The Week's Best Android, iPhone, iPad, and Windows Phone Apps

By Tom Pritchard on at

It is officially the run-up to Christmas now, and that tricky issue of informing relatives what sort of gifts to buy is rearing its ugly annual head. Currently I'm faced with the problem of having had spare cash, which means I went out and bought pretty much anything that would have been a suitable gift to be given to me.

I suppose that's the problem with being an adult who knows about tech, anything I really want is way too expensive. But enough about that, lets talk about something we can all enjoy.

iPhone


Totaljobs: You're not always at home, and if you're looking for a job it would be nice to be able to do it all while on the move. Using the browser can be a headache, so why not do it from a nice optimised app? You could be on the bus, waiting at the Job Centre, or even in the living room watching TV and you'll still have the Totaljobs.com database at your fingertips. Search, apply, and share your findings via social media without fuss and hassle. [Free]


Photo Editor by Aviary: Free photo editors are all pretty much the same, so what makes this one any special? I'm glad you asked, because for a limited time anyone with an Adobe ID will be able to access and download $200 (£127ish) worth of editing tools to keep forever. If you don't have an Adobe account then you can just sign up for one because they're free as well. [Free]


Coach's Eye: If you're an athlete then you can't really keep an eye on your own technique, and a professional coach is out of the reach of many. Coach's Eye is the perfect app to fill that gap. It can record your progress and analyse the footage you provide, to give you feedback on your technique. There are a bunch of new features in the latest update, including cloud backups, slow-motion video playback, iOS 8 optimisation, and more. [£2.99 -- with in-app purchases]


SoundHound: SoundHound is the music identification app that isn't Shazam. We all know the deal here, but it does have new stuff that we should all be aware of. This includes optimisation for the larger screens on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus; swipe-gesture navigation (left for search, right for previous screen); new listening animations; and a new scrolling home screen to see your search history, recommendations, charts, and popular music videos. [Free]


Keezy Drummer: This isn't one for pros, or aspiring pros, this is a programmable drum machine that you are supposed to have fun with. Just open it up and start tapping away at the screen to start creating your own beats. There are 12 sounds to choose from, and nine different layers can be played at any given time. [Free]

iPad


Toca Nature: The best way to describe this is a nature simulator for kids. Toca Nature allows you to create your own piece of landscape; what you create is a up to you. Plant trees, raise mountains, carve rivers, and so on. You can then explore your landscape, collect food, learn about the different animals that live there, and feed them the food you collected. A great little way to teach your kids about the natural world without it seeming like a chore. [£1.99]


Evernote: The notetaking app has had a bunch of little features added, which should make your use a lot more productive. First of all we have work chat which makes it easy for you to send messages and notes to people you're collaborating on projects with without having to use a separate app. Premium users also get access to a feature called context which lets you see notes, Wall Street Journal articles, and people related to whatever you're working on. [Free -- with optional subscription]


Monty's Xmas: It is that time of year again: the Christmas ads are upon us and they're making people cry (I'm not sure why). Well the John Lewis advert features an adorable little penguin called Monty, who you can adventure with. In the app you can read about the penguin's story, play with him yourself, or ever take photos of yourself with the little guy around. [Free]


Craftsy: A handy little app with over 500 online lessons to help you unleash your inner creativity, with teachings on everything from photography to cake decorating. The app itself has been featured before, but it's now had a design overhaul featuring the likes of full-screen photo-viewing, as well as access to more information than before. It's also had performance upgrades so it will run a lot faster. [Free -- with in-app purchases]


The World in 2015: We're coming to the end of 2015, and with a whole new year ahead of us The Economist has released its annual set of predictions that identify and explore the issues that we're going to face next year. It includes topics like politics, science, arts, and more. The 2014 edition is also available to buy as well, so you can see if last year's predictions came to pass. The app itself is free to download, but you do have to pay £5.99 for each edition. [£5.99]

Android


Assassin's Creed Unity: The companion app for the latest game in Ubisoft's flagship series. There's an fully interactive map of the in-game world, the ability to manage your own Brotherhood of Assassins and send them on missions, Heatmaps for missions so you can see what other players did, and a version of the in-game database to make sure you can keep a tab what's what. [Free]


Mirror Beta: There's not much to this one since it does one of two things. First of all it records your device's screen and saves it as a video file, and secondly it lets you cast your screen to Chrome, Fire TV, Apple TV, or another Android device. The only issue is that if you don't have a device running Android Lollipop you will need to root it for the app to work. [Free]


Instagram: The go-to app for snapping pictures of your food and applying a filter for whatever reason. Instagram has added some features that people have been asking for for a while, including the option of editing your captions for clarity and spelling, faster searching, and a new tab that will recommend people for you to follow. [Free]


Nike+ Running: This one functions like any other running app, except that it converts your activity into Nike fuel, which is a scale to measure your activities against. It's by no means new, but it's been updatd so that you can link your Nike+ account to Google Fit, as well as letting you track your activity using Samsung's Gear S. [Free]


Greenify:  Apps are what makes having a smartphone worthwhile, because without them we might as well have a phone that only makes calls and texts. The problem is that some of these apps enjoy guzzling on power and memory more than others. Greenify identifies those apps and sticks them into hibernation mode when you're not using them. It's just been updated, it's got a UI inspired by Material Design and stability has been improved. Just one note, while it does work without, this app does work better on rooted devices. [Free]

Windows Phone


Movie Creator Beta: Do you enjoy making movies, but hate having to be stuck next to a computer to do it? Movie Creator will allow you to create and edit your own small film on your phone, provided you have a Lumia phone that is. Combine photos, videos, cinemagraphs, and music together and then edit and personalise it to your own preference. [Free -- Lumia Exclusive]


Telegram Messenger Beta: As you may already be aware, Telegram is a messaging app focusing on speed and security. Now it's just a tiny bit better because the folks behind the app have pushed out an update that brings in document and video sharing. They can be sent from your phone, or from your OneDrive account, making it a much more useful tool for, say, project collaboration. This also means you can actually save documents people send to you, because it would be daft if you couldn't. [Free]


ReadAloud: Left your glasses at home again, did we? ReadAloud has you covered because it will read out webpages, files, and text that you enter in to the app. Handy, but sadly it can't be used to read out your emails or text messages. [Free]


Facebook Messenger: Is using the browser to message your Facebook friends not working out for you? There is an app that can do that for you, and it's been updated: now you can message people who aren't on your friends list, you can send doodle messages, and rather interestingly you can sync your phone contacts with the app and send text messages via Facebook. [Free]


Shape Up Battle Run: Exercise sucks. I can personally attest to that. The problem is that it's pretty boring, especially if you're exercising outside of gym, where they at least have TVs blasting out music. Shape Up Battle Run is an app from Ubisoft which aims to turn running into a game by using audio cues for you to match your pace with. Earn points, level up, and change your 'location' to mix things up a bit. [Free]