We’ve been updating this list of best iPhone apps regularly for several years now, but we’ll never keep up with Apple. We’ve lost track of how many apps are on the iPhone, but there are well over half a million by now. We’ve been scouring the App Store and of the apps we’ve been able to try out, these are our favorites.
Have a suggestion? Let us know in the comments section!
Multiple members of the Digital Trends staff contributed to this compilation.
Occasionally you find a new app that taps into a truly awesome idea that has inexplicably not been done before. Harnessing the motivating power of music, this app matches the tempo of your tunes to the intensity of the run you want to have (there are 10 levels). You can use your own music collection, or the radio feature, and it will also track basic information, such as distance covered and speed. We put it through its paces in our full TempoRun review.
iTranslate Voice ($2)
Forget about foreign language dictionaries when you travel, with this app you can get real-time speech-to-speech translations using your iPhone. You’ll find support for 36 languages. Just say what you want to translate and the app will say it aloud in your chosen language, so you can use it to have a conversation. You can also input text to translate, look up definitions and common phrases, and share your translations via email or text message.
Do you ever feel crushed under the weight of your inbox? That’s just not the way email is supposed to be and Mailbox is here to help. A simple system of swipes and taps allows you to zoom through your inbox at speed, archiving, deleting, and postponing the missives within. The ability to choose when an email comes back lets you push it out of your inbox right now without fear it will get buried – it’s like a snooze button for emails. If you’re aiming for zero, this app can help you get there.
If you’re a fan of the Food Network then you’ll love these recipes from your favorite chefs. You’ll find thousands of fully categorized recipes with clear instructions and photographs. There are also handy tools to help you in the kitchen including a unit converter, a meal planner, and various cooking timers. How-to videos help you hone your skills. You can also add the necessary ingredients for a recipe you like the look of to a personal shopping list with ease. The app is constantly growing as new recipes are added every month.
Packing for a trip? Need a safety check before you leave the house? Stow is a well thought out packing list app that’s designed to ensure you don’t arrive at the camp site and realize you’ve forgotten the tent. There are templates for different trips with suggested items to pack, you can set how many people are going and how long for, and you can even pack for specific weather. It’s a really easy tick list to work through and you can create your own customized lists and save them for future reference.
Why waste time in traffic or pay more than you have to for gas? Waze solves both problems at a stroke by supplying you with access to real-time traffic information and gas prices provided by a bustling user community. The navigation system offers voice-guided instructions and can update automatically to re-route you so that you don’t get stuck in traffic. You can share your route on a live map and add friends as well, so it even has the power to boost your social life.
If you’re suffering under the weight of an overstuffed inbox then this email app can help. You can add multiple accounts and labels and power through your unified inbox in record time with Sparrow. The interface is well-designed, with some elements borrowed from the Facebook app, and it’s quick and easy to navigate despite offering a wealth of options. All that’s missing is push notifications; otherwise this is a real contender to replace your default mail app.
A fitting name for a to-do list app that understands the benefits of clarity when it comes to increasing productivity, Clear is simple and intuitive. It’s all controlled with simple gestures – pull down to create a new task, swipe to mark it complete, and pinch to switch lists. You to-dos are backed up in iCloud. Each day you get your list laid out and you can work through it. It’s hardly revolutionary, but the pretty interface and simple gesture controls make it ideal for anyone seeking a simple to-do list app.
Apps that allow you to track your running are nothing new, but Yog has a unique hook. You can invite other people from around the world to join you for a scheduled run. Progress appears on a map and there are audio notifications to spur you on. Research suggests that we push harder when we are competing, or even just when we know we are being observed, so Yog can really help to drive you on. It will also chart your performance, track your distance for each run, and you can listen to music while using the app.
Camera + ($0.99)
Photographers looking to get more out of the iPhone have to buy this app. It basically unlocks your iPhone camera allowing you to set exposure, access scene modes, line up shots, and a whole lot more. The options continue after you have captured the shot with a host of filters and effects, and integrated social networking services for sharing your creations.
Tips and Tricks ($0.99)
For those of you who want to optimize your iPhone experience, but don’t want to dig through various websites or forums — then Tips and Tricks for the iPhone is for you. The informative app, which costs less than a cup of coffee, will serve as a guide to your iPhone as well as show you hidden features, shortcuts, and other useful information.
One of the worst things about being able to do nearly everything on your iPhone is having to constantly enter and re-enter usernames and passwords to all your favorite Web sites and apps. Even with the hefty price tag, we think the 1Password app is worth the money for ease and convenience. It aims to solve this problem by securely storing all your username and password information. Users can choose to have the app automatically log them into Web sites with a single tap. No more wracking your brain for the right username or having to correctly type a long password in via the iPhone’s typo-prone keyboard. The app can also store notes and other information that you wouldn’t want accessible on your basic Stickies app.
Air To-Do ($1.99)
There are a plethora of to-do list apps out there, and most of the well rated ones are going to accomplish exactly what you need. Still, the Air To-Do app has a sleek UI that doesn’t jumble your chores together, instead allowing you to control how you organize them. You can also check off your list with boxes to mark it something has been completed, versus others that simply delete a task.
Craigslist is a treasure trove of freebies and rarities for cheap, but good luck scoring that free hot tub, cheap air conditioner or the only pair of Klipschhorn speakers in your city if you’re not one of the very first to respond. CraigsPro+ gives you a leg up on the competition by letting you set up Search Agents that buzz your phone as soon as an item you’ve been searching for crops up. Combine it with a swift e-mail and that 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT will be yours. You only get 50 of these search alerts with purchase, but snagging more is as cheap as a tenth of a cent apiece. (CraigsPro+ uses remote servers to continuously scour Craigslist for your search terms then sends push alerts when it scores a hit, rather than grinding your phone battery down. The price goes to reimbursing those expenses.)
Google Voice (Free)
At first Google Voice was not technically an “app” because Google had to subvert Apple’s iTunes store by building it into the Web. But Apple finally let it through and now you can get the official Google Voice apps from the App store. With it, you can make cheap international calls at Google Voice rates, send free unlimited text messages, and even sift through voicemails left at your Google Voice number, all for free.
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