Essential IOS Apps for 2018

Trying to find the perfect iOS apps can be a daunting task, and we’re willing to bet that your iPhone or iPad is full of pages and pages of apps. There are so many of them that it’s hard to come up with a short list of favorites. We understand. Let us help you with our newly updated Lifehacker Pack for iOS.

Lifehacker Pack is an annual snapshot of our favorite and essential apps for each of our favorite platforms. For our constantly updated catalog of all the best apps, be sure to bookmark our Apps Catalog where we profile awesome Windows, Mac, Android and iOS apps and browser extensions.


Email: Outlook or Gmail (free)

Yes, you can still use mail, and it satisfies the basic email needs of most people quite well. Alternatively, we recommend checking out Microsoft Outlook (free) or Google Gmail (free), as both are great for managing multiple email accounts from different providers in one easy-to-use interface. Outlook comes with a bonus calendar built in, as well as a dedicated Inbox Focused feature that tries to help you prioritize an out-of-control inbox and snooze tools for returning important emails to the top of the queue. With over 700,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.7 stars, saying that Microsoft’s email application is very popular with users is an understatement.

Google’s Gmail app is ideal if you’re already part of the Google ecosystem, although it also makes it easy to connect email accounts from other providers and manage multiple messages at once. If you need a little help deciding which emails to process first, try Google’s other email app, Gmail’s Inbox (free).

If you don’t like it, there are many other email applications worth exploring: Spark (free, although its data collection methods have made some users unhappy ); Airmail (free, selectable version of our mail app for Mac for iOS); Astro (free, comes with a free virtual assistant called ” Astrobot ” to help you work with your mailbox ); Edison (a free email client with lots of positive reviews and a useful opt-out feature that you don’t want).

Calendar: Fantastical 2 ($ 5)

It might seem a little silly to pay $ 5 for a new calendar app if the one built into your iPhone or iPad is great for everyday use. I was surprised, but not that surprised, to find Fantastic 2 recommended over and over and over again by other users and other sites. It’s a must-have calendar app, even with its meager cost. The app’s interface looks great and makes it easy to see what’s on your schedule (or what’s coming), with helpful little dots that give you an idea of ​​how busy you are on any given day. You can even drag and drop iCloud reminders right into your calendar so you don’t miss out on anything important.

The app is also great for creating events because of how fluid it can be to use natural language to create new calendar items, such as Taco Bell Thursday at 6pm. Even if you don’t have many events to log on to your calendar, Fantastic 2 is the best way to get them on schedule and view them (and whatever you have to do) in a number of different ways. I’ve often seen this app called an app that Apple was supposed to do instead of Calendar. It’s so good.

Other contenders I considered were Google Calendar , which is easy to use and free, and 5 Calendars ($ 7, with a beautiful interface that does a great job of packing as many appointments as possible without making you scroll)). Timepage (free, which gives you a calendar that darkens as your day gets busier) and Rooster (free, an app that focuses a little more on giving you a comprehensive overview of your daily schedule and tasks than the traditional calendar app).

Notes / Objectives: Bear (free)

There are too many notes and task management apps in the App Store. Way. Too much. Many. We and many others are big fans of Bear (shareware; $ 15 a year) – however expensive it is – because it’s a great app for both taking notes and keeping track of things to do. It syncs seamlessly with its Mac version like any good task management app, and its automatic and manual tagging ensures you don’t miss out on anything important in your various lists (hopefully).

Bear’s search function is fast and comprehensive; the actual process of taking notes is almost effortless (and supports inline images); and you can even write your tasks in Markdown if you want to get creative. Tagging is as easy as adding a hashtag in front of any word in a note, and linking notes to provide additional context for an element is incredibly useful. You can export your notes in various formats if you like, and you can even draw your notes right on the iPhone or iPad screen.

If you don’t want to pay to keep forgetfulness from taking over your life, you have many other good options for keeping track of your tasks and writing small notes for yourself. Microsoft’s OneNote (free) is a great cross-platform app for working with everything from sketching to writing, while its To-Do app (free) is better for basic reminders. Google Keep or Tasks (free) is a good choice, the former is suitable for notes of all formats, and the latter is suitable for plain text. Simplenote (free) also supports Markdown-based notes and is fully cross-platform.

We looked at other paid apps, including Notability ($ 10), a highly-reviewed app that’s great for those who prefer handwriting notes and annotating documents. Todoist ($ 36 / year) is a great cross-platform task management app that we love on the Mac , and its premium features (like automatic reminders and activity review) are useful but very expensive. The Due ($ 5) has a great concept: It bores you to death until you finish whatever you put on your to-do list.

Automation: Workflow (free, but will disappear soon) or IFTTT (free)

Before Apple replaces its (free) Workflow app with shortcuts , download and test it. It is completely free to use and provides a great introduction to automation: the art of making one thing do multiple things instead of having to do multiple things manually. For instance. Using Workflow, you can use Workflow to automatically resize images to specific sizes or convert them to a specific file format (such as .GIF). Or you can create a little button that automatically searches for the nearest gas station and gives directions – a useful trick when you’re driving. You are only limited by your imagination. Well, that’s the limits of the application.

IFTTT (free) lets you create similar rules for a variety of supported devices and services. I’ve already covered some of the fun things you can do with an app and a service before, and just like Workflow, you can really get lost with all the cool things you can do. My favorite trick? It’s a choice between “turn the fan on and off in my room when I connect and disconnect from my Wi-Fi” and “send all @mentions on Twitter to the Slack channel so I don’t have to constantly open the website when I try work “.

Storage: Google One , Microsoft OneDrive , Amazon Drive, or Dropbox (various)

We’ve covered all the major cloud services . Chances are you have a favorite (or two, or many) that you use, and chances are that said service has an official iOS app that you can download. Google One , Microsoft OneDrive, and Amazon Drive are three of our favorites – in no particular order – due to ease of use and storage-to-price ratio.

Dropbox is on our list because many are familiar with it, and its app is handy for scanning documents and commenting on others’ work. However, its 2GB of free storage is n’t much when compared to others, and its paid plans don’t give you the same amount for their prices either.

Custom Widgets: Launcher (Free)

If you’re tired of the widgets Apple (or your apps) offers you, create your own with Launcher , a free app that is a great way to make your swipe screen to the right as you want (technically called View Today). Choose the people you want to call with a tap of your finger, customize the widgets you see by the time of day or your location, or customize a section that shows you all your favorite apps and lets you launch whatever you want faster than needed to navigate your many home screen pages.

Reading Articles Later: Pocket (Free)

One of the easiest ways to keep all the articles you swear about, you’ll find time later, is to use an app like Pocket (free) to streamline your procrastination. Sure, you can just bookmark websites or share links in Notes, but Pocket offers a comprehensive tagging system and recommendation engine that shows you the most interesting content that everyone else has checked. I also love that Pocket now shows you how long it might take to read the articles you’ve saved in case your metro stop is approaching and you don’t want to start what you can’t finish.

If you’re a little busy and can’t view these must-read articles, use Pocket to save them for future reference – even if you can’t connect on your way home, whatever you’ve saved will still be available for offline viewing … … This is the power of Pocket. And if you pay $ 45 a year, you can unlock even more features, such as a huge archive of everything you’ve saved, a comprehensive search tool, and featured tags for what you read.

Stop looking at your phone: Forest ($ 2) or Productivity Task Timer (Free)

If you’re constantly procrastinating, you can spend a small amount – less than $ 5 – on Forest ($ 2) or the Productivity Challenge Timer (freemium). Both apps approach the “stop looking at your device and start working” task differently. In the first case, you are growing trees. It’s cute, soothing, and fun. In the latter case, you work as it should so as not to lose the virtual levels. Hey, whatever prompts you to get off your iPhone or iPad and do shit.

Two-factor authentication: Authy (free)

I’ve been using Google Authenticator for years and it’s still a great app, but I’m currently more attracted to Authy (free). This is a great app for keeping track of all your replacement keys for two-factor authentication, which you must enable for every service and site that offers it. You can lock the app using Touch ID, which gives you extra protection in case someone else gains access to your already unlocked device.

Authy can also automatically back up your various security tokens to the cloud. It’s much easier to restore them or sync them to a new device than to set up everything from scratch – if you remember all the sites and services you use security tokens with, you can sign in to your account and you won’t be bored with setting up two-factor authentication again .

Internet and communications

Web browser: Chrome or Firefox (free)

We’re not going to convince you to switch to a browser you don’t like yet. Let’s be honest with ourselves, too: Most mobile users prefer Chrome to Safari, and a very small handful use Firefox . (Also bad; Firefox Quantum – and the experiments of Mozilla’s ” test pilot ” – are forcing a rethink of the browser.)

Our advice? Try all three and see what you like best. And when you’ve settled on a browser, use it on all your devices where possible (which only limits you to Chrome and Firefox if you have any Android devices in your arsenal). Trying to mix different browsers across different platforms is going to be a little messy, and you’ll miss out on much of the cross-platform functionality that each one offers.

Messaging: WhatsApp Messenger , Facebook Messenger or Google Hangouts (free)

Like task management apps, there are many messaging apps available on iOS. Chances are, you already have a few favorites that you use regularly, if you don’t just stick with the good old messages – now with iCloud sync !

While your choice of messaging app depends a lot on where all your friends and colleagues are, right now the Big Three are similar to WhatsApp Messenger , Facebook Messenger, and Google Hangouts . Each one gives you different ways to communicate with your friends, whether you use simple text messages, stickers, images, GIFs, video calls, audio calls, and more.

I also wanted to take a moment to make a WhatsApp call. I love the app’s built-in end-to-end encryption , which ( sort of ) protects your messages from outside snoops, much like Apple’s encrypted Izzade and FaceTime chats . Facebook lets you jump to “secret conversations,” which also offer end-to-end encryption (and disappearing messages), but they’re not quite the same.

Plus, if you’re serious about the privacy of your messages, you should also consider an app like Signal . Wrap your secrets in end-to-end encryption and make them disappear from chat logs whenever you want, that is, assuming the other party isn’t taking screenshots (or a picture of their device using another device).

Social media: Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIn (free)

Same deal. There are too many social networking sites that you can use right now (and even a new social network , resulting in promising alternatives in social networks). It will take too long to list them all, and it doesn’t really matter, because most people stick to some version of the Big Three. These are Facebook , Twitter and LinkedIn . No, we haven’t forgotten about Instagram , YouTube (technically a social network too), Reddit , Pinterest , Tumblr and others. They can be used too. Or not. Or find another network. Start your own. Your call.

Location-based applications

Weather: Dark Sky ($ 4), Carrot Weather ($ 5), Hello Weather (free)

Everyone is arguing about which weather app is the best, and chances are good that one day you will open your favorite weather app, get ready for a sunny day, and get wet. It happens.

With its looks, usability and features, including a handy notification system that lets you know if the sky is about to unload (or drizzle) in your area, Dark Sky ($ 4) is the weather app you’ll want to have. Checking predictions is only half the fun; other app notifications, including the morning weather report for the day and sunscreen alert when the UV index reaches a certain point, are incredibly helpful. And you can customize your own notifications as well.

If you want a little more daring with the weather forecast, try Carrot Weather ($ 5). You get the same weather data in Dark Sky, but with a lot more personality. You can also view historical weather information, unlock weather and travel achievements, and switch to Weather Underground forecasts if, for whatever reason, you are not a fan of Dark Sky forecasts.

Likewise, the free Hello Weather app can be well worth the annual cost if accuracy is your most concern. Pay for an annual subscription and you can switch weather sources between four different providers: Dark Sky, Accuweather, Weather Underground, or The Weather Channel. If you are very worried about what the weather might be like on an important weekend, it doesn’t hurt to have a second (or fourth) opinion.

Dating: Bumble (freebie), Coffee Meets Bagel , OKCupid

There are many ways to meet people – be it friendship, casual fun, or a more serious relationship. And there seems to always be a new dating app that has won your audience over. So, I am fully aware that we are most likely lagging behind and not recommending a hot new product that all your friends use to connect. However, as far as general guidelines go, I think all three of these options are worthy additions to your device.

In Bumble (freemium), women are empowered: they are the ones who turn to men to establish initial contact after a match. (And if you’re looking for same-sex relationships, anyone can tell the other first. There is no restriction.) If the specified prospect doesn’t reach out to you during the day, then that’s it. If one of you does not extend the “match” for another 24 hours, the opportunity for love will be lost forever. Plus, Bonus Bumble Points for enabling Bumble BFF Mode if you prefer friendship over love .

Coffee Meets Bagel (freemium), from everything I’ve read from those who use it, it seems like this is where people go to actually find longer lasting relationships, not connections. This does not mean that the latter does not exist; it just doesn’t look like an app scene. Every day you receive a carefully selected list of matches to choose from. You don’t have to flip through 200 pictures to find the next one. Match it up and the app puts you in direct chat with your loved one (and even offers you some ideas to start a conversation).

OKCupid (freemium) should be a household name by now. This is your typical dating service: you make a witty profile, people find you and show interest. Or you create a witty profile and find people that interest you. Either way, love is (potentially) in the air. Right? Be sure to answer all of these many, many questions to determine your true compatibility with everyone else.

If you’re just looking for something more short-term, appropriate regular applications: Tinder , Grindr , Her and so on.

Music, Photo, Video

Music Streaming: Apple Music , Spotify , Google Play Music , Amazon Music ($ 10 / month)

As with some of our larger categories, the streaming service you choose is largely down to your preference. If you like the service app’s user interface as much as its music selection, this is a win – and your tastes may be very different from those of your peers. All major streaming services usually cost the same: $ 10 for Apple Music , Spotify Premium, and Google Play Music ; $ 8 for Amazon Music Unlimited if you’ve already paid for Amazon Prime, and $ 10 otherwise.

Generally speaking, Apple Music is probably a service that I would lean a little towards on an iPhone because it’s hard to resist Apple’s platform. If you are subscribed to Apple Music, downloading songs through Siri is much easier than, for example, if you use Spotify . However, Spotify’s interface revolves around Apple Music and I usually prefer its playlists, but that doesn’t mean Apple Music playlists are bad. Again, your preferences largely determine which app you end up using, and each is worth a free trial before you start paying for a monthly subscription.

Podcasts: Overcast (free), Castro (free), or Pocket Casts ($ 4)

I haven’t read anything other than Overcast praise, free if you don’t mind ads, and $ 10 a year if you want a cleaner experience. Overcast has everything a great podcast app needs, like a lovely user interface that makes it easy to add whatever podcasts you want to listen to and find new ones to binge. You can create your own podcast playlists if you want to balance your Ira with little Kai . You can activate notifications when new episodes of your favorite podcast are ready. You can adjust the playback speed as you like. You can even use Overcast in your car (if your system supports CarPlay). What’s not to love?

I’ve been a huge Castro (freemium) fan for a while; Nothing against Overcast, it’s just a podcast player that I’ve stuck with and has treated me well for years. It costs nothing to use and has no ads to talk about, but you’re encouraged to pay extra ($ 9 / year) for features like automatic silence trimming, voice enhancement, support for podcast chapters you can skip, and unlocking for everyone. podcast customization options (to name a few features).

A lot of people also like Pocket Casts ($ 4). This is the cheapest option of the three so far, and has a lot of similar features: trimming silence, increasing volume, adjusting speed, skipping intro, Carplay … ing, and so on. There is no trial version, so you just have to trust that Pocket Casts is the right option for you if you buy the full version. With it, I would have no problem paying for it, and it’s better in leagues than the stock Apple Podcasts app.

Camera: Obscura 2 ($ 5) or Halide ($ 6)

I was introduced to Obscura 2 ($ 5) thanks to a rare move by Apple, which gave out the app to everyone who wanted it at a big $ 5 discount. At the time of this publication, you still have time to get the app for free , so there is no reason why you shouldn’t download and try it out to get even more features and settings for your game than Apple’s default camera. Appendix. The best thing about the app is that it provides many settings within easy reach without overwhelming you with options. Even novice iOS camera operators should be able to figure out how to use the Obscura 2 to gain even more precise control over what they shoot.

Halide ($ 6) offers similar functionality and is generally highly regarded by those looking for a camera app with more bells and whistles than Apple’s but not overly complex for day-to-day use. According to the developers, Halide allows you to take “the best selfies.” Say no more, Khalid. Say no more. (But if you need more, we’ve covered this app in detail.)

If you enjoy video more than photography, try FiLMiC Pro ($ 15), a great third-party app for your iPhone or iPad. In addition to many functions for capturing video, adjusting the settings for the video you capture, and organizing video, the FiLMiC Remote companion app ($ 10) lets you see what one device sees. In other words, you can get a live video feed from your iPhone’s front camera to a nearby iPad, helping you transform a boring desktop setup into a miniature studio.

Videos: VLC (free), Netflix (varies), Hulu (varies)

We know that one of these things is not like the other. And while we got a little wobbly in our Lifehacker Mac Pack, VLC (free) is still a great app for playing videos on your devices (or streaming them from another device in your home, like your NAS). You probably will not get out of it as much use on the iPhone or iPad, as on a desktop or laptop PC, but the application to which we have applied, if we were to watch the video, shot in all kinds of formats.

When it comes to streaming video services, you have, as always, a lot to choose from. These are most likely Netflix and Hulu , and each has a monthly subscription price that can vary depending on the options you purchase. Unlike Spotify , you will not be charged more for any of the services if you sign up through the app or the official website of the service (at least at the time of this writing).

And if you’re okay with ads, an app like Tubi (free) lets you watch movies and TV shows for free. However, YMMV is about the quality of the samples available.

Health & Fitness

Workouts : Jefit (free), Nike Training Club (free), C25K (free), Strong Workout Tracker Gym Log (free), Gymaholic (free)

For general workouts, we love both Jefit (freemium) and Nike Training Club (free) because they both offer you a wide variety of workouts that you can learn about (and choose from) if you absolutely don’t know what to do. in the gym or in the gym. that unused training room in your home. You will pay extra for a subscription if you want to access more interesting Jefit features such as additional analytics and demo videos. Nike Training Club is completely free: you get what you see .

If you’re looking to start running, the C25K ( freemium ), while daunting at first, is a great way to help you prepare for your very first 5K run. And it’s perfectly okay if you need to repeat your workouts for several days (or weeks). Walk at your own pace, because no matter what, you are not wasting your day sitting on the couch. This is the important part.

And if you just want to lift heavy objects, there are apps for that too (sort it out). We love the Strong Workout Tracker Gym Log (freemium) if you just want a reliable way to track your reps for your regular workouts . Gymaholic (freemium) helps to solidify your lifting technique and track your progress.

Regardless of how specifically you focus on exercise, consider also trying an app like Streaks ($ 5), which will help you stay motivated, as you know, to actually exercise on a regular basis.


Leave a Reply