggests and stores passwords and user names; then, with one click, you can enter them in the appropriate fields on any Website. You can also safely store Social Security numbers, passport info, notes and more. Suddenly, there’s room left in your brain.

5. MyMedical (Mac, iOS, Android). This is the best solution I’ve seen for organizing medical data for your entire family, including info about medications, test results, surgeries and office visits. You can store documents within the application, graph cholesterol and blood pressure over time, send reports to your doctor and more.

6. Reunion (Mac). If you’re interested in genealogy, this is the program for you. Introduced about two decades ago and extensively updated many times since then, it now ranks among the most feature-rich software packages of any kind. Reunion cannot brew you a pot of coffee to drink while you’re exploring your family history but it can perform a large array of other tasks, such as storing and organizing genealogical information, photos, audio, video and documents; creating family trees and charts; searching the Web for information; and identifying family relationships.

7. PackingPro (iOS). Ever arrive at your hotel only to discover that you forgot to pack some essential item? PackingPro, which makes it easy to create and use lists for your trips, will end that problem. Just don’t forget to pack the device that contains the app.

8. Paperless (Mac, Windows). The file cabinet that used to fill a corner of my home office is now history, thanks to a scanner and this app, which holds neatly organized digital copies of my documents. I can instantly find and email any of them; and because I back up to the cloud and an offsite hard drive, I don’t have to worry about fire loss, as I would with paper documents. The Paperless interface seems overdue for an upgrade, but that’s not enough to stop me from recommending the app.

9. Key Ring (iOS, Android). Got a wallet full of store loyalty cards? Replace them all with this app, which can even capture their scannable barcodes.

10. Dropbox (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android). Dropbox remains the best service of its ilk because of its ease of use and reliability. It lets you access essential files from any desktop computer, tablet or phone, and you can share large files with anyone, whether or not they have a Dropbox account. But why wouldn’t they have one? A basic account, which should be enough for most users, takes just minutes to set up and costs nothing. 

11. Square Cash (iOS, Android). Need to send money to a friend? Forget writing a check, using Western Union or even logging into your bank account to authorize a bank-mailed payment. Once you’ve linked this app to a debit card, it takes just seconds to initiate a cash transfer to anyone who also uses Square Cash. The app is free for personal use and there’s no charge for transactions, either. 

Want more lists? Stand by for BJT’s 4th Annual Book of Lists, coming in our June/July issue.