iMore's guide to the best apps available for iPhone. From camera apps to calendar alternatives to cloud storage and more.
Why is it so hard to find great apps? That's the question we asked today on Talk Mobile. One of the reasons is that there are literally hundreds of thousands of apps available in the App Store, even if we just count iPhone apps alone. With so many to choose from, it can be tough to find the absolute best one, not to mention expensive. We're here to help.
While we do tons of app reviews and weekly app picks, over and above all of that there are the apps that we think are simply best in class. These are the ones that we download on our iPhones immediately and use all the time.
These are the best apps for iPhone, as of the summer of 2013.
Best camera app: VSCO Cam
There is no shortage of camera and photo editing apps in the App Store. The best of the best combine both into one and give you the option to share to your social networks of choice, all in one place. That's why we recommend VSCO Cam. Not only does it balance ease of use with features, it's gorgeously designed, wicked fast, and free. From taking photos to giving you access to everything you've snapped with VSCO Cam in one place, it does a great job of balancing the need to create beautiful photos with getting them where they need to be with just a few taps.
When it comes to calendar apps, Fantastical sets the bar for all the others. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, but it understands natural language input. Launch Fantastical, tap the dictation button, and say what you'd like it to add. It's even smart enough to switch between calendars by simply adding the calendar name to the end of whatever you'd like to add. It's much quicker than the default calendar but brings all your events over with no setup required. Not to mention, it's beautifully designed.
For many of us, Dropbox is a regular part of our workflow. Whether you use it daily or just a few times a week or month, the iPhone app is a must have. Automatic upload for photos is easy and allows you to save precious storage space on your iPhone. It's also great for the times that you need to upload other kinds of files to Dropbox. It's the number one file sharing service for a reason, and if you've got an iPhone, the Dropbox app is an essential.
iBooks is Apple's free ebook and PDF reading app for iPhone. It's a stylish way to read not only books purchased from the iBookstore, but all the free books from the massive Project Gutenberg library as well as any of your own ePub or PDF files. Apple's book catalog isn't as big as Amazon's Kindle library, but the reading experience itself is far superior.
Khan Academy is one of the best products of education and the internet, and with the Khan Archiver app for the iPhone, you have free access videos on topics ranging from kindergarten, advanced science, humanities, history, and more. You can even download the videos to watch offline.
If you use Gmail, Mailbox is a great way to clean out your inbox with a quickness. From gesture support to the gorgeous interface, Mailbox is a great alternative to the default Mail app for Gmail users. It works by auto-creating labels and allowing you to sort emails with them. Want to remember to do something later? Just snooze the message for a later time and it'll automagically re-appear at the time you've specified. It also supports push notifications which make it a completely viable alternative if you live and breathe Gmail.
"Launch actions, not apps" is Launch Center Pro's motto and the app allows you to do just that. From composing an email/message (with or without a default recipient/body), to creating quick dialers, Safari searches and page launches, to a flashlight utility, and the ability to insert a custom URL string that can either launch an app function or a web page, Launch Center lets you do everything you need to do on your iPhone, faster than ever before.
We are all very familiar with the issues Apple has with their default Maps app. While they continue to improve upon that, Google Maps is still a fan favorite and for good reason. Not only is it a native standalone app now, it also has some of the best maps available. From turn-by-turn to walking directions, Google Maps does it all, with a gorgeous design to boot.
We live in a world where we have passwords for our passwords, 2-step authentication, and more. It's never been more important to have good passwords for all of our accounts without duplicating them. This obviously makes the task of remembering them all more complex and at times, almost impossible. This is where 1Password is essential. Not only can it store all your passwords and allow you to access and sync them across virtually any device you own, it can also help you generate strong ones. If you don't have a password manager, 1Password is what you want.
Zite is not only personal to each user, but it grows more personal over time as you use it. The way Zite recommends new content is something none of its competitors can match. Bottom line, Zite is the best social magazine app currently available on the iPhone.
We've taken a look at quite a few podcast apps over the years and Instacast is still one of our favorites. From the way it handles podcasts to how it lets you interact with them, it's a great option for hardcore podcast listeners while still being simple enough for users who just don't care for Apple's native Podcasts app.
Pocket provides the best design and user experience for the broadest base of users, both on the app and on the website. If you want more than Apple's built in Reading List provides, or you're new to the whole idea of "read later" and time-shifting content, give Pocket a go.
Out of all the RSS apps available in the App Store, Reeder has been a long time favorite here at iMore. Not only will it still be kicking once Google Reader closes its doors for good, it's still one of the absolute best options. From the way it organizes and manages articles to how easy it is to set up and start using, it's a winner. It manages to give you the news you want while getting out of the way leaving you with just your content. And in an RSS app, that's what's important.
Bloomberg for iPhone is a great way for casual traders and investors to interact with their stocks and stay up to date with world news. Whether you need to casually monitor stocks on your iPhone or just find the urge to check out financial news, the free Bloomberg app has you covered -- for free!
There's lots of streaming services out there for iPhone but Songza probably takes the cake for most creative way for discovering music. Songza's Music Concierge service can help you find music based on your moods. Are there other robust options out there with more features? Sure. But for a free service with a vast collection and a great interface, you can't go wrong with Songza and for casual listening, it's our favorite.
Byword just got even better with the release of Byword 2. With the option for premium subscriptions for publishing straight to Wordpress, Drupal, and other content management systems, Byword is a great way to get your thoughts out. Whether you're a student or a professional writer, Byword gives you the tools you need to manage your writing. With iCloud sync, markdown support, and more, it's a clean, easy to use, and reasonably priced text editor that's the best in its class. If you're looking for a writing suite, look no further than Byword.
The free TripIt app for iPhone, when paired with a free TripIt account, becomes your virtual travel assistant. Simply email any flight or hotel confirmations to TripIt and they'll automagically get logged and displayed on your iPhone, along with helpful maps and additional information to make your travel safer and easier.
It's hard to beat OmniFocus' feature set, which includes Siri integration, location-based reminders, and Forecasts. If price is no object, and you want the most powerful, versatile task management solution for iPhone, with options for syncing with iPad and/or Mac, then you want OmniFocus.
Tweetbot might feel over-designed to some, but it's well-designed. It has a ton of features for power users, including the best push-notification implementation in the business. As far as general purpose Twitter apps go, Tweetbot hits the best balance for the widest range of our readers.
With iCloud integration, SSH keys, and a re-designed Screens Connect, Screens 2.0 handles remote computing better and faster than ever before. Screens is also the most iPhone, iPad, and Mac-like remote computing app on the market today, and that makes it the easiest to setup and the most familiar to use.
Yahoo! Weather was completely revamped recently to feature a gorgeous interface that integrates Flickr photos of the locations you're looking at the weather at. There may be more robust and feature packed weather apps available, but when it comes to design and ease of use, Yahoo! Weather can't be beat. It's no wonder Apple chose to use it natively in iOS 7. If you want the experience now, you can get it by downloading Yahoo! Weather.
If you want a browser that has a better layout than Safari and allows you easy access to bookmarks and other open tabs across all your desktop computers, Chrome is it. There may not be gesture support or a ton of customization options, but it works flawlessly and has a beautiful interface.