Must Have Apps for iPhone
Check out these radtastic iPhone apps that will simply make your life better. NO – I didn’t forget about you Androids, keep posted for that feature soon.
1. Downcast – $2.99
If you’re a podcast junkie like me, your iPhone wouldn’t get half as much usage as it does without a podcast catcher and player. Having gone back and forth with a few different ones for years, I’ve settled on Downcast ($2.99) as my primary source. It has deep features, oodles of options in the Settings, and a lovely interface.
2. EasilyDo – Free; $4.99 per month for Premium
The collective, cultural obsession with productivity drives us to shave a few seconds here and a few seconds there from our busy lives, knowing that over time, seconds add up to minutes and hours and days of your life that could be better spent. I’ve long been a fan of the EasilyDo “personal assistant” app (free; premium subscription from $4.99 per month), which helps save precious seconds for you every day. EasilyDo automates small, simple tasks in your life, such as texting your significant other when you leave the office later than normal. One new capability as of the release of iOS 8 is how it integrates with the Notification center. Pull down the Notification Center, and your EasilyDo calendar appointments and other information will surface automatically. Tap any item to dive into from there. For its many capabilities, EasilyDo is a must-have iPhone app.
3. Evernote – Free; $45 per year for Premium
Everyone will tell you to download Evernote, but few are able to put into words why it is such an amazing service. Evernote is a uniquely personal tool. Everyone uses it differently. This free app syncs all kinds of notes—like text notes, voice memos, and photos—and then makes them all highly searchable. It doesn’t sound exciting, but the moment you figure out your own use case for Evernote, you will never look for a replacement. The app excels as a pared-down word processing program, and it integrates with dozens of other iPhone apps. When it comes to staying organized, keeping track of ideas, and writing things down, Evernote for iPhone does the heavy lifting.
4. Gmail – Free
The standalone Gmail app for iOS searches your entire email so much easier and faster than the pre-installed Mail app. That capability alone makes it a must-have iPhone app. It could very easily become your primary app for Gmail. It’s smooth, fast, and supports multiple accounts. If search is of the utmost importance, you’ll definitely appreciate the Gmail app, even if, like me, you end up using both apps. Gmail is the clear Editors’ Choice for email on the iPhone.
5. Google Maps – Free
Google Maps is consistently among the most used apps on my iPhone. In fact, it’s still the best free map app you can get on an iPhone, period. You can look up addresses and get turn-by-turn directions in real time. If traffic seems like a problem, Google Maps can skirt you around it. Bicyclists in select areas will find green-highlighted routes to steer them to safer riding. Sure, there are a few improvements I’d like to see (better integration with saved map locations, for example), but Google Maps remains the best there is. It’s an app every iPhone owner needs to have.
6. Last Pass – Free; $1 per month for Premium
I’ve been writing about software and technology for years, and the drum I want to beat hardest and loudest is this: You need a password manager. To be honest, my allegiance is not with any one particular password manager over another (just get something, anything! I beg of you!), but Last Pass(free; $1 per month for Premium) consistently takes the Editors’ Choice here at PCMag based on our testing. With the launch of iOS 8, LastPass integrates with TouchID, the fingerprint scanner on iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus, and new support for extensions in mobile Safari. That means your fingerprint will let you unlock your phone and log into websites automatically. Pretty cool, right? Better than cool, it’s safe and smart because you don’t have to try and remember all your passwords. LastPass takes care of that, meaning you have can unique passwords for all your logins.
7. Mint – Free
Everyone should have apps for all their bank accounts on their on their iPhone for those emergency moments when you need to check your balance or do some other financial upkeep. But better is the Mint iPhone app. Mint provides insight into all your financial accounts, from checking and savings accounts to credit cards. By unlocking this one app, you can see pending transactions, account balances, your total net worth, and even the remaining balance in your personalized monthly budget. Mint is the best one-stop shop for keeping an eye on your finances.
8. Monument Valley – $3.99
There aren’t many mobile games that stick with you, but Monument Valley does. So if there’s one game you buy and play on your iPhone, this should be it. Like a good book or a movie, Monument Valley invites reflection. It’s less about winning and more about experiencing a fantastic world of trompe l’oeil. An expansion pack, called Forgotten Shores ($1.99), manages to make the game feel fresh and challenging if you want to play it a second time through.
9. SwiftKey – Free
One huge change to iPhone users as of iOS 8 is the ability to install custom keyboards, and SwiftKey is the one install. Custom keyboards are just that—custom—so you’ll want one that works for you. We have yet to find a custom keyboard for iPhone that knocks our socks off, but SwiftKey has been the best one to date. Once you have it, you can drag your finger across the keyboard to type instead of tapping each key individually. The app is free, and you can pay for extra features.
10. Weather Underground – Free
Your iPhone already comes with a serviceable weather app, and Siri is well versed in answering meteorological queries, but there are reasons Weather Underground(free) is still a must-have app. For starters, it clearly presents a lot of hyper-local information in a simple and highly customizable interface. That’s better than relying on a generic forecast for a general area, and even more important if you live in a region with microclimates. Second, this app is rich with information, from high and low temperatures, to the “feels like” temperature, and even social Crowd Reports. Plus, it’s chockfull of data in the form of graphs, numbers, radar maps, wind direction, and more. It’s better than any other weather app at giving you accurate and recently updated reports, and it belongs on your iPhone.