Sunday, January 4, 2015

Recommended iPhone Apps - Jan 2015

I am quite a collector of iOS apps, having a few hundred (569) apps on my phone. Some may call this obsessive but I blame it on an app called "AppsGoneFree" which I have checked every day for the last couple years. Most of these apps linger on my phone, going untouched as I don't have time to go through them all but there are many, many apps that I use on a daily basis. I thought I'd share some of my favourites. A number of these are paid apps and in most cases, worth it. You get what you pay for in many cases. There are also many excellent free apps in this list too. I've left out some of the more popular ones such as Facebook, Flixter, Shazam, Yelp, Evernote, etc...

Must Haves (in my opinion):

  1. Launch Center Pro: Quick launch app that allows you to code actions using URL schemes. It allows for integration with other apps. I use it to group contacts (includes dialing), bookmarks, search queries for numerous sites, posting to twitter and facebook at the same time, launching Waze with my home or work address, saving photos to Dropbox, etc...
  2. Fantastical 2: This calendaring app has replaced the default iOS calendaring app for me and it integrates with Launch Centre Pro. It also has an awesome Today widget.
  3. Tweetbot: This is a popular alternative to the default Twitter client. It will probably eventually die as Twitter stops supporting its API but it still is one of the better apps I've tried, saving your place on your timeline and having the ability to create lists, etc...
  4. Reeder: I use this to catch up on website articles. It's an RSS reader with gesture support. I use this daily and it supports Readability to display the whole article without ads. It used to hook up with Google Reader but works with Feedly's online RSS reader service too. It makes RSS reading very fast.
  5. Appsgonefree: Paid apps that go free that day are posted in this app. These are curated and include apps with 3 star or higher ratings. Typically there are about 5 - 10 apps listed per day so it's not overwhelming like some of the other apps like this. I think Apple removed this app from their App Store... The daily posts are still available on the AppAdvice website.
  6. 1PasswordGreat for keeping track of all your passwords and works with iOS extensions in iOS 8 so you don't need to use the browser within the application anymore. It also allows you to wirelessly synch your passwords on the same network if you don't want to store your passwords in the cloud.
  7. Pocket: This is to capture articles to read later. I use this a lot but I find that I have a hard time finding time to revisit these articles but at least they are there for future reference.
  8. My Forecasts: Your WeatherThis is my favourite weather app so far. It shows temperature, precipitation, visibility, wind, etc in hourly line and bar graph format. Rotate your phone to get the traditional weekly forcast. It also has a Today widget which is really nice.
  9. Clips: This app has a Today widget that will show you your latest clipboard items. It stores your clipboard history (can be customized). It's really nice having this as a widget as you don't have to leave the app you're in. It also has a keyboard but it doesn't need to be used for the widget to work.
  10. Threes!: I am so addicted to this game. Worth the $ in my opinion.
  11. Emoji++: This is a keyboard that displays all emojis in a vertical scrolling list. I can never go back to the original Emoji keyboard.

Nice to Haves

  1. Day One: This is one of the better diary apps that I've seen. It integrates with Launch Center Pro which is really nice.
  2. Musixmatch: This has a Today widget that will display the lyrics to the song you're listening to and follow along with it. Pretty neat.
  3. Drafts: A really flexible note taking app that supports workflow and integrates well with other apps (Launch Centre Pro, etc...) It also has a really useful Today widget which shows you your most recent notes.
  4. Workflow: This is a new app that looks really cool. I haven't had a chance to play with it but it can do some really cool things such as make a pdf out of any page, speak text on the screen, find lyrics to any song, shorten URLs, append to Evernote, and so much more.
  5. IFTTT (If This Then That): This is another workflow app that is also in the cloud. You can do things like send a notification to you at 7:00am with today's weather or if you take a picture, upload it to Dropbox or if the Canucks score then send a notification.
  6. Instacast: I use this to listen to podcasts. I like being able to speed up the audio (x2) without affecting the pitch. I've heard Overcast is also good. I'll be checking that out soon too.
  7. Radar: Show you where the Translink buses are in real-time.
  8. Transit App: So much better than the Translink app. Allows you to map out your route on a map and shows you multiple options. It also automatically shows the nearest bus stops.
  9. tinyCalc: This is a calculator that is a Today widget. Helpful when you don't want to leave your app to calculate something. E.g. The RBC app logs you out when you leave their app but now I don't need to leave the app.
  10. Vert: This unit converter does what many others do not - convert into feet and inches. Most other apps will display feet with decimals after it.
  11. Paint Tester: This is a cool app that lets you take a picture of a room and try out different colours on the wall. Works quite well.
  12. Anything After: This app lets you know if there are any extra scenes after or during a movie's credits. I use it every time I go to a movie now.
  13. Occasions+: Helps me keep track of birthdays. One of the few apps that doesn't have to pull data from Facebook and other online services. I prefer to keep that data local.
  14. Crossy Road: This is an addictive game that is reminiscent of frogger but it includes tons of playable characters with their own themes/animations. Check it out.
  15. Ticket to Ride Pocket (USA and Europe): Both games are really good renditions of the board game and supports pass and play, over wifi, solo, etc...
  16. Emojimo: This is a keyboard that will attempt to convert your messages to emojis automatically as you type. Not sure if I'll use it much but it's kind of fun.
More info about some of these apps can be found here if you're interested:
This is what inspired me to create my own list.

I'm sure I've missed a few but it's a start. If anyone has discovered any cool apps, please respond to this post and share. I'm currently on the lookout for the ultimate To Do list app. I've tried quite a few and still haven't found one that sticks. I'm also looking for a replacement Music app. I'm also looking to replace iTV shows which I use to keep track of what I'm watching on TV but I find that it's a little flaky and loses its place sometimes. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

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