iPhone apps for writers – write on the go anytime ideas come to you

You can be sitting on the bus or train, in a cafe or library and a great idea for a poem, novel, song lyric comes to you. With these iPhone apps you can write anywhere and anytime.

If you are a writer or a blogger you are probably thinking about your next novel, web article or other literary work and ideas can come to you at unexpected times and places. With an iPhone in your pocket you can quickly get it out and record your thoughts, ideas, song lyrics, poetry or the next part of your novel.

The apps here can be used to store notes for writing projects or you could even write a whole novel with outline, characters and chapters. Being able to write on the go means you can get more done and finish projects faster by writing whenever you have ideas or a few minutes to spare.

Hanx Writer

Price: Free | By: Hitcents | Size: 119 MB | iOS: 8.0 or later

Hanx Writer for the iPhone is like having an old fashioned typewriter

Hitcents and actor Tom Hanks partnered to produce a writing app for the iPhone that emulates an old fashioned mechanical typewriter. Hanx aims to bring the full click clack typewriting experience to iOS devices and like a manual typewriter it is noisy, and the paper jerks to the left with every character entered. When you reach the right-hand edge of the paper it slides to the right and you start a new line on the left.

As a typewriter emulator, Hanx is excellent and very entertaining, at least for while, but it is not so good as a writing tool. The iPhone’s keyboard is replaced with a typewriter design and one is available for free with several others available for purchase. It looks and sounds like the real thing when you are typing on it.

The main problem is the document being written cannot completely be seen when typing because half the paper is off the left or right side of the screen. It can be viewed full screen in reader mode, but not while the keyboard is showing. Only one document can be created and you are required to purchase another typewriter to unlock multiple documents. They are cheap, but one document is limiting.

The usual iOS features like select, copy, paste, share and so on are all available, but to me Hanx Writer is more of a fun novelty app than a serious writing tool.

Text Editor

Price: Free | By: Tap Universe | Size: 11 MB | iOS: 11.0 or later

Text Editor app for the iPhone

‎Text Editor is a free app with limitations that can be removed with a subscription. A great feature is that it can be used to create documents on any online drive that the iPhone’s Files app can connect to. This means you can create documents on iCloud, OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive and other places.

There are two editors and one is for plain text. Well, almost plain text. The font and size can be selected. It is simple to use and with the iPhone’s auto-correct and suggestions, you can type fairly quickly. The other editor is Rich Text. It does not have as many features as some Rich Text editors, but it is capable enough for writing on the go. You can choose the font and set bold, italic or underline. It is simple, but OK.

Where the app fails is in the pricing. Documents can be created for free. However, once saved, they cannot be opened for editing or continuing. This is only available to subscribers. It costs £0.99 here in the UK ($1.41 US), which sounds fine until you realize it is a weekly subscription. This amounts to nearly £52 a year ($74), every year. This is far more than I am prepared to pay, which is a shame, because it is a useful little text editor.


Price: Free | By: Nathan Tesler | Size: 32 MB | iOS: 9.0 or later

Werdsmith is a writer's tool for the iPhone that enables you to write on the go

Werdsmith is another interesting app for writers and it could be used for general purpose notes and writing or even for longer projects. You probably would not want to write a book using it though.

On the home screen are two tabs and these enable you to create and store ideas or projects. Both are basically notes and both use the same text editor. The separation of notes and projects aims to help with organisation.

The text editor is interesting because it supports a limited range of styling features. For example, you can make text bold, italic or hidden, and choose between heading, subheading, quote and body text.

The number of words is displayed at the bottom of the screen and tapping it opens a statistics panel that is useful. It shows the words, words written, reading length, and time spent writing. There is also a word goal to help you focus and  encourage you to write. The app can even remind you to write at certain times of the day.

Werdsmith is quite good but it is too expensive for me at £44.99 a year. For a little more you could get Microsoft Office with Word, Excel PowerPoint, OneNote and more, 1TB of online storage and apps for PC, Mac, web, phone and tablet.

Creative Writer – Fun! Easy! Write! – Ideas for writing and texting

Price: Free | By: RESONANCA IT D.O.O. | Size: 52 MB | iOS: 8.0 or later

Creative Writer app for the iPhone suggests words to use

Creative Writer has more features for writers than some apps and it could be just what you need to inspire you. On the other hand, it might just be irritating.

The app enables you to create notes as you might expect, but at the bottom of the blank screen is a collection of words where you would normally find a keyboard. The idea is that the words inspire you and suggest what should come next in the text.

Tap the gear icon, which looks more like a flower, and an (almost) normal keyboard appears so you can type text normally and the word suggestions are reduced to one line. In theory it sounds useful but I didn’t like it for my writing tasks, however, you can switch to the normal iOS keyboard easily enough.

A light bulb icon is used to access various paid feature upgrades and these include quotes, poetry features, cooking recipes, dictionaries and more. Their purpose is to give you an endless supply of ideas for your writing in the form of expressions, song lyrics, movies, and other sources.

I had some problems with the interface with this app, so it wasn’t my favourite.


Price: Free | By: Microsoft | Size: 244MB | iOS: 10.0 or later

Microsoft Word app on the iPhone

Word hardly needs introducing because it is so well known and is so widely used in offices on desktop computers. It is an excellent word processor on the PC and Mac, but what about mobile?

The iPhone app is also very good and it is one of the best word processors available for the device. The only downside is the large size and Microsoft apps, although good, take up a lot of space. If space isn’t a problem, go and get it.

The Word app has a lot of features and so there is a steep learning curve when you first use the app and you need to get to know the features and how to access them before you can use the app efficiently.

It does not provide every feature of the desktop Word application, but it does provide a large number of them and it is compatible with documents created on the web and on the desktop. It isn’t possible to cover all the features because there are so many. For example, on the Insert menu is Page, Table, Pictures, Camera, Shapes, Text Box, Link, Comment, Header & Footer, Footnote and Endnote. Some of these have submenus that lead to more options.

Word is free on the iPhone on its own or as part of the Office app and also on the OneDrive website. Documents are saved to OneDrive and can be accessed using Microsoft Office running on a computer, using the free OneDrive web apps, and using the free iPhone and iPad apps.

There is nothing specific for writers, such as notes, characters, chapters and so on, but you can create separate files for these or even use the free OneNote app to store them. Word for the iPhone is recommended.


Price: Free | By: Wattpad Corp | Size: 267 MB | iOS: 11.0 or later

Writing a story or ebook using the Wattpad app on the iPhone

Wattpad describes itself as a community of 90 million story lovers, people who love to read and write stories. It can be thought of as a group of amateur and hobbyist writers creating and sharing ebooks. Wattpad is free and a huge number of ebooks are free to read. There are some paid books and a subscription service, but you can have a lot of fun with Wattpad for free.

Not only can you read tens of thousands of stories written by others, you can write your own and publish it on the platform using the built in editor. The other writing apps here are all general purpose text editors or word processors, but this one is specifically for creating stories on Wattpad.

It guides you through the process of starting your ebook and you can add a cover image, a title and then jump straight into writing part 1 – you create your story in parts, which can be chapters. A simple editor enables you to enter and style the text with bold, underline, italic and set left, centre or right alignment. There is no font or size selection.

Photos and videos can be inserted, so your ebook does not have to be all text. You can add a description, select a category, add tags, set the copyright and more. When you are done, your story can be published and other people can read it.

Wattpad is a bit like a simpler, easier amateur and hobbyist version of Amazon Kindle books, enabling anyone with an idea in their head for a story to write and publish it. No technical knowledge is required. The best authors build up a following. Some make money selling their books. A few lucky people have been picked up by movie or TV studios.

Best writing app

Microsoft Word is brilliant and it has more features than most writers need in a mobile app because it is designed to enable people using Office on their PC or Mac to continue working on their phone or tablet. Can an app have too many features?

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