New iPad App Survival Kit: Essential Apps to Install On Your New iPad

The App Store seems to have a skewed idea of the basic necessities for operating an iPad. They offer a collection of applications that they refer to as the “Apps Starter Kit,” but the apps included are far from necessities.

Discussing with potential new iPad owners what they would need to run an iPad, it made me start to collect in my head a collection of what the usual apps would be that a first-time iPad owner would want to download to have the best experience with their new iPad. These aren’t “fluff” apps, but the ones that cover the standard uses.

Social Networking


You can check in on your Facebook and Twitter accounts via the Safari browser, but to be able to get the full experience, you’ll want the apps. You just can’t beat displaying the pictures through the Facebook app. The only negative side to the Facebook app is that it doesn’t include support yet for Timeline and hasn’t upgraded the app to add support for the Retina Display. However, to add pictures to Facebook, you need the app.



Skype has become everyone’s favorite way of placing voice phone calls if you want to avoid that long distance charge. It can be done on a computer or mobile device. Even if your iPad is WiFi only and not 3G or 4G LTE, you can still place calls via Skype, either with voice, video, or texting.

Pages, Numbers, Keynote


Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are Apple’s answer to Microsoft Office. These are apps for viewing and designing documents, spreadsheets, and powerpoint presentations. Additionally, they’re hooked up to iCloud, meaning you can view and edit the same documents, spreadsheets, and powerpoints on your Mac. They will cost you $9.99 for each app, and there are free apps to be found on iTunes that perform the same functions, but to get the best of your Apple and iPad experience, you’ll want these three. They have each been improved to take advantage of the new Retina Display.



This is something we never had to have before, but in this digital age, it’s somehow become a necessity. Soundhound not only acts as a music player, it also finds music for you. If you’re listening to a song and want to know the name or artist, you can turn on SoundHound, and it will find it for you, as well as the iTunes download links. Additionally, it displays the lyrics for your found songs, or the ones you are playing. It works much the same as the Shazam app, but I prefer the experience of SoundHound. It not only finds songs of recorded music, but can also find songs with your voice.



Just like being able to tag songs and artists, having our own personal radio station seems to be a necessity as well. You can set up your own radio stations by naming a song or artist, and Pandora sets up the station playing that song, as well as others that are reminiscent of it. By telling it which songs on each station your like and don’t like, you soon have stations that are custom-created just for you.



Blockbuster and other corner video rental stores have become a thing of the past. People either rent movies online from Netflix or get them for just a dollar at a Redbox on the corner. To watch Netflix content on your iPad, it’s as simple as downloading the app, and subscribing to their service, of course. You’ll have access to more movies than you’ll have the time to watch.

AP Mobile


There are so many news apps out there, each one displaying a little differently. However, now that AP Mobile has upgraded to make use of the Retina Display, there’s really no other app needed. Most news services get their content from Associated Press anyway. It’s a way of going straight to the horse’s mouth. It not only displays national and world news, but local as well.



Sure, you can just pick up your Kindle to read the latest blockbusters in ebook form, but iBooks does a little more than that. For one, it now includes textbooks, and for another, it’s a convenient way of storing and viewing your .pdf files. And, you can read some of the same books that you read on your Kindle as well.

The Weather Channel


While the iPhone includes a weather app, surprisingly the iPad doesn’t. While you can get the weather from news apps or Safari, nothing beats getting that same information that you get on The Weather Channel on your TV. It’s a beautiful, clear app, and it hasn’t even been updated to take advantage of the Retina Display. With this app, you’ll never be caught in weather you weren’t expecting.

There are so many apps out there to choose from, that the choices can make it all a little overwhelming. However, by downloading this small collection, you’ll be ready for anything that comes along, until you decide to venture further and start exploring other apps.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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