Apps make the iPhone the powerful little device that it is – and here are ten apps I want every iPhone owner to know about.
Picking ten essential iPhone apps isn't easy, especially considering there are dozens of excellent apps, and hundreds of very good ones. Beyond the most highly acclaimed apps are ones that fit different personality types or special interest groups. I, for one, love language learning apps and fitness apps, but I recognise that they're not everyone's cup of tea. Rather, this list aims to hit the most important apps that are applicable to just about everybody.
The ten apps on this list of must-haves encompass the most basic functions most of us do with our phones: Find information, make notes, get directions, communicate with others, and so on. I didn't include apps that come preinstalled on the iPhone, even though many of those are indispensable, such as Contacts, Mail, Music, iTunes, and Calendar.
Throughout the article, you'll find links to full reviews of the apps where available, and if you want to download an app, simply click on the title as it links through to the download on iTunes.
And if you want even more recommendations for iPhone apps, check out our more specific roundups of the best iPhone reference apps, organisation and productivity apps, utilities, communication and social apps, and news and reading apps.
Furthermore, if you have suggestions for other essential apps, please do share them in the comments section at the end of the article. Okay, so let’s move on to those top notch apps, starting with…
Awesome Note (+To-do/Calendar) is among the best multi-purpose task management apps in the App Store. It gives serious list makers and taskmasters utilitarian tools to help them keep track of ideas and chores, and graphical customisations at nearly every turn. With customisable alerts, repeat settings, a handy calendar, and the ability to sync with Google Drive and Evernote, Awesome Note is the to-do app you should purchase.
Dashlane is a simple and elegant password manager app for the iPhone. As with any password manager, you need to set one strong password for your Dashlane account, and all other passwords can be generated (on a computer or laptop) and saved automatically to your account. From the iPhone app, you can access your login credentials and even copy and paste the encrypted passwords into apps and mobile websites when you need to use them. The app is free to download and use, but you'll encounter a few limitations with the free version. A Premium account costs £20.99 per year and includes syncing, which is a vital part of the service if you use the iPhone app. (Some legacy users have been grandfathered into getting syncing with a free account.) Most importantly, Dashlane is extremely secure, keeping your information private and encrypted.
Dropbox remains one of the best known names in the file-syncing game. For many computer users, the word "Dropbox" is synonymous with file syncing and sharing. It's been in the arena a long time, and as a result, it integrates with dozens upon dozens of other apps and services. Dropbox is a great tool for giving yourself and collaborators access to all manner of files from anywhere you have an Internet connection, courtesy of its mobile apps – including Dropbox for iPhone. If you're an existing Dropbox user, there's no question: You should have the Dropbox iPhone app.
EasilyDo connects to your email accounts, social media accounts, and other online spaces, then asks if you want it to automate simple tasks that you might need to do, such as post a "happy birthday" message to a Facebook friend or add someone’s contact details to your address book. Some of my favourite tasks are package tracking (after you purchase an item online and receive a shipping number) and saving the contact information of a new person who has emailed you into your iPhone Contacts.
Everyone will tell you to download Evernote, but few are able to put into words why it is such an amazing service. The problem with convincing someone of Evernote's worth is it is a uniquely personal tool. Everyone uses it differently. To summarise, the free iPhone app synchronises notes of all kinds, like text notes, audio recorded notes or voice memos, and pictures, and then makes them all highly searchable. It doesn't sound exciting, but the moment you figure out your own use case for Evernote, I swear you will never look for a replacement (the company highlights different use cases on the Evernote blog – have a look at this if you have the time, it’s a worthwhile browse). The app excels as a pared down word processing program, and Evernote integrates with dozens of other iPhone apps. When it comes to staying organised, keeping track of ideas, and writing things down, Evernote for iPhone does the heavy lifting for you. We don’t have a review of the iOS version, but if you want to take a look, we’ve got reviews of Evernote for Android, and for Windows.
Of all the apps on my iPhone, Google Maps is among the top five that I use the most. Google Maps is still the best free map app you can get on an iPhone. You can look up addresses and get turn-by-turn directions in real time. If traffic seems like a problem, Google Maps can skirt you around it. Sure, there are a few improvements I'd like to see (better integration with saved map locations, for example), but Google Maps remains the best there is. It's an app every iPhone owner needs to have – and you can check out our full review here.
Sign up for a free HealthTap account, and you can ask medical professionals specific questions and expect an answer in around 24 hours. It's a great service, and while it isn’t for emergencies, no health and medicine apps are. It's free to ask a question, but note that answers will be made available for other users to read.
LinkedIn remains one of the most important online networks for professionals to join. The thorough iPhone app helps you stay on top of business relationships, job opportunities, and other career-related events like no other app. Having access to your professional network and all the details of those important relationships when en route to a meeting is invaluable. The LinkedIn iPhone app is an essential tool for business professionals no matter which industries are the core focus of their work. We have a full review of the LinkedIn app which you might want to read, too.
Snapseed is our favourite iPhone camera app mainly due to its non-destructive editing capabilities, powerful photo correction, localised adjustments, and many image enhancing effects. Snapseed also works very well for sharing photos, integrating with all the major social networks, and it sports a clear and innovative interface. Moreover, Snapseed is the only iPhone app that even approaches the power of desktop digital image editing software. It used to cost a few quid, but it's now free – and as such, it’s definitely a must-have app. We’ve got a review of the Android version of Snapseed, if you’re interested.
Twitter has quickly become one of the most important destinations on the web. Whether you use it for business opportunities, for second-screen fodder while watching television shows, news, education, or just for bantering with friends, you need the Twitter mobile app. With a clean design and simple but smart look, Twitter's own app is the one to use on the iPhone. If you want a more detailed look at the app, we have a full review to peruse.