Best iPad mini apps: 15 top apps you should download today
4th Mar 2013 | 15:04
Grab these apps to make the most of Apple's smaller tablet
The iPad mini was rumoured for a long time before it arrived, but Apple's lightweight, low-cost tablet is finally here.
The advantage of it being so similar to the iPad 2 is that all currently available iPad apps will work on it (albeit slightly smaller on the 7.9-inch screen), which means there are over 300,000 apps just waiting to be downloaded.
So, where do you start? These 15 apps really suit the way the lighter, more portable iPad mini is designed to be used, so there are great apps for reading and fun games for on the go and some ways to play around creatively, among others.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, so for more great choices in every category, see our list of the 230 best iPad apps.
1. GarageBand - £2.99
The brilliance of GarageBand is that it isn't just for musicians to try out ideas with - absolutely anyone can pick it up and start making music.
The Smart Instruments enable you to do something akin to playing real music, even without any talent, but you can always fill in the gaps with pre-recorded loops, to save time.
2. Kindle - Free
The iPad mini's light weight makes it excellent for reading on, and Kindle offers the best range of ebooks and a great reading experience. It syncs all your books across platforms, so if you have a Kindle device, you can start reading there, stop and continue on the iPad.
It's a shame you can't buy books directly in the app, but it's still the best way take in a few chapters.
3. Noteshelf - £3.99
If you like to take notes or sketch ideas on your iPad mini (maybe with an iPad stylus), Noteshelf is a fantastic app.
Custom paper designs let you work however you want, and the magnified writing section makes precise handwriting easy. If you use Evernote, the free Penultimate app is also a superb choice.
4. AVPlayerHD - £1.99
The iPad mini is perfect for watching videos when travelling, but it's limited in the kind of videos it can play. Well, not when you've got AVPlayerHD on it. It enables you to play MKV and Xvid files, and you can send videos to it over Wi-Fi, avoiding the need to sync with iTunes.
5. Joe Danger Touch - £1.99
Brilliant in short bursts or for longer sessions, Joe Danger has you controlling the titular stuntman as he makes his through various hazardous levels. Duck, jump and wheely your way through the courses, and then go back and play it again to get all the collectibles on the way.
6. Facebook - Free
The free Facebook used to be slow and awkward, but has recently made itself one of the best social networking apps around. It supports almost all of Facebook's big features, such as sharing photos, commenting and Liking, chatting live and playing games.
7. Tweetbot for Twitter (iPad edition) - £1.99
Yes, there's a free Twitter app, but if you want to enjoy the social network without the promoted tweets and with a much smarter interface, Tweetbot is the way to go.
It makes brilliant use of gestures to let you quickly see details about a tweet, and offers both a Mute feature for users and the option to silence alerts between certain times.
8. Camera+ for iPad - 69p
We don't know why some people insist on taking photos with their iPad, but they do, so why not use a camera that gives better creative control than the built-in one?
We're not really recommending this for its shooting, though - there's no better quick photo editor than Camera+, with its adjustable effects and the superb Clarity filter, which improves just about any photo.
9. Book Creator for iPad - £2.99
The iPad mini isn't just good for reading - it's great for making books, too. This excellent app lets you add text, photos and videos together to make ebooks.
The touch-optimised controls make it really easy to create rich, beautiful layouts, and you can export your finished books to iBooks to read - or even save them in a format ready for sending off to Apple to be sold in the iBookstore.
10. Pyramids 3D - £9.99
There are some great ways to learn more about our world on the App Store, but this is one of the most impressive. Explore the inside of Egyptian tombs with these 3D recreations, including parts closed off to the public in real life.
Check out the wall paintings and inspect the objects that were found within them, including Tutankhamun's famous death mask. It's all narrated and guided by experts, so you're getting the best information out there.
11. Me Books - Free
Give the classics a personal twist with this great story time app. It enables you to buy various books, including Ladybird classic stories and the likes of Peppa Pig, which can be read silently or read out by celebrity narrators.
But better than that is that you can record your own reading of the stories, and even customise what happens when kids tap stuff in the illustrations, such as your own howl when they tap on a wolf.
12. Hero Academy - Free
This brilliant multiplayer game pits two teams of fantasy characters against each other in a bout of turn-based strategy. Destroy your opponent's crystal or wipe out their entire team to win.
Multiple teams and the random order that units appear means that no two games are the same. It's easy to get into, but there's a huge amount of depth once you start playing.
13. Dropbox - Free
Apple's iCloud is a handy online storage services, but Dropbox is the king of giving you access to your files anywhere. You can browse all of your Dropbox folders from the app, and view any files that iOS can natively handle.
Anything else can be opened in a compatible third-party app, if there's one available. You can upload your photos and videos from your iPad to Dropbox, too.
14. Instapaper - £2.49
Seen something online that you want to read, but don't have time? Send it to Instapaper, which saves the article offline, so you can read it any time you like once you download it - even if you don't have internet access.
It's a lovely app to read in, with a great choice of fonts. Plenty of social apps also integrate Instapaper, so you can can save things your friends have recommended to it.
15. Where's my Water? - 69p
This physics puzzler has a cutesy cartoon look, but is no pushover. The idea is to flow enough water to the end of the level for Swampy the Alligator to have a shower, but it quickly throws in obstacles, acid and explosives to make life difficult.
Once you complete the levels you get for the initial purchase, there are hundreds more. It's massively good fun for everyone.