Toggle Dark Mode
There is no better time to consider adding a new iPhone or iPad app to your repertoire than the beginning of the year. Many developers have either released brand new apps or updated their existing apps giving them more polish and usefulness.
Below is a list of our favorite new apps, which provide multiple tools that will help you power through the day. Each of these apps have either been released or updated in 2016, providing the most up-to-date and meaningful experience for busy people.
I’m sure you would agree Apple’s built-in Contacts app could be more functional. A handful of developers have attempted to create a better, more full featured, contacts application in the past but with little success. Interact is a new app released this year and it is easily the best alternative contacts app I’ve come across.
In Apple’s Contacts app, even simple features like creating or deleting groups are missing. While some don’t mind the bare bones Contacts app, Interact is your best bet if you are looking for more flexibility with your contacts on your iPhone and iPad.
Interact allows you to manage groups, multiple contacts at once and even send group messages or emails from within any other iPhone or iPad app with attachments. The app also has an impressive feature which allows you to update contact information using any selected text from anywhere on your iPhone or iPad.
Interact is a universal app available on both the iPhone and iPad and includes support for Apple’s latest features, such as 3D Touch. The app is available for and introductory price of $4.99 for a limited of time. If you have been looking for a more functional contacts app, you won’t find a better option than Interact.
During a time when identity theft is more prevalent than ever, using secure passwords for access to your digital life is crucial. If you are using the same simple password for your bank account and Facebook profile, please do yourself a favor and start using a password manager.
1Password is hands down the best password manager available for iPhone and iPad. The app is chock-full of features. You can create different Vaults for storing your passwords securely and you also have the option of storing other private information such as credit cards, driver’s licenses and identification documents like a passport.
The latest 6.2 update to 1Password added a bunch of new improvements including the ability to copy items and move them between vaults, 3D Touch Quick Actions from the iPhone’s Home Screen, and peek-and-pop functionality to preview items.
One of my favorite features in 1Password is Watchtower which gives you a heads up about any known security vulnerabilities for websites which you use 1Password for to store your login information.
There are also other more complex new features such as Team Vaults, which allow you to share private information with a group. 1Password is free to download and use but you must pay a $9.99 upgrade to unlock Pro features. The good news is the basic features allow you to take advantage of the app unlike some apps, which require an upgrade before the app is even useful. I personally have been using the free version for quite a while and I have yet to come across a need to upgrade.
Drafts is difficult to describe but invaluable to many who use it. The app describes itself as the place “where text starts on iOS”. Essentially, Drafts is like the Notes app on steroids.
The primary draw is the massive amount of share features available in the app. I know people who use Drafts to make checklists and take notes all the way to drafting emails and news articles. The idea behind Drafts is to provide a place where you can simply begin writing whatever is on your mind and allowing you to worry about exporting the text later.
The app provides a distraction-free writing environment that supports powerful export options on the back end. Drafts also includes a live word count and Markdown support. My favorite feature in Drafts is the ability to completely customize the extended keyboard row to fit your writing needs.
This app is worth serious consideration for anybody who has been looking for a reliable and functional text editor for their iPhone and iPad. The app is available for $9.99 on the App Store.
Because of how stingy Apple can be with what functionality they allow in third-party iPhone and iPad applications, I’m still surprised an app like Workflow is available. This app is for power users only and it can make your iPhone and iPad do things that will blow your mind.
If you are familiar with Macs, the best way to describe Workflow is to say it’s the Automator equivalent for your iPhone and iPad. Workflow is all about automating tasks you perform often to save you time. The app offers pre-made “Workflows” for beginners but also allows users to create their own. The possibilities are near endless.
For example, you could create a Workflow which determines your location, calculates the distance to the next meeting you have scheduled in the Calendar app and then sends the person you are meeting a text message letting them know how far you are away, all in the push of one button. Incredible, right? Another practical example is creating a Workflow to get you directions to the nearest coffee shop, again at the simple push of a button.
Workflow lets you create either a Home screen icon, action extension or today widget in order to activate your specific Workflows. I’m amazed that an application with this much functionality exists on the iPhone and iPad. If you consider yourself a power user, this app is a must. If you are still an iPhone or iPad beginner, enter at your own risk. Workflow is available for $2.99 on the App Store.
Twitter clients used to be a dime a dozen but over the last few years only a few have stood the test of time. Tweetbot is my favorite such app, and it is still being actively developed.
Maybe there will be a time in the future when Twitter’s own app is worth including in this list, but until then, you can’t find a better option than Tweetbot. The latest version starts right where Tweetbot 3 left off and offers an elegant user interface, but still packs loads of power user features under the hood.
Some of those features include a landscape mode and a second column for iPhone 6s Plus users, support for content blockers in the browser view, and brand new Activity and Statistics tabs. Twitter infamously blocks access to some of its newest features, but Tweetbot’s catalog of offerings keep it extremely relevant as a third-party Twitter client.
A completely updated version of Tweetbot was also recently released on the Mac if you’re interested. Tweetbot 4 for your iPhone and iPad can be picked up in the App Store for $9.99.
Email clients are plentiful in the App Store, but few get things right. Spark has become my go to email App on my iPhone and it knocks the socks off Apple’s Mail app.
Spark provides just about every feature you would expect from a high powered email client including the ability to snooze emails for later, deep customization options and support for every major email service, but there is one primary feature that jumped out at me. Spark is the only iPhone email client that allows you to select and attach multiple files to an email at the same time. This is a task I do constantly and other email clients force you to individually select items, which means you have to plow your way back through folders to include another attachment.
The best part about this app is that it’s free on the App Store even though I would have gladly paid for this one. The only negative is that an iPad version has not been released, although it is in the works.
If you have used any of the other CARROT apps, you’re well aware of what you’re getting into here. CARROT apps take a different approach to providing you information. One that is powered by a smart mouthed digital character named CARROT who could pass as Siri’s evil sister.
The approach makes something as mundane as checking the weather an entertaining and humorous experience thanks to CARROT’s sarcastic wit. The app also features hilarious animations to accompany CARROT’s sarcasm. For example, characters on the screen may be playfully struck by lightning when thunderstorms are in the forecast.
Although the app is meant to be fun, it’s no gimmick. CARROT Weather still gives you an accurate indication of the upcoming weather. The app can be downloaded on the App Store for $3.99.
Traditional journals have faired better than other paper products in the shift to a digital world, but there is something wonderful about always having your journal with you. Add the fact most of our lives are now catalogued digitally and Day One becomes the perfect place to save messages, images, locations, and more.
I have been a Day One user for years and I’m excited about Day One 2, which was just released this month. The app is all new with some compelling new features including support for multiple photos in journal entries, multiple journals, custom reminders, 3D Touch support to name a few.
Day one is by far the best digital journaling app available for iPhone and iPad and has one multiple awards over the years from Apple. The new Day One 2 app is on sale for $4.99 for a limited time before the price jumps up to $9.99.
There are a number of iPhone and iPad users who swear by Fantastical 2. This app is a power house calendar manager, but it manages to keep the interface clean and is enjoyable to use. In fact, Fantastical 2 was a 2015 Apple Design Award winner. Similar to the Interact app covered above, Fantastical 2 outdoes Apple’s built-in Calendar app in every way.
The standout feature, which originally put Fantastical on the map, is its natural language input. What this means is you can simply type in “lunch with Bob Friday at 1” and the text will be parsed and a live preview of the event will be built as you type. I cannot express how much more enjoyable this is compared to poking around in each input field in Apple’s Calendar app.
Fantastical 2 also supports a number of other features such as reminders, an impressive Today View widget and even the ability to create drafts of calendar events. If you manage a heavy calendar, Fantastical 2 could make your life a whole lot easier. The only gripe I have with this app is it’s not universal. Fantastical 2 is available for $4.99 for iPhone and the price jumps up to $9.99 for iPad.
Honorable MentionsFlowstate: $9.99
Since I do a good deal of writing, this new app stood out to me. The idea is to encourage distraction free writing by, get this, deleting your work if you stop typing. It sounds a bit extreme but if you are a writer who struggles to stay focused, this app creates some compelling motivation.Airmail: $4.99
Airmail is considered by many as the absolute best alternative to Apple’s built in mail client on the Mac, and the company has finally released the app for the iPhone. Unfortunately, an iPad version is not yet available.
I know there are many other apps that are well deserving of a mention, but these are some of the apps I have come across. Feel free to let me know some of your favorite new apps that are available on the iPhone and iPad in the comments below.