So, you've purchased a new iPhone. Cool. What are you going to do with it...talk? The iPhone can do so much more than voice-to-voice or FaceTime communication. By exploring Apple's App Store, you can unearth apps that turn your handset into a fitness tracker, encyclopedia, or language-learning tool. If you can think of a potential iPhone use, it probably exists in app form.
However, the problem is finding those apps. The App Store is packed with apps—it's millions deep. Some are wheat, some are chaff. Don't waste your time with chaff. Instead, use this guide to find the iPhone's top apps and hidden gems.
Our favorite apps cover a range of activities, including photo editing, social networking, messaging, getting organized, and staying healthy. There's even one that helps you cheaply fill your gas tank. We've broken this list into 12 relevant categories, so you can browse just the app types that most interest you.
In the past, this list also featured the coolest video games the App Store had to offer. The iPhone gaming scene has become so robust that we decided it deserved its own separate, expanded list: Check out our features covering the best iPhone games and the best Apple Arcade games. We show Apple's tablet love with the best iPad apps, too.
Be sure to revisit this page from time to time. Cool new apps arrive on the App Store all the time, so we update this list as we make new discoveries. Have you become enthralled with an app we failed to mention? We'd love to hear about it. Leave a comment, and we might add your suggestion during our next update. We didn't forget Android users either; we have a separate roundup of the 100 best Android apps, as well.
Whatever your take on the social network of record, its messaging app is without equal. You don't need a phone number to use Facebook Messenger, and you can use it on any device without the need for your phone to be present as it must with WhatsApp. It works on every platform, unlike iMessage. It also has many cool features, like audio calling and video chatting with AR masks, stickers, and mobile payments. You can even play games through it with your contacts. Oh, and all of that's free.
Google's email app is a wonderful communication tool. Like the excellent Microsoft Outlook, it lets you read mail accounts from Hotmail, Yahoo, and others via IMAP. Gmail doesn't integrate your calendar the way Outlook for iPhone does, but it makes your entire email database easier to deal with than the preinstalled Apple Mail app. It's smooth and fast, and even gives you five seconds to undo sending.
Many messaging apps require you to give up your phone number to those who you chat with, but Kik only requires a username. Featuring a bot store boasting more than 6,000 bots, Kik beat Facebook Messenger and Skype to the punch in the field of artificial conversationalists. Group chat, photo and video sharing, and gaming add to this youth-focused app's appeal.
Microsoft Outlook's light and flexible mobile email app supports nearly every email account you own, includes an integrated calendar, and provides a Focused inbox that only displays important messages. Frequently updated, the app includes an ancillary Apple Watch app and supports 3D Touch. Unlike the rest of Office Mobile, the Outlook iPhone app is totally free.
Skype is one of the best free communication tools for the iPhone. The app lets you make video calls, and supports rich texting with animated emojis. A good bot selection delivers info you can use, as well as entertainment. As with other Skype versions, this iPhone app lets you call or chat with other Skype users at no charge, or buy credit to call any other phone number, landline, or mobile. You can even get a phone number that lets anyone call your Skype account using a regular phone.
Sexting and security worries aside, the visual chat app Snapchat can be a lot of fun to use—if you can figure out its very nonstandard interface. Snapchat should not be used as a private and secure messaging app. Rather, it's a simple app that you can use to swap funny, ephemeral visuals with your friends. Messages sent through Snapchat disappear from the receiver's phone after a short time. Snap a picture, draw or write on top of it if you like, choose the amount of time the recipient can see it, and send away. Just bear in mind that all digital media is reproducible.
Spark sports a slick interface and organizes your email into logical categories like Personal, Newsletters, and Notifications, though you can switch to a more standard full inbox view if you like. It handles multiple accounts, but doesn't combine categories for them as Outlook does. The app is configurable, with customizable swipe actions. It also lets you pin important stuff and snooze emails to tackle later.
The ability to seamlessly transfer calls from mobile to desktop and vice versa was an early differentiator for Viber, an app that lets you exchange sticker-emblazoned texts, make calls, engage in video chats, and place calls to standard phones for free. It encrypts communications, despite requiring your phone number.
Education & Information
The ASL App
The ASL App is a free iPhone app specifically made for learning American Sign Language, and it's a welcome introduction. It uses videos to teach you the alphabet, various useful words and phrases, and the required gestures. The free version covers the basics, and in-app purchases add advanced material in 99-cent packs. $9.99 gets you everything the app offers.
People often forget that there's more than one way to find webpages, directions, videos, and photos on the Internet. There are actually plenty of good reasons to try out alternatives to market leader Google, and the Bing app for the iPhone shows several of them. Bing has a design that's gorgeous, clear, and simple to use. Feature-wise, Bing's app can keep up, and adds voice and camera input along with local info. What's more, the Bing app's home screen offers local guidance and news suggestions, rather than just a blank search box.
Every college student is familiar with handing over several 100-dollar bills and lugging many pounds of textbooks from the campus store. Chegg's goal is to take some of the pain out of that process. The app lets you rent, buy, or sell books. The company offers study apps, too.
Could your learning a new language somehow add value to other people all over the world? It's a strange idea, but one that's playing out when you use the free language learning app Duolingo. As far as free, language-learning apps go, the Duolingo iPhone app is easily the best. A recent update makes your next lessons available offline, so you can continue learning even when you're not connected to the Internet.
Elevate offers training in writing, listening, speaking, reading, and math. You can set your goals, and after you've completed some engaging exercises, it graphically shows your performance in each of these categories. Unlocking all content costs $39.99 per year, but you can try everything free for 30 days. Go ahead: Make yourself smarter!
Flipboard is an app that curates content from your social networks and web partners (think periodicals and blogs) based on your interests and turns it into stunning magazine-like digital pages. The app is free to download and requires a free user account. Flipboard absolutely shines on the iPad, taking advantage of swiping gestures with both visual and interactive grace, but it's still elegant on the iPhone despite the smaller screen.
NASA has released many iPhone apps, most of them with a specific focus (NASA Television, ISSLive, NASA Space Weather). However, this is the space agency's flagship app, and, in that role, it aggregates a wide range of NASA content. Space enthusiasts and curious minds will love how it packs a wealth of news stories, features, images, video, and information about the space agency's activities into this one mobile app.
Rosetta Stone, our top pick among advanced language-learning programs, offers a mobile app that mirrors the lessons available online. When you log into the mobile app, you're able to pick up your learning from the place you left off. Its simplified interface is easy to navigate and effectively lets you keep up your practice while on the run. It's not cheap, but it's the best way to learn a new language.
Half the fun of having a smartphone is looking things up when you're in the middle of a bar bet—and hopefully being right. Wikipedia is the go-to source for fact-checking in the mobile age, and the Wikipedia app usually returns results faster than a mobile search engine.
WolframAlpha is like Wikipedia, but focused on math and science. It's an outstanding source of knowledge and computation about virtually anything, from basic algebra to the depths of the universe. As you might expect, the app requires an Internet connection to work.
If you love anime (or live-action Asian TV), Crunchyroll is the ad-free streaming service for you. It offers tens of thousands of episodes, shows simulcast from overseas, and numerous services fans crave, including social interaction features. We do wish, however, that it had a Netflix-like recommendation feature.
Like podcasts? Downcast shines with excellent features, smart downloading options, and a great interface. It's worlds better than Apple's stock Podcasts app, and suited for people who want a lot of control over their podcast listening experience. Downcast lets you customize not only how often the podcast catcher checks for new episodes, but also where you are when it does, using geo-fencing. For example: "Check for new episodes when I arrive at work."
ESPN's free app lets you check the game quickly, and discreetly when necessary (that is, with your phone under the dinner table), for your favorite teams in more sports than most other apps. Get scores, news, and a live Twitter-like feed from top analysts. It covers baseball, basketball, football, soccer, tennis, ice hockey, cricket, racing, rugby, WWE, and more.
Hulu is the best service for legally streaming new and classic domestic and international TV programs soon after they air, and the service offers up some excellent films as well as a notably extensive anime collection. You can even stream live content with a Hulu with Live TV subscription.
Netflix, like many of the other apps included here, has become a cultural phenomenon. Original, exclusive series, such as The Crown, House of Cards, and Stranger Things, are viewed by many as superior to much of what's available on broadcast or cable. Add to those the host of favorite standbys in both television and cinema releases, and you've got a must-have service. And now you can download much of the content for offline viewing. Note that this is one of the few apps included here that costs money, with subscriptions starting at $7.99.
There are plenty of fantastic podcasts you can listen to on your iPhone. Unfortunately, Apple's own podcast app hardly does them justice. Good podcast discovery and rich settings and options, including the ability to sync your listening experience across multiple devices, make Pocket Casts one of the best podcast catchers and players on the iPhone.
Slacker Radio is now LiveXLive. It always seems to pound just a few beats harder than the rest. The revamped app combines the company's live music and video streams with Slacker Radio's knowledgeable DJs and deep music well to produce one of the most complete streaming music services on the market today.
SoundCloud has become an audio phenomenon. The app provides a gorgeous and clear interface to the tunes. If you want more than the mainstream or want to upload your own music, you can't ignore SoundCloud. The SoundCloud Go option removes ads and offers unlimited offline track saving; the $9.99 per month SoundCloud Go+ adds a huge library of commercially released music.
All of earth's music-on-demand! Spotify offers a massive catalog of every conceivable genre, and even creates playlists based on your listening history. Now you can use it to listen to podcasts as well as music, and download content for offline listening. Easily switch between your listening devices from any other device. Listen for free with ads or pay $9.99 per month for ad-free listening as well as other premium features like 320Kbps high-quality audio.
Television watching is a lifestyle choice that's indulged by more than a few. This app makes it easy to find out what's on, when it's on, and what channel it's on. Dig into episode summaries, set alarms for when your favorite shows are on, and even see what's available on-demand. If you're a confirmed couch potato, this is the app for you.
Internet radio remains one of the wonders of modern global communications: Listen to broadcast and Internet-only radio without geographical restrictions, and even without temporal restrictions: There are dozens of Internet Radio stations that can take you back to the 40s and 50s, if you're a fan of the Fibber or Jack Benny. TuneIn Pro offers the very best portal to all this, and throws in an MLB radio option, as well as other sports. Oh, and you can also get your Radiolab fix in it, as it also supports podcasts. A free, ad-supported version is also available.
Twitch's iPhone app may not allow you to stream your own gameplay videos, but it is the best way to watch your favorite streaming personalities and chat with fellow gaming fans on your mobile device. Twitch is the service to turn to if you want to watch countless people, from professionals to hobbyists, streaming every video game you can think of. It's also mostly free of the harsh copyright restrictions that are currently kneecapping competitor YouTube Gaming. Twitch on iPhone is a great portable portal into the Twitch community.
Vimeo is the grownup's version of YouTube. With a higher quality level in general, you'll find art films and independent projects, as well as animation, sports, music, instruction, and comedy. No more being overwhelmed with cats, memes, and skateboard wipeout videos. Not to mention the ads and the uncivil comments found on the incumbent internet video service. Fave and share, follow users who post videos you like, add to your Watch Later set, and save videos for offline viewing. Among some slick interface features is a PiP player, for while you explore other parts of the app.
Get in on the cryptocurrency craze with this full-featured and well-designed app. You can see current rates, and set up digital currency wallets for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. You can use Touch ID or Face ID (on the iPhone X) to secure viewing of your account, and set price trigger alerts.
Who can resist a deal? Groupon finds nearby deals for you, sometimes at massive savings. Find discounts on goods, things to do, spas, restaurants, and getaways. See what other users thought of the deals, and check out the super-cheap "door-buster" deals. You can even pay with Apple Pay!
LevelUp can save you a few dollars the very first time you use it. The app provides the easiest possible way to pay at your local salad bar, café, or doughnut shop. You won't be billed until the beginning of the following month, either. You can also order ahead through the app, and find participating nearby businesses. No more waiting in line!
Mint.com helps you keep detailed accounts of your finances by connecting to all your financial accounts and tracking all the money you earn and spend. The iPhone app gives you deep insight into how you're spending your money and whether you're sticking to the budget you've created. It's one of the best personal finance apps you'll find.
Proper budgets are serious business, but who says they also can't be a fun game? Personal finance iPhone app Qapital entices you to save through gamification and tiny actions you take every day. It makes saving for goals easy. Just be ready to open a new savings account that entails a low monthly fee.
Devices like Square, and built-in services like Apple Pay Cash, make it easy for you to pay businesses without cash or cards. But what if you just want to pay back a friend for a fun night on the town? With Venmo, you won't have to scrounge up dollar bills or remember how to write a check. Just download this app, enter your bank account or debit card data, connect to your friend, and start letting the money flow. Venmo also talks to Facebook so you can share your wildest transactions with the world.
Food & Travel
Despite some controversy in some areas over hotel laws, we've had nothing but good experiences, clean rooms, and friendly hosts via Airbnb. The app has all the capabilities you could ask for and more. Travelers can book their stay, chat directly with the host, get exact directions, and explore fantasy accommodations like furnished tree houses. Hosts can vet potential boarders, manage their calendars, and promote their properties through the app. It's a win-win proposition.
Yes, driving by yourself with a combustion-engine vehicle is so passé, but those of us who still occasionally use that old 20th-century mode of transportation universally want to pay as little for fuel as possible. Gasbuddy shows you the best prices at the nearest stations. I discovered that I could either pay $3.19 per gallon in Manhattan or hop over to New Jersey and pay $2.37. With a big enough tank, that could cover the cost of the tunnel!
Another one from the dominant force on the internet, Google Maps may well have the most up-to-date and detailed geographic information of any organization around. Its turn-by-turn directions by car, foot, and public transportation are hard to beat. The app integrates with your Google account so it knows your home and work addresses to determine commute times. Offline maps, street view, and indoor maps are nifty plusses. After a shaky start, the iPhone's built-in Apple Maps now matches most of its strengths, however, and competitor Here WeGo offers another good alternative if you're concerned about privacy.
Most cities have plenty of delicacies to offer, but going out and getting them can be a pain. If you live in or are visiting any of GrubHub's 1,100-plus covered towns in the US (or London), you can have tasty local food delivered directly to your doorstop with the GrubHub iPhone app. After merging with competitor Seamless the service now offers a choice of over 45,000 takeout restaurants. We love how it texts you to tell you when your food will arrive, lets you tip inside the app, and lets you tell restaurants to save the earth and spare the plastic utensils.
Kayak is a wonderful multipurpose travel app, helping you find and purchase flights, hotels, car rentals, and more. A companion Apple Watch app keeps your plans an alerts on your wrist. Another perk: detailed maps of more than 100 airport terminals.
When visiting far-flung places, you can't always get your iPhone connected to a data signal, yet you need to figure out where exactly you are. For those times, there's the Maps.Me offline map app. It lets you download an entire city or country's map data with one click, so you don't have to worry about getting lost when you haven't got mobile or Wi-Fi data. The app shows local transportation and dining choices, and even offers bike directions. It's based on the open-source OpenStreetMap projects, which means a big corporation isn't recording your every move when you use it. You can remove the small, unobtrusive ads that support the project for just $3.49 per year.
OpenTable has long been a choice service for making dinner reservations without picking up the phone, and with TouchID support, the iPhone app now has a whole bunch of new features. You can not only make a restaurant reservation, but also pay for your meal at the end of it using Apple Pay. The redesigned interface makes use of the Plus iPhones' extra-large size, too.
Transit has become the go-to-app for city dwellers and travelers to cities who want to get around like natives. Without even requiring you to tap anything, transit instantly shows all the public transportation options around you. It also lets you know how long the nearest Uber car will take to get to you, and its map shows you the location of nearby Car2Go cars. For anyone who craves the most efficient way to get around any of its 125 included worldwide cities, Transit is a must.
The Weather Channel
None of us will be able to bend the weather to our will like Sean Connery in 1998's The Avengers, or Thor in the other Avengers. Instead, we rely on weather apps like The Weather Channel's offering to keep us alert to the weather's whims. This excellently designed iPhone app provides all the weather information you need, and it even works with Apple Watch.
Sure, iOS has a Weather app, but you should forsake it because Weather Underground is far better. It succeeds because it sticks to what it does best: clearly presenting lots of hyper-local information in a simple and highly customizable interface. The rich data in this excellent app will keep the most info-hungry meteorology geek satisfied.
The most comprehensive business-reviewing app, Yelp turns out to be an invaluable tool for finding restaurants, stores, and services nearby, especially when you're in a town you don't know well. In addition, you can snap photos and leave reviews to help other foodies find a tasty destination.
Health & Fitness
Adidas Running App by Runtastic
Don't be fooled by the name. This app is for anyone who wants to track an activity, including cycling, hiking, skiing, kayaking, or just walking. It spits out a wealth of information about your activities and route. Your map route, for example, have mile markers on them, and you can pull up detailed charts to see your speed, pace, elevation, and more for each leg. When you wear a supported heart-rate monitor while using the app, Runtastic displays that data in your final outputs. Audio feedback, music integration, and much more make this one of the best running (and sports activity-tracking) apps.
Bicycle-ride tracking app Cyclemeter collects a wealth of data, is very accurate, and contains several well-thought-out features. Cyclemeter is a free download, but to unlock all its capabilities you'll need to pay $9.99 for the Elite in-app purchase. It maps and records your bicycle rides, then compiles all your data into excellent graphs. Despite its name, Cyclemeter doesn't just record cycling. Other activities, from cross-country skiing to running, also come preloaded. And now you can control many of this fitness app's functions from an Apple Watch, and store your workout data in iCloud.
There are other components to fitness than huffing and puffing on the jogging track. Relieving stress is high on the list, and meditation can aid in that goal. Headspace offers hundreds of guided meditations that can reduce anxiety and increase mindfulness. In-app subscriptions for more courses start at $12.99—still a lot cheaper than a shrink!
The free health app MyFitnessPal is one of the best all-in-one calorie counter and exercise trackers for the iPhone. A simple design and interface make using the app a quick chore rather than a fatiguing project, which is essential when trying to reach a long-term fitness or weight goal. The selling feature of this app is its exhaustive food and nutrition database, which trounces every competitor's that we've seen. For ad-free use and some additional capabilities, there's a $9.99-per-month in-app subscription, which is a bit steep.
Pear Personal Coach
The Pear Personal Coach app talks you through runs, at-home workouts, yoga routines, and even training programs for running races. Real human voices make the audio part of the experience excellent. After a 30-day trial, there's a $3.99-per-month subscription cost.
Runners and cyclists who thrive on competition love the Strava app. After a major overhaul and release, this app is better than it was before. Whether you're competing against yourself to beat your best time, or looking at the long list of strangers who have smoked you on some nasty uphill stretch of your favorite route, Strava brings a fierce competitive angle.
WebMD is much more than a diagnosis app, although you certainly can use it to input symptoms you are experiencing and find some clues as to what's ailing you. It also contains listings for healthcare professionals and pharmacies in your area, as well as first-aid guides—simple instructions for dealing with emergencies. This free reference app is one you hope you don't need, but the moment you do, you'll be glad you downloaded it.
If you haven't been scrupulous about staying in shape using any of the apps above, had some accident or illness, or just contemplating a butt-lift, ZocDoc can hook you up with the right physician. It not only finds you an appropriate doctor or specialist, but makes appointments a snap and lets you see other users' ratings of the doctors you're considering. The app knows which doctors take your insurance, recommends checkup types, and keeps track of your medical visits, even if you didn't make the appointments through ZocDoc.
Lifestyle & Hobby
Before the Internet, if you wanted to buy a used item or strange service not available in a local store, you crossed your fingers and hoped it was in your newspaper's classified ads. 5 Miles lets you do that from your smartphone. It's a wonderful, if occasionally seedy, digital marketplace that resembles Pinterest in its card-like presentation.
Dubsmash lets you create and share short videos of you lip syncing to an audio clip. It's silly, pointless, and a lot of fun. Sometimes that's what you need. The app is more than a goofy idea, though. The huge catalog of user-submitted sound files includes everything from questionable political quotes to famous movie one-liners to animal noises. If it's good enough for Hugh Jackman, it's good enough for you.
Birding has hit the big time. One recent study named it the fastest growing outdoor recreational activity. Paramount for birders is being able to identify the species they're seeing and hearing, and the iBird Pro app lets them do just that. Each species includes illustration, photos, and several recordings of the species songs and calls. You can search among its 940 included species by common or Latin names. No internet connection is required, so it's a fairly big download.
The king of crowdsourcing offers an iPhone app worthy of royalty with this free entry. Whether you're a supporter or a creator, the Kickstarter app provides everything you need. It doesn't, however, let you sign up as a creator, which you'll still have to do on the web on a computer. Be careful, though, you could be so entranced by its engaging interface that you overspend your crowdsourcing budget.
LibriVox is a volunteer project that records public-domain audiobooks. It's a great way to take in some Dickens or Twain while resting your eyes. You can either stream or download. Browse by author or genre or just search for what you want to hear. You can even set a sleep timer if you yearn for that childhood feeling of being read to sleep. A $1.99 Pro version removes the brief audio ads.
Photo & Video
Adobe Photoshop Express
Adobe is known for creating the highest-quality imaging software around, and Photoshop Express follows in this pedigree. In a clear interface, you get excellent lighting and color correction tools. Not only are there classy preset effect filters, but you can create your own custom ones, too. The only drawback is that some features require an Adobe account or in-app purchases.
Apple's mobile video-editing app is the perfect tool for making those snaps and clips from your last vacation watchable—and enjoyable. iMovie makes it easy to do a surprising amount with your media, including freeze-frame, filters, titles, trimming, and adding background music. And now it's free.
Need to make someone's face more beautiful in an iPhone photo? Facetune gives you an abundance of tools for doing just that. Smoother skin, better hair, happier smiles, and even a more prominent jawline are all possible with this powerful app.
Not only does Flickr have one of the largest communities of passionate photographers, but its iPhone app has a good number of photo correction and effect tools. The app does a great job of showing you responses to your photos as well as the stream of photos from accounts you follow.
PicsArt may be the most imaging-tool-packed app of all, and on top of that it includes its own social community. Overlays, layers, clone stamp, curves, and masks are all at your disposal. And though with so many tools the interface is still in some places more cluttered than those of some competitors, it's streamlined compared with earlier versions.
Prisma, which takes prosaic smartphone photos and uses AI to produce truly artistic results, understandably made a big splash on the Internet this year. Make that street scene look like a Van Gogh or that portrait like a Picasso. Really! This is one app you've got to see at work to believe. It does its magic on its servers rather than locally, though, so you may have to wait.
Where most iPhone photography apps focus on what you do after you've shot a photo, ProCamera is more concerned with the shooting itself. The app shows an interface that resembles that on a D-SLR. You can change the ISO, EV (exposure value), shutter speed, and white balance. A stabilizing option waits for the phone to be still before snapping a photo. Brilliant.
List-making and task-management app Any.do has a unique feature called the Any.do Moment that encourages making a habit of reviewing your daily tasks. Geolocation reminders actually work in this app, and it's an overall great app for jotting down tasks and goals.
PhonespySoftware24's favorite collaboration tool also has a great iPhone app. Asana not only shows you your tasks and notifies you about status changes, but even let you create new tasks, projects, and kanban boards. You can add comments, files, and images from your iPhone, and you can do all of this offline for syncing when you're reconnected.
If your files live all over the place—your office computer, home desktop, laptop—having a dependable syncing program is a must. Dropbox, the service that lets you store your files in the cloud and access them from anywhere you have a signal, fills that role nicely with a Dropbox iPhone app. It has a simple interface, easy uploading, and swift syncing across all accounts.
Formerly EasilyDo, this free iPhone app works as a personal assistant and automation machine, taking care of a variety of tasks, like adding new contacts to your address book, tracking packages, and monitoring some of your social networks for important news.
The Evernote iPhone app lets you make notes on the go and find information stored in your account anytime, anywhere. While Evernote has been a leader in the note-taking and syncing space, current plans limit the very best of the service to the highest paying members only.
If this, then that—shorten that little tag line to IFTTT, and you've got one of the best apps on the market. This amazingly simple yet powerful iPhone app can automate just about anything you'd want to do in your digital life. for example, if I add a new contact in Gmail, then save that person's contact information to my Evernote account. If you're turning your home into a smart home, you definitely want to keep the IFTTT app on your iPhone, as it can help you manage a range of devices, so that if you get into your smart bed, then the app can turn the lights off for you.
Microsoft Office Mobile
You probably don't want to write that report or edit that spreadsheet on your smartphone, but you'd be surprised how smoothly Microsoft Office Mobile makes doing those things. Your documents are saved to and synced with the versions on OneDrive, so you can fluidly move from one form factor to another. You can get the familiar Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for on-the-go productivity. Requires an Office 365 subscription starting at $6.99 per month.
Todoist lets you geek out on organizing tasks and offers support for a wealth of platforms and integrations. The paid version adds task labels and reminders, location-based reminders, the ability to add notes and upload files, and a unique productivity chart.
Like LastPass, Dashlane puts your login credentials at your fingertips with this iPhone app—and literally if you have an iPhone with TouchID. Some users may find it simpler to use than LastPass, though you pay to use it on more than one device. It keeps all your username and password combinations safe. It can also generate strong passwords. As with any password manager, all you have to remember is one strong password to unlock your Dashlane account, and all your other passwords will be accessible to you to unlock all your online accounts.
Duo Mobile adds a comforting layer of security to your most critical logins. It works well with sites like Yahoo and services like LastPass or Dashlane, by requiring you to tap a button on your iPhone to permit logins from new devices on any of your Web accounts. And if you use an Apple Watch, tapping that will log you in, too!
Kaspersky Safe Kids
Implementing parental control on iOS devices is tough, but Kaspersky Safe Kids manages the job, and, unlike some competitors, it's tenacious. Your kids won't be able to remove it. There's no limit on the number of devices or child profiles. And the app offers unusually flexible control of device usage time, along with geofencing and an alert system.
The venerable password manager LastPass—a favorite here at PhonespySoftware24—is one of the top 100 iPhone apps because it lets you access, manage, and create unique passwords wherever you are. The app syncs with other installations of LastPass, such as those on your laptop or desktop computer. Granted, it's a bit clumsy to use compared with Dashlane.
With internet service providers getting more and more snooping privileges, thanks to the FCC, you're well advised to protect your privacy with a VPN. NordVPN is our favorite, and its iOS app sports one of the sleekest interfaces of the lot. It can give you some peace of mind while you surf on you iPhone using the coffee shop's Wi-Fi.
You can use a VPN, but that means relying on an often relatively unknown company to keep all your browsing private through a single encrypted proxy server. Tor offers stronger privacy by routing encrypted internet traffic through multiple anonymous endpoints, obscuring your identity from the sites you visit. It also offers access to the scary darknet, a sort of alternate internet that's devoid of government or corporate oversight. There's no official Tor browser for iOS, but Onion Browser is suggested on the project's page, and that's good enough for us.
Signal offers the easiest way to send secure messages. The ZRTP protocol it uses for calling is thoroughly tested as is the open source Signal protocol for sending text. The organization that supports it is run on grant money by volunteers and is disinterested in monetizing Signal's users or their data. It's so trusted that messaging apps from Facebook and Google use it for their secure messaging options.
The iPhone app Cloze collects tweets, emails, Facebook posts, and other bits of communication from your contacts, and prioritizes them based on people who are most relevant to you. In other words, even if your boss isn't chronologically at the top of your Twitter feed, she will be at the fore of your Cloze view. It's a wonderful tool for getting relevant information about people in your network, and its Web app has even more features and insights to love.
Create private groups consisting of family, friends, or coworkers and communicate in many different ways. The app is very flexible, letting you start with a simple chat to which you can add people, setting up a group with an avatar, or using a QR code to join. Your group can even have its own notification sound, and turning a photo into a text meme is a snap. It's an attractive alternative to Facebook Groups.
Despite—or maybe because of—its limitations, Instagram has surpassed Flickr as the number-one photo sharing service on the Internet. Its social discovery aspects are addictive, it offers excellent image-manipulation tools, and it now supports video, as well as still photos. The company keeps adding more features, like direct messaging, Snapchat-like Stories, and, finally, pinch-to-zoom. In keeping with the times and trends, the app now supports Handoff to switch between your Apple Watch and your iPhone.
LinkedIn provides an effective online network for keeping up with your contacts. It's easy to rely on LinkedIn more than your own address book for finding otherwise long-lost colleagues and business partners. Anyone in the job market will want to stay on top of LinkedIn for both its networking aspects and its wonderful database of job listings. It works well on an iPhone, although the full-sized LinkedIn iPad app even better.
Mention scours the web day and night to find new instances of search terms of your choosing, and alerts you when it finds them. The search-and-alert program is an alternative to Google Alerts, taking the core concept from that competitor and blending it with social media monitoring tools, resulting in a supremely rich package for businesses or anyone in a branded-persona line of work.
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard, but don't be fooled by that description. It's for shopping, and that includes virtual window-shopping. Pinterest lets you organize and share all pictures of anything you find online or in your life. With Pinterest on your iPhone, it's easy to snap photos in the real world and upload them to your boards. You can watch what others are pinning on Pinterest, and often, you can purchase the items by following a link out to the retailer's site.
PhonespySoftware24's Max Eddy is our in-house Mastodon fanatic. You don't know Mastodon? It's the open source alternative to Facebook and Twitter, but it's not for the fainthearted. The Toot app lets you get your Mastadon on your iPhone, with a fun design, account switching, and never any ads.
Less restrictive than today's dominant photo-sharing app, Instagram, Tumblr goes beyond photos, letting you post blog entries, GIFs, videos, and more. But more important than posting is reposting, which fosters a lot of user interaction. The service avoids the negative trolling of other social networks through its design of reblogging rather than commenting.
For a long time, Twitter Inc., the company that owns the 280-character social network, didn't make its own app. Dozens of third parties did, however, but not all the resulting apps were worth using. So when Twitter released its official Twitter app—and it worked well and loaded quickly!—users folded the new tool into their iPhones happily. If you tweet, it's a no-brainer to have this app. If you don't tweet and have been on the fence about joining the masses, the iPhone app makes it easy and convenient to get on board.
No one likes ads, but ads on the mobile Web are especially obnoxious, eating up your time and your data. It's now possible to throw off the yoke of privacy-compromising trackers, pop-over ads, and the like with iPhone ad blockers. If you're willing to pay, 1Blocker will deliver the most powerful and flexible ad-blocking experience on the mobile Web. If you're not willing to pay, it's still pretty great.
This all-in-one calculation app, Converter Plus, delivers numbers on nearly everything, from currency conversions to loan interest figures. It converts metric to imperial measurements for temperature, cooking volumes, length, and more.
Sure, your iPhone comes with Siri, a perfectly capable voice-controllable digital assistant, but if you want reminders and preferences synced with a Windows 10 PC, Cortana on the iPhone is a great option. With this smart app, you get time-, person- and place-based reminders, travel notifications, and a personalized news feed. Your daily glance reminds you about scheduled appointments, packages, stocks, and your favorite teams' performance. Now you can even instantly continue reading a site you were viewing in Cortana on your PC.
Firefox, the open-source browser, has come to iPhone, and it's a very worthy download indeed. Its tab layout is much clearer than Safari's, and it lets you sync your favorites and more with desktop Firefox, the PhonespySoftware24 Editors' Choice browser. Reading View clears away those annoying mobile ads, and Reading List saves articles for later, when you have time.
Third-party keyboard for the iPhone got off to a slow start, with options that didn't equal what was available for Android and Windows Phone, but Google's Gboard delivers on letting you use swipe text entry, find GIFs for your text messages, and, of course, pull up search results.
Microsoft Office Lens
You can throw out that flatbed scanner if you get the Office Lens app for your iPhone. This iOS app can clean up shots of documents and whiteboards, and convert them to editable text using OCR. You can mark up your scanned image and then save it in PDF, photo, Word, OneNote, or PowerPoint format. You can also directly share it to email or to any app on the iOS Share Sheet.
Since iOS 8, iPhone users have had the ability to install custom keyboards, and SwiftKey is one of the best. Once you have it, you can drag your finger across the keyboard to type instead of tapping each key individually. The app learns your writing habits and vocabulary using AI, so it gets better with use. It also lets you save up to 30 text snippets in its clipboard for later use, search for GIFs and Emoji, and add photos to the document you're typing in from your phone's camera. If you get tired of its appearance, there are dozens of themes and you can even create one with your own photo.