iPhone has some killer inbuilt apps that no one can compete with. But the AppSphere is full of apps that are useful across all platforms. These apps will make your day easier and less chaotic. Whether it is a music app like Spotify, or a utility app like Uber – YOUR iPHONE MUST HAVE IT!
Steve Jobs famously told the creators of Dropbox that their service was a feature that could easily be duplicated, but while iCloud Drive does a reasonable job of storage it doesn’t have the super-fast cross-platform, cross-device file syncing Dropbox offers. The free storage isn’t as generous as some rivals but the sharing is effortless and the iOS app makes it easy to keep on top of the things that matter. There’s automatic photo uploading if you want it too.
Due remembers all the things that you need so you don’t have to. Because it repeatedly reminds you of things until you act on them, it‘s impossible to forget anything. Most importantly, it’s lightning-fast to set and postpone reminders, all thanks to a clever time picker and natural date parsing.
If you don’t listen to podcasts there’s never been a better time to start. And if you do listen to them, there’s never been a better way to do so than through Pocket Casts. This combines a slick interface with the ability to play on any number of devices – you can stream using AirPlay, Chromecast, Sonos or CarPlay, and there’s support for Android devices. Pocket Casts also has loads of advanced options, like the ability to trim silence, jump between chapters, and control playback from your Apple Watch, making this app even more desirable if you were lucky enough to unwrap an Apple Watch 4 this Christmas.
Apple already has a password manager in the form of iCloud Keychain, but LastPass has it beat, especially if you use any non-Apple devices, as its cross-platform. LastPass also has plenty of extras, such as the ability to automatically generate strong passwords, and a secure notes area where you can hide away other sensitive details for easy – but secure – access later. You should definitely be using a password manager of some kind and LastPass is one of the very best options.
If you like eBooks you need the Kindle app: it syncs automatically between iPhone and other devices so you’re always at the right place, it boasts a huge library of content, and a revamp has made it even nicer to spend time in that it once was. The iPhone’s Night Shift mode means reading in bed shouldn’t keep you up all night either.
If you haven’t been tempted by a paid-for iCloud subscription, there are several options for storing your shots in the cloud such as Flickr and Google Photos. Flickr’s recent history doesn’t make us too confident in its long-term future, but you can be pretty sure Google will still be around long after Earth has become a post-apocalyptic wasteland. You’re getting free storage for all your pictures while helping to train Google’s face and object recognition systems for the coming war on humans.
Apple’s own messaging app is really good, but it’s Apple-only and most of us have pals using other devices too. Enter WhatsApp, the world’s favorite chat app: provided you’re on Wi-Fi or have a generous mobile data allowance, you can send messages and media to anywhere in the world with the convenience of SMS and the cost of a thing that doesn’t cost anything.
The Maps app in iOS has got a lot smarter over time and can tell you what bus to catch from where (as can Google Maps), but when it comes to mastering public transport in the world’s biggest cities Citymapper is the app you need. It combines multiple feeds from different public transit agencies to work out the most efficient route, compares the cost with Uber and even tells you the best bit of the platform to stand at while you wait.
The mobile web is often an awful place, with pages hiding behind endless ads while sites track you all around the internet. Better Blocker plugs into your mobile Safari to banish the trackers, protect your privacy and eliminate user-unfriendly advertising. Rather than a block-everything approach it tries to enforce what it calls Ethical Design, and you can unblock sites you want to support. Ad-funded websites deserve to make a living, but they don’t deserve to invade your privacy.
Before you sign up for Apple Music, check out Spotify first: not only is it a superb music streaming service with excellent high-quality options for paying subscribers, but it also works brilliantly with multiple devices: we can start a song on our phone and then play it on our Android TV, pick up where we left off with the Echo in the kitchen and control everything with Siri or Alexa. Brilliant.
Apple has a tendency to add features you’ve seen elsewhere, so Safari’s save-for-later reading list feature has echoes of similar apps such as Instapaper and Pocket. But Pocket remains a useful app in its own right: it’s multi-platform, has a great layout, integrates with your browser and your favorite social media apps and identifies things you’re likely to be interested in. If you’re still emailing interesting things to yourself, get Pocket instead.
Google’s fast, free and, er, filter-y photo editor can transform your images in ways the default Photos app can only imagine. There’s lots of fun stuff in Snapseed, and plenty for the pros too, including curves and RAW editing. It’s a particularly good companion for the iPhone XS and iPhone X ranges, whose cameras already take superlative shots. That plus Snapseed can make magic.
You may already know the wonderful VLC as one of the very best video apps for Mac or PC, a Swiss Army Knife that can play formats we haven’t even heard of and do all kinds of cool things to them. The iOS version of VLC is just as wonderful. The main draw is its ability to play media without first having to convert it, but it also streams from everything and works with all the major file-sharing platforms.
Get the garlic and the wooden crosses out: we’re recommending a Microsoft app! And we’re doing so because OneNote is really, really good. It works best if you’re also using it on other devices – it’s built around syncing – but it’s a perfectly great stand-alone notes app too, and it really benefits from the larger screens of the iPhones Plus and X. It’s a to-do app, a project planning app, a study app… if it involves organizing information, OneNote is the app to do it in.
They may appear to be slightly less nice than Darth Vader, have the HR policies of Attila The Hun and be not so secretly planning to sack all the drivers and replace them with robots, but there’s no denying that Uber has completely shaken up the people-driving-you-around-in-cars business. If you need to go somewhere Uber gets you there very efficiently, and the app is great.
Google Photos is a smarter home for all your photos and videos, made for the way you take photos today. It will integrate and backup all your pics across platforms. Google Photos is more than just an app for storing your photos. While on the surface it’s primarily for backing up photos, there are more ways to edit and share hidden inside. You also have some serious control over every aspect of the photos. This goes from which folders get backed up, to the image quality you upload your photos to, to seeing the photos that you have shared in the past. It gives you a solid place to store and sync all of your photos so that you never lose one again.
Spotify is the best way to listen to music and podcasts on mobile or tablet. Search for any track, artist or album and listen for free. Make and share playlists. Build your biggest, best ever music collection. Get inspired with personal recommendations, and readymade playlists for just about everything. Spotify also offers thousands of Podcasts, including originals that you can’t find anywhere else. Spotify for your Apple Watch gives you the ability to seamlessly access and control your favorite music and podcasts from your wrist. Listen absolutely free with ads, or get Spotify Premium.
Completely stop phone calls that look like they’re coming from phone numbers similar to yours. We’re all sick of getting these spam calls, and now you have a simple and easy way to do something about it! No Neighbor is a call blocker that sends these scam calls, known as “neighbor spoofing” or “neighbor spam” directly to voicemail, so your phone never rings and the scammers get no satisfaction. Every call from a number with the same area code and prefix as your phone number will be blocked. You may optionally allow calls from numbers that are in your contacts. Please note that if you don’t use that feature, No Neighbor will send ALL calls with the same area code and prefix as your number to voicemail. This means that if you have legitimate friends or family with phone numbers like that, their calls too will go directly to voicemail. No Neighbor works only with phone numbers from the US and Canada