Every year about this time we get news that Apple activated more iPhones than any smartphone competitor, including Samsung. And every year about this time we get a look at the Best Of for the last 12 months, and lists of Must Have apps for your new iPhone.
2017 is no different. This week I came across a list of just over a dozen useful iPhone apps from David Nield. I’m going to explain which apps are worth your time and money and which are not worth even modest consideration.
Good. No Bad. No Ugly.
Everyone comes to iPhone apps from a different perspective. What is great to me might be worthless to you. What you find indispensable I can easily dispense with at the drop of a hat.
Dropbox – think iCloud but for more money. You get 2GB free but from there on Dropbox is priced higher than Apple’s iCloud packages. What’s impressive is how well Dropbox works compared to iCloud. Files sync faster and most non-Apple apps that handle iCloud have an option for Dropbox. I use it.
Google Photos – The search engine giant is doing everything it can to track you and giving away apps like candy is high on the list. Google Photos is truly cross platform and it’s free– but not if you want to store fully resolution photos. I don’t like giving Google any more information. I do not use it.
Dark Sky – Just get it. If you care at all about weather information, Dark Sky is a must have for your iPhone and the Watch app is excellent. What you get is micro-forecasts which combine current conditions with radar with forecasts which are very accurate.
IFTTT – Programmers think in terms of If This, Then That and this utility can perform many tricks in the background but be prepared to get all geeky on your self. I use IFTTT sparingly.
Evernote – This multi-platform notes utility had its day. iOS and macOS Notes is a very good utility these days, but Evernote has a following but I don’t know anyone who uses it anymore. I moved all my Evernote notes to Notes.
Microsoft Word – If you have a need to do some word processing for business on your iPhone, fine, but the iPad version is better. It’s free. It’s feature packed. It’s overwhelming at times. I don’t use Word anymore.
SwiftKey – It would be nice to know how many of such keyboard utilities are being used in the wild. This was one of the first good ones, and comes with AI autocorrect (still no better that iOS’s built-in autocorrect, but not as funny). Lots of language support in SwiftKey. I don’t bother with extra keyboards anymore. Life is too short.
CamScanner – This is a way to turn your iPhone camera into a scanner of sorts. CamScanner is not worth the $5 a month price tag for OCR text recognition.
Google Translate – I love this. I just wish Translate was published by someone other than Google.
Sleep Cycle – OK, the idea is to track your sleep. I get it. Sleep Cycle is a nice idea that just doesn’t work well and never seems to get the hand of when I sleep vs. when I sleep very well. They are not the same.
ExpressVPN – Virtual private networks are all the rage these days, what with hackers sitting at every Starbucks table, but ExpressVPN is expensive compare to most. Check the iOS App Store for the VPN app with the most 4-5 star reviews.
CityMapper – Fine when you do public transit in specific cities, but worthless otherwise. Buy CityMapper if you take the bus or subway, or if you’re planning to visit a city without driving yourself.
Pocket Casts – Podcasts continue to be a thing these days and there are many iPhone podcast apps to choose from. Pocket Casts is one of the best (more than 2,300 4-5 star reviews). Everything to like, nothing to not like and priced right.
News Explorer – This is a bonus not included in Nield’s list but one I highly recommend if you point and click through bookmarks or visit many websites to find worthy articles to read. News Explorer may be the best RSS reader ever thanks to a consistent design and cross platform capability where RSS subscriptions sync as faster as a warm knife cuts through butter. Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.
I think we’ve entered the golden age of applications. There are too many good ones to use them all.