In iOS 10, Apple refreshed its Messages app with a ton of new features. One of those features, an app store specifically for Messages, met with a resounding “meh” from users and a “hurray!” from brands. Good news though, not all of those apps are terrible branded sticker packs. In fact, there are some genuinely useful ones.
App In the Air and TripIt Streamline Sharing Flight Details
If you travel a lot, you probably send your flight info to friends or coworkers. App in the Air (Free) makes this process a little easier. Once you enter your flight details into the app, you can send everything over through Messages in just a couple taps. If the other person has the App in the Air app installed, they can check real-time flight information, but even if they don’t, they’ll get the most recent arrival time and gate information when they need it.
TripIt (Free) also has an app that does the same thing, though the caveat here is that you need a TripIt account for it to be worthwhile. If you do, then it’s great, but if you just want to dump your flight number info and send it to a friend, App in the Air doesn’t require that you sign up for anything to do so.
Venmo and Square Cash Pay Friends with a Text Message
Venmo (Free) and Square Cash (Free) are both a couple of the easiest ways to send money to friends. The integration with iMessage just simplifies that process more. Instead of going into the app, you can just pop into Messages, tap the Venmo or Square Cash button, then send the payment to your friend from there.
Both apps work pretty the exact same in Messages as they do as full apps. You start by requesting or sending money, then pick the amount, and you’re done. The iMessages app just removes the step of opening the app and searching for a contact.
Self-destructing picture messages were all the rage in insecure saucy messaging apps a few years ago. For those of us who don’t want to send nude photos, self-destructing messages are still great for the mindless junk you might message someone throughout the day or the silly “is this what you meant?” photos from the grocery store.
Three free apps do the job of ephemeral messaging pretty well. As the name suggests, Blur (Free) blurs out an image before you send it, then allows you to set the amount of time before it deletes itself. Secret for iMessage (Free) does the exact same, but also lets you draw on the picture like you can with something like Snapchat. Confide (Free) works a little differently. To view images you have to move your finger across the screen to reveal small portions of it at a time, so it’s impossible to screenshot the whole thing.
Whichever option you choose, both people need the apps installed to use it, but they’re free and work without signing up for any additional accounts.
Whether you’re a designer looking for feedback on two different designs or you’re trying to pick out the best outfit at the store, it’s pretty common to ask someone for A or B feedback between two images. Versus (Free) is an app made for just that. Yes, you can always just send two images, but Versus makes it a little easier and puts the two options side-by-side.
If the recipient also has the app installed, they get a little poll where they can tap the one they like more, but if not, it’s still sent as an image file that’s easy to glance at.
Polls with Friends Makes Group Decisions a Little Easier
If you use group texts to organize any type of outing, then Polls with Friends (Free) might prove useful for organizing where or when to go somewhere. As the name suggests, it’s a polling app where everyone in a group text can cast a vote.
For example, create a poll with several restaurants, then send it out. Once everyone votes, you can continue making your plans from there. It’s certainly not something most of us will need often, but it’s useful when trying to get a mass of people to decide on something. You get three polls for free before you have to pay, so it’s a worth a look if you’re in charge of organizing gathering a lot.
ETA Quickly Lets Everyone Know When You’ll Arrive
One of the most common text messages most of us send is our arrival time when we’re heading somewhere. Some mapping apps, like Waze, integrate ETA messaging into the app itself, but if you don’t use Waze, or if you’re taking another form of transportation, then ETA ($2.99) is worth a look.
ETA isn’t exactly a mapping app. Instead, it just tells you how far away from any given point you are at any point. So, after you enter your home address in ETA, it will always tell you how far away from home you are via car, foot, or bus. The iMessage app lets you instantly send that data to a friend. Even better, if you’re both meeting someplace, they can tap back to send their arrival time as well.