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If you enjoy using visual tools for your brainstorming sessions 8 Tips To Come Up With Winning Ideas When You Are Brainstorming Alone 8 Tips To Come Up With Winning Ideas When You Are Brainstorming Alone Two heads think better than one, but brainstorming is as much about individual problem solving as it is about the group. Here are some methods to build up a “storm” of ideas. Read More , then mind maps are perfect. You can quickly generate ideas and gain more insight with a mind mapping app on your mobile device.

Whether you’re using an iPhone or iPad, these five tools can keep your thoughts flowing on-the-go.

Basics of Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a visual way to capture and organize your thoughts and ideas. Using a basic diagram with pieces called nodes, you start with one central concept (keyword or term) and branch out from there.

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You can easily map out business projects 5 Free Apps To Make Your iPad A Useful Business Tool [Mac] 5 Free Apps To Make Your iPad A Useful Business Tool [Mac] Read More , personal timelines, and study materials. This strategy not only provides you with a clear overview, but a simple way to structure your projects while brainstorming How to Brainstorm the Right Way with Simple Mood Boards How to Brainstorm the Right Way with Simple Mood Boards A beautiful mood board is one of the best tools for visual brainstorming. Use this brief guide to convey your ideas or just try solo brainstorming with a collage of inspiring images. Read More .

Having a mind mapping app on your device is a handy way to capture your thoughts wherever you go. So, don’t let that great idea float away. Pop it into one of these mind map apps for safe keeping.

MindNode ($9.99)

If you are looking for a robust mind mapping option, then check out MindMode. This full-featured app provides intuitive tools for brainstorming, organizing, and sharing your ideas.

You can create multiple mind maps, add photos and stickers to nodes, use different colors and fonts, and include notes and labels. Standout features of MindNode include a built-in outline view for large mind maps, the ability to turn nodes into tasks, accessibility options like voiceover, and a “Smart Layout” for automatic organization.

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MindNode can be accessed on your Apple Watch and Mac using iCloud Drive Mind Map Ideas, Projects and Tasks With MindNode for Mac and iOS Mind Map Ideas, Projects and Tasks With MindNode for Mac and iOS Though good old pen and paper traditionally got the job done, digital mind mapping applications like MindNode offer flexibility and features that save time and trees. Read More . You can import from locations like FreeMind and TaskPaper and then export to those as well, plus OmniFocus and PDF. If you are serious about your mind mapping and are okay with the price tag, MindNode is a wonderful app.

Verdict: If you’re serious about mind mapping then $10 seems like a fair price to pay for such a powerful organisation tool.

SimpleMind + (Free)

SimpleMind+ offers a wide range of features to get you started with your mind map quickly. Just choose a color scheme and layout for your map and add a node with a tap.

You can easily drag nodes to rearrange them and pinch to zoom in and out on the entire map. Add a helpful note, show or hide siblings, and use the copy and paste features for fast actions. The app includes additional settings for map shadowing, font style selection, and auto-snap with an adjustable grid size.

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Mind maps can be exported via email or saved to the SimpleMind Desktop (paid) app for Mac or Windows. If you like SimpleMind+, you can upgrade to SimpleMind+ Pro via in-app purchase or buy it directly on the App Store. The pro version provides an array of additional features including mind map folders, auto numbering, and syncing and sharing with Dropbox and Google Drive.

Verdict: A great free option for those starting out, with the option to upgrade if you really like it.

MindMeister (Free)

If you are a fan of MeisterTask for managing projects, then you should try out MindMeister from the same company. Create, edit, and sync an unlimited number of mind maps and folders quickly and simply.

The app provides the basic tools you need such as map themes, icons, colors, and notes. What makes MindMeister stand out is that you can add links, tasks, and attachments to nodes. In addition, each node has options for setting the priority, including start and due dates, and assigning to someone on your team.

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MindMeister offers Apple Watch support, exporting to PDF, RTF, and PNG formats, and a favorites section. The app is free, but subscriptions are available via in-app purchase which provide image and photo additions and further exporting options.

Verdict: Another solid free option, but one that favors a subscription model when you want to upgrade.

Mind Vector (Free)

Another free mind mapping app to check out is Mind Vector. Mind Vector provides you with a starter map that you can edit and adjust to get used to the tool. You can then create two additional mind maps of your own.

The nodes contain options for notes, links, images, and colors. There are also nifty emoticons like flags, numbers, and objects for style or prioritization.  For the main map, you can choose the background color, line style, and color scheme for the nodes. Plus, you can save your creation as an image, PDF, or CSV file.

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In addition to iPhone and iPad, the app has Apple Watch support. Subscription options let you create an unlimited number of maps and nodes, import from services like Dropbox or iCloud, and remove the ads. Mind Vector also provides web access for collaboration.

Verdict: Another subscription-based model, providing a good alternative to MindMeister and the ability to try before you buy.

Popplet ($4.99)

For both work and school projects, Popplet is an easy-to-use mind mapping app. The interface is casual and uncomplicated with a variety of handy features.

You can create unlimited local boards to hold your mind maps which are called Popplets. For designing and editing your mind map, the app provides colors, text, and photo options for each node. Resizing and rearranging are simple with touch-and-drag actions. You can pinch to zoom in and out and move the entire Popplet on the background.

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Sharing options from the app include emailing your mind map as a PDF or JPEG. Additional settings include auto-snap, multiple selections, and disabling of editing. If you sign up for an online account, you will receive 10 free online boards. This allows you to access your Popplets via the web and collaborate with others Brainstorming with Others Doesn't Have to be Hard Brainstorming with Others Doesn't Have to be Hard Read More .

Verdict: A cheaper and simpler alternative to MindNode, but one which doesn’t require in-app purchases or subscriptions to make the most of.

What Do You Use for Mind Maps?

These are great choices if you are in the market for an iOS mind mapping tool. You can also try out a few different free ones 8 Free Mind Map Tools & How to Best Use Them 8 Free Mind Map Tools & How to Best Use Them For an office worker, a mind map can be a solo brainstorming tool or a collaborative idea collection. In the right hands, a simple mind map can help make better decisions. Read More to see which suits you best.

If you have one that you currently use, prefer, and would recommend, please share it in the comments below!

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  1. Daniel
    March 1, 2017 at 1:51 am

    I have been using Mindly on my iPhone. Different and unique UI, though. In a lot of ways, it can eliminate a lot of the distraction and clutter while in one node.

    I also used NovaMind extensively back in the day when there were few mind mapping choices.

  2. Tak
    January 21, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    RAW can be captured with the iPhone SE as well.

  3. Bill Morey
    July 5, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    I think MagicalPad would be a nice fresh addition to your list. check it out. MagicalPad magicalpad.com ($9.99) is a great new app that I use. It combines mind mapping, outlining and visual note taking. It also adds tasks to the mix all in a free-form moving pieces around. it has a basic doodle tool and have iPad and Mac version with sync.? Lot of flexibility for 1/10 of what you pay for older apps.

  4. Dlira
    April 5, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I doubt that anything can beat iThoughts. An impressive app with cloud support, import and export to very many formats etc. etc. I have been using Mindjet (free) for a couple of years, which is a quite good app that also corresponds with my Windows version of MindManager, but I have never regretted switching to iThoughts (which also communicates with MindManager seamlessly).

  5. James Scott
    March 2, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    I agree with Jeff. I've tried them all, and SimpleMind is the best mind mapping app!

    • Simon S
      March 24, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      SimpleMind looks good. What makes you choose it over the other options?

  6. Jeff
    February 28, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I love simplemind! Cross platform and very simple to use.

  7. hammbino
    February 26, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Corkulous is the best mind mapping app I have ever seen for the iPad.

  8. John
    February 26, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    How about a similar article for Android?

  9. Joseph Gauci
    February 26, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    What about simple mind. It has both windows and iOS versions.

  10. Graham Bruce
    February 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    What about iMindMap from the originator of mind mapping Tony Buzan.

  11. Saikat B
    February 26, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Great choices! I always keep coming back to pen and paper -- I feel it's more intuitive. But these apps are good in their own way. You can create mindmaps for professional presentations quite easily.

    • Simon S
      March 24, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      It's a bit of a mixed bag, in my opinion. Electronic is great for collaboration and generally when you have a good idea of what you're trying to achieve. There's little that beats pen and paper to doodle a bit and play with ideas, though.

      • Anonymous
        October 13, 2015 at 8:17 am

        You might like my app Instaviz Lite then. Just doodle a couple of nodes and link them up, out pops a neat diagram. You don't have to plan in advance, figure out a hierarchy, fight with the modes and widgets -- just sketch it and Instaviz lays it out. Check it out: http://try.instaviz.com

  12. Anonymous
    February 26, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Inspiration good too - has the option of switching between concept map and linear - useful @julesdaulby

  13. Barrie Stephenson
    February 25, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    What about MindMeister?

    • Peter S
      March 18, 2014 at 10:15 pm

      MindMeister is great - works very well on Desktops and Tablets/Smartphones - iOS and Android. Real time collaboration and history feature on shared maps.

    • Simon S
      March 24, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      MindMeister looks great, thanks for the tip!