Recent data on remote work benefits to employers shows employees working from home are 15% more productive than in-office team members, saving businesses an average of $11,000 per year.
Mobile collaboration tools like file sharing apps, video calling platforms, and on-the-go instant messaging allow team members to communicate with each other from anywhere just as quickly as they would in a traditional office environment.
What features should you look for in mobile collaboration tools, and what are the best options? Furthermore, are mobile versions of popular team collaboration software worth using, or are the most important features only available in desktop versions?
What Is Mobile Collaboration?
Mobile collaboration is the process of using mobile team communication and collaboration tools to connect team members no matter where they are or which device they’re using.
These apps can be mobile versions of desktop software, or standalone mobile team collaboration tools without a desktop counterpart.
Users can connect with one another from mobile device to mobile device or from a desktop computer to a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone.
The most popular mobile collaboration tools and functions are:
- Mobile file sharing
- Mobile note-taking
- Mobile video calling
- Mobile chat messenger
- Mobile project management
- Mobile screen sharing
What Are the Mobile Collaboration Benefits?
Mobile collaboration apps allow team members to work on their own schedules from anywhere they have Internet access.
Additional benefits include:
- Improved internal communication
- Shorter project timelines
- Cost savings
- Expedient communication
- Higher employee morale
- Improved collaboration
- Simplified project monitoring
What are the Top Mobile File Sharing Tools?
File sharing mobile collaboration apps provide a central location for all documents related to a specific project, and allow them to share any files they’ve created with other team members. These free online collaboration tools help to cut down on endless emails and allow for real-time file editing and comments.
They also provide version control to prevent team members from working on outdated drafts.
When evaluating these mobile collaboration tools, consider the amount of storage space that file they offer, as well as the app’s access control and security measures.
Google Docs is the best-known browser-based file sharing app, providing both desktop and mobile collaboration apps for Android and iOS devices.
As with the desktop version, the mobile Google Docs application allows users to grant file access to specific users, or to provide file access via a shared link. Offline editing is another huge benefit of Google Docs that is also available in the mobile version.
The only major features missing from the mobile app are suggested edits, shapes, and headers/footers. While editing is possible within the mobile version, note that users must also download Google Drive if they wish to create specific folders for documents.
Other mobile Google Docs features include:
- Voice to text feature
- Add/resolve document comments
- Comment tagging
- Highlighting tool
- Accept/deny edits
- Revision history
In addition to document creation, sharing, and editing via Google Docs, Google also offers mobile versions of its spreadsheet tool, Google Sheets, and its presentation tool, Google Slides. Check out our post on the top Google Doc hacks to learn about additional desktop and mobile features.
Dropbox is a cross-platform file sharing desktop and mobile app with over 175 supported file types including images, Adobe PDFs, Google and Microsoft Office documents, and more.
Compatible with both iPhone and Android mobile devices, Dropbox provides both file storage and real-time editing and collaboration. Users can share files with one another and create folders to organize documents by project or team.
While its free version allows for up to 2 GB of storage, paid plans provide unlimited storage space.
Dropbox mobile doesn’t offer quite as many features as its desktop version, but still provides automatic document synching, offline file access, and document/image scanning from smartphone cameras.
Other Dropbox mobile features include:
- Password protection
- File commenting
- Remote printing
- Link and SMS file sharing
- File editing history
- Push notifications
- File search bar
What Are Mobile Note Taking Apps?
Whether you’re on a video conference call or attending an in-person meeting with a client, using a mobile note-taking app makes it easy to upload, share, and review important information later.
Create to-do lists, brainstorm ideas with other team members, and access additional files in apps like EverNote and Microsoft OneNote.
EverNote is a mobile note-taking device and virtual filing system that allows users to organize notes into topic-specific “Notebooks” or categorize notes via topic tags.
Users can create to-do lists, attach and comment on files, include web pages, and even scan business cards in EverNote. The tool even integrates with other team collaboration platforms like Google Drive, Outlook, Slack, Salesforce, and Microsoft Teams.
EverNote’s mobile features also include:
- Automatic synching
- Audio notes
- PDF annotation
- Virtual bulletin boards
- Single sign-on
EverNote offers a free basic version and two paid options that provide additional storage space.
Microsoft OneNote is a digital notebook that acts as both an individual and team-wide note-taking mobile application. Users can separate notebooks into different topics and sections, capture content from the web, and share both entire notebooks and single note pages with other team members. Anyone with access to the notes can annotate/edit them in real-time.
It’s especially popular for its ability to convert handwritten notes into typed text through its OCR text-recognition feature. OneNote users can also draw on and annotate notes, highlight important text, and upload photos from their mobile device into their notes.
Microsoft OneNote’s mobile version also offers:
- To-do lists
- Cloud synching
- Offline access
- Audio and video recording
- Note-taking templates
- Customized tags
- Note version history
- Virtual sticky notes
Are Mobile Video Calling Platforms Worth It?
Web conferencing software allows for face-to-face meetings between remote team members, departments, and project managers, making it one of the most important mobile collaboration features on this list.
Mobile video calling platforms ensure that employees don’t miss out on these important meetings no matter where they are, and even makes it easy for team members to attend webinars or virtual training sessions from anywhere.
In addition to mobile video conferencing, many of these tools also provide features like screen sharing, chat messaging, scheduling tools, meeting recording, and more.
Zoom and GoToMeeting are the top two mobile video calling tools because they offer the most comprehensive mobile versions of their desktop software.
GoToMeeting web conferencing software is one of the most popular Skype for Business alternatives thanks to features like meeting recording and transcription, whiteboard and pass presenter tools, and strong admin control.
Its iOS, Blackberry, and Android compatible mobile version is no less robust, and provides essential features outside of simply video calling — meaning that it eliminates the need to download multiple mobile collaboration tools.
Mobile GoToMeeting users can see up to six simultaneous screens, benefit from active speaker view, and share screens with other attendees.
Additional mobile GoToMeeting features include:
- Chat messaging tool
- Meeting scheduling
- One-click meeting join
- Shared screen annotation
- Mobile meeting recording
- VoIP audio calling
- Pass presenter
- Meeting reminder push notifications
Please note that as of this writing, GoToMeeting mobile collaboration apps are only available with paid plans.
Zoom is the most popular video conferencing platform of the moment, and its Android and iOS-friendly mobile app is just another reason why.
Users can see up to four screens simultaneously and can swipe to see additional screens in larger meetings.
Anyone can join a Zoom meeting on a mobile device via a meeting link, meaning it’s not necessary to download the app (though those hosting meetings will need to.) Latecomers can even join a meeting in progress via their mobile device, and hosts can invite others to join after the meeting has started.
Additional Zoom Mobile features include:
- File sharing
- Siri shortcuts
- Mute/unmute attendees
- The virtual mobile waiting room
- Chat messaging
- Default active speaker view
- Screen sharing
- Whiteboard tool (iPad only)
- Screen sharing co-annotation
- Virtual backgrounds
- Safe driving mode
- Hand-raising feature
Which Mobile Chat Messenger Apps Should You Use?
Chat messenger apps are mobile collaboration tools allowing for instantaneous internal communication. They’re ideal for sending out company-wide announcements, getting quick clarifications, or even polling or asking for feedback from team members.
These apps should allow users to create both private and public channels according to teams, topics, and more. Users will also need to tag/mention individual users or channels as a whole, to ensure that employees are notified about team-specific, time-sensitive information.
Some chat messenger apps also allow for in-app file sharing, video calling, and audio conference calls.
Slack is the most well-known chat messenger app, and its mobile version is compatible with both desktop and mobile devices.
Slack’s mobile version organizes chat channels in the navigation menu, allows for the creation of subthreads and user tagging, and even integrates with popular team collaboration tools like Google Docs, Asana, and Jira.
Users can send messages in a public and private groups or one-on-one channels and can upload and access files via third-party app integrations.
Additional Slack Mobile features include:
- Status updates
- Do not disturb
- Emoji reactions
- Searchable channels
- Ability to mark messages as unread
- Response reminders
- Message editing and deletion
- Dark mode
If Slack isn’t a good fit for your team, our list of the top Slack alternatives provides additional options.
Signal is the ideal mobile instant messaging tool for companies particularly concerned with security and privacy.
All messages and calls are end-to-end encrypted, user data is not shared, and best of all, Signal is open source and completely free to use. In addition to chat messaging, Signal also allows for unlimited one-on-one video calls and VoIP audio calls.
Additional features include:
- Emoticon reactions
- File, image, and video sharing
- Disappearing messages
- PIN number access
- Blocked users
Signal doesn’t have as many of the in-app collaboration tools that Slack does, but it’s the right choice for team members who need a way to quickly communicate with one another throughout the workday.
What are the Best Mobile Project Management Tools?
Project management tools allow team leaders to assign tasks and monitor project progress and make it easy for employees to understand their responsibilities and roles.
These platforms are also important mobile collaboration tools because they provide Gantt chart and Kanban views, to-do lists, and allow project managers to set task dependencies.
Though popular work management software options like Monday.com, Trello, and Basecamp have excellent desktop versions, their mobile applications compromise on many essential features.
Wrike is a team collaboration software that offers a free Android app and iOS mobile app in addition to its more robust desktop version.
Wrike provides real-time task activity streams, offers both board-based and spreadsheet views, and integrates with other popular team collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom.
While the other mobile collaboration tools on this list can be accessed via a mobile web browser, note that downloading the app itself is the only way to use Wrike on a mobile device.
Additional Wrike mobile features include:
- Multiple employee task assignment
- Subtask assignment
- Due dates
- Offline mode
- File sharing
- Task comments
- Time tracking
- Workload view
- App-wide search bar
Asana is a popular desktop work management platform, especially well-known for its checklist-style task management system and multiple board views.
Its Android and iOS mobile version offers most of the same features the desktop tool does, including calendar, Gantt, and Kanban views. Asana’s mobile app includes push notifications, task assignments and comments, and even task prioritization.
Team leaders can also review and approve tasks and uploaded files online or offline.
Additional features include:
- Voice notes
- Task progress updates
- Due dates
- Meeting agendas
- Subtask creation
- Pre-made project templates
- File editing
Learn more about Asana pricing and plans in our detailed review.
What are Mobile Screen Sharing Apps?
Free screen sharing apps give team members a real-time view of someone else’s screen, making it much easier to teach employees how to use new software, identify a tech problem, or provide customer support.
Screen sharing apps should include whiteboard access and allow for remote control, and some may even include features like remote printing and session screen recording.
Some of the above tools we’ve mentioned, such as Zoom and GoToMeeting, provide screen sharing capabilities in addition to other features like video calling and file sharing. However, the below mobile collaboration tools are exclusively screen sharing applications.
Mikogo is a mobile and desktop screen sharing platform compatible with Apple iOS and Android devices.
It connects desktop and mobile users as well as mobile-to-mobile users and supports voice conferencing during screen sharing sessions. Only users who wish to share their screens need to download the app, while attendees can join via a browser. Users can share their entire mobile or desktop screens, or a single application.
Mikogo is unique in that it stores data regarding past screen sharing sessions, including participants, meeting duration, meeting date, and more. One-to-one screen sharing is free forever, while paid users can share up to 25 screens simultaneously.
Mikogo also offers:
- Pass presenter feature
- Mouse and keyboard remote control
- Whiteboard tool
- Session screen recording
- File transfer
AnyDesk is one of the top cross-platform mobile collaboration tools for screen sharing.
It’s compatible with Android and Apple mobile devices as well as desktop computers and is especially known for providing unattended access. This means that any user with a password can access a team member’s screen remotely whenever they’d like, making it an ideal tool for customer service representatives.
While its free version is limited to strictly screen sharing, its three paid plans provide features like:
- Remote printing
- Whiteboard tools
- File sharing
- Remote control
- Session screen recording
- Chat messaging
Are Mobile Collaboration Tools As Good As Desktop Team Collaboration Software?
While mobile collaboration tools may not offer all the features their desktop counterparts do, they don’t compromise on essential functions like note-taking, screen sharing, task management features, video calling, and file sharing.
Mobile collaboration tools offer just as much value as desktop versions with added convenience, ease of use, and flexibility — so don’t be surprised if team members start to prefer them over standard software.
However, in order to prevent these tools from taking up too much storage space — and to avoid the hassle of constantly switching between apps — it’s best to rely on mobile collaboration tools offering a more complete set of features, as opposed to those focusing one just one main feature.
Curious about the top webinar software that also offers mobile access?
Our overview of free webinar platforms makes it much easier to choose team communication and collaboration tools that work for your team no matter where they’re working from.