Our Fa­vorite Apps

TOP PICKS FROM THE IPHONE LIFE TEAM

iPhone Life Magazine - - Contents -

Slack (Free) Our team has a strong work ethic and a good sense of hu­mor. Slack keeps us pro­duc­tive and laugh­ing, whether we're telecom­mut­ing from a re­mote cof­fee shop in New Zealand or work­ing in the of­fice. Skype used to be our app of choice for col­lab­o­ra­tion, but Slack lured us away with use­ful fea­tures like Chan­nels, which lets us sep­a­rate things like head­line brain­storm­ing ses­sions from pic­tures of our pets. Slack's hi­lar­i­ous GIF gen­er­a­tor alone made the switch worth­while. Pri­vate mes­sag­ing makes it easy to get in touch with the right peo­ple at any given time via one-on-one com­mu­ni­ca­tion or small group dis­cus­sions. Slack also makes it easy to search for and lo­cate files ex­changed be­tween peo­ple, although the free ver­sion deletes your ar­chive once you ex­ceed 10,000 mes­sages. No­ti­fi­ca­tions from Slack's iPhone app keep us in­formed on the go, and we can snooze no­ti­fi­ca­tions out­side of work hours, al­low­ing us to un­plug after a long work­day.

Skype (Free) While Slack's chat fea­tures put Skype to shame, Skype still reigns supreme when it comes to video calls. Skype en­sures that we can get every­one to­gether even if sev­eral team mem­bers are work­ing re­motely (you can con­nect up to 25 peo­ple for free!). We also love Skype's screen-shar­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, which al­lows every­one on a call to view the same pre­sen­ta­tion or spread­sheet. Skype isn't per­fect though—even with a strong Wi-Fi net­work, you're bound to ex­pe­ri­ence con­nec­tion glitches or dis­torted sound once in a while (head­phones can help with au­dio feed­back). Still, Skype is an in­valu­able tool for push­ing the ball for­ward on projects, even if team mem­bers aren't in the same place.

Sk­itch (Free) If you read iPhone Life reg­u­larly, then you'll be fa­mil­iar with our daily tips, which aim to teach you cool ways that you can use your iPhone— and most tips take less than a minute to read! When cre­at­ing these tips, our fea­ture web writer Con­ner Carey (a.k.a. “the tip monster”) snaps screen­shots on her phone and uses Sk­itch to add cir­cles or ar­rows to show read­ers ex­actly where they should be look­ing. It of­fers a fast, vis­ual way to con­vey a mes­sage of any kind, whether you're us­ing it for work (like we do), for home projects (like plan­ning a kitchen ren­o­va­tion), or on your so­cial me­dia page.

Asana (Free) Our ed­i­tor in chief Donna Cleve­land be­gan us­ing Asana as an ed­i­to­rial cal­en­dar a cou­ple of years ago to help keep track of im­por­tant dates and ar­ti­cle as­sign­ments. With Asana, we can cre­ate an as­sign­ment for a con­trib­u­tor and in­clude a task de­scrip­tion and dead­line. When fin­ished, the au­thor can at­tach the fin­ished draft and mark the as­sign­ment as com­plete. Our only com­plaints are that you can't as­sign a task to more than one per­son and that the iOS app lacks the desk­top ver­sion's cal­en­dar view.

Drop­box (Free) Drop­box is the in­dus­try stan­dard file-based cloud ser­vice and the place where all our com­pany files live. We're big fans of Drop­box be­cause of its re­li­a­bil­ity and how sim­ple it is to set up and use. It in­te­grates with many other apps (such as Mi­crosoft Of­fice 365) and ser­vices on your iPhone and iPad, mak­ing it easy to save files to your Drop­box ac­count with just a few taps. You can also set up the app to au­to­mat­i­cally back up all your pho­tos and videos, if that's a fea­ture you'd like. For team­work, the ab­sence of on­line file col­lab­o­ra­tion is a real down­side. You get 2 GB of free stor­age, or you can up­grade to Pro for $8.25 per month and 1 ter­abyte of stor­age.

Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides (Free) We use Google's suite of pro­duc­tiv­ity apps— in­clud­ing Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides—to up­load files and col­lab­o­rate on doc­u­ments, spread­sheets, and slideshows with our team in real time. What we love about these apps is that changes are synced across de­vices in­stan­ta­neously. This is a great tool for projects that re­quire in­put from other team mem­bers. You can share doc­u­ments with other users and see their ac­tiv­ity as they make changes and leave com­ments. The apps are cross-plat­form and friendly with iOS, An­droid, and all desk­top browsers. You can cre­ate word doc­u­ments and spread­sheets for free since Google gives you 15 GB of free stor­age.

Sim­plenote (Free) Our CTO Raphael Burnes swears by Sim­plenote, a note­tak­ing app with all the sim­plic­ity of Ap­ple's Notes app but with im­proved fea­tures like col­lab­o­ra­tion, note his­tory, tags, and the abil­ity to pub­lish a note as a web­page. While Sim­plenote has its own Mac app, it also syncs with No­ta­tional Ve­loc­ity, a desk­top app that Raph likes for its ro­bust search­ing ca­pa­bil­ity and va­ri­ety of sup­ported text for­mats, in­clud­ing HTML, plain text, and rich text. Raph's a re­ally fast typer, so he also loves that No­ta­tional Ve­loc­ity is to­tally key­board ac­ces­si­ble, mean­ing he doesn't need to be slowed down by us­ing his mouse.

Vimeo (Free) When we launched our iPhone Life In­sider pro­gram, we needed a video-host­ing ser­vice that we knew was se­cure and that we could rely on. Vimeo has been a great, pro­fes­sional so­lu­tion. Un­like YouTube, Vimeo is com­pletely ad-free (which pro­vides a su­pe­rior ex­pe­ri­ence for our cus­tomers) and al­lows us to choose dif­fer­ent pri­vacy set­tings so we can keep pre­mium video con­tent only view­able by our In­sider sub­scribers. When we record in­ter­views on our iPhones, such as at the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show in Las Ve­gas, Vimeo has made it su­per easy to up­load videos through the app. The iPhone and iPad app also make it easy to track en­gage­ment from our cus­tomers, so we can eas­ily see which of our videos are most pop­u­lar and per­form­ing well.

Twit­ter (Free) Twit­ter is our so­cial plat­form of choice dur­ing our live cov­er­age of Ap­ple an­nounce­ments. We live tweet up­dates and im­pres­sions as Ap­ple un­veils new prod­ucts and use trend­ing hash­tags so fol­low­ers can eas­ily find us. Our up­dates range from specs of the new iPhone's cam­era to funny event high­lights, such as Ap­ple exec Eddy Cue's awk­ward danc­ing as he de­buted Ap­ple Music (#dad­moves). Twit­ter has also proved to be an ef­fec­tive tool for ar­ti­cle re­search­ing, al­low­ing us to track down sources and mes­sage them di­rectly to set up an in­ter­view. When shar­ing ar­ti­cles from our web­site, we've also been having fun tweet­ing head­lines, callout quotes, or in­ter­est­ing facts from a story and see­ing which tweet gets the most clicks.

Hoot­suite (Free) Our CEO David Aver­bach is a big fan of batch pro­cess­ing, (a.k.a. do­ing a job in one sit­ting in­stead of in in­cre­ments) as a way of max­i­miz­ing ef­fi­ciency. Hoot­suite helps us ap­ply this method to so­cial me­dia, al­low­ing us to sched­ule posts on Face­book, Twit­ter, In­sta­gram, Google Plus, and LinkedIn all at once as soon as the posts go live. The Hoot­suite app makes it easy to keep a fin­ger on the pulse of our so­cial ac­counts and make sure we're keep­ing in touch reg­u­larly. Not only can we sched­ule and re­view all our up­com­ing posts, but we can see all our com­ments and pri­vate mes­sages from across our so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

Ama­zon (Free) Mak­ing a trip to Walmart is al­ways a drag, even when we're out of of­fice essentials like pa­per, printer ink, and choco­late. Ama­zon to the res­cue! We have a com­pany Ama­zon Prime ac­count, mean­ing we can use the Ama­zon app to keep our of­fice sup­plies com­ing in a con­stant stream with two-day ship­ping. Every­thing about the Ama­zon app makes it easy to buy things, which is both a bless­ing and a curse. It keeps a record of past or­ders for you to buy again, lets you sign up for re­cur­ring ship­ments of items that need re­plen­ish­ing, and of­fers Ama­zon Dash but­tons—a small gad­get that is paired to our prod­uct of choice (e.g. jumbo packs of pa­per tow­els) and al­lows us to re­order the item at the touch of a but­ton.

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