I use a lot of mobile apps throughout an average day for work, entertainment, communication, security, and information. Some of the apps I use are well known apps that many of you have while others are ones I consider diamonds in the rough.
Before I go too far, let me take a moment to address the difference between free and paid apps. Almost all apps have to make money in some way. If the app is free, they have two options. First, they can (and probably do) show you advertisements. Some of these are annoying and invasive, some are helpful and stay out of the way. The second way an app can make money is by capitalizing on what they know about you. If you’re not buying a product, you ARE the product. This can lead to a lot of privacy/security concerns or, at the least, doom the app in the long run.
Paying for an app, especially when they only cost a buck or two, is the best way to get a quality experience that doesn’t jeopardize your privacy and rights as a customer. To be fair, there are questionable paid apps as well, just not nearly as many. Having said all that, here is what my phone currently looks like.
A Few Special Mentions
Dark Sky There are countless weather apps in the app store, but Dark Sky stands above the rest. It’s forecasts are more accurate, it has customizable push notifications (“It will rain in a few minutes”), and its absolutely gorgeous. It has the current weather, a 7-day forecast, and an interactive radar.
Overcast I listen to podcasts almost everyday. While Apple does include a decent podcast app on your iPhone, this one takes everything to the next level. It is actively developed by one of the best developers out there and also works great with Apple CarPlay.
1Password 1Password is one of the my most important and favorite apps. It’s a password manager that allows you to easily create secure (and different) passwords for every site. Best of all, you don’t have to remember them. It stores them securely and fills out password forms for you. This gives you a much more secure online presence than you could’ve had previously. This is a no brainer if you want to keep your information safe.
Tweetbot This has been a popular app for quite a while. It’s simple a refined Twitter client that doesn’t show ads. It’s a thousand times better than the official Twitter app and has been a mainstay on my device for years.
Arlo I use Arlo Security Cameras around my house. I tested many products before them (including Nest Cam, Withings Camera, and Canary) before settling on the HD versions of Arlo. They’re wireless, have a battery that lasts ages, look nice, and work as advertised. The Arlo app allows me to view the feeds, notifies me of motion/sound, and allows me to manage them remotely.
MLB Tap Sports Baseball 17 My current game of choice. It only requires one hand to play (perfect when holding a sleeping baby), has great graphics, and is entertaining enough to pass the time.
Eero If you want to improve the WiFi in your house, Eero Routers are the no-doubt-about-it way to go. You buy one device for about every 1,000 square feet in your home and place them around your house. They communicate with each other to create a mesh network that can improve on pretty much any network configuration. They’re super simple to setup (you simply use the app). I have zero complaints with this company and product.
Monument Valley I’ve beat this game and am waiting on new levels to be released. This is likely the most gorgeous iPhone game ever released. It has a unique style and gameplay and is incredibly addicting. Everyone I know that has played this game raves about it.
Cartwheel If you shop at Target, this app is a no brainer. Created by Target, it allows you to look up coupons/deals for products in store. You can search for them or use the integrated barcode scanner. My wife and I have saved hundreds by utilizing the simple tool.
Ulysses If you need a quality text editor on your phone (or iPad), then look no further than Ulysses. It’s loaded with features but maintains an elegant simplicity.
RadarScope If you live in areas that are prone to flash floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, or lightning storms, this app will make you look like a weather genius. You can access a lot of the same radars that your weatherman uses to see what’s coming and where it’s going. This app is so powerful, I’ve only touched about 5% of what it can do.
Deliveries A great app for tracking packages from almost any shipping company in the world. Get day-to-day updates, see where your package is, and enjoy the peace of mind that provides.