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A guide to the best apps for your iPhone is far from an original idea, but that’s what you are (hopefully) about to read. And yes, there’s a method to my madness. People who have followed me over the years for Apple advice have often said that my insights are unique. So I like to think my list is different from the lists you are used to seeing, and maybe there will be something here you haven’t heard of and can use. Just so you know, these aren’t in any special order. Some are free, some are paid and some are free with paid options inside the app.
Click the app’s name to be taken directly to the app within the app store.
At its heart, Buffer is a beautifully designed social media management and scheduling tool. Buffer is also crazy simple to use; every other similar social media tool comes with some sort of learning curve, but not Buffer. You can be up and running in a matter of minutes. The app works in tandem with the website, so any changes to one are immediately reflected in the other. And another beautiful part of Buffer is the company. Take the best customer service you’ve ever had and multiply it by 1,000 and you’ll only begin to get an idea of how great it is to work with the folks at Buffer. It’s wonderful to know that whether you use the free version or take advantage of one of the paid tiers that every customer is treated the same. I’m a customer for life because of this.
Flipboard is the social media platform for magazines you create. Here’s the easiest explanation: Pick a topic, let’s say Apple. Use Flipboard or search on your favorite website for something about Apple. Then, just Flip it into your Apple magazine. Just like that you’ve started to curate a magazine on that topic. Try it for personal and business use alike. iDrop News is on Flipboard and so am I. In fact, my Apple Watch Flipboard magazine just passed 10 million page flips (a flip is kind of like a page view and means your content is being seen and possibly shared). If you are an expert about a particular topic, it’s a great idea to establish yourself on Flipboard and share the link to your magazine with your network. Flipboard is free, but it’s also really addictive. If you’ve never used it, I think you’ll love it.
To fully appreciate Storm, you’ll probably want to have more than a passing interest in weather. But even if that’s not the case, Storm is a super easy way to get all of your weather in one place. It operates with layers that you can turn on and off on your map. My map shows radar, lightning and the forecast for severe storms. Yours might include rainfall, temperature and snow accumulation. You can mix and match and change whenever the mood (or lightning) strikes. And Storm also alerts you to inclement and dangerous weather that might be headed your way. And while there is an Apple Watch companion app, there are better choices for weather on the Apple Watch. But for the iPhone, Storm has a coveted spot on my first screen — that’s a big deal in my world. For a nominal fee you can remove ads and I recommend this option.
RadarScope could be for anyone who wants to know whether precipitation is approaching, but it’s not. RadarScope is for true weather enthusiasts, and there are many of us out there. How good is RadarScope? To date, it is the most expensive app I own at $9.99 and it was worth every penny. RadarScope lets you access the same radar the pros use, and you can even save videos and gifs of radar images to share on social networks. When tornadoes hit Illinois last year and I was covering the story at the newspaper where I worked, RadarScope allowed me to stay a step ahead and alert people over social media. It’s only for radar and not general weather forecasting or conditions, but what it does it does better than any app out there.
How many photo editing apps does one need on their iPhone? Well, that depends on a lot of things but downloading Snapseed will get you closer to having everything in one app. Not only is Snapseed super easy to use, it has many really accurate and cool filters. And once you edit something in the app and save it, the Photos section of your iPhone will magically contain a new folder called Snapseed. Now you can go back and update and edit to your heart’s content. As with Storm, Snapseed also has a coveted spot on my first iPhone screen.
Over is underrated. Over is above and beyond so many photo editing apps, but Over is different. Over let’s you add text and art to your creations or modify creations included in the app. I’ve been using Over since it was new and it has matured in a huge way. The features have matured and there’s even the ability to add packs to the app (new fonts, graphics, etc.) If you like the way Snapchat let’s you add cool stuff to a photo, then you are going to love Over. And now that Snapchat lets you upload photos from your camera roll, you can really show off with Over.
You may have heard of Prisma, as it’s been quite the newsmaker lately. It’s a new app that turns photos into works of art via filters that are unlike anything offered in any other app. Take your best work and turn it into a painting, or, take what seems like a mundane photo and give it new life as a painting. Prisma has to be seen and used to truly be appreciated, but a word of caution: Once you start, you won’t be able to stop. I want to know how every photo I take looks after it passes through Prisma. The only limiting factor is your photo has to be cropped into a square. That part is very early Instagram, and undoubtedly will be updated in a future version. But even as is, Prisma is a must download for anyone with an iPhone and even a passing interest in photography.
It’s a lot like Scrabble, but it’s not Scrabble. Words with Friends, or WWF for those in the know, is the one app that keeps me going when I just need to rest my brain after a long day. As the name makes clear, you play against friends although you can make friends with the computer and play that way or meet someone random. You can pay a nominal fee to remove the ads in WWF and that’s something you should strongly consider. Words with Friends is one of the only games I play regularly and the only game on my iPhone. Tip of the day: Qi is a word. Use the triple letter score and you just added 31 points.
When you need to save your documents virtually, Dropbox is like a great friend who always has your back. It comes with enough storage for the average user but offers upgrades that allow you to use more space. For what it’s worth, I use Dropbox every day and don’t pay anything additional. Pro tip: If you need to add an attachment to an email you are sending on your iPhone, Dropbox is fully compatible and it is reliable.
10. Day One
Last, but certainly not least, Day One is a full-featured journal that lets you add photos and text and pretty much anything else. I use Day One to keep a diary/journal of thoughts, and I like to go back once every few months to remind myself of where I’ve been. And Day One was one of the first journal apps I can remember that allowed for locking and unlocking with Apple’s Touch ID. This means one less password to memorize.