I was on a trip with friends this weekend and someone asked me “Todd, what are the apps I’m not using and need to check out?” I looked at my phone, pointed to two that I love, and then realized, hey, maybe our readers have the same question my friend did. So, earlier this week, I asked a few members of our editorial staff to submit the apps that they simply can’t live without.
I put a few guidelines in – the apps don’t necessarily have to be new because, hey, old apps are good, too, and maybe some of you just aren’t using them yet. I also mandated that it’s something the team truly desires to use frequently and that truly has an affect on how they use their smartphones. Whether it’s during travel, the usual day-to-day, managing finances or simply keeping track of photos, here are our some of our favorite apps that we can’t live without.
We’d love to hear what your apps are in the comments. Have an app that’s better than what we’re using? Let us know.
FlightTrack is hands-down my all time favorite travel tool. With the integration with TripIt, it always knows what flights I’m on, and it alerts me immediately to any changes in my itinerary. Quite often it tells me about a gate change before any of the boards in the airport do. It also keeps me abreast of delays well in advance of any other method of communicating it to me in an airport. It’s quick, it’s handy and I honestly don’t want to imagine traveling without it any more.
Sure, Venmo’s bizarre ad campaign freaked me out when it first launched in New York, but a year later I’m totally addicted to this mobile payments app. I use it for everything from splitting the check at a restaurant to charging my roommates for utilities. Venmo makes it insanely easy to send money between friends, and the app’s built in news feed offers a few minutes of extra entertainment for free.
I’m finding that I’m on my phone less and less. And, because of this, my app usage has become much more selective. I used to download apps like there was no tomorrow. But the more apps I used, the more time I wasted. Compared to most people, I’d wager the number of apps I have installed now is low (34, to be exact, and that’s counting the apps that came pre-installed on iOS).
There are a handful of apps I try and use on a daily basis, with a few outliers I use only on occasion. But right down in the bottom right corner is probably the app I use most often. It’s become an invaluable tool, not just for posting photos, but exploring the great little communities within it.
Because Instagram is so lively, I’ve stumbled across some really terrific artists (photographers, wood workers, calligraphers, graphic designers, etc.), including a number of tattooers that I’ve had the privilege of being tattooed by. It’s a great platform to use as a public portfolio, and an easy way for me to vicariously live through the adventures of others. It’s also a really fun to show our readers what happens behind the scenes here at TechnoBuffalo.
I’m bizarrely obsessed with keeping my photos in order. I’ve been reviewing phones since 2007, which means I’ve snapped a lot of pictures, but they’re all over the place on different devices. For a long time I had a single 64GB microSD card that I kept with me, in one device or another, but managing it became too much of a pain (you should see all of the default “camera” folders I have from various phones). I tested a bunch of backup solutions, including Flickr, OneDrive and more and, while I love the space OneDrive offers, Google Photos is the best, by far. My photos are always there, and after each trip I quickly organize them into an album. I also love the auto-awesome feature and Stories that Google creates for me.
There are tons of weather apps to choose from, but Dark Sky has become my go-to favorite (iOS only, unfortunately). I love that it shows me a radar map by default, will alert me when it’s about to rain or snow, and is usually pretty darn accurate. I remember one time sitting outside in the sun with an alert that it was to start raining in 15 minutes. “No way,” I said. Well, 15 minutes later I started to feel drizzle coming down as clouds moved in. I’ve used Dark Sky to track hurricanes around the world – it highlights interesting weather happening in other places, which is a fun feature, and have used it to make sure I leave a destination on time to avoid driving in bad weather.