Personal databases are typically small database management systems designed to be used by only one person to organize information (see our guide to data terminology for more information on what databases are and how they work).

We've previously looked at project management and SharePoint apps for the iPad. Personal databases can provide similar functionality, but give individual professionals more control over how they organize and work with information. We'll look at apps for accessing larger scale databases in the future.


FileMaker has a long history of providing database tools for Apple computers (and is now an Apple subsidiary), so it's only natural to look to the company for database tools for the iPad. FileMaker offers a couple tools itself, and there are third party tools for working with FileMaker databases as well.

Bento is "personal database" for both the Mac, the iPhone and the iPad. Unlike FileMaker Pro, Bento is designed to be even easier than FileMaker's flagship database product, and offers several templates for getting started. Templates include projects, contacts and files.

Bento for iPad costs $4.99, but you'll need to also own the desktop version if you want to backup/sync your data.

Database for iPad

Database for iPad is a free and simple database app that can sync with Google Docs spreadsheets. You can also share both templates and database contents with other Database for iPad users.


HanDBase is a relational database application that boasts over 2,000 templates, including inventory, auto mileage, survey, time/billing and CRM. One downside is that HDBase requires a wired sync in order to back up or import databases. Some users complain about the lack of integration with cloud services like Dropbox. On brighter note, HanDBase is available on a slew of platforms, including OSX, Android and BlackBerry, and PalmOS - so if you are looking for something that runs everywhere, this might be your ticket.

HanDBase costs $9.99.

Tap Forms HD

Tap Forms Database does have Dropbox integration, but it only has 25 templates. But how many different ones do you really need? Tap Forms also supports audio notes and attachments. There is no desktop version. Databases can be backed up as CSVs.

Tap Forms Database costs $8.99.

Which One is Best?