If you enjoy using visual tools for your brainstorming sessions, 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.
You can easily map out business projects, 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.
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) [No Longer Available]
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.
MindNode can be accessed on your Apple Watch and Mac using iCloud Drive. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!