the logo

The best phone apps for students

University students have lots to focus on: studying, schedules, finances, travel and more. These apps can help you stay on top of everything

    Grace McCabe's avatar

    Grace McCabe

    Content Writer, THE Student
    November 25 2022
    students with phones


    Whether you need help taking notes, making schedules or relaxing after a long week at university, students might find these apps make things a lot easier.


    Use to: get the job done

    Moving to university, new schedules, classes and social events can make it hard to keep track of everything you need to do. To-do lists are a fantastic way to break large tasks into smaller, easier to manage chunks.

    This app can help you do just that and enjoy the satisfaction of ticking each thing off once it’s done. You can use this app on any Android or iOS device, so you have access wherever you are and can share with others, for free.

    So whether you’re trying to recall an essay deadline or need to remember what to buy for dinner, this will help you stay on top of everything.

    BONUS: the app has a widget that you can add to your home screen to keep track of the most important tasks that are due soon.

    2. Microsoft Office

    Use to: complete documents anywhere, even without your laptop

    Microsoft Office is the package of programmes that includes PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Outlook and more. The app enables you to have all these programmes on your phone or tablet. If you save your documents to the cloud, you can access them anywhere through the app.

    Gone are the days when you leave the library, get back to your flat and remember something you forgot to add to your essay. Now you can use the app to edit wherever you are for free, on Android and iOS devices.

    BONUS: you can collaborate with other users and edit in real time, perfect for group projects.

    3. Notion

    Use to: keep all your notes in one place

    This app allows students to take notes, create and edit documents and manage tasks. You can also collaborate with others in real time during group projects and even add images and other content to your work.

    The app will sync on all your devices (Android and iOS) so that you can access your work from anywhere, keep your journal, plan itineraries and publish straight to the web if you want.

    BONUS: there are lots of templates that you can use to work efficiently and stay organised, plus it’s free.

    4. Office Lens

    Use for: saving complex diagrams

    Another free app that you can use on Android or iOS is Office Lens, designed to help you save complex diagrams in class and access them again later.

    The app will save the diagram, remove unnecessary details around it and present it clearly for you to view later. It will even crop out your lecturer or classmates.

    BONUS: it doesn’t matter what angle you snap your picture; the app will always edit the diagram to be presented in great quality, straight on.

    5. Oxford English Dictionary

    Use to: help with any language task

    Students will find it useful to have a dictionary app on their phone. The Oxford English Dictionary works on any device and is free.

    Although many document programmes have built-in dictionaries, some technical terms are not included, but this app can help with that. Type in the word you need to check or take a photo, and the app will present you with definitions and more.

    BONUS: you can expand your vocabulary and learn a new word every day with the “Word of the Day” feature.

    6. Picolo

    Use to: play games and relax with friends

    It’s lots of fun to relax and play games with friends at university. But if you’ve exhausted all the usual games, this app might introduce you to a few new ones.

    Enter the names of everyone playing, and the app will ask silly, funny and strange questions for you all to answer. You can pick rounds based on existing games such as “ring of fire” or “truth or dare”, but whatever you choose it’s a great way to hang out with friends.

    BONUS: this free app is a great way to get to know your new classmates or housemates at the start of the year.

    Top five apps for managing student finance
    Online teaching tools: using apps to enhance learning
    How much does it cost to study in the UK?

    7. Shopmium (UK), Flipp (US), ‎BigOven (Global)

    Use to: save money on your shopping

    Who doesn’t love a bargain or a discount? Through these free apps, you can see deals at all your favourite supermarkets.

    You can access regular deals, save your favourite items and, every now and again, you might get offered some freebies. You can even earn cashback on your purchases by taking a photo of the receipt when you finish.

    BONUS: you get credits to spend whenever you refer a friend, and then everyone can save money.

    8. SimpleMind

    Use to: create mind maps

    If you love making mind maps, this is the app for you. You can access it through your browser or any Android/iOS devices for free. There are extra options you can access if you pay, but the basic version has everything you’ll need.

    Add multiple maps, use different colours, create your own or start with a template style to get the best out of your revision if you are a visual learner.

    BONUS: you can expand and collapse branches to help you view your maps, even on smaller screens.

    9. Sleep Cycle

    Use to: get the best night’s sleep possible

    Many people struggle to sleep, but for students with late classes, social events, loud roommates and busy parties, it can be very difficult to maintain a good sleeping pattern.

    Sleep Cycle analyses your REM sleep cycles and will wake you up gently when you are sleeping lightly instead of that loud alarm pulling you out of deep sleep and leaving you feeling exhausted all day.

    BONUS: you can snooze the alarm by shaking your phone instead of pressing a button.

    10. Soundnote

    Use to: take notes during lectures or seminars

    This is one of the few apps that we have included that is not free. However, it requires a one-off fee of just £4.49 and works on iOS laptops and iPads.

    Soundnote will record everything that is being said in your lecture while you take notes, giving you a perfect copy for revision later. You can even click on a word, and it will bring you to the corresponding section in the recording.

    BONUS: it’s a great way to keep detailed revision notes.

    11. Splitwise

    Use to: keep track of shared bills and expenses

    Students have lots of expenses, and often they must share those bills with others in their home. Splitwise is a great way to keep track of how much everyone owes.

    Not only that, but you can also track your money, pay for group trips and repay contacts.

    BONUS: you can add categories for your expenses and sync to the cloud to access your details everywhere.

    12. Trainline (UK), Eurail (Europe)

    Use to: save money on travel tickets

    Train travel can be expensive, but these apps can help you get to where you need to go. Although there is sometimes a booking fee to use some of these apps, there are many extra features to help you find the cheapest options, especially when you add a 16-25 railcard.

    BONUS: you can use a QR code ticket and save on printing.

    13. Uber

    Use to: travel around

    Uber is a great app to have for emergencies when walking or public transport isn’t possible. Instead of needing to call and then wait for a taxi, especially if you are unsure of your exact location, this app can help you get transport anywhere at any time.

    You can also send links to trusted people who can track your journey, keeping you safe as you travel.

    BONUS: not only can you rate the drivers, but they can also rate you so you can compare with your friends.

    14. UrSafe

    Use to: stay safe

    It can be scary going out in a new area, especially when you don’t know many people, so it’s beneficial to have a plan if you do. UrSafe is specifically designed for when you are walking home and you don’t feel safe.

    The app offers many features, such as a key phrase or a specific button that can send an SOS to designated contacts or allowing friends or family to track you on a map.

    BONUS: the app can send live video or audio to set contacts during unsafe or uncomfortable situations.

    You may also like

    Man checking location on phone at night

    Apps and services for keeping safe as a student studying away from home

    Staying safe is one of the biggest concerns for any student whether they are domestic or international. Here are some apps and services you can use to help you feel a little more secure in a new place

    Seeta Bhardwa

    November 16 2021
    sticky sign up

    Register free and enjoy extra benefits