iA Writer

App review by
Erin Wilkey Oh, Common Sense Media
iA Writer App Poster Image
Simple, pared-down text editor lets kids focus on writing.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

iA Writer wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning. However, as a composition tool, iA Writer could be used in various settings to achieve a range of learning goals.

Ease of Play

This text editor has a clean design and is easy to use. The app opens to an "About Writer" doc that gives an overview of features, but not much instruction on use. Fortunately, the app controls are pretty easy to figure out.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that iA Writer is a text editor for iOS devices with an easy-to-use, uncluttered interface and optional syncing via iCloud and Dropbox. Users can compose text-only documents and save or share them. There are no formatting options such as different fonts, bulleted lists, or inserting graphics. Text files export as .txt and .mb and can be opened directly in the Evernote or Dropbox apps as well as emailed.

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What's it about?

Users first decide if they want to sync documents to iCloud, enabling access to files across multiple devices. An \"About Writer\" doc opens with a list of features and recent updates. The plus symbol opens a blank document, which automatically saves as users type. In the documents menu, users can link these files to their Dropbox account. On the iPad, a button in the top right corner enables \"Focus Mode\" which grays out all but the most current three lines of text. Sharing options include email, print, Google Drive, Evernote, or Dropbox.

Is it any good?

IAWRITER fills a particular niche in the pool of productivity apps. It's a straightforward text editor with basic functionality and invaluable sharing features. There's no WYSIWYG editor with options to customize fonts or insert images and hyperlinks into your document. Users type, then save or share. Dropbox and Evernote integrate with a tap of the finger, and iCloud syncing makes docs available on all devices in real time (though some users noted problems setting up iCloud). iA Writer is also available on Mac laptops and desktops, though users must purchase the Mac version of the app in addition to the mobile version to sync docs to their computers.

iA Writer may not have the formatting options of products like Pages or Microsoft Office, but its simplicity makes writing the focal point. With kids, this uncluttered, easy-to-use app might be a great tool to practice typing or simply focus on the written word.

App details

For kids who love writing and storytelling

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