Best free iPhone apps 2016
There are now hundreds of thousands of apps available for your iPhone 6S and, surprisingly, many of the best are free.
What’s the best phone of 2016?
The following list showcases our pick of the best free iPhone apps, and includes iPhone applications for social networking, travel, news, photography, productivity and more. Most of these apps are also compatible with the iPod touch.
If your top free iPhone apps aren’t covered, tell us all about them in the comments. And don’t forget to check out our iPhone 7 rumors.
New this week: Vue
In an age of diminishing attention spans, it’s perhaps no surprise some video services are available that demand extreme brevity, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care when fashioning tiny videos.Vue is an app that gives you an amusing amount of control over six-second wannabe Hollywood flicks to help satisfy your need.
You can shoot into up to four slots with the app itself or use videos already on your iPhone. It’s then a case of arranging them, adding the odd effect, and fiddling with sliders to get the right look. It’s a pity the slots are always the same size and this cannot be adjusted, but otherwise this is a great and intelligent app for creating tiny movies.
We’ve seen quite a few apps that try to turn your photos into art, but none manage it with quite the same raw ability as Prisma. The app is almost disarmingly simple to use: shoot or select a photo, crop your image, and choose an art style (options range from classic paintings through to comic book doodling).
The app within a few seconds then transforms your photo into a miniature Picasso or Munch, and it’s instantly better than most of us could ever hope to achieve with Photoshop.
On trying Prisma with a range of imagery, we found it almost never comes up with a duff result thanks to some insanely smart processing. But if you find the effects a bit jarring, a slide of your finger can soften your chosen filter prior to sharing your masterpiece online.
Our only criticism is the app’s low-res output, making Prisma pics only suitable for screen use – but it’s a real must-have.
Unashamedly retro, BitCam is like shoving a Macintosh Plus into your iPhone’s camera. It snaps retro pixelated black and white photos, with dithering right out of Mac co-creator Bill Atkinson’s playbook. But what really sets BitCam apart is its authenticity. Tap the settings button and a window zooms in, using the same effect Mac old hands will remember from the 1980s.
Even the interface apes old-school Macs, from the checkboxes and OK button to the trashcan that appears after you take a photo.
There are, though, some concessions to post-1984 living: you can apply the effect to existing images through a Photos extension, and if you need a bit more colour in your life, a ‘Color Graphics Card’ is available as a one-off $1.99/£1.49 IAP.
The camera sitting inside your iPhone is pretty amazing. In fact, plenty of people think it’s too amazing, the clarity and purity of digital shots having lost the ‘character’ found in photography of old. Retricabrings a sense of creativity and randomness to iPhone snaps – and more besides.
Filters are Retrica’s main trick. You can manually select one from a list (which can be managed, for faster access to favorites) or try your luck by stabbing the shuffle button. A selected filter’s strength can be adjusted, but there’s sadly no quick ‘filter off’ switch.
The filters, though, are varied and interesting, and you can optionally add a blur and vignette. It’s also possible to apply Retrica filters to shots taken elsewhere, if you prefer taking ‘clean’ pics and messing around with them later.
Retrica also plays with time. You can take multi-shots, your photos subsequently being stitched together on a grid (there are nine options to choose from), or played in sequence as an exportable GIF.
Alternatively, hold the shutter and the app starts recording video, using your chosen filter. For a five dollarpounds, we’d have written a glowing review about Retrica, but for free this is an astonishing gift – a superb and unmissable creative camera app.
iTunes Movie Trailers
If you’re forever hunting down trailers to see what’s worth flinging money at in the cinema, iTunes Movie Trailers is an essential download. The interface is split between featured films, charts (by popularity, box office take or rating), and favorites.
Selecting a film doesn’t immediately fire up the trailer. Instead, you get some artwork, a synopsis of the movie, information (cast, run time, genre, and so on), and a list of trailers to play.
Like most movie apps, there’s a whiff of US-first here. (The app is at the time of writing restricted to the USA, Canada and the UK, and uses US ratings and charts.) But for the movie-mad, it’s an elegant and usable means of accessing trailers, some of which are even temporarily exclusive to Apple.
If you used to sit there at school, doodling flick-animation masterpieces in the corner of your jotter, Animatic is the iPhone equivalent. You use simple tools to scribble on a small canvas, and then build your animation frame-by-frame.
The app uses a basic onion-skin approach, meaning you can see the previous few frames faintly behind the current one, ensuring whatever you draw doesn’t lurch all over the place. Once you’re done, you can adjust the animation speed of your creation and export it to video or GIF.
Given that you’re scribbling with what amounts to the iPhone equivalent of felt pens, you won’t be crafting the next Pixar movie here. But Animatic is fun, a great way to get into animation, and a useful sketchpad for those already dabbling. The app also includes a bunch of demos, showcasing what’s possible with a little time, effort and imagination.
The app formerly known as H–R
The idea behind Hear (although it’s now known as ‘the app formerly known as Hear’ for some reason).is to remix the sounds of your environment. So if you’re in an office and want to shut everything out but don’t fancy playing music, Hear transforms hubbub into the kind of ambient soundscape that might pique Brian Eno’s interest.
Alternatively, if you’d like to ramp up the volume of nearby noise — for example, evening birdsong — Hear can do that too.
Some of the filters are, by comparison, just plain weird. Happy sounds like a deranged, echo-laden clown show, and Sleep turned typing and birdsong into the perfect soundtrack to a horror film dream sequence. But everything else ranges from genuinely useful to at least intriguing. We’re not sure we’ll often use the Talk filter, which auto-tunes voices to music, but it’s at least fun to play with.
A word cloud can be used to help get a sense of a body of text, be it your own output or that of a web page. Wowed is a superb free app for putting one together. You point it at a source — someone’s Twitter account, a URL, Facebook, and more — and wait as it trawls through the text it finds.
You’re then presented with your word cloud, a stylish blue number with the most popular words more prominently displayed. In the free version, you get two fonts and eight colour alternatives, and can adjust word spacing. You can also edit the word cloud — adding or deleting words — before saving or sharing it. (The paid version adds colour themes and can export to PDF.)
An iPhone’s a perfectly good device for watching video – especially if you have a larger one – but Apple’s smartphones are hampered by a lack of onboard storage, relatively limited format support, and awkward file import. Infuse gets around these things, providing a feature-rich but elegant player.
It has support for a wide range of file types, and although you can import to your iPhone, it’s also possible to stream from a Mac, PC or NAS remote drive. If your files are named sensibly, Infuse will even automatically provide art and metadata. Go ‘pro’ (£7.99/$9.99) and you get support for even more video/audio formats, streaming over AirPlay and Google Cast, trakt sync, and background playback.
Editing videos can be painstaking, consuming all your free time. Replay realises this and automates practically the entire process. Once you’ve selected some videos and photos stored on your iPhone, Replay will stitch them together into an animated, great-looking video you can save and share.
If your inner director screams for a little more control, you can change the style, music, format (cinema or square) and pace.
If that’s not enough, reorder items, add text, trim video clips, and adjust the focus point for stills. There are IAPs for extra styles, but the three included are perfectly fine; you do get a watermark on saved clips though.
Plenty of apps claim they can get you making music in seconds, but Figure really means it. The app’s heritage helps, as it comes from Propellerhead Software, creators of the legendary Reason and ReBirth.
In Figure, though, working on loops and beats is stripped right back from what you’d find in those complex PC apps; instead, you tap out drums, and slide your finger around to fashion monster bass and playful leads.
Sounds can be tweaked or swapped out entirely at any point. Once you’re done, finished tracks can be uploaded and shared online. For serious musicians, there’s even Audiobus support.
There’s a tendency for weather apps to either bombard you with facts or try to be too clever with design.Hello Weather, by contrast, simply wants to get you all the weather information you need, but nothing you don’t.
This focused approach doesn’t mean Hello Weather is an ugly app. On the contrary, it’s very smart, with a clean layout and readable graphs. Mostly, though, we’re fond of Hello Weather because it eschews complexity without limiting the information on offer.
The single-page view is split in three, covering current conditions, the next few hours, and the week’s forecast. If you need more detail, a swipe provides access to things like sunrise/sunset times for the current day, or written forecasts for the coming week.
The app doesn’t quite check off our entire wish-list – the lack of a rainfall radar (or at least a precipitation prediction graph for the coming hour) is a pity. But as a free no-fuss weather app, Hello Weather is hard to beat.
Although it won’t satisfy anyone clamouring for an Android-like interface on iOS, Apple’s take on widgets is quite elegant, shoving mini-apps into a scrolling page within Notification Center. This provides fast access to important information, such as weather reports and, in the case of Klok, loads of clocks.
You fire up the Klok app to define up to five locations, which can be rearranged in ‘west to east’ order, or dragged about as you see fit. You then choose whether clocks appear in analogue or digital, before scooting across to Notification Center and seeing how everything looks.
Klok does the business admirably. In either form, the clocks are big enough to spot the time at a glance, and day markers are added when a location is, relative to you, enjoying ‘tomorrow’ or still mired in ‘yesterday’.
Cleverly, you can also tap a clock to get a row of hours beneath. Tap one to temporarily set the clock to that time and the others change accordingly. This is great for sanity-checking international meeting times, or for when you just have to know what time it is in Tokyo when it’s 3pm in Madrid.
The idea behind Cheatsheet is to provide fast access to tiny chunks of information you never remember but really need to: your hotel room, your car’s number plate, Wi-Fi passwords, or, if you’re feeling suitably retro, the Konami code.
Set-up is pleasingly straightforward. Using the app, you add ‘cheats’ by selecting an icon and then typing your info nugget. When you’ve got yourself a number of ‘cheats’, they can be reordered as you see fit. Once you’re done, the entire lot can be displayed on the Today widget or an Apple Watch.
Cheatsheet saves some features for a $2.99/£2.29 ‘pro’ upgrade – a custom keyboard, an action extension, some of the icons, and iCloud sync. But the free version is nonetheless useful and generous, along with making really good use of the Today view on your phone.
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.
In a sense Evernote is an online back-up for fleeting thoughts and ideas. You use it to save whatever comes to mind — text documents and snippets, notes, images, web clips, and even audio. These can then be accessed from a huge number of devices. (We suspect any day now, Evernote will unveil its ZX Spectrum app.)
The app itself could be friendlier, and there’s a tendency towards clutter. But navigation of your stored bits and pieces is simple enough, and the sheer ubiquity and reliability of Evernote makes it worthy of investigation and a place on your iPhone’s Home screen.
Even in these ultra-modern times there are still instances where we can’t get an internet connection, but this doesn’t have to mean you can’t read websites, 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.
The nature of social media is it’s all about the ‘now’. With Timehop, you get the chance to revisit moments from this day, based around your online history.
The service connects to whatever accounts you allow it to, and then shows you what was happening in your world. It’s a simple concept that’s perfect for iPhone.
The world’s biggest social network brings a tightly honed experience to the iPhone and iPod touch, but nonetheless still enables you to access your contacts, feeds and other important information. This sense of focus makes it in many ways superior to using Facebook in a desktop browser.
If you pick up an iPhone 7 when it launches later this year, Facebook will likely be one of the first apps you’ll want to download.
If you’re feeling the need to cut down on your food intake, Calorie Counter’s a smart download. The app is well designed and, importantly, has a massive food-item database, making it easy to input everything you eat. Web sync, optional social features, reports and goals add to the goodness.
Find My Friends
AKA ‘Stalk My Contacts’, but Find My Friends does have practical uses: if you’re meeting a bunch of iPhone-owning friends and want to know where they’re at, for example, or for when wanting to check where your spouse is on the road, to see if it’s time to put the dinner in the oven/pretend to look busy when they walk through the door. (Or maybe that’s just what freelance tech writers do.)
It’s all opt-in, so you won’t be able to track your friends / be tracked without explicit consent, so you can rest easy once you start using it.
Timers and task managers are usually designed with extreme efficiency, to the point they practically yell NO FUN ALLOWED in your face.
30/30, however, provides a streamlined, tactile interface that happens to look great, is fun to use, and that makes it a breeze to create lists and define timers.
It also enables looping for anyone addicted to the Pomodoro Technique.
Plenty of apps exist for transferring content between your computer and your device, but Dropbox is free and easier to use than most of its contemporaries.
And even now that Apple’s provided easier access to iCloud Drive, Dropbox remains a useful install, largely on the basis of its widespread support (both in terms of platforms and also iOS apps). The Dropbox app itself works nicely, too, able to preview a large number of file types, and integrating well with iOS for sending documents to and from the various iPhone apps you have installed.
Love Dropbox? Then check out our article Essential tips for every Dropbox user.
FaceTime is a great alternative to standard voice calls, but it’s no good if you’re trying to contact someone without a Mac or compatible iOS device. Therefore, Skype remains an essential download.
The interface is simple and usable (even if you get the distinct impression it desperately wants to be a Windows Phone app), enabling anyone with a Skype account to make free calls to other Skype users and cheap calls to anywhere in the world. If you’re on Pay and Go, this is particularly handy, but the app also enables iPod touch users to utilise their devices for calls.
The official Twitter app might lack some of the features found in the likes of Tweetbot, but it does provide a sleek and simple means of using the service.
It also rapidly rolls in new features from the website, such as the Connect and Discover views, along with expandable tweets that contain photos and videos and the new Moments feature that allows you to keep track of breaking news stories and reactions to them from the Twitterati.
Google’s own YouTube app works much as you’d expect, enabling you to search and watch an almost limitless number of cats playing pianos, people moaning about stuff to their web-cams, and more besides.
Despite Google’s adherence to its own distinct design language, YouTube tends to be a good iOS citizen, supporting AirPlay. It also naturally integrates well with your Google Play account, providing access to purchased films, which can be watched or flung at your telly if you’ve the relevant hardware.
You know how it goes: hand your iPhone to someone so they can check out an amazing picture you took, and before you know it they’re scrolling like a maniac through the entirety of Photos.
Stop such rudeness with ShowStopper, an app that enables you to make locked galleries on the fly. You get up to four images at once, but can go unlimited for $0.99/79p.
With iBooks on the iPhone, you might wonder why you should bother with Amazon’s Kindle. After all, the app’s not as pretty as iBooks, nor is there an integrated store (you buy in Safari and sync purchases to the app).
However, Kindle offers a massive selection of books compared to Apple’s app and the reading experience is great.
A great many Today view widgets seem quite gimmicky, but Vidgets provides a great mix of monitoring and utility.
The standalone app enables you to add and organise the likes of world clocks, network indicators, and widgets outlining remaining space on your device. These are then immediately available in Notification Center.
Although you get the sense eBay’s designers can’t get through a month without redesigning their app, it’s always far superior to using the online auction site in a browser.
eBay for iOS works nicely on the iPhone, with browsing proving fast and efficient. Speedy sorting and filtering options also make it a cinch to get to listings for whatever it is you fancy buying.
Shazam is an app that feels like magic when you first use it. It’s deceptively simple—hold your iPhone near to a music source, and wait while the app listens and tells you what track is playing.
But the sheer technology behind this simplicity is mind-boggling, and while Shazam doesn’t always guess right, it’s worth a download.
The revamped keyboard in modern incarnations of iOS is far better than what we had before, not least because of the predictive word bar, but SwiftKey takes things a step further.
Rather than laboriously tapping out individual keys, you just glide your finger across them. This can make for some comical typos initially, but SwiftKey soon speeds up iPhone text entry.
For the most part, Yousician Guitar feels quite a lot like Guitar Hero, only you use a real guitar and the app is cunningly teaching you how to play it.
Things start with the absolute basics, but before you know it, you’re strumming and picking with the best of them. The app’s free, although with limited daily play time. Subscriptions enable you to learn more rapidly.
Find My iPhone
For the paranoid souls out there (or the unlucky ones who’ve had their devices pilfered), Find My iPhone is a must-have download.
Assuming you’ve a 2010 or later iOS device, you can set up a free account and locate your devices within seconds. (Note that older devices can also be added to Find My iPhone – you just need a recent one to get things going.)
Google Translate is a bit like an insanely portable and entirely free gaggle of translation staff. When online, you can translate written or photographed text between dozens of languages, or speak into your device and listen to translations.
And for English to French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish (and back), the app will attempt to live-translate (even when offline) any text in front of the camera.
The idea behind TunnelBear is to keep browsing private and to get around censored and geo-locked websites. The interface is insanely simple — you just tap the country you want to browse from and wait a bit.
Connections are generally robust but easy to restart if they drop. For free, you get 500 MB per month. Spam your Twitter feed and you’ll get an extra GB.
Skyscanner’s a great website, which enables you to punch in airports and find out the cheapest way of getting from A to B.
The Skyscanner app is the same, but it’s on your device and with a spiffy AI. Well worth a download, even if only to check flights for an upcoming holiday.
Some might grumble that Netflix is the perfect way to experience everything a DVD bargain bin has to offer. And anyone outside of the USA might find the pickings in the local libraries a little slimmer. Still, Netflix is cheap and a perfectly decent way to catch up on old shows, along with binge-watching the latest series from Netflix itself.
The app includes AirPlay support and a resume function, so you can pick up where you left off on another device. And if you’re feeling cheap, you can always try the month’s free trial and then cancel, while laughing maniacally.
It would be a hard ask to expect the Flipboard experience on the iPhone and iPod touch to match that of the iPad version, but it nonetheless has a good go, transforming your favourite feeds and news sources into a tiny, beautiful digital magazine.
These days, the bigger problem isn’t deciding what you want to watch on the telly, but where you want to watch it. And where has a couple of meanings: the device you’re going to peer at and the service you use. With telly becoming so decentralised, JustWatch aims to bring coherence to browsing content offered by a range of providers.
Search for a show or movie and the app tells you where you can buy, rent or stream it; click New, Popular or Price Drops and you can, respectively, find newly added content, see what everyone else is watching, and discover bargains that might only stick around for a day or two.
The thinking behind Slack is to free teams from the drudgery of email. It’s essentially a real-time messaging system, where people have group conversations based around user-defined hashtags, or send private messages to one-another.
Support for inline images, videos and Twitter-like summaries boost pasted content, and the app integrates with cloud storage from the likes of Dropbox and Google Drive.
It’s worth noting that while Slack is clearly aimed at businesses, it works perfectly well as a means of communication for groups of friends who aren’t thrilled about storing their personal insights and details on Facebook.
Making decisions is hard. With Flotsm, absolve yourself from all the pesky responsibility by unleashing questions online (anonymously) and having people vote for their favourite options.
Should you not be thrilled with a particular response, you can cunningly nudge it in a different direction, filtering votes by gender, age and location. Alternatively, if you’re more a bossy than indecisive type, trawl lists and spend your time voting.
Should you get a bit too much into Flotsom, you can follow search terms, although be advised the Apple keyword will return everything from queries about what iPhone someone should buy to concerns about the proper ingredients for a fruity pie.
This Star Wars app is clearly a cunning slice of digital marketing injected into your iPhone, but we don’t care, because it’s fun. The main interface has three skins – droid, light side, and dark side – and provides you with access to all kinds of Star Wars goodies.
There’s a sound-board, selfie generator, and augmented reality Force Trainer where you waggle your iPhone about like a lightsaber, attempting to deflect bolts from a floating training remote.
There are practical bits, too, such as ticket-booking (obviously) and checking out the local weather – the app helpfully noting which Star Wars location it most closely maps to.
The prospect of Nike+ but better and for free might sound unlikely, but that’s what RunKeeper provides. Previously split into ‘pro’ and ‘free’ versions, the developer now generously includes all the features in one free app.
That means you can spend no money, yet use your iPhone’s GPS capabilities to track your jogging and cycling routes, and examine mapping and details of your pace and calories burned.
Activities can be shared online, and treadmill runs and other exercise details can be entered manually.
Around Me figures out where you are and lists local stuff – banks, bars, petrol stations and, er, Apple Retail Stores.
The app’s reliance on Google Maps info means there are gaps, but it’s nonetheless handy to have installed when in unfamiliar surroundings, and the ‘augmented reality’ landscape mode is amusing, if flaky.
Over two million definitions, synonyms and antonyms are available in the palm of your hand with this free, offline dictionary and thesaurus.
The app is fast and efficient, includes phonetic and audio pronunciation of words, and its interface seems perfectly suited to the iPhone.
XE Currency is a fine example of an app that does what it needs to, without fuss. You configure a list of currencies, and it shows current conversion rates.
Double-tap a currency to set its base rate or to define values for custom conversions.
Don’t bother buying a DAB radio – just install TuneIn Radio instead and plug your device into a set of speakers.
TuneIn Radio has a great interface for accessing over 100,000 digital stations; it also has AirPlay support, and you can use it as an alarm clock.
We say a big PFFT! at CGI. Real animators use stop-motion, until they inevitably go crazy at only being able to craft about three seconds of footage per week. iMotion enables you to create such painstaking animations with your device.
The sting in the tail: an IAP for export, but if you don’t care about that, you can play your creations on your device to your heart’s content. There’s also the free iMotion Remote to use as a remote controller over Wi-Fi for iMotion, to avoid you accidentally moving your ‘camera’.
TED is brain food. The app provides access to talks by insanely clever people, opening your mind to new and radical ideas.
You can also save your favourite talks locally, for even easier access, or ask the app to inspire you, based on your mood and available time.
Whatever bank you’re with PayPal has you covered for mobile banking and it’s a pretty solid performer.
You can manage your account on the go, send and receive money and find local businesses using PayPal Here, so you can pay for stuff without cash. Nifty.
The App Store has so many to-do apps that it’s in severe danger of tipping over, due to the sheer weight of digital checkboxes, but Wunderlist is one of the very few that really stands out.
The interface is very usable, and the app’s ability to seamlessly sync across devices and platforms makes it a great download.
This one falls under ‘essential’ rather than ‘amazing’. If you’ve turned on two-step verification on your Google account, chances are it’ll regularly ask for a code. You can get this sent to you via SMS, but it’s much less hassle to have Google Authenticator instead provide the numbers to type in.
Safari’s a perfectly decent web browser on the iPhone, but Chrome has a couple of particular advantages.
First, the card-like tabbing system (technically unlimited, but Chrome does tend to get a bit crashy if you open too many) is really very nice indeed; secondly, you can send tabs to your iPhone from the desktop version of Chrome.
Photo Editor by Aviary
Another image editor, but Photo Editor is a good ‘un. The interface is clear, and it contains all the tools you’d expect: filters, enhancements, cropping, and the ability to fire that picture of your frothy coffee/amusing dog/current skyline to Flickr, Tumblr, Facebook or Twitter.
“But Gmail works in Apple Mail,” you might say. And this is true, but it doesn’t work terribly well. For the best of Gmail, Google’s own offering is unsurprisingly the app to opt for.
The Gmail app provides a full experience, enabling you to search, thread, star and label items to your heart’s content – and is far better when your connection is patchy.
With weather apps, you’re frequently forced to choose between lashings of data or something that looks lovely. Yahoo! Weather combines both, offering a stunning interface that also happens to be rich with information. The maps are a touch weak, but other than that, this is an essential weather app.
Such is the nature of social networks and online media that Vine’s 15 minutes might have passed by the time you read this. Still, the app is a great way to rifle through the many thousands of six-second videos people have uploaded to the service.
Long-time internet users frequently dwell on what might have been regarding Flickr. It should have the ubiquity of Facebook, but seemingly missed the mobile boat. Still, Yahoo! now has new leadership and if apps like Flickr are any indication of what’s to come, the service might get a second wind.
The rules have changed when it comes to modern media. Pretty much anyone can do it, but there’s much more out there. Also, unless you’ve loads of spare time and a hobbyist mentality, chances are what you love isn’t what you’re being paid for. That’s where Patreon can help.
People who make stuff get direct access to the fans who fund them; and everyone else gets access to loads of really interesting projects.
The app’s a typically mobile ‘discovery and interaction’ tool, for the most part, enabling you to search Patreon, find new things, and post comments and notifications.
You might get the sense that GPS trackers are all very much alike, and there’s some truth in that. But we nonetheless reckon Runtastic is worth installing, on the basis that it’s nicely designed, frequently updated, and quite generous with its free tier.
The app tracks your movements, calculating distance, speed, pace and calories burned. For free, you get a map view of your run, charts (speed, elevation and heart rate), access to your training history, and the means to manually add activities.
You can even have other users cheer you on. Splash out for ‘pro’ and you can add routes, voice coaches, smartwatch connectivity and more; but as a starting point, the free app gets you moving.
We’re told the ‘S’ in Vert S stands for ‘speed’. This is down to the app being an efficient incarnation of the well-regarded Vert unit converter.
The older app had you browse huge category lists to pick what you need, but Vert S is keener on immediacy. There’s a search, but the app’s core is a Favorites page, where commonly used conversions are stored.
Tap one and you enter a basic calculator, enabling you to convert between your two chosen units, which can be quickly switched by tapping the Vert button. (Note that currencies are behind an IAP paywall — $2.99/£2.29 for ‘Vert Pro’ — but conversions for other units are free.)
Apple’s Music Memos is all about getting music ideas down — fast. You launch the app, hit record, play your guitar or piano, and your riff is safely recorded, rather than vanishing from your head the moment you see something vaguely interesting outside.
Smartly, the app provides additional toys to experiment with. There’s a tuner, and during playback, you can add automated electronic bass and drumming. The virtual instruments attempt to match tempo and energy with whatever you recorded (and with some success, although more complex inputs can confuse this feature to an amusing degree).
Music Memos also tries to transcribe the chords being played; its accuracy is questionable beyond the basics, but not bad as a trigger when you later want to learn how to play your own spark of inspiration.
Usefully, you can fling recordings at GarageBand and Logic (bass and drums going along for the ride as separate tracks).
Less usefully, you can sing into the app, and still add bass, drums and chord transcription, for some kind of madcap tech-based cacophony of awfulness that we felt entirely compelled to try in the name of a thorough review. Expect our effort to (not) trouble the charts shortly.
You’ve got to hand it to NASA: in naming its app ‘NASA App’, you’re well prepared for a product bereft of elegance, and so it proves to be. This is a clunky app, with ugly graphic design, and that’s heavily reliant on you being online to download its content.
Oh, but what content! It’s the wealth of eye-popping imagery and exhaustive commentary that will keep anyone with an interest in space glued to their iPhone, devouring items by the dozen. The ‘Images’ section is particularly lovely, with a huge range of photos.
There are pictures of star clusters that look unreal, moody shots of planets and moons, and snaps of engineers doing clever things. These can all be rated, run as a slideshow, shared, or saved locally.
Elsewhere, you get a ton of informative and educational videos, guides to missions, news, and, slightly weirdly, access to NASA’s Twitter feed. And if you fancy turning your brain off for a bit, there’s a live feed from the ISS, the blue marble that is Earth slowly rolling underneath.