The best iPhone utility apps

So you own an iPhone, and you want to know what the best apps for Apple’s smartphone are, naturally enough. After all, the reason that many folks choose Apple is for its famous app ecosystem.

Recently, we looked at the best Android apps across a number of articles, splitting them up into different categories such as utilities, reference, games and so forth (see the final article in that series here, which has links to all the others in the introduction).

And we’re now doing the same thing with the iPhone. We’ve already looked at the best reference apps and productivity apps, and today we’re turning our attention to top notch utility apps.

Note that if you don’t want to follow such an in-depth examination of iPhone apps, and would rather see just a short summary of the most important software, you can simply check out our 10 essential iPhone apps article.

Furthermore, some of these apps cost money. If you’re not keen on spending, and would rather look at a list of the best free apps, then see our Top 30 must-have free iPhone apps.

Finally, if you know of a great app that we haven’t covered, please tell us about it in the comments section below. If you have time, give us the full name of the app, price, and a short description so other readers can learn about your favourites, too.

Okay, so without any further dallying let’s look at the best utility apps we’ve rounded up here, which includes the likes of AirPort Utility and Dropbox.

By the way, if you want to download an app, simply click on the title, which links to the app in iTunes.

The free AirPort Utility manager lets you control your Wi-Fi network and AirPort base stations, including AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and Time Capsule, right from your iPhone. When you launch the app, you'll see a pictorial representation of your network and devices. It'll tell you what's connected to what and how. You can change the network and Wi-Fi settings, start or restore a base station, access networking information (like DNS server, router address, IP address), and more.

AVG Family Safety for iOS is a powerful family-friendly browser that blocks all sorts of inappropriate content from young eyes: Porn, malware, scams, phishing, and much more. It's a great parental control app for iOS. Parents have two sets of controls, monitoring and filtering, to configure from a remote web interface. However, if you'd rather not go through the setup, just choose presets from one of four age categories and you're good to go.

This all-in-one calculation app, Converter Plus, delivers numbers on nearly everything, from currency conversions to loan interest figures. It converts metric to imperial measurements for temperature, cooking volumes, length, and more.

If your files live all over the place – spread over your office computer, home desktop, laptop – having a dependable syncing program is a must. Dropbox, the service that lets you store your files in the cloud and access them from anywhere you have a signal, fills that role nicely with a Dropbox iPhone app. It has a simple interface, easy uploading, and swift syncing across all accounts.

The free Onavo Extend app compresses data automatically to help you reduce data usage on your phone. In other words, it will save you money if you typically exceed your mobile service plan's data allotment. Additionally, anyone travelling abroad with an iPhone should absolutely have Onavo installed. Learn the settings well, but be forewarned that there's no compression for streaming video.

If you frequently find yourself firing up the iPhone's built-in timer to measure or track units of time, then the Repeat Timer Pro is a must-download. This £1.49 iPhone app is packed with functionality not included in the default iOS clock timer – a whopping 26 alerts, three independent timers, background functionality with notifications, an interval timer, and more. In short, if you need to time anything – a yoga session, meal preparation times, etc – this is your app.

This simple productivity and business app can spare you countless headaches. The next time you have a document that requires your signature in a hurry, just open it with SignNow, place your signature, and be done with it. The app can open files from email, Dropbox, the Camera app, and other sources.

One of our favourite file-syncing services, SugarSync added an iPhone app to its offerings in 2011. SugarSync gives you access to your files from a multitude of devices, no matter if you store them on your laptop at home, desktop computer at the office, tablet, and so on. You can use SugarSync to stream music, backup photos, collaborate on projects, and more.