The university workload can be difficult, so George Sabourin has compiled a list of the best free apps to make that transition a little easier.

Written by George Sabourin
1st year undergraduate studying Computer Science.
Last updated

This article mainly focuses on apps for iOS and Android, but suitable alternatives may be available for Windows.

  1. Canvas – Android and iOS, Free.

there is a Canvas app available for both Android and iOS

As most of you may know, Canvas is the Virtual Learning Environment used by most courses within the university to post lecture notes, discussions and set assignments. For this reason, it made be happy to discover there is a Canvas app available for both Android and iOS. This app allows you to view most of the content available on the website, including your current assignments, as well as lecture notes and content uploaded. Currently, the app doesn’t work very well with Panopto (the lecture recording software), so it is best to continue using the website for this.

  1. Wunderlist – Android and iOS, Free.
Wunderlist on iPad

Wunderlist has been mentioned in one of our previous articles as one of our top 5 study apps, but can be useful all year round. The app allows you to create lists of “to-dos”, and customise them within folders and groups, set due dates and reminder dates, and even share them. I have found this handy so far to set reminders for assignments in lectures, so that I know when they are due, and also to be reminded when I get home to actually do the work! Wunderlist syncs all of your lists with their server, allowing you to sync your lists anywhere, including on their website, and apps for both Windows 10 and OS X.

  1. Class Timetable – iOS, Free (Optional Purchase).

Timetable is an app I used in sixth form, and have carried over to university. This has allowed me to add all of my lectures with their specific times and rooms, allowing me to view them in a quick and convenient way. For an optional £0.79 purchase, additional features can be enabled including syncing between Apple devices over iCloud, a notification centre widget showing you the plan for today and tomorrow, and notifications allowing you to be reminded of upcoming events. Whilst this app is only available on iOS, similar alternatives will be available on Android.

  1. OneDrive – Android and iOS, Free.

OneDrive_logo.svgOneDrive is a cloud storage app, allowing users to access files stored in the cloud from their mobile device. This allows me to access my documents from anywhere, as long as I upload them from OneDrive, which is easy with apps for OS X and Windows to handle this. If you use the OneDrive storage that is part of your university email account, this app also allows you to connect and view files saved on there too. I favour OneDrive thanks to its integration with Microsoft Office, but there are other equally suitable alternatives available including Google Drive and DropBox.

  1. Google Maps – Android and iOS, Free.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve managed to get lost quite a few times in my first few weeks, so Google Maps has come in handy, allowing me to see exactly where I am and guide me where I need to go. This is especially useful when you’re in Selly Oak and trying to get to somewhere like Liberty Court. Of course, alternatives are available, including Apple Maps on iOS, however I’ve found Google Maps to be the most effective choice, especially with the use of street view.

There are many more apps to discover, and many not mentioned, such as Microsoft Outlook, so the future may hold a sequel to this article. For now, good luck with the semester!