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205 awesome iPhone apps for 2016

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Entertainment

There are times to be productive and times to just relax and have fun. These are our favorite apps for sitting back and enjoying movies, TV, books, news, radio, podcasts, music, sports, and games. (Our game picks are pretty thin. We’ll fix that soon.)

Movies and TV

Starz

Starz

Starz joined in on the streaming app craze with its own subscription app. For $9 a month, you can stream all your favorite Starz shows like Outlander and Power without a cable subscription. All you need is an iOS device and an Internet connection. The company plans to add tons of movies to the service soon, too .

Available on:

iTunes

HBO Now

HBO Now

HBO finally caved and created a subscription-based streaming app, no cable subscription required. HBO Now offers Game of Thrones, and many of the other great shows on the channel. It now works with Chromecast, too, so you can stream it on the big screen. Be prepared to spend $15 a month for it, though.

Available on:

iTunes

Netflix

Free

Netflix Final

Nobody can match Netflix. It’s the best streaming service around with thousands of movies, TV shows, and original shows like Orange is the New Black. A subscription costs $8 per month.

Available on:

iTunes

Hulu Plus

Free

Hulu Final

If you want to keep up with TV shows, but can’t stand cable, Hulu is the best place to go. It has most major network and cable channel shows. A Hulu Plus subscription costs $8 per month.

Available on:

iTunes

Amazon Instant

Free

Prime Final

You can’t buy movies and TV shows on the Amazon Instant app, but you can watch purchased or rented videos. Amazon Prime subscribers also get a library of free videos if they pay $80 a year.

Available on:

iTunes

IMDB

Free

IMDB Final

What’s that guy’s name again?! Anytime you’re wondering about an actor or director of a movie or TV show, this is the app that will help you find out. It also has movie showtimes and news.

Available on:

iTunes

Crackle

Free

Crackle Final 2

We mark Hulu and Netflix as “free,” but Crackle really is. It requires no subscription. There isn’t a lot of Crackle content, it turns over quickly, and it’s full of really weird crap sometimes.

Available on:

iTunes

YouTube

Free

YouTube Final 2

YouTube used to come with your phone, but with iOS 6, Apple removed it. Luckily, Google brought it back. If you need to know what YouTube is, please meet us back in 2005.

Available on:

iTunes

EndlessTV

Free

Endless TV Final

While we’ve migrated to watching a lot of television online, there’s still plenty of commercial hurdles to jump before content. EndlessTV takes them out and provides a continuous stream of uninterrupted viewing.

Available on:

iTunes

TodoMovies 3

Free

TodoMovies 3 Final

Even the most frequent theater goer can get overwhelmed with the number of films on their “to watch” list. This app helps sort of what you have seen, want to see, and provides details about every film.

Available on:

iTunes

TeeVee 3

$3

VeeTee Final

Hate missing your TV shows? Checkout TeeVee 3, the app that provides a countdown calendar for all your favorite shows. Choose which shows to follow and the app will provide information and video supplements as they’re released.

Available on:

iTunes

Joobik Player

Free

Joobik Final

Joobik Player allows users to queue up video playlists from iTunes and play them on any AirPlay device. It’s a nice feature, considering that Apple still hasn’t created a queue feature for iTunes.

Available on:

iTunes

Books

Goodreads

Goodreads

Avid readers will love Goodreads. The app is basically a community of readers, suggesting great books and discussing plotlines. You can get personalized recommendations to find what to read next, keep a wish list of books, rate and review your favorites, share notes as you read, and join the online community of bookworms.

Available on:

iTunes

Scribd

Scribd

Avid readers will love Scribd, a Netflix-like subscription app that puts millions of ebooks, comic books, and audiobooks at your fingertips for just $9 a month. It has all the big titles, including the entire Game of Thrones series and scores of bestsellers. Scribd gives you recommendations based on your library, too.

Available on:

iTunes

Audible

Free

Audible Final

What’s better than reading a book? That’s right: having it read to you. Audible is owned by Amazon and has the best selection of audiobooks out there. It’s just as good as reading, we swear.

Available on:

iTunes

Kindle

Free

Kindle Final

Amazon rules the ebook reader world, but you can also get its Kindle app just about everywhere else, including iPhone. Download it and read up on any device you want. Reading’s fun!

Available on:

iTunes

iBooks

Free

iBooks Final

You’re clearly an Apple user, and this is Apple’s book shop. It’s as good as any other, but the downside is that your books will only be readable on Apple products. Only the loyal should apply.

Available on:

iTunes

News

New York Times Now

NYT Now

The New York Times has one of the best news apps around in NYT Now. The app not only has a cool icon, it also offers free access to the most important news stories of the day from the newspaper and other sources. A simple refresh will bring up new stories throughout the day, and you can read briefings for different times of day.

Available on:

iTunes

BuzzFeed

Buzzfeed

BuzzFeed took the world by storm with its viral listicals and other fun content. The app puts everything in one place and you can customize the types of articles you see to suit your liking. You can also check out the menu to see only quizzes, what’s trending, or news if you want to hone your search. BuzzFeed also has a hard news app, which you can get here.

Available on:

iTunes

SmartNews

SmartNews

SmartNews brings you trending stories and categorizes them based on subject. It’s clutter-free, easy to browse through, and god at digging up fresh content that you’ll actually want to read. Partners include NBC News, Medium, USA Today, TIME, Bleacher Report, Quartz, VICE, Reuters, AP, Perez Hilton, and more.

Available on:

iTunes

Flipboard

Free

Flipboard Final

If you like news readers that make things look like pretty magazines, you can thank Flipboard for that. It’s the reigning king and a best first app for those delving into digital news reading.

Available on:

iTunes

News Republic

Free

News Republic

It’s kind of like Flipboard, but has thousands of topics to choose from and nicer animation. It also has a very pretty 3D constellation view of hot keywords for each topic you like. Check it out.

Available on:

iTunes

Feedly

Free

Feedly Final

Remember Google Reader? This is its replacement. Feedly is for news junkies and people who remember what RSS means. No reader is more customizable, but beware of the ‘Pro’ upsell.

Available on:

iTunes

Pocket

Free

Pocket Final

The number of tabs in our browser tells us that we should use Pocket. It lets you store articles you plan to come back to and is integrated into 300+ apps. (Formerly known as ‘Read It Later.’)

Available on:

iTunes

Nuzzel

Free

Nuzzle Final

Nuzzle will aggregate news stories from your Twitter and Facebook feeds to give you one place to catch up on the important stories. Set alerts to receive notifications when news stories are shared by certain friends.

Available on:

iTunes

Radio and Podcasts

Pocket Casts

$4

Pocket Casts Final

We’ve used all the podcasting apps and this is the best. It’s far better than Apple’s Podcasts app, it looks clean, has access to the iTunes Podcast library, and has all the options you need.

Available on:

iTunes

TuneIn Radio

Free

TuneIn Final

TuneIn Radio’s specialty is live radio, whether it be for sports, news, talk, or music. It has a lot of local, niche stuff as well, so check it out if you’re hunting for a show that isn’t anywhere else.

Available on:

iTunes

Stitcher

Free

Stitcher Final

Stitcher’s claim to fame is that it ‘stitches’ your favorite shows and preferences together to make stations (a la Pandora) that you’ll enjoy. But really, it’s a one-stop shop for talk radio shows.

Available on:

iTunes

Overcast

Free

Overcast Final

Apple’s own Podcasts app still leaves a lot to be desired. Luckily there are plenty of options out there to pick up the slack, like Overcast. The powerful podcast player gives you access to your content to listen anywhere, online and off.

Available on:

iTunes

Music

Spotify

Free

Spotify Final

Spotify is disrupting the entire music industry. It’s free on PCs and tablets, but $10/mo if you want to fully use it on iPhone. It’s worth it. You can listen to full albums, and create playlists.

Available on:

iTunes

Pandora

Free

Pandora Photo

If you haven’t used Pandora by now, go turn your AM radio back on. Pandora uses music science to create stations out of a song or artist. You tell it what you like and what you hate. It learns.

Available on:

iTunes

Shazam

Free

Shazam Final

Does that song sound familiar? Shazam it and you’ll find out. Shazam detects songs in a single second sometimes and now works on TV shows, too. Best of all: It connects to Spotify.

Available on:

iTunes

Beats Music

Free

Beats Final

Unlimited music for $10 per month and owned by Apple, so expect rapid improvements. Beats also offers music discovery tools and curation that promises to beat the competition.

Available on:

iTunes

SoundCloud

Free

SoundCloud Final

SoundCloud is the audio player that has become a favorite of musicians and talk shows and podcasts alike. The iOS app gives access to favorites, playlists, trending audio, and lets you follow and listen with friends.

Available on:

iTunes

Sports

ESPN SportsCenter

Free

ESPN Final

ESPN has a monopoly on this sports stuff. Its SportsCenter app is the best place to keep up to date with sports scores from all your favorite professional or college teams on the go.

Available on:

iTunes

Watch ESPN

Free

Watch ESPN Final

This one is self-explanatory. If your cable provider allows it, you can watch ESPN on this app. It’s great, but again, completely up to your service provider whether you have access at all.

Available on:

iTunes

TheScore

Free

TheScore

If you’re tired of ESPN, TheScore is a good alternative. It keeps track of scores, news, and everything much like ScoreCenter, but with a different look and feel that we prefer (at times).

Available on:

iTunes

Games

Miitomo

Miitomo

Nintendo’s first mobile app is Miitomo, a social game lets you create a digital avatar and interact with others. You can dress up your mii and play mini-games, but where it really shines is the ability to add friends in person and through social media networks. You can also take pictures of your mii.

Available on:

iTunes

Oceanhorn

$4

Oceanhorn Final

Think of this like an indie version of Zelda. Oceanhorn is a good example of a full-fledged, old-school adventure game on iOS. Bonus: the music is by the composer of Final Fantasy.

Available on:

iTunes

Infinity Blade III

$7

Infinity Final

This is the first game to take advantage of the 64-bit A7 chip in the iPhone 5S. It’s a series of boss fights where you strategically swipe to dodge, slice, and shield yourself from large villains.

Available on:

iTunes

Limbo

$2

Limbo Final 2

It looks like Tim Burton made it (back when Tim Burton was still inspired). This side scroller is moody and very creative. Check it out if you’re game for something a little strange and tough.

Available on:

iTunes

Device 6

$4

Device Final

The text-based Device 6 isn’t your standard mystery game. The game reads like a mystery novel with puzzles and a healthy dose of intrigue to propel you through this unorthodox thriller.

Available on:

iTunes

2048

Free

2048 Final

The best mobile games are simple and addictive. 2048 checks both of those boxes. All you have to do is slide tiles together to create matches and add to your score. The tough part is stopping.

Available on:

iTunes

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