Apps are the cornerstone of Apple’s iOS platform. The ecosystem is what sets Apple’s mobile platform apart from its rivals, and the highest-quality iPhone apps are typically best in class. But, like any app store, it is sometimes difficult to find out what are truly the best apps, the ones that stand out from the rest and offer a tool or service that’s far beyond anything else available. Sometimes the best apps are free, other times you will have to pay a little bit for them. Here we showcase the best available and offer up everything you need to know about the app and how much it will cost.
What’s the best phone of 2015?
This round-up compiles our favourites, from top-quality creative tools and video editors to the finest productivity kit and social networking clients and even if you don’t have an iPhone right now it’s worth reading up on what’s available if you’re considering investing in the iPhone 6S.
Free. WhatsApp is one of the most essential apps you can install on your iOS device, especially if you have friends and family across the world. Rather than worrying about your SMS allowance or signal, WhatsApp lets you send messages over any Wi-Fi or mobile data connection instead. You can also send and receive photos with no size restrictions, and if you’re using Wi-Fi (or you have unlimited mobile data) they won’t cost you any extra to send.
Free. Periscope, Twitter’s live video streaming app, is an essential download for anyone who likes the immediacy of Twitter but craves something more visual. You can easily create your own live streams or watch other people’s, send comments and hearts in real time and if you miss the action there’s a 24 hour window with which to replay streams. In short it’s simple enough to dive straight into but has enough to it that you’ll keep coming back, whether you’re more creator or viewer.
Free. Even in 2015 there are still times and places where we can’t get an internet connection, but this doesn’t have to mean you can’t read websites, however, thanks to the excellent Pocket app. It allows you to save articles, news stories, blog posts, videos and much more, letting you read and watch them offline. You can also synchronise your saved articles across every device you’ve installed Pocket on, allowing you to pick up where you left off and continue reading.
Free. There are probably hundreds of photo apps around, but Google Photos stands out as it gives you unlimited storage for photos and videos, all for free. That’s reason enough to jump on board, especially as it works not just on iOS but on Android and computers too. But with basic editing tools and the ability to make collages and albums this is more than just photo and video storage, it aims to be your first and last stop after taking a picture. To achieve that it will need a few more features, but it’s well on its way.
Free. Snapseed is Google’s own photo editor that’s been designed from the ground up to make tweaking your snaps as easy and fun as possible on a touchscreen device. Although the interface is simple enough to use with just your fingers, there’s also a lot of depth to this app as well. You use tools to tweak and enhance your photographs to make them look the best they ever have, as well as playing around with fun filters that can transform the photos you’ve taken on your smartphone or tablet.
Free. Should you find yourself in one of the supported cities (including Paris, London, New York and Berlin), you’ll be grateful to have Citymapper on your iPhone — assuming you don’t want to get lost. The app finds where you are and then gets you from A to B, whether you want to walk, grab a taxi, or use public transport (for which live times are provided).
Free. It’s no secret just how badly Apple’s own mapping app performs, although it has got better post-iOS 6. Fortunately, Google Maps is a free download, and a far better solution than the old Google Maps app as well, thanks to the inclusion of turn-by-turn navigation and – in some cities – public transport directions. It’s an easy way to supercharge your iPhone’s mapping capabilities and one of the first apps you should grab for the iPhone 7 when it launches.
Free. Boost your productivity with Pushbullet, which lets you view your iPhone’s notifications and messages directly on your computer. It means if you get a text message you can read it there and then without having to take your phone out of your pocket or bag. You can also quickly send files from your computer to your phone with only a few clicks, and if you regularly find that you email links to yourself just to open them on your smartphone, then you’ll never have to do that again thanks to Pushbullet’s link sharing features.
Free. The idea behind Evernote is you should never forget anything again. Instead, you upload and tag everything, so the service becomes your digital memory. For free, you can upload 60 MB of data per month. Go premium ($5/£4 per month) and you can upload a gargantuan 4 GB per month, search document text, and store your notebooks offline.
Free. Although Evernote Scannable is quite basic by iPhone scanner standards, it’s also efficient and reliable. On launching the app, simply point your camera at a document that contrasts the surface behind it and the app will capture it. The JPEG can be sent to Evernote or shared via another service, and multiple scans are compiled to PDF.
Free. Uber is transforming the way we travel. You can quickly and easily request a taxi using the app and get picked up within minutes and you can compare rates and get quotes, as well as paying with PayPal or by adding your credit card to a secure Uber account. The Uber service is available in over 50 countries, and it’s rapidly growing. Give it a try and you’ll never want to hail a taxi the old fashioned way again.
Free. Spotify has been pretty quick to establish itself as the top music streaming service, and the Spotify Music app brings some great features to your iOS device, turning it in to a pocket jukebox that delivers your favourite tunes no matter where you are. Even better you can now listen to Spotify music for free on iOS, although if you want to download songs for offline listening and without any ads, then a Spotify Premium account is worth investing in.
Free. If you’re serious about running or cycling then you should be serious about Strava. As smartphone fitness tools go it’s one of the best, allowing you to track your performance, set goals and see daily progress updates. There are leaderboards and challenges to give it a competitive edge and if you’re ever not sure where to run or cycle you can find user created routes on the app, or share your own. All of that comes free of charge, while a premium version adds even more tools.
Free. Instagram is the go-to app for quickly taking photos, adding quirky filters to them and sharing them with the world. Over 300 million people use Instagram and thanks to the social aspects and effortless interface it’s easy to see why it’s such a hit. You’re not limited to sharing your snaps on Instagram either, as you can easily add your photos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more with just a few taps.
Free. For the most part, social media is fleeting, but Timehop is all about digging up precious memories from the past. You link it to whatever social media services you frequent (and your on-device photos) and it shows you what was happening years ago on today’s date.
Free. There are plenty of solutions for transferring content between your computer and iPhone, including Apple’s increasingly popular iCloud. Dropbox is still worth using, though. It has great cross-platform clients, integrates with iOS 8’s Share sheets, and has direct support in many iOS apps. Check out our essential tips for every Dropbox user.
Free. Start using the eBay app and you won’t go near the site on a PC again. It’s fast, efficiently flags new finds based on your activity, and can be used to create new listings. The built-in bar-code scanner can save you loads of time with the last of those.
It’s packed full of tools and adjustment options, and works well whether you’re into digital painting or creating multi-layered photographic masterpieces. On iPhone, Pixelmator’s naturally a bit cramped compared to using the app on iPad, but at the price it remains an insanely great bargain.