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The best timekeeping iOS apps

Brian Beam | April 22, 2014
As someone who runs a freelance consulting business, it's important to track my time accurately so that I can bill my clients properly, and there just so happens to be a plethora of standalone timekeeping apps available for iOS.

To record your time, you can either enter it manually or use the running timer. To add a time record manually, simply tap on the project's name, then tap on the +Hours button. Enter the start/end dates, the number hours and select a work item, then add any notes. (Adding a fixed-price item is a similar process.) If you prefer to use the timer, once you've gotten it started, you can dismiss it and it'll continue running in the background. You can stop and restart it as many times as you want and, when you're finished, it will add the cumulative time to the task.

If a client has paid you a deposit or retainer, you can track that and then draw upon the balance when you create your invoices. You can setup all the info that's included on your invoices in advance, including a logo and whether you want to send your invoices as HTML-formatted emails or as PDF email attachments. (The logo and PDF options are included with the $5 app but are available as an in-app purchase in the $3 version.) Creating an invoice is easy: you simply go to the project's detail screen and tap on +Invoice, then select the work items to be included and tap Save. Once you're satisfied, you can then preview the invoice and send it via email.

The app doesn't provide much in the way of reporting features, but you can easily export your data to work with offline, using an app such as Excel, Numbers or any app that can read CSV or TSV files.

To help protect against data loss should your device ever get lost, broken, or stolen, you can use TimeWerks' cloud-based backup service, which is included with the $5 app but requires a $2 in-app purchase in the other version. There's also a cloud-based syncing service available that lets you keep your data in sync across multiple devices. It's an in-app purchase of either $3 per month or $25 per year for either version of the app. While I would prefer either iCloud or Dropbox syncing, my experience with the developer's solution has still been very positive.

TimeWerks Pro is a universal app, so it runs on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, and has a special interface that's optimized for the iPad's larger screen. The app takes good advantage of the extra screen size, but the more compact iPhone interface is quite usable as well. The app seems very solid; I've had a few occasional crashes during backing up and syncing, but I've never lost any data.

Although there's no free version you can try first, at only $5 for the pro version — and even allowing for the extra fee for backup and syncing — TimeWerks Pro is an economical choice for freelancers and small businesses who need to track time and invoice clients.


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