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The Top Free Apps to Download to Your New iPad Retina Display

So you just unboxed your shiny, new iPad — now what? Given that the most significant upgrade this time around is its new Retina Display, we suggest diving into apps that will best show off the high-resolution screen.

So here’s a quick guide on the top free apps you should download to your iPad Retina Display. And don’t worry, all of these apps are free. They also happen to be among the best free apps on the iPad.

ABC Player

Watch episodes of ABC’s sitcoms, dramas, and news shows without the need for cable or fiddling with antennas. The app will sync your watching list across iOS devices and offers closed captioning on episodes where it’s available. All for free. Though the network isn’t yet streaming full HD video, all of the app’s other elements got the retina refresh.

Download ABC Player in the App Store


The devs behind Flipboard updated the app just before new iPads went on sale to much rejoicing. Not only does it offer crisp text for long, enjoyable reading sessions, but also higher resolution images and some design tweaks to take advantage of the beautiful display. Flip through images from Flickr and Tumblr, news items from Twitter, Facebook, and Google Reader, or your favorite blogs and magazines.

Download Flipboard in the App Store


If you subscribe to Netflix’s unlimited streaming plan, no doubt you’ll want to run straight to the app store and download the Netflix app. But if you haven’t decided on a streaming plan, you’ll want to check out Crackle. Owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, Crackle offers streaming movies and TV shows for free. That’s right. There’s no cost to download the app and no monthly fee. Even if you subscribe to Netflix or Hulu Plus, you’ll want to augment your streaming selection with Crackle.

Download Crackle in the App Store

NOOK by Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble updated the Nook app for iPad with Retina Display enhancements plus the ability to read in one or two columns when in landscape mode. The Retina update is the most important, especially for a reading-focused app. Not only were the graphics fuzzy in magazines, but the text in normal books wasn’t crisp when compared to other apps like Flipboard or Kindle.

Download Nook for iPad in the App Store

Pandora Radio

Those familiar with Pandora Radio probably downloaded it straight away. A free service that allows you to create a custom radio station by picking out an artist or song and having Pandora play similar music, Pandora is perfect for any music lover of any genre of music.

Download Pandora for iPad in the App Store