These days, your phone is capable of just about anything, from boosting your dating prospects (through dating apps) to looking up recipes. And if you have an iPhone or iPad, the App Store offers one of the largest collections of applications on the planet, one that spans a myriad of popular categories.
Given the sheer number of apps, however, where do you even start? Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best apps available, whether you’re new to iOS or you’re simply looking to expand your arsenal beyond the best iPhone games. If you’re an Android user, we’ve also curated a guide to the best Android apps.
If you need a refresher on what Google is, well, frankly, we’re not sure how you managed to find us here. While it may not be Android, Google’s app is perfectly at home on iOS, and it provides all the super-powered search powers you’ve come to expect from the Big G. It’s perhaps the best way to find any information, whether it’s who won the Soccer World Cup in 1958 (Brazil), or which nearby restaurants are still open and taking orders. Your data from your Google account is synced across, and it’ll push any news or events it thinks you might find interesting to the front of the app when you bring it up. An excellent app, and always worth downloading.
Google Chrome is an upgrade over Apple’s default Safari in almost every way. It syncs across multiple devices, so you can access your history or bookmarks from any device. Need to pull up the website you were looking at a week ago on your PC? No problem, Chrome remembers. It also includes a range of other features, including search bar autocomplete, data saving services, and unlimited tabs. Just remember to clean your tabs out occasionally — no-one needs 80 open tabs.
While it may have peaked, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Facebook is the social media site, and if you want your phone to be Facebook official, you need this app. Facebook has evolved from just being updates from friends, and now you’ll find a local marketplace, video center, and even memories from the past. It’s also a must-download because a bunch of other apps like to use Facebook as a login option, giving you a simple option for registering — which offers a good alternative to Sign in with Apple. And of course, pretty much everyone you know is on there, making it a must-download for almost everyone.
Alright, so you probably have youTube, and anyone that doesn’t is seriously missing out. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less essential, and if you don’t have YouTube on your iPhone, well, do yourself a favor and download it now. But YouTube hasn’t always been an iOS essential, having disappeared at Apple’s whims in iOS 6. Thankfully, Google brought it back. Millions of people use YouTube to upload videos daily, so there’s a staggering amount of videos available from everyone from mommy bloggers, to video game experts, to people who like to take phones apart. It’s free to use, but also features YouTube Premium, a subscription-based service that allows playlists to be downloaded and viewed offline, ad-free viewing, and video playback with a locked screen. It’ll cost you $12 a month though, and YouTube is still excellent without it, so don’t feel like you’re missing out if you’re not willing to pay.
It may be owned by Facebook, but Instagram is still the best social network for sharing pictures and ruining them with silly filters. We say ruining, but we put X Pro II on just about everything. You can follow specific interests as well as people, making it a great place to gather inspiration for projects, holidays, or just about anything. If you’re not the type to take lots of pictures you don’t need to feel pressured to share — just lurk on the homepage and enjoy shots from those you follow.
Communication and messaging
Chat apps are legion, and group chats are even more so. If you’re anything like us, you probably have group chats here and there, and swapping between apps and masses of notification groups is common. Wouldn’t it be simpler to collect all your group chats together in a single app? GroupMe makes it easier to keep track of them all. Add people simply with just their phone number, and they can begin chatting without even needing to download the app. You can name your groups, set avatars, and also save your photos and videos within group chats to refer back to later. There’s even a desktop version, so you can keep on chatting without getting your phone out of your pocket.
Facebook’s Messenger service is also offered as a stand-alone text messaging app, enabling you to chat with your Facebook friends and anyone in your contacts who has the app installed. Best of all, you don’t even need to be signed into Facebook to use it. We recommend this app for the sheer volume of messaging that happens via Facebook, though it’s a little frustrating that the Facebook app itself no longer includes messaging functionality, and takes up another slot on your homepage.
WhatsApp, which is a great choice for anyone who doesn’t have unlimited texting and spends a lot of time connected to Wi-Fi, lets you send and receive messages, pictures, audio notes, and video messages. It’s one of the most feature-packed chat apps out there, and absolutely worth downloading if you’re a regular chatter. Despite it being a worldwide sensation, most Americans don’t use it, which is odd, since it’s a phenomenal app. Do yourself a favor and give it a try.
A video chatting app in the vein of the famous app, Marco Polo is the perfect video chat app for busy people. Rather than waiting until you’re all ready for a call at the same time, Marco Polo records your video and sends it out whenever you have a moment — basically changing the concept of a live video chat into a video letter. When your recipient (or recipients) is ready to watch your video, they can load it up and reply in kind. An excellent group chatting tool, Marco Polo is best for when text chatting just isn’t intimate enough, but connecting on live video is hard.
If you want to set up or are looking for a chat group for a bunch of like-minded people, then Discord is the way to go. It’s fully cross-platform, so you can go from your phone to the computer, and back again without losing a second of banter, and it has all the features you expect from a chat app. It even has voice chat, You can join groups easily through a link, making it simple to join your friends. We have a guide for how to make a Discord bot as well if you’re interested.
Hinge has had a recent redesign that aims to reduce distractions, but it’s still the dating app that’s “designed to be deleted.” Hinge uses an advanced learning process to better understand your type, and will seek to match you only with people it thinks you’ll really like. It seems to be working, as apparently three out of four Hinge users generally want to go on a second date with their matches — so if you’re actually looking for a partner, this is a better choice than the dreaded app beginning with the letter T.
XO is a dating app where first encounters don’t have to be awkward. Instead of dropping you into a chat with a handful of icebreakers, XO invites you to get to know someone over one of a variety of fun mobile games. Boot up a game, and you’ll be chatting away in no time. XO has the major disadvantage of being quite young, so the user base is still quite small — but if you’re in a built-up area and first contact is something that makes you nervous, this is your dating app. The Blind Date feature is particularly notable — select it, and you’re placed into a game with an anonymous stranger, and your identities are only revealed at the end of the game. No more judging a book by its cover.
Bumble isn’t your usual dating app because it encourages women to be the ones who make the first moves. Match with someone in the Tinder-like interface, and the woman has 24 hours to send a message or the match expires. It’s a different way of doing things, and the time-limited nature can help to spur connections quickly.
Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel likes to take things a little slower. CMB will send you a bagel a day — a prospective partner who’s matched your dating preferences. You then have 24 hours to choose whether to like or pass on your bagel and if you both like each other, you’ll get a private chat room to get to know each other. However, that room expires after eight days, giving you a great way to fade from each other’s lives if you don’t get on.
Grindr is the largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people. The app uses your phone’s location to find other members close by to talk to, swap photos with, or meet in person. It’s not just about dating either, and there’s a group chat feature for when you need to assemble your friends.
You’ve probably seen hundreds of Tasty recipe videos around the internet, but don’t discount its app. With over 4,000 recipes, options to strip out recipes for different diets, or even meal types, Tasty is one of the most powerful recipe apps out there. You’ll find intricate step-by-step instructions for every recipe, along with handy videos, and you can even use the “what’s in my kitchen” feature to only see recipes you can make right now. A powerful and excellent recipe app.
The New York Times isn’t just about the news; it can also provide you with an excellent recipe app. NYT Cooking is the home for thousands of recipes, with new recipes added every week. It has a powerful filtering system, so you can search by diet, cuisine type, preparation method, and more, and you can mark down which recipes you’ve tried (and how they went). You can even access the same recipes and your own profile from any device as well.
Designed to help the constantly busy, Mealime excels when it’s asked to come up with a meal selection for picky eaters. Simply put in your requirements — vegan, gluten-free, low carb, etc. — and it’ll toss you suggestions that meet your criteria. Most recipes focus on meals with prep times of only 30 minutes, and it can help you put together your shopping list as well.
Start the new year in the right way with a personalized diet plan and food tracker from Lifesum. If you’re looking to shed some pounds, or just want to eat healthier, then Lifesum’s list of plans for a variety of diets is a great starting point. It has meal plans for keto, vegan, and paleo diets, a food diary, and macro trackers. However, a lot of these are locked behind a premium subscription, and it affords you access to more personal diet plans, unlimited tracking, macro tracking, and more.
Yummly is a great recipe app with a particularly powerful search engine being one of its best features. Need to strip out all recipes involving eggs? It can do that. Vegan? Easy. There are step-by-step instructions and large pictures to tempt your tastebuds. Once you’ve found a recipe you like, just tap the button to add the stuff you need to your shopping list.
Uber Eats: Food Delivery
Uber Eats makes getting ready-to-eat food to your door oh so simple. If you’ve used Uber before, then your account is ready to go. Simply choose a restaurant, pick your meal, and charge your card — then you’ll be able to track your food as it’s prepared and sent. You’ll be chowing down in no time. We’ve also found other food delivery apps if you’re interested.
Microsoft’s mobile companion app for the Xbox One allows you to control your Xbox One using your smartphone, so you can use your device to control media, and perform otherwise tedious tasks like typing messages. When you’re away from your console, the app acts as a way to stay in contact with your friends and see what they’re up to.
The PlayStation app doesn’t allow you to control your console like the Xbox One app, but it still acts as your link back into your gaming world while you’re out-and-about. View trophies, compose messages, and browse the PlayStation store with this app. Some games also include second-screen functionality for a deeper play experience.
Twitch’s mobile app brings the wide world of game streaming to your fingertips. Chat with other Twitch users, view your favorite streamers’ channels, or watch recorded videos of top gamers and events. The Twitch app is AirPlay and Chromecast compatible.
If you love to keep up with the latest news and scores from your favorite e-sports, then give Strafe Esports a try. It covers news from a variety of games, including League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Rocket League — and it even allows you to gamify your e-sports experience with a betting system that pits your predictions against other people’s. If you’re a lover of e-sports, or are just curious, this is worth downloading.
Looking for a place to eat or visit? Just curious about what’s nearby? Yelp has a massive database of over 199 million businesses across the world, making it one of the best ways to check out places to visit, whether you’re at home or farther away. You can book reservations or takeout directly from the app, find local contractors, or just check out the best stuff to do nearby.
Whether you’re going out at home or abroad, TripAdvisor is one of the best apps you can download. TripAdvisor’s massive database has over 700 million reviews from travelers all around the world on all the best attractions, restaurants, and more. You can book from the app for certain places, and you can even pay using it.
With StubHub, you can buy and sell tickets straight from the app — whether it’s for a concert or sports event — up until the day it is happening. You can also pick and choose your favorite bands or sports teams, so StubHub can provide you with event recommendations that you’ll be interested in.
Open Table is great for planning dinner on the fly. The free app allows you to search for new restaurants, explore menus, and even reserve a table.
Admit it, you’ve not used a mapping app other than Google Maps for years. Google’s app is the king of mapping apps for a reason, and it’s a reliable and endlessly updated service you access for absolutely nothing. It’s not just a map, and it can provide real-time updates on traffic conditions and public transit information as well. You can read and write reviews for businesses and restaurants, label your favorite places, see a timeline of your activity, and share your current trip and location with friends and family.
Health and fitness
This year has been an odd one, and many people’s fitness has suffered due to long periods of sitting, lying, or just collapsing under the tedium of it all. That’s why Wakeout has been named Apple’s iPhone App of the Year. Wakeout’s genius is that it’s a fitness app that doesn’t need you to roll out a yoga mat, or clear space. Instead, Wakeout will recommend exercises that can be done immediately, whether you’re sitting, lying down, or anything in between. You can schedule workouts for throughout the day, or use the Wind Down routines to relax yourself before bedtime. Wakeout is worth downloading even if you’re not a fitness freak.
30 Day Fitness (subscription)
Fitness can be hard to get into, as keeping up a regular schedule can be hard when life (and dipping energy levels) intervene. However, setting yourself a short-term goal can be one of the best ways to make sure you stick to a manageable schedule. 30 Day Fitness is fairly self-explanatory, and it provides hundreds of exercises with video instructions for each of the 30 days, plus a personal workout history so you can see how far you’ve come. You get a week for free, but it’ll cost you $5 a week for access after that.
Ten Percent Happier Meditation
Based on the bestselling book by ABC news anchor Dan Harris, Ten Percent Happier Meditation is probably the best first step if you’re looking to get into meditation. The beginner’s course is completely free to try as many times as you want, and has a bunch of sessions under 10 minutes in length — which helps a lot for those of us who struggle to sit still for long. The combination of short sessions and introductory videos to each session mean this is a great app to get started with. However, the annual subscription of $100 is quite expensive if you’re looking to go further.
Seven – 7 Minute Workout
How long do you need to start getting fit? Well, it can be as much time as you want, really, but 7 minutes will do just fine. Seven – 7 Minute Workout aims to give you the most benefit possible in just 7 minutes through a series of quick exercises that target specific areas of your body. There’s no equipment needed, just enough space to get going. It’s free to use, but joining the 7 Club for $10 a month (or $60 a year) will give you access to a wider range of exercises, personal workout plans, and support and guidance from a certified personal trainer.
If you’re a strength training enthusiast, then you probably want a way to track your progress in picking up heavy things and putting them back down again. GymBook is an excellent tool for weightlifters. It allows you to find different exercises based on muscle group, and has a series of guidance GIFs for 50 preset exercises.
Spotify is changing the game for the entire music industry. It’s free on PCs and tablets, but $10 a month if you want to fully use it on iPhone. It’s worth it. You can listen to full albums and create playlists.
With access to over 120,000 live radio stations from around the world, TuneIn Radio is the place to go for the latest breaking news, talk radio, sports, and more. It’s going to be a big app for sports fans though, as TuneIn offers a premium service with ad-free access to live NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL games for just $10 per month. But even if you’re not into sports, it’s still hard to pass up the thousands of live radio stations for free.
SoundCloud is the audio player that has become a favorite of musicians, talk shows, and podcasts alike. The iOS app gives access to favorites, playlists, and trending audio, and lets you follow and listen with friends.
Apple Music works with your Apple account to give you personal recommendations based on your library. You can create your own profile and playlists, and follow friends to check out their tunes. Depending on the membership you choose — student, individual, or family — you’ll have to pay a fee ranging from $5 to $15 per month.
Looking to make music, rather than listen to it? You can’t go wrong with Garageband’s collection of tools and instruments, from the cello to the electric guitar, to the most ’80s of all instruments — the synth. It’s completely free, and worth the download, even if you don’t know one end of a piano from the other.
Whether you’re hopping over from Android or have been iPhone-faithful for some time, it doesn’t change the fact that Google’s news app is one of the best to be found. Drawing from news sources from around the world, Google News is one of the best ways to keep up to date with the matters you care about most.
The New York Times
It’s one of the world’s finest newspapers, and it’s available on iPhone through the official New York Times app. It offers more than just the usual breaking news, and also includes morning briefings from New York Times journalists and the ability to save articles for offline access.
It might not be pretty, but boy is it fast. Breaking News is the best app to download if you just want the latest headlines as soon as they become available. You can follow a large number of different publications and have new breaking news pushed to you as it happens. There’s a newscast radio, and if you just want a big list of the latest news, it’s got support for that, too. It’s not going to be for everyone, but those who want it, they love it.
Curio: Hear great journalism
Why download a series of different apps when you can just download one that collates a bunch of reputable news sources? Curio brings together stories from a series of great news providers, including The Washington Post, The Guardian, and more. Best of all, it even allows you to listen rather than read with its collection of narrated stories. The free version has limits on how much you can listen to or download for later, and it’ll cost $8 a month to lift those limitations.
Apple News is already available on all iOS devices and reduces the need for a variety of news apps. The “For You” tab allows you to pick and choose specific apps you’d like to receive notifications from. You can also search for specific subjects or publications and save articles to view offline later. All of the stories are also saved across all your iOS devices.
Payment and money management
Investing is one of the cheat codes of growing capital, but it used to be that you needed a big nest egg to get started. That’s not the case anymore, and now anyone can invest, thanks to apps like Acorn. Rather than investing large sums of money, Acorn rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar, investing the difference. While it may not seem like much, from tiny acorns do massive oak trees grow, and this passive saving method could be key to helping you to build up a significant nest egg. You can even use it to set up an IRA pension fund as well.
Use PayPal to check up on the transactions in your account, send or request money, and photograph checks or credit cards to add them to your account without messing with the details.
Venmo is the payment app for the people. Connecting directly with your debit card, Venmo offers free person-to-person money transfers. Credit transfers require a percentage fee. It’s compatible with many shopping apps for easy checkout.
YNAB (You Need a Budget)
Alright, it’s got a steep learning curve, but take the time to get into it and YNAB is absolutely the best budgeting app out there. It asks you to put every dollar to work and can connect with your bank account to track your expenditure automatically. If you’re serious about saving, then You Need a Budget.
Designed with college students in mind, Splitwise helps you keep track of debts owed between friends and connects seamlessly with Paypal and Venmo so you can settle up at any time.
Halide Mark II (subscription/$36 one-off purchase)
Halide Camera was always one of the best third-party camera apps you could buy, and Halide Mark II now takes over from its predecessor. But why do you need another camera app? Well, while iPhone hardware and background software are some of the best around, the controls offered by the basic app leave something to be desired. Halide Mark II offers a bunch of controls that professional and amateur snappers alike will appreciate, like the ability to snap in RAW, a gesture-based interface designed for use with one hand, and other top-level features. However, while the app is free to download, you can’t use it without subscribing for $10 a month (after a week’s free trial) or a $36 one-off purchase. That’s an even higher barrier to entry than before, and it’s going to put a lot of people off.
Adobe Lightroom Photo Editor
Why go to anyone but the master if you’re looking for image editing software? Adobe Lightroom is now available on iOS, and that means you’ve got an incredibly powerful photo editing suite right at your fingertips. It has all the tools, from the simplest crop to the finest detail changes, and it also comes bundled with a professional-quality camera app as well. There’s a premium mode that you’ll need to get the most out of it, but it does come bundled in with a bunch of Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions, making it an excellent choice if you’re already using Adobe’s desktop software.
Photoleap — Photo Editor
Photoleap was developed to harness the full power of the CPU and GPU in Apple’s devices, delivering one of the most powerful photo-editing tools on iOS. If you own an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus or later, the app takes advantage of the wide color gamut of the displays in those phones, and features an extensive roster of customizable filters and special effects, allowing you to create even more amazing things with your already capable camera.
Afterlight is the revamped version of the older app with the same name, and comes complete with tons of features to edit your photos — filters, artwork, text, advanced tools, and more. Since the move away from a straight purchase though, you’ll now need to subscribe for the full range of tools.
If selfie editing is your bag, then there’s no better app for the job than Facetune2. It offers a lot in its free app, with a tool that allows you to retouch your face to remove blemishes or quickly apply a background or filter — but it goes even further, too, allowing you to use simple tools to change the positioning and even the size of parts of your face. Even if you’re not one for posting selfies, it’s still fun to play with.
There are alternative apps to be found, but why go anywhere else when Apple’s built-in e-reading app is this good? Apple Books has a simple design, but it’s still packed with features that make it one of the best places to read or listen to the latest best-seller. It connects with your social media channels, so you can share your thoughts on your latest read. It also has other features that make reading fun, like a daily reading goal that helps you make reading a habit.
Amazon rules the ebook world, and a big part of that is because the Kindle app is available pretty much everywhere. It has an enormous selection of ebooks that you can buy, and if you sign up to Amazon Kindle Unlimited for $10 a month, you can get access to a massive range of books and comics.
Google Play Books
Google Play Books offers millions of titles to choose from that you can read even when you’re offline. Any notes taken while reading will automatically sync to your Google Drive, which you can share with a group to collaborate on. With the addition of audiobooks, you can also listen to books on-the-go instead — with no subscription required.
It’s not the most polished app around, but Goodreads is very good at what it does. If you’re looking for somewhere to catalog and review your literary conquests, look no further than Goodreads. It lists more than 1 billion books, including different editions, so you’ll be able to accurately track your progress. Participate in the reading challenge to read a specific number of books in a year, recommend books to friends, and keep a list for reading later.
Prefer listening to books over reading them? Audible has you covered with more than 180,000 titles that you can download for offline play. One of the major benefits is that you can speed up or slow down narration speed to fit your preferred listening experience.
Listenable: Learn With Audio
Listenable isn’t really a reading app, but it’s spiritually the same thing as far as we’re concerned. With easy access to five-minute lessons wherever you are, Listenable is a great app to download if you’re looking to learn but don’t have the time or inclination to read. You can find courses for communication skills, productivity, health and fitness, and lots more, and you’ll get a week’s free trial to see if it’s for you. After that, there’s a monthly membership to keep up with your courses, so make sure you get the most out of your free week to decide whether you’re happy to fork out.
Amazon is the No. 1 online retailer for a reason. Browse Amazon’s vast collection of products quickly and easily. Plus, you can enable notifications for daily Amazon Gold Box deals so you never miss out on a discount.
There’s very little that you can’t buy or sell on eBay. The app is full-featured and much easier to use than the website. Bid on items, track your orders, and sell all of your unwanted stuff right here.
Who doesn’t like earning cashback on purchases? Ibotta is your one-stop-shop for cashback from thousands of retailers, and it works both in-person and online.
Looking to get rid of an item quickly? Pop it up on OfferUp and see if anyone in the local area is interested in it. If you’re looking to buy, you can browse by image, category, or location, and you can message buyers and sellers through the app itself. Safety features ensure your conversations and transactions stay secure.
Have a bunch of clothes just sat around, not being worn? Get them on Poshmark. Poshmark is one of the best shopping apps around, and it allows you to sell your items simply by taking a photo. If you’re looking to shop, there are over 5,000 brands to pick from in a variety of sizes, and best of all, prices are up to 70% off the usual price.
Twitter helps you keep your finger on the pulse of the world — and find out who’s worth listening to. Follow friends, celebrities, or companies’ official feeds to get instantly notified when something big goes down, or just when a friend has a funny thought. As you might expect from a social media site, Twitter hasn’t stopped growing and improving, and now you’ll find everything from stupid jokes to cutting edge livestreams of the latest news developments. Even if you only use it to keep an eye on events, Twitter is a must-install.
It’s back! Despite herculean efforts, the short video-sharing social media site TikTok never really went away, and following a huge sea shanty trend, well, we’re putting it back into the list. Chances are you know what this app is all about by now, but if you need a reminder, TikTok specializes in short-form video content, with a particular slant toward comic and musical content. Other creators can duet with videos, creating crazy new creations, memeable videos, and — sometimes — music trends that take over the world for a bit. TikTok is the place to be, even if you’re not looking to create yourself.
While its heyday as the place where all the cool kids hung out has passed to a degree, Tumblr is still one of the world’s biggest social media apps. It bills itself as a home for communities, and it’s there Tumblr really shines. You’ve probably seen the memes and comment threads that come out of it — Tumblr’s the place where a comment can be sent out, attract more comments, and eventually find its way back to the creator with insights, funny reactions, and more. As a place to share artwork, ideas, and just silly thoughts, there are few better.
Not really a social media site in the traditional sense, Pinterest is rather a place to collect and spread ideas. Pinterest is a pinboard you can use to keep track of personal projects, recipe ideas, home decor, and pretty much anything you can see and be inspired by. You can collaborate with your friends in shared boards, and you can use the Pinterest Lens to snap a photo of something you love in real life to find out how to buy, make, or do it. It’s not for everyone, but if it’s for you, you’ll love it.
Whether you follow a lot of sports and different teams, or you only follow the WWE, Bleacher Report has the personalized setup for you. Pick the teams and sports you care about, and Bleacher Report will send you the latest news and developments as they happen.
For baseball fans, there’s still no better app than the official one. MLB.com At Bat features scores and news, as you’d expect. But the app goes a step further for MLB.TV subscribers, with live feeds for nearly every game, as well as Gameday Audio for those who enjoy tuning in to their favorite hometown radio announcer. You can cast games to a supported device, like an Apple TV or Chromecast, easily purchase tickets, and even set the app icon to your favorite club.
If you’re the type to watch every game, regardless of where you are, FuboTV will keep you tuned in. Whether it’s NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, or something else, the app has you covered with more than 75 channels with live games to stream on your TV or a mobile device. You’re also able to watch live news, movies, and TV shows from other networks. To start, there is a free seven-day trial and after that, it will cost you $45 per month.
Unsurprisingly, the official app of the NFL is one of the best places to go for NFL content. The app lets you watch videos, highlights, and more. You’ll also be able to keep up with breaking NFL news, stats, and scores in real-time while on the go with up-to-date notifications and alerts.
ESPN Fantasy Sports
If professional sports means more than simply watching as a hobby, then ESPN’s Fantasy Sports app is where you’ll find your delights. It runs fantasy games for football, basketball, baseball, and more, and it’s the home of ESPN’s Streak prediction game. Best of all, they’re all free to play.
The ubiquitous, super-popular Netflix app nearly made our list of essentials. If you don’t know what Netflix is, we’re surprised you found our website. Netflix lets you stream movies and television shows for a monthly fee, and it’s one of the best websites in existence. Get started with our list of the best shows on Netflix and get bingeing right now.
You all know who Disney is, so you’re probably not going to guess wrong if we ask you what Disney+ carries. But there’s more here than just The Lion King, Mulan, and all those Disney classics. Thanks to Disney’s takeovers of many studios, you’ll find Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and even National Geographic here too. Best of all, Star is coming to Disney+ too — a new “general entertainment” channel for Disney+ subscribers that adds content from FX, ABC Studios, and a bunch more originals too. Disney+ has the potential to become a real player in the streaming scene, and while it needs a subscription to access, it’s definitely packed with quality content.
If you want to keep up with TV shows, but can’t stand cable, Hulu is the best place to go. Hulu is your one-stop-shop for a lot of major network and cable channel shows. But it’s not for free — a Hulu Plus subscription costs $8 per month, which really isn’t that much compared to cable.
Amazon Prime Video
As Amazon Prime continues to release more original content, it can be tough to keep up with what you want to watch. With the Prime Video app, you can download and stream all the movies and TV shows available on the service — including Prime Originals — on any of your iOS devices. Naturally, you’ll need to have an Amazon Prime membership.
It’s a lot more specific than most streaming sites, but if you’re looking for the finest and latest anime, then Crunchyroll is the best app around. You can watch for free with ads, but if you want uninterrupted anime viewing, then you need to pay $7 a month. But there are a lot of benefits to that subscription, including simulcasts with Japan, and a big database of manga.
Fite — Boxing, Wrestling, MMA
If combat sports are your thing, then Fite is the only streaming service you need. Fite connects you to the latest and biggest MMA, boxing, and pro-wrestling events and PPVs, and it streams to smart TVs, and streaming devices like Fire TV sticks and Chromecasts.
Travel and transportation
Cycling is a great way to get around, and Bikemap is the best way to make sure you’ll get where you want to go. Bikemap has 6 million cycling routes from around the world, can change your route depending on your bike, and even has automatic fall detection — so if you fall, a nearby cyclist may notice and swing by to help you up and make sure you’re OK. A great app for cyclists all around the world.
It’s the absolute best app to download if you need a hotel room quickly. Booking.com has more than 27 million hotels, motels, and more on the books, making it the perfect place to check out somewhere to stay. Make sure you’re getting the best by checking one of the over 135 million verified reviews, and leave your own. You can filter by price, review score, and even Wi-Fi quality (an increasingly important score). There are few restrictions on when you can book, and can often book last minute, or far in advance.
While it may be having some issues in some cities, Uber is still the king of privately booked transport. With drivers available in most cities around the planet, Uber is what you use if you need to get somewhere and don’t have wheels of your own. Uber’s “private taxi” service offers the privacy and safety of a stranger’s car as an alternative to public transportation, and it’s not too expensive either. You’ll be able to see where your driver is when they accept your ride, see the road ahead, and even rate and review your driver once your ride is done. And forget fumbling for change, as it’s all handled in-app.
Lyft offers a slightly less expensive version of Uber’s private cab service, allowing you to get from Point A to Point B — even if you’re not in a state to drive (or walk). Lyft offers ride discount credits upon registration, giving a strong incentive to drop Uber — at least for a little while.
Why waste time in traffic or pay more than you have to for gas? Waze solves both of these problems by supplying you with access to community-generated, real-time traffic information, and gas prices. It’s recently added the ability to play podcasts inside the app, and will also warn you if it detects you’ve jumped above the speed limit.
Waiting around for public transportation is never fun, but Transit helps make it a little bit easier. In addition to real-time arrivals for both buses and trains, you can also compare options to see which routes are better. You can also receive push notifications whenever transit is delayed, view schedules offline, find bike share stations, and more.
Riding in a car or public transit isn’t the only way to get around — sometimes your legs are all you need. If you fancy stretching your legs out on a stroll, AllTrails is the app to download. It has more than 75,000 hand-curated trails with detailed maps and easy navigation. You can even keep track of your walking progress. It’s free to use, but you can get a Pro account for $30 a year that gives you offline maps, personal tracking, and more.
Utilities and customization
Who doesn’t love gazing up at the stars? But if you, like us, often struggle with remembering which collection of stars forms which constellations, then SkyView is the app for you. Point it at the sky and it’ll shift its screen to show you what you’re looking at, highlight constellations, and point out areas of particular interest, like planets and satellites. It costs $2 for the full version, but you can try out the SkyView Lite app for free if you want to get a preview of the experience.
iOS 14 introduced the ability to add widgets to your iPhone home screen, and that means you now have access to a deep layer of customization you didn’t before. Widgetsmith offers an easy way into this new, widget-y world with its selection of widgets you can place onto your home screen — whether as a calendar, to show you the weather, or to show off pictures of your cat. From here you can add even more functionality. For instance, you can set a widget to show specific information at a certain time of day. There’s a premium mode you’ll need to pay for if you want live weather and tide data, but aside from that, it’s still great as a free app.
Parcel — Delivery Tracking
There are so many different package tracking applications available on the App Store, so why Parcel? In addition to automatically pulling out tracking information from emails forwarded to the service, you’ll be able to access information about your package across all of your Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. You can choose to display the packages however you wish, such as a mode that shows the days remaining until delivery; tap any of your packages to see more information and a map of your package’s progress. You can even set up Siri Shortcuts to gain a summary of your deliveries with a simple command. All this for only $3 a year — we think that’s pretty stellar.
The new year is a perfect time to try and set some new habits in stone. Whether it’s going to the gym, taking ten minutes out of your day to go for a walk, or just remembering to water the plants, Habitify excels in helping you to remember your new habits and helps them to, well, become habits. It’s simple to use — just create the habit, name it, and select the time of day it is to be completed, and Habitify does the rest. The app will remind you when it’s time to complete your habit, and keep track of how often you do. Premium offers you some new features, include notes and the ability to skip a habit without resetting your streak, and it costs $5 a month, or $40 for lifetime access.
Being able to organize yourself is a vital life skill, but not everyone has the knack for it. For those who need a little helping hand, Todoist is one of the best to-do list apps you can get. It’s quick and easy to create a task, and you can even share it with other people or set a deadline.
Dark Sky Weather ($4)
You don’t want to get caught out in the rain, so don’t. While there’s a glut of other weather apps out there, Dark Sky Weather is one of the best thanks to its hyperlocal weather information that tells you the weather, right down to the minute.
Apple’s iCloud is excellent, but it can be hard to use outside of iOS. Dropbox offers brilliant cloud storage that can be accessed from Android devices and iPhones, or on MacBooks and PCs. A basic account is free and holds up to 2GB of storage. If you want to store more, then you can get up to 1TB of storage for $8.25 a month. Keep in mind the free version is limited to linking up just three devices, though.
Blogging and word processing
Looking to scratch a creative itch and finally get that novel written? Scrivener is the pinnacle of writing apps, with a powerful suite of tools and notepad-like features to help you finally get those cool ideas down on paper. While this app is going to be better on an ibuy it alongside the MacPad, it’ll still work on an iPhone, and can be paired with a wireless keyboard to give you an efficient and mobile writing station. The barrier to entry is high at $20, though you can buy a bundle for the software on MacOS, Windows, and iOS for a small discount.
1 Second Everyday: Video Diary
Take a one-second clip of every day and add it to an ever-growing video of your life. It’s a super-simple idea, but an intriguing one, and while it may seem as if it’ll take ages to build up, it’ll be no time at all until you have a video charting your life story. Make notes for each clip so you don’t forget what you’ve been up to, and start building the movie of your life. It’s easy to do, fun to relive, and completely free to boot.
In this age of interconnectivity and always-online social media, having a space just for yourself is vital. Reflectly offers a private space you don’t have to share with anyone else, giving you the chance to note down your most private thoughts and feelings. Alright, so it’s a diary in app form, but that’s no bad thing. After all, it’s more secure, and can offer you mindfulness tips and ways to keep yourself motivated and happy.
If you’re a blogger or run your own website, you’re likely using WordPress. The WordPress app isn’t a carbon copy of what you’d expect on the web, but instead focuses on enabling speedy posts, moderating comments, viewing stats, and uploading media while on-the-go. Leave the admin for when you get back home and just post a few lightning-quick posts.
Whether for work or play, Google Docs is the best inter-connected word processor in the world. All your documents are synced in the cloud, and you can invite other people to collaborate with you while you work — and it’ll update in real-time too. There’s an option to download and work on documents offline, and it’s available synced across a huge range of devices.