The Best Writing Apps Every Writer Needs to Use in 2021

If you’ve read much on this website, you know how much I love Scrivener 3 on macOS and hate Microsoft Word. But this article is about the best writing apps for mobile devices. I categorized the writing apps by their primary purpose.

Today's world is on the move. From fast food to fast cars, we're always on the go, making mobile technologies all that much more critical. You need the best writing apps at your fingertips.

When you imagine a writer's life, you might imagine the stereotype: a pair of glasses hunched over a typewriter furiously punching keys and drowning in endless pots of coffee.

Yes, writers tend to drink a lot of coffee, but the world of writing is changing.

Many writers manage their writing projects with mobile devices.

So let’s talk about the best writing apps for those mobile devices.

What do professional writers use to write? Professional writers use a variety of apps to write their novels. Scrivener, MS Word, Final Draft, Google Docs, Plot Factory — there are so many great apps that bestselling writers use for their writing process.

Here are my recommendations for the best writing apps for Android and iOS. (Nearly all of them work on desktop as well, but I weeded out the apps that only work on desktop.)

In this article, you will learn:
  1. Best Writing App for Novelists
  2. Best Writing App for General Writing
  3. Best Free Writing App
  4. Best Writing App for Emails & Short-Form
  5. Best Writing App for Screenwriters
  6. Best Writing App for Productivity
  7. Best Writing App for Outlining
  8. Best Writing App for Notes
  9. Best App for Text To Speech
Ideal ForPlatforms AvailablePriceCheck It Out!
Scrivener
Best Writing App for NovelistsiOS$49 (use my discount code KINDLEPRENEUR)
Check it Out
Microsoft Word
Best Writing App for General Writing

Android

iOS

$139.99, or $6.99/month
Check it Out
Google Docs
Best Free Writing AppAndroid
iOS
FREE
Check It Out
Grammarly
Best Writing App for Emails & Short-Form

Android

iOS

Free, or $12-$30/month
Check It Out
Final Draft
Best Writing App for ScreenwritersiOS$249.99
Check It Out
NovlrNovlr Logo
Best Writing App for Productivity

Android

iOS

$10/month, or $100/year
Check It Out
Plot Factory

Best Writing App for OutliningAndroid
iOS
$9/month, or $90/year (Use my discount code KINDLEPRENEUR)
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Evernote
Best Writing App for Notes

Android

iOS

Free, or $69.99/year
Check It Out
FromText
ToSpeech.com
Best App for Text To Speech

Android

iOS

FREE
Check It Out

When you use a link in this article, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It just helps with my coffee fund (AKA writer fuel), so I can keep bringing you the content you deserve. Plus, it means I can get you exclusive discount codes!

Best Writing App for Novelists: Scrivener

Scrivener is the best writing app for novelists, hands down. It’s more organized than any other app. It’s got awesome, ready-made templates for all sorts of genres and layouts. And it works great on iPad and iPhone. (Sorry, Android users.)

What is the best app for writers? Scrivener on iOS is the best app for book writers. If you've read a few of my other articles, you may already know of my absolute love of Scrivener. If I had to recommend a single piece of writing software, Scrivener would be it — including for mobile devices.

Scrivener comes with a steep learning curve because it offers so much customizability and handy features. But there are plenty of free tutorials if you ever need help.

Scrivener for iOS is great for planning, drag-and-drop organizing, and even highlighting types of words. This means you can look for adverb overuse. From corkboard arrangement to keyboard shortcuts to word count goals, this app has almost as much power as its desktop app.

(For a complete review on the desktop software, check out my Scrivener review article, complete with coupon code.)

Once you're done, you can always transfer your work over to your devices with Scrivener via Dropbox. Or you can export to DOCX, EPUB, MOBI, PDF, HTML, or even Multi-Markdown.

The only downside: The one-time price is a little steep for a mobile app ($19.99), and you have to buy a separate license for iOS if you already have a license for macOS or Windows.

If you’re an Android user, I’d try Novlr, which is browser-based, so you can use it on any mobile device with an Internet connection.

best-writing-app-scrivener

Which platforms does Scrivener work on?

  • iOS
  • Mac (most updated version)
  • Windows

(Sorry again, Android tablet/phone users.)

Pricing:

  • $19.99 for iOS
  • $49 for Mac or Windows
  • $80 for both Mac and Windows licenses
  • $41.65 for students & academics

Download Scrivener with this link and get an exclusive coupon code, KINDLEPRENEUR20, for a 20% discount on your Scrivener purchase.

Follow these steps to use the discount coupon.

discount coupon steps for Scrivener

Best used for:

Scrivener is great for authors who love organization, distraction-free writing, and ready-made templates. Authors can place audio files, research files, images, and more into Scrivener’s sidebar. This means all your documents and research are in one window — it’s so convenient!

Other Good Apps for Novelists

Best Writing App for General Writing: Microsoft Word

There’s a reason Microsoft Word is the industry standard text editor: it is versatile and easy to use.

Microsoft Office’s Word works well on mobile devices, running smoothly on iOS and Android. It creates beautiful, professional documents that you can export to multiple file formats.

MS Word is suitable for general writing, but I would not recommend it for novel writing. Although it is perfect for memos, email drafts, and print-ready documents, its organization capabilities are not as robust as Scrivener, Ulysses, or other excellent writing software.

Also, its spelling and grammar checker is not as powerful as ProWritingAid or Grammarly.

MS Word is expensive, but many people can use the app without an extra cost because of work or school giving them access.

Which platforms does Word work on?

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Mac
  • Windows

Pricing:

Though Microsoft Word comes with some computers, it actually costs a pretty penny:

  • $139.99 for Microsoft Word by itself
  • $6.99 a month for Microsoft 365, which includes Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word price

Best used for:

Microsoft Word is best used for general writing, business-related documents, and print-ready formatting options. It’s great for corporate America, journalism, students, and the like.

Other Good Apps for General Writing

  • Google Docs
  • LibreOffice
  • OpenOffice

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Best Free Writing App: Google Docs

What is the best free writing app? Google Docs is the best free writing app on Android and iOS. If you’re on a budget, Google Docs is the perfect app for everything except proofreading, novel writing, or writing without the Internet.

It lets you customize headers, spacing, fonts — all the things you expect from a professional word processor. Google Docs autosaves every change you make and saves your version history. It exceeds at real-time collaboration, making it ideal for co-authors, bloggers, and ghostwriters.

Google docs

Google Docs Pros:

  • Conveniently browser-based
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Trackable changes
  • Autosave functionality
  • Export to multiple file types
  • FREE

Google Docs Cons:

  • Laggy and buggy once you get over 15,000-20,000 word count
  • Google Docs proofreader is weaker than Grammarly or ProWritingAid
  • You need the Internet and a Google account to access

Which platforms does Google Docs work on?

Google Docs works on all major platforms and on most mobile devices — both Android and iOS.

Other Free Writing Apps:

Best Writing App for Emails & Short-Form: Grammarly

Grammarly’s browser app is free to use and great for making sure your emails, memos, and other short-form projects look professional and error-free.

Check out my full review on Grammarly.

Grammarly offers a keyboard that checks your spelling and grammar on mobile devices, offering helpful suggestions on how to improve whatever you’re typing.

Grammarly keyboard iOS

Not many people realize that Grammarly’s browser app can download your text as a DOCX file. This is great if you need to attach a DOCX file to your email instead of putting the text in the body.

You can also download Grammarly’s browser extension. This editing tool automatically checks your grammar and spelling when on Gmail, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media sites and email sites.

Read this article on the Best Email Services For Authors, like GetResponse or MailerLite.

Grammarly’s free version offers robust proofreading features that are way better than Microsoft Word or MacOS’s built-in grammar and spelling checker.

The premium version of Grammarly is fantastic, too. It offers many more suggestions to improve your writing style, readability, passive voice, and dialogue formatting.

However, if you are paying for a premium proofreader, I’d recommend ProWritingAid’s premium version. Its web version can also export to DOCX. Check out this video where I explain how ProWritingAid’s premium version is superior to Grammarly’s.

Grammarly’s browser application and browser extension make your emails, posts, and memos more professional and error-free. It gives you confidence and lets everyone know that you are not a joke.

Grammarly browser

Which platforms does Grammarly work on?

Grammarly is a browser-based app and extension that runs on:

  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Edge

Pricing:

Grammarly’s free version is a powerful proofreading tool that ensures your emails, memos, or Facebook ads and posts are professional and error-free.

Grammarly’s premium version offers a lot more suggestions about word choice and writing style. It has multiple pricing options:

  • $29.95 per month
  • $59.94 per 3 months ($19.98/month value)
  • $139.95 per year ($11.66/month value)
  • Grammarly Business is $12.50/month per member (minimum 3 members)

Best used for:

  • Emails
  • Memos
  • Blog posts (WordPress, etc.)
  • Social media posts

Other Good Apps for Emails & Short-Form

Best Writing App for Screenwriters: Final Draft

Screenwriting is a type of writing apart from a novel or article that is growing in popularity. Final Draft is an iOS-exclusive paid app dedicated strictly to screenwriting.

According to Final Draft’s own research, fewer than 5% of their users use Android mobile devices, so they won’t develop the Android app anytime soon.

Final Draft has a lot of great features, such as:

  • Professionally formatted templates for TV, Film, and Stage Plays
  • SmartType, which remembers your character's names, scenes, etc.
  • The ability to export PDFs to iCloud, Dropbox, or email
  • Element-based script searching
  • Color-coded ScriptNotes

David Seidler, the Academy Award-winning author of The King's Speech, loves the ability to change his drafts quickly and on the go.

What app do screenwriters use to write? Screenwriters use the Final Draft app on iOS to write their screenplays.

If you're a serious screenwriter or looking to break into the biz, you should definitely consider getting this app. It’s expensive, but it is the industry standard. According to their website, Final Draft is “used by 95% of film and television productions.”

However, if you don't own an Apple device, Celtx Script is probably your best bet.

best-writing-app-final-draft

Which platforms does Final Draft work on?

  • iOS
  • Mac
  • Windows

Final Draft does not intend on developing or maintaining an Android version of their app.

Pricing:

The full license for Final Draft 11 costs a one-time fee of $249.99, but there are usually deals you can snag to earn 20% off.

Best used for:

Final Draft is best used for writing screenplays, even on mobile devices. There’s a good reason it’s the industry standard for screenwriting.

Other Good Apps for Screenwriters

Best Writing App for Productivity: Novlr

Novlr is an aesthetically-pleasing, browser-based creative writing tool that automatically saves to the cloud. Its distraction-free Focus Mode is customizable and perfectly sets the mood for writing productively.

How do I start just writing? If you have trouble just getting started writing, consider using a productivity app like Novlr, Daily Prompt, or FocusWriter.

Features of Novlr:

  • Minimalist aesthetic
  • Track writing stats
  • Motivational goals and positive feedback
  • Organization and outlining functionality
  • Writing style suggestions
  • Collaboration
  • Day-night color options
  • Easy exporting to multiple file formats

Read my full review of Novlr here.

Which platforms does Novlr work on?

Novlr is a browser-based app that works on all major browsers:

  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge

You can save app.novlr.org to your phone/tablet’s home screen, and it works much like an application.

Pricing:

After a 2-week free trial, Novlr costs:

  • $10/month
  • $100/year ($8.33/month value)

Best used for:

Novlr is best used for distraction-free writing that encourages productivity in a plethora of ways. It is sleek, chic, organized, and syncs across all your devices.

Other Good Apps for Productivity

Looking for the Best Mobile Writing Apps? We've got you covered! Check out our list of apps sure to make your on-the-go writing experience better! #amwriting #writingappsClick To Tweet

Best Writing App for Outlining: Plot Factory

With its innovative dashboard functionality, Plot Factory is a fantastic outlining tool for mobile and desktop. It is a browser-based app, so you can access it from anywhere you have Internet, including from a phone or tablet.

Check out my full review on Plot Factory.

Read my comprehensive article on The Best Software to Outline Your Book. I recommend Plottr for the desktop app, but its mobile app is not so great.

You can organize plot points, create colorful characters, and build your world with ease on Plot Factory. It even comes with ready-made templates.

Plot Factory offers these intuitive outline templates:

  • The Snowflake Method
  • The Three Act Scene Maker
  • Three Act Plotting Template
  • Story Beats Plotting Template
  • Story Premise Worksheet

You can even share snapshots of your story with Plot Factory’s intuitive Share function.

Although you can use Plot Factory on your Mac or Windows computer, it is very mobile-friendly. If you save a shortcut to www.plotfactory.com on your home screen, Plot Factory works much like an app.

Download Plot Factory today! Don’t forget to use my discount code KINDLEPRENEUR for 35% off the first 12 months!

Plot Factory home

Which platforms does Plot Factory work on?

Plot Factory is a browser-based app available on all major platforms:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Mac
  • Windows
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Edge

Pricing:

According to their website, “Plot Factory runs as a freemium app. You get all the necessities for writing for free and the nice-to-have features with a paid subscription.”

There are 3 tiers for the paid version of Plot Factory:

  1. Hobbyist — $9/month or $90/year
  2. Enthusiast — $14/month or $140/year
  3. Novelist — $19/month or $190/year

Best used for:

Plot Factory is best used for outlining novels, but it is an organizational tool at its heart. You can use it to organize nonfiction or even screenplays.

Other Good Apps for Outlining

Best Writing App for Notes: Evernote

When it comes to note-taking, look no further than Evernote. This award-winning app automatically syncs your notes to every device you have it installed on (only 2 devices with the free version).

Honestly, I am so thankful for my Evernote app. I'm a big fan of jotting down fresh new ideas on my phone. But notes aren't the only thing you can save. You can actually save web clippings, video, PDF, images, GIFs, and more (with a paid upgrade, of course).

On top of that, you're able to share your notes with other people. All you need is to grant the proper permissions to a co-author, friend, or ghostwriter, and voila!

Evernote is always improving. Though I think their table function could use an upgrade, Evernote releases free updates all the time.

best-writing-app-evernote

Which platforms does Evernote work on?

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Mac
  • Windows

Pricing:

The free version of Evernote is robust and useful. Having the “freemium” version of Evernote is still worth getting, even if you don’t plan on spending any money on the premium version.

The premium version of Evernote is separated into 2 versions:

  1. Premium — $69.99/year
  2. Business — $14.99/user/month

Best used for:

Evernote’s award-winning app is best used for taking notes in many different ways on many different devices. It is intuitive, versatile, and beyond helpful.

Other Good Apps for Notes

Best App for Text To Speech: FromTextToSpeech.com

FromTextToSpeech.com is a browser-based app that turns up to 50,000 characters at a time into MP3 files that you can listen to or download. It is simple. Although it looks kind of sketchy, it is entirely safe and legit. It is the best free text to speech service available.

The most natural-sounding voice option is British English Harry. In fact, you will hear British English Harry all across the Internet — on YouTube, Twitch, etc. Many web users utilize British English Harry’s voice because it almost passes for a British human male.

Other text-to-speech apps either cost a lot of money or only allow a few hundred characters.

Read my article on Best Book Transcription Services for Authors.

I know authors who copy and paste in a chapter to FromTextToSpeech.com and listen to it while editing that same chapter. It really helps to be able to hear your words read back to you.

Unfortunately, FromTextToSpeech.com is sometimes down with no warning for upkeep and maintenance.

Text to speech software

Which platforms does FromTextToSpeech.com work on?

This is a browser-based application that works on all browsers and operating systems:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Mac
  • Windows
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Edge

Pricing:

FromTextToSpeech.com is free-to-use. There is no premium version.

Best used for:

FromTextToSpeech.com is best used for converting your written word to spoken word. This may help you with editing, experimenting, or simply your own enjoyment.

Other Good Apps for Text to Speech

Which app is the best fit for you?

You use the best tools when you write at home. You should use the best mobile writing apps to take your frantic phone scribbles to the next level.

Gone are the days of jotting down in your notepad, only to have a hard time deciphering it later.

Save time and effort by investing in your craft and selecting the “write” tools for the job. Even if you aren't at your primary workstation.

There may have been a few I missed out on. After all, the world of writing is ever-expanding.

And I know I've said it before: Sorry, Android users. While I understand the pros of being on the Android system, there are just so many more quality writing applications for Apple users.



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4 thoughts on “The Best Writing Apps Every Writer Needs to Use in 2021

Comments
  1. Deb

    What is the best writing app for non-fiction other than Scrivener? I want the same options, to see my chapters on a side bar and be able to put notes with each chapter. That is the basic requirement but other tools are nice, like word count, grammar, etc. Most of the writing apps I am finding are either simple writing, like Word or Goggle Docs, or for novels with characters, plots, etc. Scrivener is too time consuming to learn. Writing and editing takes long enough. (Novlr looks like the closest to what I want even though the app is based on novel writing). Hoping there might be another that I am unaware of. Anyone can answer!! I am using Word currently but really want to get moving on the writing with more organization.

    1. Dave Chesson

      I’m actually building one – Atticus.io. It’s actually combining scrivener and Vellum together – but we’re making the writing area much easier and intuitive. It’s in final beta now and should be releasing publicly mid July.

  2. Ed Teja

    How about a review of dictation apps? You’ve got text to speech, but I want that turned around. Dragon, of course, but on a phone?

  3. Harald Johnson

    Good overview, Dave!

    Two quick things about Google Docs (which I use):
    1. It certainly can be used for full-length novels. I write all mine with it (one is 160,000 words).
    1b. And it exports well to .docx and works fine with editors using Word’s track changes and commenting.
    2. You can use the Grammarly extension with it.

    Cheers!

Comments are closed.