Indispensable additions to your iPhone and iPad
Our selection of the very best apps for iOS devices, geared towards everything from creativity to organization
Spent all your money on a shiny new iPhone or iPad? Wallet looking forlorn and empty? Don’t panic! You can still get the best out of your device by installing these amazing free apps, all of which are perfectly suited to helping you get the most out of your device. In this round–up, we run through some of the iOS favorites we couldn’t imagine life without. They’re all top–notch options, whether you fancy a spot of stargazing, finger painting, meditation, photo editing, or more besides. So download them all, given that they won’t cost you a single cent!
> Prisma prisma-ai.com
Want to be an artist, but have the painterly skills of an amoeba? Try Prisma. You simply need to load a photo, select a filter, and your snap is transformed into anything from a Munch to a Picasso. Some styles sit behind in–app purchases — as does high–res output — but for free there’s enough to fill several art galleries with your tappy genius.
> Oak oakmeditation.com
Too often, your iPhone’s a source for stress. Oak reasons it doesn’t need to be. If you’ve only a few seconds to spare, you can calm or reinvigorate yourself with some breathing exercises. When you’re able to carve a little more time, there are meditation sessions suitable for newcomers and old-hands alike.
Snapseed seems to offer a rather baffling slew of options at first glance, but persevere and you’ll find the finest freebie photo editing experience on iOS. The app’s packed full of superb tools, from basic adjustments to out–there filters. The interface is intuitive and tactile. Moreover, edits are non– destructive, encouraging experimentation, and edit ‘stacks’ can be saved as one–tap filters for later.
Night Sky icandiapps.com
Astronomy apps on your iPhone give you a glimpse of the heavens. Night Sky lets you drag about your screen or wave your iPhone in front of your face to adjust the view. Info pages for celestial objects provide a feast for your brain once your eyes are done gorging, and you can also pluck planets and constellations from the scene for detailed exploration in dedicated and dazzling AR views.
Ignore the tiresome social network full of gurning users welded to this app and instead live in the camera. There, you’ll find dozens of retro– infused filters and post–snappage tools for adding stamps, text, and scribbles to your pic. Our favorite bit is the collage. This old–school photo booth stitches multiple shots into a grid of images, and beautifully and effectively portrays the passage of time.
> Tinycards tinycards.duolingo.com
These digital flashcards aim to infuse facts into your brain that may once have leaked out of your ears. Duolingo’s own cards are bold and breezy, and there are many third–party sets to get stuck into as well. Beyond that, you can make your own custom cards to share.
> PicCollage pic-collage.com
When you fancy creating something visually striking from a set of snaps but lack the time, try loading them into PicCollage. You can rearrange the grid, apply filters, slather the result in more stickers and scribbles than strictly necessary, and then send it to your friends.
> Scanbot scanbot.io
Although you can scan into Apple’s Notes, it’s handy to have a bespoke scanner app dedicated to the task. Scanbot will quickly scan, smarten, and optimize any document set before your iPhone’s camera. Multi–page scans are supported, along with cloud services for storage.
Apple’s Podcasts is a serviceable app for delving into podcasts, but Overcast goes the extra mile. Smart playlists help you organize shows and listen to new things. The best bits, though, are the effects. You can use smart speed and voice boost to, respectively, shrink silences and enhance clarity. Smart speed then saves time by cleverly speeding up a show without adversely affecting playback quality. Nice!
Your iPhone provides an easy way to shoot video, but editing miniature blockbusters can be a chore. Quik streamlines the process to just a few taps. After you select some videos and a theme, the app then finds great moments in your footage, adds transitions, applies the theme, and serves up an edit that’s synced to the beat of the background music. And if you’re not convinced, everything can be tweaked.
For some reason, Apple only thinks you need a single timer on your iPhone. MultiTimer, as its name suggests, disagrees. The free version can accommodate up to a dozen timers of varying types at any one time, including countdowns, Pomodoro timers, interval/lap timers for exercise, counters, and world clocks. Each timer created can have a custom color and icon, and you can set a delay before each timer starts.
> Infuse 5 firecore.com/infuse
If you’ve got loads of videos either on your Mac or stashed somewhere online, getting them on to your iPhone can take an age — if indeed they are even compatible. Infuse is the solution to this issue — it’ll stream videos from just about anywhere you have them stored, and if it recognizes titles, will even download the respective cover artwork.
> pocket getpocket.com
If you end the day staring at dozens of unread browser tabs, use Pocket. Send links to the service and it downloads articles, but strips content back to a very readable, zero–distraction text–and– images layout. You can then use the iPhone app to read stories you’ve saved on the commute from work, or when ensconced in a comfy armchair at home.
> Speedtest speedtest.net
During those moments you wonder whether your internet connection has actually slowed to a crawl, fire up Speedtest to accurately check. Within seconds, you’ll have an indication of download, upload, and ping speeds, which can then be recorded to let you keep track of your connection over time.
> Feedly feedly.com
If you never want to miss a story from your favorite websites, use Feedly to create your own personalized newsfeed, mixing and matching online newspapers and niche blogs. You get access to more than 40 million feeds, and features include the option of an uncluttered reading page and easy sharing capabilities.
> LastPass lastpass.com
LastPass is ideal for those serious about password security. Although iCloud Keychain stores your passwords and payment cards, LastPass arguably makes them much easier to manage — and, as of iOS 12, it seamlessly integrates into the iPhone experience. There’s also one– to–one sharing, and LastPass is available for Windows and Android, if you also use those.
> Wunderlist wunderlist.com
This app comes across like how Reminders should be. It’s straightforward yet offers plenty of powerful features — scheduling, automated inboxes, collaborative lists, the option to upload attachments, and comment on a task. Good stuff for a shopping list — and grumbling when someone still manages to forget the milk.