You Need A Budget 4 (YNAB 4) Mobile App Review: Accounts, Budget And Cloud Sync On The Go

My wife and I have been using You Need A Budget as our main budgeting software for over a year now. We started using You Need A Budget 3 last year, and found it to be an easy way to stay on track and on top of our family budget.

A few weeks ago we started using the new version of You Need A Budget when it was launched and have been impressed with the improvements in the software including a fresh new design, the ability reconcile accounts and how you can now sync your budget files to the cloud using your DropBox account.

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A couple of weeks ago I did a full YNAB 4 review where I talked about the software in depth and did a full video walkthrough of the application to give people a feel for how it works. This past week I got a copy of the mobile app for YNAB so that we could enter our receipts and check budget balances on the go.

I’ve now been using the Android version of the YNAB mobile app for a week or so. So here are my first impressions and review of the YNAB 4 mobile app. A video walkthrough of the mobile app appears below.

You Need A Budget 4 Features

I’ve done a full review of You Need A Budget 4 previously, but I figured I’d do a quick recap of some of the desktop application’s features here.

  • Budgets: The zero based budgeting functionality of YNAB is the reason why we bought it in the first place. Every penny of income is assigned to a giving, saving or spending category so that no money goes unaccounted for. Your budgets help you to stay on track and figure out when you’re overspending in certain categories.
  • Cloud Sync: This is one of the biggest upgrades in YNAB 4 over previous versions. The Cloud Sync option allows you to backup your budget files to the cloud (DropBox), and your transaction entries are saved immediately. So if you enter a transaction on the mobile app, it appears on the desktop version right away. Multiple computers can enter transactions in YNAB from different computers at the same time as well, and all will be synced together seamlessly. No conflicts or missing transactions.
  • Account Reconciliation: For me this was the second most exciting upgrade in YNAB 4 because previously you couldn’t easily reconcile your accounts – a pretty basic feature in some other financial software. By adding in an account reconciliation process, one of my biggest complaints about YNAB 3 software was done away with.
  • Updated reporting: The new version of YNAB also has some updated and improved reporting functionality, making it even easier to stay in tune with where your money is coming and going to.

The desktop app is a great piece of software, and the mobile app is a nice add-on to it.


YNAB 4 Mobile App Allows Transaction Entry On The Go

YNAB Mobile AppYNAB 4 Mobile apps make it easy for you to enter transactions while you’re out and about. Just left the grocery store? Enter the transaction and view how much you have left over in your grocery budget. Thinking about going out to dinner? Check your budget in the app and see how much money you’ve got left in your dining out budget. Having the mobile app has made staying on top of and sticking to our budget that much easier. I’m loving it!

There are currently 3 versions of the mobile app that you can download.

  • YNAB for iOS: The YNAB app for iPhone and all other iOS devices. There is talk of a full standalone iPad app down the road, but currently the YNAB for iOS should work on iPad. $4.99
  • YNAB Lite for iOS: A free version of the software that only allows for budget viewing and transaction entry. Android version coming soon. Free
  • YNAB for Android: This is the version that we have on our Android phones and Kindle Fire. Has all the same features as the iOS version, except geo-smart payees, which they’re hoping to add soon. $4.99

Here’s a quick look at a comparison of features by version.

YNAB 4 Mobile App Features

Cloud Sync

As with the desktop versions of the app, the YNAB mobile apps will also sync to the cloud so that your budget files and transactions are always up to date.

I’ve actually tested out the functionality to see just how well it works, and it’s amazing how seamless it is. You can enter a transaction on the app, and as long as you’ve got a connection of some sort you can watch in real time as the desktop application shows the updated transaction. I actually sat in front of the open YNAB 4 desktop program and entered some receipts on the phone, and almost in real time the receipts showed up on the desktop.

The Cloud Sync feature is great because it never means having conflicted files or transactions like you may have had in previous versions.

Check You Budget On The Go

ynab mobile app budgetChecking your budget on the go no longer means having to print out your budget regularly and bringing it with you. You can just open up the app, click on the budgets button and see an updated budget category list and amounts left over to spend. Open it up and check your budget before you spend and you’ll be sure to stay on track!

Geo-Smart Payees

YNAB for iOS currently has a cool featured called geo-smart payees that uses the phone’s location awareness in order to figure out where you are, and then figure out what retailer you’re at.  It will then automatically set the category and payee for a new transaction.

They’re hoping to have this functionality available for the Android version soon as well as it’s one of the few features not available for Android users that is on the iOS version.

Security Pin Access

You can keep your account and budget information secure by setting a pin number for your mobile app.  Just don’t let your password be 1234.

Favorite Categories

In the full featured YNAB apps you can set your favorite categories for quick access when entering transactions and checking your budget. On our app I’ve set the grocery, dining out and his and hers blow money categories as our favorites as those are categories we spend a lot in, and typically have issues overspending in.

Accounts View

In the full version of the app you can view your accounts and all the transactions there-in.  I’ve used this a bit to check account balances, and figure out which account certain spending is coming out of when I can’t remember.  Very handy to have while not at home.


The mobile apps for You Need A Budget 4 are a worthy add-on to the full desktop application. We’ve found it extremely useful to enter receipts while we’re out and about, as well as to make sure we stay on top of our budget. If you’re a YNAB 4 user already I’d highly recommend purchasing and using the mobile app as well.

Try YNAB 4 And The Mobile App Now!


Last Edited: 16th April 2014

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    Share Your Thoughts:

  1. says

    We’re currently using YNAB 3 (and had the version before that). The upgrade to 4, with cloud sync, seems very nice. Currently, we’re syncing between computers to a networked device.

  2. says

    I’d love to win YNAB, read reviews on other sites. currently budgeting on spreadsheet, but keeping up accounts on i-bank and not a fan, but mac users don’t have many good choices.

  3. says

    I do budget but have not gotten it down to the penny yet, the zero-balance thing. I recently moved my checkbook register onto an excel spreadsheet to ease the pain of incorrect calculations on my part. A software program to help coordinate the checkbook w/a monthly budget would be awesome.

  4. David Coutcher says

    We currently do not budget. Have never been truly happy using quicken over the years. We will be starting the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace and having YNAB would be a fantastic way to start!

  5. Janara says

    We are in the process of developing a better spending plan and YNAB would be perfect to embark on our new thought of money.

  6. Doug says

    YNAB is a super zero-based program that takes some getting used to at the start, but the effort learning the program seems to be well worth it. As Peter said in his earlier review, YNAB 4 seems to be quite a step up from YNAB 3.

  7. Cari says

    This would be a really great tool for me. I’ve just been eyeballing my spending the last year or so because I have irregular income, but I start getting my pension in October, so this would help me organize and keep a better handle on my money.

  8. says

    My hubby and I are now semi-retired and find it difficult to manage on our current income. No we don’t actually have a budget. We really need one. YNAB sounds like the perfect solution to keep us on track. It is too easy to spoil grandkids with impulse purchases. We need help!

  9. Cassie D. says

    I budget on paper for the most part but have used YNAB in the past. I would love to be able to have the Mobil one to try out and the new program. Need to get a better handle on it.

  10. Brandon Horne says

    I am an occasional user of YNAB 3 and have tried YNAB 4 a couple of times, I would love to get away from my spreadsheet that I have been using for 7+ years.

  11. Olivia says

    We (actually I) use the paper and pencil budgeting method. Husband and kids have been on me for some time to leave the ice age and go electronic. YNAB sounds like a good option. Not only does it NOT make math errors, it works with a zero budget system. That would help us wrestle a tad more out of our dead presidents.

  12. Kathy says

    This would be such a help, as we have not had success in the past with other programs & this one sounds like it would really work! We are working really hard right now to get back on track with our finances & could use help!

  13. Adam Gerard says

    I’m giving YNAB a shot. I agree that YNAB4 is pretty impressive. I gave the 30 day trial a shot with the previous version and liked it, but couldn’t keep up. Decided to try again and was surprised at all the new features (and how much prettier it looks now).

  14. Travis says

    I currently use a spreadsheet to track our finances, but don’t really budget anything yet. This might be worth a try.

  15. Ed says

    I have never used a computer software budget program. I have spent many hours trying to make a budget on paper. It gets lost or put aside and results in good bye budget. I am definately going to try the demo. Thank you Peter.

  16. Charles says

    I currently do not have a set budget, neither do I have steady income currently. This may bring better order to the finances, so I am looking forward to winning YNAB.

  17. jaime says

    Last fall we began with a budget spreadsheet. We then combined the spreadsheet with This summer, mostly due to my wife being off work, we’ve stopped using both. YNAB would be a great start to getting back on track this fall! Thanks.

  18. Katrina Miller says

    We decided about 6 months ago to begin a budget using It’s good, but for me, it’s lacking in some way. For our family YNAB 4 with cloud sync sounds like it would fit the bill as our budgeting system. Thanks.

  19. Rach says

    I have been trying to start a budget. Hopefully, my husband and I can start one soon. Thanks for the giveaway.

  20. godzonekid says

    I don’t believe in budgets. Such a “Negative” word. I believe in Spending Plans. I believe YNAB would help me see where my dollars are going. Hopefully I can see where my wife’s dollars are going too.

    I would LOVE to win this… in lil ol’ Noo Zilund! : )

  21. Leiton Powell says

    We use an excel spreadsheet I created for our budget. We have used Quicken years ago, but when our version was outdated, I didn’t want to spend the money to upgrade, so I have been looking for other alternatives.

    I have seen many reviews of YNAB and it looks like one of the best alternatives, but something we couldn’t pull the trigger in purchasing. I would be really thrilled in winnning this as one of the big features I like in this review is the cloud storage. With the variety of computers and devices we have, it would be nice to have it anytime we need.

  22. Luke says

    I’m getting married in a month, and downloaded the trial of YNAB for free. So far, it’s amazing! I’m used to budgeting on my own with googledocs spreadsheets, and it’s a mess. After spending 10 minutes with YNAB, it’s like a switch flipped in my brain and I was like, “Oh. I see.” This makes so much more sense than the way I did it before.


  23. Doug says

    Tried out YNAB and it seems to be a strong program. Have used Dave Ramsey’s budgeting method for some time. This fits well, though not exact.
    Thanks for offering the giveaway.

  24. Michael Brown says

    Well, I would love the opportunity to have something to work with that I didn’t create myself. Doesn’t seem like I am too good at budgeting as a planning activity. I can sure track where it all goes, but I’m not too great at planning where it should have gone in the first place.

  25. Jennie says

    I’ve been using the old Excel version of YNAB for quite a few years now, and while it doesn’t magically get you out of debt, it does make it so you always know where you’re at. I would NEVER go back to not knowing where every penny was spent! You’ll do so much better if you have a plan!

  26. Melissa says

    We keep trying to do a budget every month but we currently fail at it. My husband and I have tried a bunch of different budgeting software without finding one we really like, but at the current time we don’t have 60 bucks to drop on software so it would be great to win it. I’ve heard awesome things about it.

  27. Johanna says

    Would love to win a copy of YNAB, we are following the Dave Ramsey plan and the new software would be a HUGE help!

  28. John says

    I’ve recently made a bit of progress on knocking out debt and adding to savings thanks to some of the tools I’ve learned about through this site. I need a better budget, so it sounds as if YNAB is another tool which I could really use. Thanks for the article and the giveaway!

  29. jaime says

    I won! I won! Thanks for letting me win this great prize! we will do our best to get on track this coming fall!

  30. Kevin says

    I use Gnucash. The principle is same as YNAB from your review. Its a free and a powerful software as well. The only difference i see is Gnucash doesnt have syncing with other computers feature. Apart from that its a powerful free software. Check it out when you get a chance.

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