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The best iPhone hobby 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 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. Last week, we looked at the best reference apps, productivity apps, utilities, communication apps, and games. We’re starting this week off with a gander at the top iPhone apps when it comes to hobbies.

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 the apps in this series of articles 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.

Right, let’s get on with looking at the best in hobby apps, which includes the likes of Duolingo, Snapseed and the NASA App. By the way, if you want to download an app, simply click on the title, which links to the app in iTunes.

Adobe Photoshop Express (free)

Adobe knows a thing or two about image editing, and the free Adobe Photoshop Express iPhone app gives you a taste of this expertise. While the app itself is free, you'll need the £2.99 Camera Pack upgrade for full functionality. All in all, Adobe Photoshop Express is an impressive tool for carrying out light photo edits on your iPhone.

Cards (free)

When Apple introduced its Cards app for iPhone (which is free to download – but cards cost £3.30 including international shipping), it created a very good tool in a niche space, one that's easy to overlook but actually provides a lot of value to the average consumer. Using the Cards app to buy and mail customised greeting cards, with your own photos and text, is surprisingly cost effective, given that birthday cards and whatnot can easily cost £3 at retail (for a nice one anyway) not including postage. With the app, you can choose from a good number of well-designed templates for several occasions – congratulations, thank-you cards, and birthdays. And the cards themselves are beautifully constructed. Note that with international shipping, it may take a little time for your card to arrive, so it’s not a service for last minute card grabbing.

Duolingo (free)

If you started to learn a new language, could that process somehow be helpful to other people all over the world? It's a strange idea, but one that's playing out when you use the free language learning app Duolingo, as others benefit from your translations (which can be compared to theirs for accuracy – for more details on how this system works, see our full Duolingo review). As far as free, mobile apps for language learning go, the Duolingo iPhone app is easily the best. A recent update makes your next lessons available offline, so you can continue learning even when you're not connected to the Internet.

Instagram (free)

Instagram is a light photo editing and sharing app. Many of the camera filters that you can apply to images will give them a retro-hip style, but they're fun and can produce some rather beautiful images with a little practice. It's highly enjoyable to browse through the images that other people upload, too. For the full low-down on this app, see our Instagram review.

Kickstarter (free)

Kickstarter has radically transformed individuals' and small businesses' ability to get their pet projects off the ground. The site made the concept of crowd-sourced funding mainstream – meaning no more begging venture capitalists for money. And indeed no more changing the business plan to suit what VCs want to hear; just straight talk from creators directly to people who might potentially back them – with as little as a pound. And now Kickstarter has delivered a new medium for backers and creators to continue their conversations with an official Kickstarter iPhone app that boasts tools for both funders and inventors. Slick, quick, engaging, and charming, the Kickstarter iPhone app will undoubtedly open a few more doors for people with passion and a dream.

NASA App (free)

NASA has released many iPhone apps, most of them with a specific focus (NASA Television, ISSLive, NASA Space Weather) but this app is the space agency's flagship app, and in that role, it aggregates a wide range of NASA content. Space enthusiasts and curious minds will love how it packs a wealth of news stories, features, images, video, and information about the NASA's activities into this one mobile app.

Snapseed (free)

Snapseed is our favourite among iPhone camera apps due to its non-destructive editing capabilities, powerful photo correction, localised adjustments, and many image enhancing effects. Snapseed also works very well when it comes to sharing photos, integrating with all the major social networks, and it sports a clear and innovative interface.