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Best Writing Apps For iPhone

Submitted by on September 25, 2013 – 11:51 amNo Comment

The explosion in the use of smartphones in the US over the last few years has many benefits, but it has been pretty tough on the English language. And now we’re being told that text message spelling, grammar, and syntax- or lack thereof- are “more akin to spoke language,” and are making writing “richer and more complex by the year.”

Fine. But what about us poor folks who like complete sentences, and prefer “for you” to “4 u?” How about those of us that actually rely on writing for our livelihood (ahem, cough cough)? Can smartphones provide any good platforms for long form writing?

The short answer, as far as I can tell, is no. And it has nothing to do with texting, but with hardware. No matter what app you download for your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, you still have that little onscreen keyboard which can only be operated by two thumbs at a time, at best. There are a few iPhone cases with built in keyboards, but those are just as small; and there are a few Bluetooth keyboards that are compatible with the phone, but those aren’t as portable as the iPhone itself, and are really designed for larger devices. I’m sure someday, some enterprising designer will crack the code of making a portable keyboard that can hold up a smartphone like a screen, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Obviously, the solution is to get a netbook or a tablet. But preferably, there would be an alternative for the budget-conscious or those who are just caught without their other mobile devices when the need to write strikes.

In the meantime, we will have to satisfy ourselves with apps that just make it easier to write:


Attempting to bridge the gap between the long form writing generation and the texters, Werdsmith dresses up a word processor with millennial trappings. (The cute misspelling! The handlebar moustache logo!) Werdsmith not only provides a few extra font options and allows writers to save and view the document history, but it makes the process social: documents can be published directly to Google+ through a Werdsmith profile. The app also tries to encourage writing, letting you set “ritual” alarms and organize projects.

Documents Free

Another relatively barebones word processor, but with even more formatting options than Werdsmith. The real prize with Documents Free is that it has cloud storage, Microsoft Office compatibility, and can even be used to create spreadsheets- you know, for tracking all the royalties from your novel.

Dragon Dictation

This one is a lot of fun. Just talk, and the app records what your saying, and then transcribes it when you’re done. I tried a test run with the first two sentences of Catch-22, and here’s what I got:

It was love at first sight. The first time your Sary and saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him.

Pretty close. I don’t think we can blame a computer for not getting the protagonist’s name, “Yossarian.” Also, it’s worth noting that you have to say the punctuation, but the program was then pretty good at picking it up.

What are your favorite writing apps for iOS?



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