No smartphone in the world has nearly the same gross tonnage of apps that the iPhone does. That makes it prolific, but also frustrating. Digging through millions of applications, games, programs, and bits of software from around the world in the app store is more than a full-time job, it’s a lifetime commitment. For those of you that are busy living, but still want to stay connected, stay entertained, and stay organized, we sought out the app essentials for your iPhone.
With a focus on free applications, our team of Geniuses (read: Lunatics) dug deep to bring up all the best buried treasure, leaving us with the 19 best iPhone apps for anyone and everyone.
We’re not going to inundate you with games, but Go, when used responsibly, has created a fantastic community dedicated to fun, fitness, and interactivity. In a world where our phones and tablets have become more important than most of our appendages, trying to catch ‘em all has fomented exercise and making friends in a way no other app or game has.
The power of the iPhone 6’s camera is impressive, and wasted if you just use the standard selfie-snapping app that comes with the phone. Dollar for dollar, we found the ProCam 3 to be the most impressive third-party app you can use for nigh-professional photography. Manual controls, the ability to alter aspect ratios, and 4K video give your device serious shutterbug chops.
Email clients are so thick in the App store that you’d need a machete to get through them. Instead, you can just search for Spark and know you’re getting the best in the business. The inbox is intuitive and incredibly smart, avoiding needless scrolling, and it interfaces with all your old pals: Dropbox, Evernote, Pocket, and others. Outlook is also amazing, if you can stomach an MS product.
City-dwellers who suffer from traffic fatigue will adore Waze, if you’re not using it already. It helps direct you to alternate routes around the city to help you avoid freeways and the pure hell of terrible drivers. You’ll also get to see some of the sketchiest neighborhoods anywhere, and learn the dark side of your hometown.
True, there are many cheaper calendar apps on the iPhone, but none of them have the genius of Fantastical 2. The time and energy it will save you is well worth skipping your pumpkin spice vanilla latte lite-whip one day to pay for it. Intuitive language determination creates events like a devoted secretary, putting Siri to shame.
Fitness is tough for most of us, and trying to eat right and stay healthy is a daily struggle that many lose. Fitocracy takes some of the pain out of gaining by offering a gamification system and a tremendous community of people all trying to live a little healthier. It’s fun, friendly, and motivating to anyone who wants to get sexy.
Skype is still the ubiquitous gold standard for video chatting, but Hangouts is so much more, and it only requires a Google account to get going. Video and voice calls go along with the texting and messaging for a one-stop connectivity solution that’s more than the sum of its parts.
Believe it or not, money used to be strange pieces of paper with dead white men’s pictures on it. Now, it’s all digital. Typically, this makes life easier, but not when you need to transfer a couple bucks to a buddy for paying your bar bill. Cash makes this process easy and free by letting anyone with a debit card give and receive cash. It’s Paypal with brains, sans greed.
Mint is the money manager that doesn’t make you feel guilty when you spend cash on that personal yacht. It tracks all of your accounts, from banking to investing to offshore tax shelter, all in a single place. The more you tell it, the better it works, so use it and abuse it.
Free messages and phone calls whenever you are on WiFi, WhatsApp turns your house into a communication hub. If you aren’t using it, you’re paying too much for service.
Dropbox keeps growing and that means creating an ever-larger and ever-safer infrastructure. It’s the best way to stash your stuff in the cloud or share things between friends, co-workers, or teams. Stop sending attachments and start Dropboxing.
Here’s our recipe and cooking app of choice. Yummly not only will interface with your grocery list and give you hundreds of thousands of recipes, it can help make smart recommendations based on your past dining habits. Ideal for anyone who hates menu planning.
Even the best pictures often need a touch-up, especially if you’re going to be using it on your Tinder profile. This fast and dirty photoshop notion brings all the basic functions from Adobe to your mobile devices. It makes your pics even better, on the run.
You can also use LastPass, but 1Password is the free password syncing option that will keep your accounts safe as houses, unhacked, and never require you to recall a password again. Odds are good it’s safer than your brain.
OneNote, Google Keep, SimpleNoteView in gallery
Here’s your best note-taking apps from most complex to least. OneNote (or EverNote if you want to waste money) is a massive, all-in-one note-taking beast for those who can’t stop scrawling. Google Keep is a stripped down version for those who need the basics plus a little more, and SimpleNote which is bare bones listing built for people who just want the facts.
Purchase: Free with Contract
Online shopping fiends will adore this app. Nearly everyone has been off at work while a package sat on their doorstep, waiting for opportunistic thieves to pilfer it. With Doorman, that nightmare cannot come to pass. Deliveries are made to a proxy who holds your boxes for pickup, ensuring your sticky-fingered neighbors won’t get your favorite new weird gizmo.
Forget about using the standard keyboard that comes with your iPhone. Get this customizable app that is brilliantly intuitive and learns from your texting and your emails to help predict words naturally. It really does learn how you type and starts making suggestions that help the acronym-lovers and the verbose proper-grammar-texters alike.
IF by IFTTT
Many know IFTTT (If This Then That), but IF is a new way to create synergy (buzzword, hooray!) on your phone. It allows you to tie apps together so that you can launch an array at the same time. Whip open Instagram, Twitter, and Dropbox along with your camera for social media sharing with just a snap. Crack into your email, recipe list, shopping list, and to-do list all at once. IF is the connective marrow you require.
Real-world weather predictions to keep you high and dry should the storm come and the creek rise, Dark Sky will tell you what to expect in real-time so you’re never caught out in the cold or melting under the sudden sun.