In­dis­pens­able ad­di­tions to your iPhone and iPad

Our se­lec­tion of the very best apps for iOS de­vices, geared to­wards ev­ery­thing from cre­ativ­ity to or­ga­ni­za­tion

Mac|Life - - FEATURE -

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 snapseed.en.soft­onic.com

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.

Ret­rica ret­rica.co

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.

Over­cast over­cast.fm

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!

Quik quik.gopro.com

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.

Mul­tiTimer mul­titimer.net

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.

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