The 8 Best Apps for Your High Schooler

Smartphone apps can make the high school experience much easier and productive

Teenagers using apps on smartphones and tablets.
Some smartphone and tablet apps can be super useful for teens.

 Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Technology has made high school life much easier for the average student with the creation of smartphone and tablet apps for studying, planning, group projects, security, and even job searching.

Here are eight of our favorite apps for high school students looking to improve their education or simply enhance their school experience with the latest tech.

Microsoft's OneNote app
Microsoft's OneNote app.

 Microsoft

OneNote is a free note-taking app designed by Microsoft that works on mobile phones, tablets, and computers. The app supports both keyboard and touch for writing notes and also works with the Surface Pen on compatible Windows 10 devices. The app even has a dictate feature which converts anything spoken into a device's microphone into written text.

OneNote can be used for a number of organizational tasks, including taking notes and creating basic to-do lists, but it also boasts a good number of formatting options which make it a solid word processor as well.

What We Like

  • OneNote is completely free and available on every device.
  • Many schools and universities use OneNote in classes and lectures so learning how to use it now could pay dividends in the future.

What We Don't Like

  • A lot of the advanced OneNote features require some serious research to understand how they work however all of the basic note-taking and collaboration functionality is very easy to understand.

Available on: iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows.

The Dropbox app on Windows 10 is great for high school students
Dropbox app on Windows 10.

 Dropbox

Dropbox is a service that allows users to select a folder on their computer and have all of its content automatically saved to the cloud and synced to other computers, tablets, or smartphones with the same account.

This is great for when a computer is lost or broken as all a user has to do is download Dropbox on their new computer, sign in, and all of their files will be restored. There's even an option for restoring files that are accidentally deleted which means no more lost homework and assignments.

A Dropbox membership also comes with Dropbox Paper, a free collaboration tool that works similar to Google Docs or Microsoft Office and is ideal for group school projects.

What We Like

  • Dropbox works on pretty much everything and seamlessly keeps all files in sync and backed up.

What We Don't Like

  • Some high school students may outgrow the free 2GB option but that likely won't happen until after they graduate or begin adding large media files such as HD movies.

Available on: iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows.

Google Authenticator smartphone app
Google Authenticator smartphone app.

 Google

Google Authenticator is a free app that adds an extra layer of security to a variety of accounts and services, making them much harder to log into by strangers or other students.

Once two-factor authentication has been enabled on a service, the app generates a random series of numbers that must be entered before access to an account is granted. This can help make a student's social media, banking, and other accounts more secure against logins by fellow students or complete strangers.

The Microsoft Authenticator app is also trustworthy and performs the same function.

What We Like

  • Enabling two-factor authentication brings piece of mind in an age of security breaches and cyberbullying.

What We Don't Like

  • If the mobile device that has the app installed on it is lost, it can make logging into some service difficult. Most will have a backup option for such a scenario though.

Available on: iOS and Android.

Amazon Kindle Apps
Amazon's Kindle apps let students read books on their phones and tablets.

 Amazon

Amazon's official Kindle mobile and tablet apps are a fantastic way to read ebooks without actually owning a physical Kindle ereader device.

Many books students are required to read are available in the Kindle ebook format and lots of literary classics are completely free to download and keep while many newer titles can be read for free as part of an Amazon Prime subscription.

What We Like

  • Lots of free ebooks to download.
  • The Kindle apps let high school students look-up words and make annotations.
  • All study notes and reading progress syncs between devices using the same Amazon account.

What We Don't Like

  • Reading a book on a smartphone or tablet can be a challenge as the temptation to check Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat will always be there.

Available on: iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows.

LinkedIn professional social network
LinkedIn is often a social network overlooked by high school students.

 LinkedIn

Most people think of LinkedIn as a social network for adult professionals but, since 2013, the company has welcomed students as young as 14 to join and use the service's features for researching universities and making connections with educators, classmates, co-workers, and potential future employers.

What We Like

  • LinkedIn is an incredibly safe social network to use due to the general maturity of its users and focus on professionalism.
  • The social network encourages users to learn new skills and participate in community projects by giving them the ability to boast about their accomplishments on their profile.

What We Don't Like

  • LinkedIn can be a great tool for inspiring teenagers to prepare for life after graduation but it also has the potential to cause anxiety in those that stress about grades and succeeding.

Available on: iOS, Android, and Windows.

Keep track of expenses with this phone app
Keep track of expenses with this phone app. Donald Iain Smith / Blend Images

Ever wanted to check to see if your child is spending as much on school supplies as they say? XpenseTracker is an iPhone and iPad app that can make keeping track of purchases, and how much they really cost, quite easy.

Users can enter in the date, time, and place that purchases were made and can also attach a photo of the receipt they get by using their smartphone's built-in camera. Purchases can be sorted by name, type, or date and everything can be exported digitally or printed out on paper for tax time or for showing to a parent or guardian.

What We Like

  • The app can merge numerous photos of receipts into one page for printing.

What We Don't Like

  • XpenseTracker costs $4.99 and several features require additional in-app purchases.

Available on: iOS.

Khan Academy app
Khan Academy is a fantastic free study app.

 Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a fantastic resource for students of all ages due to its massive library of educational videos and lessons on a ridiculously large number of subjects.

What We Like

  • All of the content on Khan Academy is free and its official apps are available on a variety of devices. There's even an app for studying subjects on the Xbox One gaming console.

What We Don't Like

  • While the range of subjects is extensive, Khan Academy is strangely missing foreign languages.

Available on: iOS, Android, Windows, and Xbox One.

Microsoft To-Do app
Microsoft To-Do is great for keeping track of assignments.

 Microsoft

 

Microsoft To-Do is a free app made by Microsoft that excels at managing tasks and schedules via a simple user interface that makes it easy to create new tasks and mark them as done.

Tasks can be organized into lists which can be decorated with a variety of themes to make them distinct and items can be reorganized with the drag of a finger.

What We Like

  • Microsoft To-Do is a streamlined design that's easy to understand and use.
  • All of To-Do's features are completely free.

What We Don't Like

  • Managing missed tasks can be confusing at first.

Available on: iOS, Android, and Windows.