If you’ve noticed that we haven’t updated our Favorite iPhone Apps list in a few months, below is the reason why. We’ve been adding apps for a few years now, but our old list was built for an iPhone that could do a few dozen things – it wasn’t built for the sheer variety of apps available today. This one is. We don’t know what kind of app you’re looking for, but we’re hoping you’ll find it here. We’ve got more than a hundred of our favorite apps spanning a bunch of different categories, all of which you can find in the Key. Click on any category or subcategory to jump right to it, and click on the name of any app to link directly to the iPhone App Store.
Below are our app picks for Entertainment, Work and Organizing, Security and Utility, What’s Around Town, Social and Chat, Fitness and Health, Travel and Maps, and The Dark Arts. We’ll add new categories in the coming weeks and months. We hope you enjoy and please give us app suggestions or feedback in the comments.
Update on 7-11-2014 by Jeffrey Van Camp: Six new apps added, including Beats Music, Preggie, and IFTTT.
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New App Additions
Here are the newest apps added to the roundup.
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.
It’s not easy being pregnant, but this social networking app for mothers with child could help alleviate the stress. It helps you to find pregnant women locally and offers a safe place to chat and seek advice.
This message will self-destruct in 30 seconds. Send self-deleting texts and files, set the length of time before they disappear, and keep all your communications encrypted. Requires a subscription.
If you’re uncertain about your hearing then test it yourself with this app. You’ll be able to see at-a-glance what frequencies you are having trouble with and find out how you compare for your age.
Find out about the best places and things to do in your vicinity from people you trust. This social network is all about finding great restaurants, bars, and other cool places.
You can automate all sorts of reminders and tasks with this clever app by creating “recipes” or selecting from the available, ever-growing, community-driven library.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nope. This isn’t an elementary school supplies app. TVTAG, formerly GetGlue, is a great place to find things to watch, converse with other TV show fans, and keep up to date on your favorite programs.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Instead of reading through topics like ‘Tech,’ Zite lets you choose topics and then magically mixes them together. At first it will confound you, then you won’t be able to stop. Zite knows you.
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.
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.
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.’)
Circa’s goal is to condense news so that you can more easily read it on the go. It will keep you up to date as you wait in line or for a train, and has a decent notification system to boot.
Radio and Podcasts
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Next Page: Works and Organizing apps!