Many employees were given mere hours notice that their job would be moving from in-the-office to remote work, as a reaction to the quick spread of COVID-19. For those who already have WFH part-time, the transition was less grueling than for those who infrequently, or even never have worked from home and are starting with a clean slate to set a home office.
Clearly, the goal for anyone telecommuting is to work efficiently and productively, and workers everywhere welcome assistance. So whether you have a MacBook, Apple Watch, iPad, or iPhone, let’s take a look at the top five apps in the Apple store designed to boost productivity on a Mac. Note: The Apple App Store is now offering a 60% discount on business productivity apps.

Disclosure: TechRepublic may earn a commission from some of the products featured on this page. TechRepublic and the author were not compensated for this independent review.


Image: Apple

Drafts, from Agile Tortoise, is a note-taking app for your Mac with a customizable editor, themes, fonts, margins, line height, auto-correct, and others. It takes dictation and works with iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, Shortcuts, and third-party task managers, calendars, notes apps and services like WordPress, Todoist, Evernote, TaskPaper, and JavaScript. Drafts offers methods to organize your phone, as well as elements relevant to your work. You can organize with tagging, extensions, widgets, Siri, and others, and use Drafts directory or create your own. Size: 64.5MB.
Drafts is free, with in-app purchases, including subscription services.


Image: Apple

Contacts+ is a cloud-based address book from FullContact Inc. that syncs and integrates contacts from multiple channels, including Google, Exchange, or a phone or Mac computer address book. Do you have friends or acquaintances with Twitter or Instagram usernames so removed from their actual names, you can never remember? Contacts+ can add those usernames to contact profiles within the app. You can organize contacts with tags and attach notes, and it identifies and blocks spam calls. Size: 120.1MB.

Contacts+ is free, with in-app purchases.

SAP Concur

Image: Apple

Business people no longer need to freak out about missing receipts for an expense account with SAP Concur—it’s a way to automate expense management for their iOS devices. It allows the user to see all expense data in a single location and can enforce spending policies, and automatically captures receipts and process reports, so employees can be reimbursed more quickly is a great tool for tracking expenses and issuing reimbursements to employees. Concur developed a snap-and-file receipt system. When a user wants to file a receipt, he or she takes a picture and it’s automatically uploaded to Concur’s system. As a web service, you can still get it from your laptop. It works on iPhone and iPad, but not Apple Watch. Size: 281.8MB.

SAP Concur is free, but offers in-app purchases for subscriptions.  

Jump Desktop

Image: Apple

Jump Desktop (RDP, VNC, Fluid) is a remote desktop application from Phase Five Systems for a Mac. The user can leave his or her desktop or laptop behind and work nearly everywhere. Jump Desktop controls a computer from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, and is compatible with both RDP and VNC. Features include a streamlined user-interface that gives you the best possible remote desktop experience on your mobile device. It can be installed on a PC or Mac, supports the use of a mouse, and allows audio streaming and clipboard sharing. Phase Five Systems says the app has a substantive encryption built into the protocol. Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Available with multiple languages. Requires iOS 11.4 or later. Size: 82.8MB.

Be Focused Focus Timer

Image: Apple

Be Focused Focus Timer is designed to keep users on task, essential for those who WFH on a Mac. Be Focused breaks up individual tasks into discrete intervals, separated by short breaks, which creator Denys Yevenko claims is “an effective way” to retain motivation and focus. Within the app you can create tasks, configure breaks and track progress throughout the day, a week or a customized period of time. A pie chart reports how much time was spent on a certain task. There are a wide range of sounds that the user can use as alarms, choose a ticking sound to count-down time, or not. Silence is an option. For iPhone, iPad or Mac. Size: 19MB.