Apple’s iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to help you get the most out of yours. From dating apps to QR scanners, your phone is capable of nearly anything these days, and some apps just rise above the rest. Our list of the best iPhone apps brings you the true cream of the crop: 100 apps, sorted by category, that will make your life simpler, easier, and more enjoyable. What are you waiting for? Start downloading them now.
Want to find nearby restaurants or track a package using your voice? Well, the official Google app allows users to have full-fledged conversations with their phone. It’s just like Siri, except it connects with your Google accounts.
Google Chrome is an upgrade from the default browser, Safari. The app can sync your history and bookmarks across devices and includes features like search bar autocomplete and unlimited tab functionality.
Facebook is the social network. If you want to make your phone Facebook official, you should download this app. A must-have for nearly anyone, as many other social apps connect through Facebook to acquire vital information.
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. It now features YouTube Red, a monthly subscription service that allows downloaded playlists to be used offline and playback with no ads.
It may be owned by Facebook, but Instagram is still the best social network for sharing pictures and ruining them with silly filters. We say ruining, but we put X Pro II on just about everything.
Communication and messaging
For those who find themselves participating in a ton of group chats, GroupMe makes it easier to keep track of them all. You can name your groups, set avatars, and also save your photos and videos within the group chats to refer back to later.
Facebook’s Messenger service is offered as a stand-alone app, enabling you to chat with your Facebook friends and anyone in your contacts with the app installed — and without having to be signed into Facebook. We recommend this app for the sheer volume of messaging that happens via Facebook, though it’s a little frustrating that the Facebook app itself no longer includes messaging functionality.
The de facto VOIP service that is owned by Microsoft, Skype is used by more than 250 million users worldwide. Free international voice and video calls are tough to pass up.
Want to make video calls without a hassle? Google Duo is a great alternative to FaceTime. You can connect with everyone regardless if they have an Android or iPhone. It works on Wi-Fi and cellular, and there is now support for the iPad.
WhatsApp, which is a great choice for anyone who doesn’t have unlimited texting and spends a lot of time connected to Wi-Fi, lets you send and receive messages, pictures, audio notes, and video messages.
Tinder is a terrible app if you want to date. It only shows you someone’s picture and age. But it’s fun to swipe people away as Hot or Not. If someone thinks you’re hot, you can chat.
Bumble flips the web dating paradigm on its head by forcing women to make the first move. Match with someone (the app functions pretty much exactly like Tinder) and the woman has 24 hours to send a message or the match expires.
Prefer not to match up with random strangers in Tinder? Hinge uses your common interests and personalities to make connections, rather than relying on you simply finding another person attractive. It does this through a Tinder-like interface where it asks you simple questions on your likes and dislikes. Simply swipe left or right to answer the questions and see who you match with.
Grindr is the largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people. Using your phone’s location, you can find other members close by to talk to, swap photos with, or meet in person.
Tasty is responsible for some of our favorite step-by-step video recipes, and the app is just as good at guiding you to culinary success. But we didn’t expect such a well-made app too. You can search by ingredients, filter out particular ingredients you’re not keen on, or filter by your particular diet.
Yummly is a great recipe app with a particularly powerful search engine being one of its best features. Need to strip out all recipes involving eggs? It can do that. Vegan? Easy. Then add the stuff you need to your shopping list and get cooking.
Kitchen Stories Recipes
Winner of an Apple Design Award, there’s little kitchen-related Kitchen Stories can’t do. It offers thousands of free recipes, and you can add to those by uploading your own. If you’re new to certain techniques, then you can watch the app’s instructional videos, and you can even activate “cooking mode” to be guided through each recipe, step-by-step.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or dairy-free recipe, then check out Krautkopf’s app. It has 80 recipes (60 exclusively created just for the app) with a mix of vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. You can search by ingredient, or just browse it like a cookbook. You can tick off instructions as you cook, and the app even has a shopping list that syncs to the Apple Watch.
Uber Eats: Food Delivery
With Uber Eats, ordering food is simple — especially if you’ve used Uber before. Browse the menu of available restaurants to order from and pay straight through the app by linking your credit or debit card. You’ll then be given an estimated delivery time and you can track the location of your order in real-time.
Microsoft’s mobile companion app for the Xbox One allows you to navigate Xbox menus using your smartphone. The Xbox app offers compatibility with otherwise tedious Xbox apps like messaging and achievements.
The PlayStation app offers the same basic functionality as the Xbox app, except it’s for your PlayStation 4. View trophies, compose messages, and browse the PlayStation store with this app. Some games also include second-screen functionality for a deeper play experience.
Twitch’s mobile app brings the wide world of game streaming to your fingertips. Chat with other Twitch users, view your favorite streamers’ channels, or watch recorded videos of top gamers and events. The Twitch app is AirPlay and Chromecast compatible.
If you love to keep up with the latest news and scores from your favorite esports, then give Strafe Esports a try. It covers news from a variety of games, including League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Rocket League — and it even allows you to gamify your esports experience by pitting your predictions against other users.
Whether you’re going out at home or abroad, TripAdvisor is one of the best apps you can download. TripAdvisor’s massive database has over 700 million reviews from travelers all around the world on all the best attractions, restaurants, and more. You can book from the app for certain places, and you can even pay using it.
With StubHub, you can buy and sell tickets straight from the app — whether it’s for a concert or sports event — up until the day it is happening. You can also pick and choose your favorite bands or sports teams, so StubHub can provide you with event recommendations that you’ll be interested in.
If you want to browse showtimes and/or buy movie tickets in advance, Fandango is for you. The iPhone app works well and can mean the difference between making a sold-out show or going home brokenhearted.
If you’re looking to buy tickets for a concert, sporting event, or theater show, then you will find them here. You can also use this app to sell or transfer tickets and get alerts on artists or events that might interest you.
Open Table is great for planning dinner on the fly. The free app allows you to search for new restaurants, explore menus, and even reserve a table.
Health and fitness
Couch to 5K ($3)
Whether your goal is to run a 5K or just to improve your running, Couch to 5K will help get you there. With the program, you spend 20 to 30 minutes running, three times a week for nine weeks, gradually improving on your runs each time. By the end, you should be able to make it through three miles with ease.
Calm is a meditation app that offers guided sessions for beginners, along with programs for those on intermediate and advanced levels. You can choose from different breathing exercises, adult bedtime stories, or soothing nature sounds to use during yoga.
Strava Running and Cycling: GPS Run and Ride Tracker
If you’re looking for an app to track your running or cycling, you can’t go wrong with Strava. It uses GPS to track you while you’re out but also syncs up with other tracking apps and devices to bring all your data together, complete with attractive maps and enough stats to satisfy most fitness fanatics. You can also join groups, and compete on local and national leaderboards to help gamify your fitness routine.
If you’re into strength training then you want to track your progress too. GymBook is great for that, and it also displays neat GIFs of 50 preset exercises and how they affect different muscle groups.
Yoga for Complete Beginners
Down Dog is one of our favorite yoga apps, but the price tag undoubtedly puts some new users off. If you’re looking to get into yoga for the first time, then check out Yoga for Complete Beginners. It comes with three different yoga styles to explore and explains its way through all the moves. An excellent way to start a yoga journey.
Knowing what you’re eating is a big part of staying healthy and losing weight. If you’re keeping an eye on what ends up on your hips via your lips, then there’s no better app to help than MyFitnessPal. While it’s an excellent overall fitness app, it excels in helping you keep track of your calorie intake. An easily searched database includes data on foodstuffs from around the world, with calorie counts and macros included. If you’re eating out of a packet, you can scan the barcode with your camera to add it quickly, and it even lets you know how much weight you’re expected to lose on your current trend.
Spotify is changing the game for the entire music industry. It’s free on PCs and tablets, but $10 a month 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 around a song or artist. You tell it what you like and what you hate. It learns.
SoundCloud is the audio player that has become a favorite of musicians, talk shows and podcasts alike. The iOS app gives access to favorites, playlists, and trending audio, and lets you follow and listen with friends.
Apple Music works with your Apple account to give you personal recommendations based on your library. You can create your own profile and playlists, and follow friends to check out their tunes. Depending on the membership you choose — student, individual, or family — you’ll have to pay a fee ranging from $5 to $15 per month.
There’s no use having all these music apps if you don’t know what’s playing. Shazam is absolutely the way to go if you need to identify a song. Once it’s identified the song, it’ll also let you know which services you can use to buy or stream your new jam.
Looking to make music, rather than listen to it? You can’t go wrong with Garageband’s collection of tools and instruments, from the cello to the electric guitar, to the most ’80s of all instruments — the synth. It’s completely free, and worth the download, even if you don’t know one end of a piano from the other.
The New York Times
The world-famous newspaper comes to the small screen, offering breaking news alerts, morning briefings compiled by Times journalists, and the ability to save articles for offline access.
Curio: Hear great journalism
Why download a series of different apps when you can just download one that collates a bunch of reputable news sources? Curio brings together stories from a series of great news providers, including The Washington Post, The Guardian, and more. Best of all, it even allows you to listen rather than read with its collection of narrated stories. The free version has limits on how much you can listen to or download for later, and it’ll cost $8 a month to lift those limitations.
Al Jazeera English
For those looking to get their news on a global scale, Al Jazeera English brings a curated collection of top news stories and videos from across the world, as well as 24-hour access to live video and background audio streaming.
Pocket Casts ($4)
We know what you’re asking: Why bother paying for a third-party podcast app when iPhones already have one built-in? More features, that’s why! Podcast lovers are sure to appreciate some of Pocket Casts advantages over Apple’s software, such as customizable skip intervals, Chromecast and Sonos support, the ability to boost voices over background noise, and even a selection of themes.
Apple News is already available on all iOS devices and reduces the need for a variety of news apps. The “For You” tab allows you to pick and choose specific apps you’d like to receive notifications from. You can also search for specific subjects or publications and save articles to view offline later. All of the stories are also saved across all your iOS devices.
Payment and money management
Use PayPal to check up on the transactions in your account, send or request money, and photograph checks or credit cards to add them to your account without messing with the details.
Venmo is the payment app for the people. Connecting directly with your debit card, Venmo offers free person-to-person money transfers. Credit transfers require a percentage fee. It’s compatible with many shopping apps for easy checkout.
YNAB (You Need a Budget)
Alright, it’s got a steep learning curve, but take the time to get into it and YNAB is absolutely the best budgeting app out there. It asks you to put every dollar to work and can connect with your bank account in order to track your expenditure automatically. If you’re serious about saving, then You Need a Budget.
Designed with college students in mind, Splitwise helps you keep track of debts owed between friends and connects seamlessly with Paypal and Venmo so you can settle up at any time.
Google’s own editing app offers professional-grade editing, without paying a penny. Snapseed uses a series of sliders to easily alter a massive number of settings, ensuring you can get exactly the effect you were looking for when you snapped the shot. If you’re in a hurry, use the app’s automatic altering to play with settings, or just slap one of the many filters straight over the top. If you want the most from your iPhone’s impressive camera, then Snapseed is a great addition to your app collection.
Enlight was developed to harness the full power of the CPU and GPU in Apple’s devices, delivering one of the most powerful photo-editing tools on iOS. If you own an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus or later, the app takes advantage of the wide color gamut of the displays in those phones, and features an extensive roster of customizable filters and special effects, allowing you to create even more amazing things with your already capable camera.
Afterlight 2 ($3)
As the sequel to Afterlight, Afterlight 2 is the revamped version complete with tons of features to edit your photos — filters, artwork, text, advanced tools, and more. Unlike other photo editing services, this one doesn’t require a subscription or in-app purchases for additional tools.
Halide Camera ($6)
Halide gives your iPhone DSLR-like features, so you don’t have to carry around a bulky camera. You’ll find full manual controls to adjust exposure, ISO, and white balance. You can use the clever, gesture-based user interface one-handed, and you can customize it however you’d like.
With Facetune, you can easily edit selfies and portraits in a variety of ways without having to use fancy programs like Photoshop. For $4, you can perfect your skin, reshape your facial structure, add makeup, and more.
Though it hasn’t been updated since 2013, we had to include Apple’s native ebook reading app. The app connects with social media platforms like Facebook so you can share your thoughts on your favorite novel.
Amazon rules the ebook reader world, but you can also get its Kindle app just about everywhere else, including for iPhone. Kindle features one of the largest literary selections in the world, and you can even subscribe to Kindle Unlimited to read as many as you want for $10 a month.
Google Play Books
Google Play Books offers millions of titles to choose from that you can read even when you’re offline. Any notes taken while reading will automatically sync to your Google Drive, which you can share with a group to collaborate on. With the addition of audiobooks, you can also listen to books on-the-go instead — with no subscription required.
Goodreads is similar to Yummly, but for books, providing recommendations based on books you like and books your friends like. The app lets you connect to book clubs and discussions with readers across the globe.
Prefer listening to books over reading them? Audible has you covered with more than 180,000 titles that you can download for offline play. Speed up or slow down narration speed to fit your preferred listening experience.
Amazon is the No. 1 online retailer for a reason. Browse Amazon’s vast collection of products quickly and easily. Plus, you can enable notifications for daily Amazon Gold Box deals so you never miss out on a discount.
There’s very little that you can’t buy or sell on eBay. The app is full-featured and much easier to use than the website. Bid on items, track your orders and sell all of your unwanted stuff right here.
With OfferUp, you can buy and sell your items locally by listing the item through your phone. You can browse items by image, category, or location and message buyers or sellers through the app. There are also safety features to make sure your transactions and conversations are secure.
Have a ton of surplus fashion to sell? Poshmark enables you to list your own items to sell by simply taking a photo. You can sell and buy items through the app. For those who want to shop, there are over 5,000 brands to choose from in a variety of sizes.
Krazy Coupon Lady
Not really a shopping app in the traditional sense, Krazy Coupon Lady brings together offers from a variety of stores, making it easy to save money while you shop. You can set favorite stores, and even get notifications when a new deal is available.
Twitter helps you keep your finger on the pulse of the world — and find out who’s worth listening to. Follow friends, celebrities, or companies’ official feeds to get instantly notified when something big goes down.
TikTok allows you to compile a variety of clips that you capture into a 15-second video. You can also add filters, music, stickers, and more, to bring your videos to life. But it doesn’t stop there — the app builds a personalized feed for you to scroll through and discover videos by others in the TikTok community from tons of different categories.
Hands down, Snapchat is the best app to use if you want to send naughty pictures to someone. Every picture or short video you send deletes itself forever after about 10 seconds. Watch out for screenshotters!
Ever wanted to duet with Ed Sheeran? Now you can. Smule offers a large database of songs to sing along with karaoke-style, or side-by-side with the original artists, or even your friends. The free version is limited, but VIP access is just $3 a month, which isn’t bad if you want a night of fun with your mates.
Meetup puts the “social” in “social media”. Not just somewhere to share funny pictures, Meetup is an app for anyone who wants to meet and socialize with people with shared interests. Just put in what you’re into and Meetup will find you a local group for that interest. It’s free to use, and you’ll only need to pay if you want to organize meetups yourself.
Whether you follow a lot of sports and different teams, or you only follow the WWE, Bleacher Report has the personalized setup for you. Pick the teams and sports you care about, and Bleacher Report will send you the latest news and developments as they happen.
MLB At Bat
For baseball fans, there’s still no better app than the official one. MLB.com At Bat features scores and news, as you’d expect. But the app goes a step further for MLB.TV subscribers, with live feeds for nearly every game, as well as Gameday Audio for those who enjoy tuning in to their favorite hometown radio announcer. You can cast games to a supported device, like an Apple TV or Chromecast, easily purchase tickets, and even set the app icon to your favorite club.
If you’re the type to watch every game, regardless of where you are, FuboTV will keep you tuned in. Whether it’s NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, or something else, the app has you covered with more than 75 channels with live games to stream on your TV or on a mobile device. You’re also able to watch live news, movies, and TV shows from other networks. To start, there is a free seven-day trial and after that, it will cost you $45 per month.
Coach’s Eye ($5)
More athlete than a fan? This app lets you record your golf swing, tennis serve, or any other movement you want to analyze in slow motion. You can provide commentary, make annotations, and compare two videos. You can even call it “Coach’s Eye for the Sports Guy” if you really must.
The official app of the NFL lets you watch videos, highlights, and more. You’ll also be able to keep up with breaking NFL news, stats, and scores in real-time while on the go.
The ubiquitous, super-popular Netflix app nearly made our list of essentials. If you don’t know what Netflix is, we’re surprised you found our website. Netflix lets you stream movies and television shows for a monthly fee. Get started with our list of the best shows on Netflix right now.
If you want to keep up with TV shows, but can’t stand cable, Hulu is the best place to go. It has a lot of the major network and cable channel shows. A Hulu Plus subscription costs $8 per month.
Amazon Prime Video
As Amazon Prime continues to release more original content, it can be tough to keep up with what you want to watch. With the Prime Video app, you can download and stream all the movies and TV shows available on the service — including Prime Originals — on any of your iOS devices. Naturally, you’ll need to have an Amazon Prime membership.
If you’re looking to get rid of your cable box, YouTube TV lets you stream more than 40 networks for $40 per month. You can also have six YouTube TV accounts per household, allowing each person in the family to have their own login.
It’s a lot more specific than most streaming sites, but if you’re looking for the finest and latest anime, then Crunchyroll is the best app around. You can watch for free with ads, but if you want uninterrupted anime viewing, then you need to pay $7 a month.
Travel and transportation
If you need to get somewhere and don’t have wheels of your own, hop in someone else’s ride. Uber’s “private taxi” service offers the privacy and safety of a stranger’s car as an alternative to public transportation.
Lyft offers a slightly less expensive version of Uber’s private cab service, allowing you to get from Point A to Point B — even if you’re not in a state to drive (or walk). Lyft offers ride discount credits upon registration.
Airbnb is no longer limited to finding places to stay while traveling. You’re also able to find and make reservations at different restaurants in the area you’re visiting, and if you’re looking for things to do, the app suggests different experiences including classes, workshops, concerts, and more — all of which you can book directly from the app.
Taking up a new language is tough, but Duolingo makes things a bit easier. It’s great for those looking to learn a language before heading abroad, whether it be Spanish, French, German, Vietnamese, Greek, Romanian, or Japanese. With lessons carved out into brief chunks, Duolingo makes it convenient to pop in every day to reinforce what you’ve learned.
Google Maps is the king of mapping apps, and it’s a reliable service you can use to navigate the area you’re in while receiving real-time updates on traffic conditions and public transit information. You can read and write reviews for businesses and restaurants, label your favorite places, see a timeline of your activity, and share your current trip and location with friends and family.
Why waste time in traffic or pay more than you have to for gas? Waze solves both of these problems by supplying you with access to community-generated, real-time traffic information and gas prices.
Waiting around for public transportation is never fun, but Transit helps make it a little bit easier. In addition to real-time arrivals for both buses and trains, you can also compare options to see which routes are better. You can also receive push notifications whenever transit is delayed, view schedules offline, find bike share stations, and more.
Riding in a car or public transit isn’t the only way to get around — sometimes your legs are all you need. If you fancy stretching your legs out on a stroll, AllTrails is the app to download. It has more than 75,000 hand-curated trails with detailed maps and easy navigation. You can even keep track of your walking progress. It’s free to use, but you can get a Pro account for $30 a year that gives you offline maps, personal tracking, and more.
Utilities and customization
Note-taking isn’t just for college kids, and whether you’re attending a conference, an important meeting, or just want to note something down, Noted is a really great app to have in your back pocket. While it’s a word processor at its most basic level, it’s really so much more than that, and you can tag specific moments, add images, audio, and pretty much anything else you can think of to make your note-taking easier.
You might not have time to read or watch every bit of quality content that comes your way, and that’s where Pocket comes in handy. Save articles, videos, and webpages from a variety of sources and read them later on any other device with Pocket.
Being able to organize yourself is a vital life skill, but not everyone has the knack for it. For those who need a little helping hand, Todoist is one of the best to-do list apps you can get. It’s quick and easy to create a task, and you can even share it with other people or set a deadline.
Dark Sky Weather ($4)
You don’t want to get caught out in the rain, so don’t. While there’s a glut of other weather apps out there, Dark Sky Weather is one of the best thanks to its hyperlocal weather information that tells you the weather, right down to the minute.
With Google Translate, you have access to over 100 languages — 59 of which are available offline. You can also translate text in images using your camera, translate speech using the microphone, and draw text rather than typing in specific phrases.
Apple’s iCloud is excellent, but it can be hard to use outside of iOS. Dropbox offers brilliant cloud storage that can be accessed from Android devices and iPhones, or on MacBooks and PCs. A basic account is free and holds up to 2GB of storage. If you want to store more, then you can get up to 1TB of storage for $8.25 a month.
Better Blocker by Ind.ie ($1)
There are plenty of ad blockers on the App Store that aim to streamline your web-browsing experience, but Better Blocker goes a step further with encyclopedia-like entries educating users on how unscrupulous advertisers and sites compromise your privacy. The app also encourages and permits responsible advertising practices — meaning you can still support the sites you love that play fair, while shutting out the rest.
Blogging and word processing
1 Second Everyday: Video Diary
The idea is simple: Take a 1-second clip of every day and add it to your growing collection. Make notes for each clip so you don’t forget what you’ve been up to, and start building the movie of your life. It’s easy to do, fun to relive, and completely free to boot.
You don’t have to share all the writing you do with the world. If you like to spend a little time on self-reflection at the end of the day, then Reflectly offers a friendly and relaxing space to do that. Note down your daily thoughts and feelings, and Reflectly will coach you in mindfulness and offer ways to keep yourself motivated and happy.
While not an exact mirror of its web-based version, this app instead chooses to focus on quickness. It lets you quickly publish posts while also giving you the ability to moderate comments, view stats, and upload media on the go.
Looking to get some serious writing done? Ulysses is a powerful word-processing tool that’ll help you reach your goal. It’s a distraction-free word-processing app that lets you focus on writing — and nothing else. Everything you write is saved into the cloud and is accessible on the Ulysses apps for MacOS and iPadOS too.
It has a high price, but if you’re looking to finally write that novel, then Scrivener is the best app to make it happen. Available on Mac, PC, and iOS, Scrivener functions as a word processor, notes ring binder, scrapbook, and more. It has all kinds of customization options, and once you’re done, it’s easy to export in an editor-friendly format.
With Google Docs, you can create, collaborate, and edit documents with others on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod. Those on the document can also work on it at the same time, with real-time updates as content is added. You can work on documents offline as well.
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