The Essential Apps for Your New iPhone

By Tom Pritchard on at

It's Christmas Day, and for most people that means turkey, family arguments, and lots of presents. Some of you may have been fortunate enough to be gifted a nice shiny fruit-branded iPhone, and are no doubt eager to make sure it can do all the things a new smartphone is capable of.

The first stop is making sure you're all sorted on the apps front, so here are the ones every person should have installed pronto.

Citymapper (Free)

The ultimate tool for planning your journey by public transport, (provided you live in Birmingham, London, or Manchester and a smattering of other major global cities). Citymapper has you covered with real-time departure and arrival times, directions, and information on any known disruptions.  It doesn't matter if you plan on travelling by bus, train, on foot, or even a Boris bike.

Cloak (Free)

A lot of apps are focussed around meeting people and doing stuff together. Cloak is not one of those apps. In fact it's quite the opposite, it lets you actively avoid certain people while you're out in public. It uses all your social media accounts to work out where your friends are, allowing you to avoid having to spend any face time with them.

Contact Center (Free)

Staying in touch shouldn't be a chore, and to make things easier Contact Center brings all the important communication apps together in a single place. Calls, texting, Facetime, you name it. It also has a built-in GIF search engine, for the times when words and little faces can't express what you're thinking.

Clips (Free)

The iPhone's standard clipboard is useful, but it is incredibly limited. If you're looking to give things a bit of a boost, then Clips is essential. It's a notification centre widget that functions as a paste bin. Somewhere where you can copy blocks of text and images for safe keeping, and have quick access to them at a moment's notice.

Duet Display (£7.99)

Multiple displays are incredibly useful, and you don't need to buy an extra monitor to take advantage of what they have to offer. Just download Duet Display and use your iPhone instead. As long as you're a Mac user you'll be able to extend your display onto your device via USB or WiFi.

Evernote (Free)

Your phone is the ideal place to jot down your ideas as and when they hit you, and if you want to avoid having to copy them over to your computer then Evernote is the app for you. But it's more than just a note-taking app. You can write notes, sure, but you can also attach documents to your work, collaborate with other people, and search through everything you jot down. Everything you do is synchronised over the cloud, and you have the choice of either typing or handwriting your notes.

Evernote Scannable (Free)

Scanning apps aren't uncommon, but if you've gone ahead and installed Evernote for your note-taking needs then Evernote Scannable is the one for you. Just point your camera at any physical documents, and Scannable will immediately capture and format them. The big bonus is, of course, that it has seamless integration with Evernote, pulling in all your settings and saved notebooks automatically.

Facebook (Free)

If you want a proper experience on the world's biggest social network, you're going to have to install the official app. Facebook might have spun-off Messenger into it's own thing, but you can still access your news feed, share photos, and play games right here.

Google Maps (Free)

It hardly needs saying that Apple Maps is quite far behind other mapping apps. So ditch it and opt for Google instead. Not only will you get a better app experience, you can also take advantage of offline maps, public transport and traffic alerts, integrated business hours, and more.

Kindle (Free)

Who needs an e-reader when you always have your smartphone on your person? With the Kindle app you can enjoy all the advantages of Amazon's digital books without having to deal with an extra device. Surf the Kindle store, download your previously bought titles, and read through every last one of them.

Launch Center Pro (£3.99)

This one is essentially a speed dial for all the things you need your phone to do on a regular basis. Whether that's accessing your favourite apps, or performing specific actions like messaging a loved one. The possibilities are virtually endless, and if you want to make it easier to do the things you do all the time this is the app for you.

MacID (£2.99)

You can never be too careful about who you leave your Mac around, so it's a good idea to lock it when it's not being used. Passwords can be guessed, but do you know what can't? Fingerprints. MacID lets you use your iPhone's TouchID sensor to open up your Mac easily and securely, so nobody can pinch your files. It even has proximity detection, so you can wander to and from your machine without having to manually lock and unlock each time.

Netflix (Free)

Netflix is one of the leaders in on-demand streaming, and with the huge range of critically acclaimed original content it's not hard to see why. With Netflix on your phone you'll be able to watch its entire back catalogue wherever you are, provided you have an internet connection.

Outlook (Free)

Apple's mail app works, but it is limited. If you're looking for the best alternative, Microsoft's Outlook app is the one you should invest in. It can handle all of your email accounts, includes a built in calendar, customisable gesture controls, a fairly powerful search, and filters that organise your emails in terms of importance.

Pixelmator (£3.99)

Image manipulation on the go is a very real reality,  and if you want the best one available then you should invest in Pixelmator. Unlike some image editing apps, Pixelmator doesn't cheap out on the features, and everything you get on the Mac version is available on iOS. It's also compatible with Photoshop files, and you're able to pick up exactly where you left off on a different device.

Plex (Free / £3.99 for essential in-app purchases)

Thanks to the wonders of streaming we don't have to carry our media around with us, and if you're looking for a no frills service to access the music, video, and photos you keep on your home computer then Plex is the app for you. The app is free to download, but streaming from your home media server is severely restricted until you unlock it with an in-app purchase.

Pocket (Free)

Your phone is great for reading, especially online, but Pocket makes it even better. It saves articles onto your phone for later reading, if you end up with no internet connection. Pocket also lets you send articles from your desktop to your phone, and optimises the articles so you can read them without any of the junk you could find in a browser.

Pushbullet (Free)

Sharing things between devices used to be so awkward, and generally required you to email yourself something. That's no longer the case, and it's all thanks to Pushbullet. It lets you send text, Web links, and even small files to one or more of your devices at the push of a button. On top of that it can be told to forward texts and notifications to your PC without any awkward set up processes.

Soundhound (Free)

Ever hear a song on the radio but missed the name of the song or artist? There's no need to frantically remember lyrics so you can Google them later if you have Soundhound on your phone. It'll analyse a portion of the music before identifying it and throwing a bunch of useful information your way. Plus, unlike similar apps, it's capable of recognising music if you hum the tune, which means you can finally name that song that's been stuck in your head for three years.

Spotify (Free)

If you want to stream music there are plenty of options available to you, but Spotify still remains the king. It's totally free to use (with ads), and lets you browse and listen to its catalogue of 30 million+ songs. Premium subscribers also have the option of saving music for offline listening, and improved sound quality.

Swiftkey Keyboard (Free)

Let's be honest, the iOS keyboard is rubbish. So rubbish. And don't even get me started on the autocorrect. Wouldn't you prefer something better? Swiftkey uses an 'artificial intelligence' to learn your writing style and offers improved prediction to help you speed up your typing. It also easily lets you save certain terms (like email addresses and URLs) for easy access later on. The personalisation features are saved to the cloud, as well, so you should always get the same results on all of your devices.

Translator Keyboard (£1.49)

Translation is a fiddly business, but a dedicated translation app can be a hassle to keep switching into. If you want to make quick translation a lot easier, Translation Keyboard is there to help. It functions like every other iOS keyboard,  but with the added bonus of translation to and from dozens of different languages instantly. It even has autocorrect to help you avoid awkward mistakes.

TVPlayer (Free)

You don't need a TV or a ridiculous number of catch-up apps to watch live TV, you just need TVPlayer. Just install it and you can watch live TV over the internet. It's got most of the major Freeview channels, including Dave for all the fans of Top Gear repeats.

Twitter (Free)

Twitter's official app might not have any special features that other clients have, but it will always have everything you need to enjoy a full microblogging experience. It also has the new 'Moments' feature, which curates the latest and best news content from across the web.

Vert (£2.29)

Sadly the entire world doesn't run on the same units, so there are going to be times where you have to do some conversions. Vert has you covered on every front, whether it's currency, weight, clothing sizes, random units nobody's ever heard of, and even the stuff they only use in China and Japan.

VLC (Free)

No need to worry about what filetype your media is, because VLC will play them all. Doesn't matter whether it's music or video, you just need to load them onto your phone through iTunes and they'll pop up straight away.

We Transfer (Free)

Email is great, but attachment size limits feel like they're stuck in the stone age. Cloud storage is one way to share files, but that can cost an absolute fortune. We Transfer, on the over hand, lets you share anything up to 10GB in size without having to pay a penny. Better still, you can use it in conjunction with email for a hassle free experience.

WhatsApp (Free)

Save your minutes/texts by using WhatsApp to stay in touch with your friends and family. Using your phone number you can call and text using nothing more than your internet connection. There's also group chat, and the option to send files like photos and videos.

Wiper Messenger (Free)

There are a great many messaging apps out there, but how many let you delete entire conversations from another person’s device? Wiper does that at the push of a button, which means that end to end encryption isn't the only thing keeping what you said safe. It also allows free calls, video calls, and the sharing of small files and photos.

Workflow (£2.29)

We all have a number of those little things we do on our phone that requires quite a bit of fiddling. Workflow lets you automate those functions with a homescreen icon that functions a little bit like an app. There are hundreds, if not thousands of combinations you can create making this one app that no iPhone user should be without.