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

By Tom Pritchard on at

So here's an interesting development in my personal timeline of electronics affection: my Android tablet has just updated to Lollipop, and I suddenly realised that I really don't like stock Android. Specifically I don't like the weird pop-up apps menu and the fact that uninstalling them has to be done one at a time. Personally I believe Google should just adopt the apps menu that Sony has on its Xperia phones.

Speaking of which, let's have a look at this week's apps. What goodies do we have for you this week?

iPhone Apps

Khan Academy: Khan Academy is popping up all over the place, but it has been on the iPhone for a while. So the people behind it felt the need for a change. The brand new design ushers in new navigation and search tools, bookmarks, and offline saving. So now it's even better watching videos and reading articles about the subject that you want to learn about. [Free]

Simply Piano: Looking to learn the piano, but don't want to have to rely on people for feedback all the time? Give Simply Piano a try. Just place it next to the piano or keyboard you're playing and it will recognise the songs you're trying to play and give you instant feedback when you're done. [Free]

Instant: There are a great many apps that monitor your activity, but how many of them check how often you're checking your phone as well? Instant does, constantly monitoring how much physical work you're doing as well as how often you aimlessly pull your phone out of your pocket to see what's going on. Do they correlate though? That's the big question. [£2.29]

Headspace: There's a lot of evidence that shows meditation can actually do wonders for your mental well-being, but what if you're not sure where to start? Headspace is an app designed to get you meditating, starting with simple ten-minute sessions. Ten of the lessons are free, but if you want more you're going to have to cough up the money for a subscription. [Free -- with subscription]

TransferWise Money Transfer: This one has been around for a while, with the sole purpose of making it easier to send money abroad by not charging hidden fees and using exchange rates that aren't going to screw you over. The core principle is staying the same, but if you have a iPhone 6S or 6S Plus, you can take full advantage of new 3D Touch features. [Free]

iPad Apps

Tweetbot 4 for Twitter: The official Twitter app isn't incredibly well-designed. If you want to try something a bit better, go for Tweetbot 4. It's the first version to have dedicated iPad support, as well as having statistics support, a landscape mode, advanced mute filter settings, and more. [£3.99]

TVPlayer: Who needs to watch live TV on a TV? Not us, we have smart devices for that. But sometimes you want to watch things as they're broadcast without having to navigate between countless on-demand apps. TVPlayer is the very tool to do that, letting you watch all the Freeview channels on your iPad via the internet. The latest version also lets you pay £5 a month to view 25 premium channels, with not an advert in sight. [Free -- with subscription]

Lrn: Coding is a great skill to have, and Lrn uses interactive quizzes to teach you how to read, write, and speak multiple programming languages. It's just been updated too, bringing a brand new programming language to learn in the form of Ruby. [Free -- with in-app purchases]

App in the Air: This one is a great little tool that helps you keep up to date with all the changing information about your upcoming air travel, along with maps and guides for hundreds of airports around the world. It's just been updated, and that means better iPad iOS 9 support, integration with Uber, seat plans to find the best place on the plane, and more. [Free -- with in-app purchases]

Pic Scanner: Believe it or not, we haven't always lived in a world with the convenience of digital photography. There once was a time where people kept their photos in books, but it can be awkward to digitise them. But as they say, there is an app for that. Pic Scanner is designed to use your iPad's camera to scan in your photos directly from the album you keep them in. The best part is, you don't have to do it one at a time. Pic Scanner can scan in up to four photos at once (all depending on your device's camera resolution). [Free -- with in-app purchase]

Android Apps

TapTag: This one is a more interesting approach to the augmented reality stuff that's started appearing. TapTag lets you take a photo and then 'leave' it in that location for other people to find. All someone has to do is open up the in-app camera and look around to find and relive the photos that have been left behind. [Free]

Inkboard: This one is a nice simple app for you to try. Inkboard is, quite simply, a drawing app that lets you draw on a blank canvas or on top of the pictures you have saved in your phone's photo gallery. It's got a bunch of realistic tools, and even a keyboard if you ever feel the need to draw out your messages. [Free]

Shine Launcher 3D: There are a great many third-party launchers now available for Android, and Shine Launcher 3D is the latest to hit Google Play. It's meant to replace the bland standard design with an easily customisable interface that utilises 3D effects to add some pizzaz to your phone. There are even ten 3D widgets for you to slap onto your homescreen. [Free]

Chromecast: Last week Google announced some new Chromecast dongles, and that obviously meant the app had to be improved. So here it is. Now there are more options for backdrop personalisation, selections of popular content playable on Chromecast-compatible apps, a new place to discover compatible apps, and, obviously, Android M integration. [Free]

Steam: Sometimes you can't help but think that Steam is part of the reason why Valve refuses to make Half Life 3. There's probably some truth to it, but at least Steam itself is continually getting better (the same cannot be said for its customer service, though...). The Android app just got an update, now coming with updated profiles, personalised store features, user reviews, and access the things like the community marketplace, broadcasts, discussions, and more. [Free]

Windows Phone Apps

Simple Time Sheet Pro: Unfortunately, unless you won the lottery or have a substantial inheritance, everybody has to work. Simple Time Sheet Pro is an app designed to help you keep track of your working hours easily. Whether it's because you work random hours or you need to track your work on various projects, there's room for it all here. [£1.19]

Swarm: This Foursquare-powered app has been around for a while, but the latest update to the Windows Phone app has brought competition back into things. As before you check into places you visit, but doing so earns you coins. You earn more coins by checking in with friends, coming near the top of leaderboards, and earning mayorships. All to win fabulous prizes. [Free]

Twins or Not: This is one of Microsoft's fun little experimental apps, and this one is designed to see how much you look like other people. Well really it's designed to test whether you really do have a celebrity twin, but there's no reason you can't use it to see how similar you look to your friend Dave. [Free]

Opera Mini: Opera is currently undergoing a huge rebranding across multiple platforms, so the Windows Phone app has been updated to reflect that. It's got a new design, a better centralised menu, a host of major improvements, and a newly designed live tile. [Free]