I am often asked which iOS apps I use, so I created this list of the apps I use most often. This list will change over time as I discover other apps or as my app usage habits change. Remember, these are only apps that I personally use, there are a ton of great apps that are not on this list.
Are these apps the best in their category?
Maybe. They are the best apps for me. In some cases, another good app might be available. I may or may not have tried it. I try to avoid fiddling until I have a good enough reason to make a change.
Are there any other apps you like?
Yes. I may include other apps on this list in the future. I am not including any app where you don’t have a choice, like the app for a cable TV company.
My Philosophy on Apps
The iTunes App Store has many apps at several different price points. Everyone, including me, likes free apps. The reality is that good apps take significant time to create, test, maintain, and improve.
Many developers are independent and one of their primary sources of income is through selling apps they create. They don’t want to create and support their apps for free, and they shouldn’t have to. Bottom line, it’s good to pay for great smartphone apps. The result is that developers will continue to build great apps.
If a free app is available that meets my needs, I’ll use it. However, I won’t hesitate to spend money on an app that works better, looks better, or provides better features than a similar free app. I would hope that many of you will consider taking the same approach. One of the reasons I started writing app reviews on this site was to help iOS users decide if an app will meet their needs.
Now, without further delay, here is a list of iOS apps I use frequently and that you might want to consider to help meet your needs.
News and Information Apps
I am currently without a good news app on my phone. For various reasons, I no longer care to use Flipboard and AP Mobile (both of which I liked before). I’ve tried all the common news apps, and some lesser known apps. None have become a “must have” app on my phone. At the moment, I don’t have a general news app. I do still have weather apps.
Yahoo Weather – FREE
If the Apple weather app isn’t enough, this app provides more information, including radar images with style. I don’t use this much anymore, but it’s still good.
Perfect Weather – $2.99
This is my current installed weather app, although I almost never launch it. I do utilize the widget for the pulldown today view. Between that and Siri, I know the current temperature and forecast for the next few days.
Radarscope – $9.99
I’m a weather geek, so when the skies get dark and the rain starts pouring down I turn to this app for weather radar. It’s quick to open, there’s no advertising, and it has tons of options. When you see the local AMS certified meteorologists using this app, you know you’re in the right spot. I tried the free weather radar apps, then bought this and haven’t regretted it.
Yahoo Sports – FREE
My favorite way to track sports scores. I also use the notification alerts for games I’m not able to watch.
Social Network Apps
Facebook – FREE
If you do anything on Facebook, then using their dedicated app is better than the web version, in my opinion.
Twitter – FREE
A great way to utilize Twitter, whether you just read tweets or post. It’s a nice free way to get into twitter.
Tweetbot 4 – $4.99 (at 50% off for a limited time)
After being a Twitter user for a while, I decided to get an app with more functionality. Tweetbot is fun and easy to use.
Instagram – FREE
If you want to share photos on Instagram, then this is the app for you.
Amazon – FREE
The easiest way to shop at Amazon. I also frequently use it for price comparisons and product reviews while I shop at local stores.
Utility and Education Apps
1Password – FREE (Pro features are $5.99 in app purchase)
With 1Password, you can have more secure passwords and not worry about remembering them. I couldn’t live without this. This app is awesome.
Starwalk – $2.99
Identify stars, planets, and other celestial objects. There are other similar apps, but this was the best when I bought it and I’ve had no reason to switch. A great educational tool for me and my family.
IMDB – FREE
I use this at least a couple times a week to search for information on movies and TV shows.
Overcast – FREE (donation supported)
I’ve used the Apple podcast app, Instacast, Downcast, and now Overcast. Overcast provides just the right amount of customization with a great user interface that makes listening to podcasts a breeze. It also has some great features like Smart Speed which shortens silences and makes your podcast finish sooner.
Spotify – FREE
Pandora – FREE
Most of the time I just listen to the music I keep on my phone, and use these for occasional music streaming and discovery.
Soundhound – FREE
Shazam – FREE
When I hear a song playing on TV, on the radio, or in a restaurant and can’t remember (or don’t know) the name or artist, one of these helps me identify it.
GarageBand – FREE
My favorite music making app. It’s a tougher to use on the iPhone as compared to the iPad. It’s still fabulous and fun on the smaller iPhone screen.
YouTube – FREE
I prefer this over using my phone web browser to search for and watch YouTube videos, although I don’t do it very often.
The following apps are critical tools that I use every day to do many things on my iPhone.
Drafts 4 – $9.99
It took me a long time to appreciate how much Drafts could help me streamline the tasks I do every day on my iPhone. I love this app. To paraphrase Han Solo, “It might not look like much, but it’s got it where it counts.”
Launch Center Pro – $4.99
I have three primary uses for Launch Center Pro:
1. As a “speed-dial” to call or send messages to family and friends
2. As a quick way to search Google, IMDB, Maps, and inside other apps and web sites.
3. Launch quickly into applications that I don’t keep on my primary home screen.