July's Essential Apps for Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile

By Tom Pritchard on at

July's off to a good start, even if June was a bit of a mental month. Not only did we see the British people vote to leave the EU (just) and all of the things that happened in the aftermath, we also got to see a lot more stuff.

The annual E3 gaming conference happened in LA. We finally got some answers to one of Game of Thrones's biggest secrets. The long-time-coming sequel Independence Day: Resurgence turned out to be a disappointment. The OnePlus 3 hit the scene. Oh, and Virgin trains announced its new in-train entertainment streaming systems. We at Giz UK also kicked off Transport Week, so if you missed any of that make sure to check out the best stuff.

Oh, and we saw a load of incredible apps hit their various digital stores. Here are the best of the bunch, ready to get you through the first full month of summer.


VLC (Update): A great thing happened to VLC during June: it got picture-in-picture mode on Android. That means you can watch your favourite videos without having to give up using the rest of your device. That's not all, though. This month VLC also got video playlists, a network browsing mode, viewing history, and a merge between its Android and Android TV apps. [Free]

Fast - FB Alternative Client: Sick of the official Facebook app slicing things off into new apps? This one has you covered. It's a slimmed-down version of Facebook with a number of different customisation features. It also happens to look exactly like the Facebook mobile site, but without being denied the chance to message your friends away from the Messenger app. [Free]

Sleepcast: Your regular morning alarm could do with an upgrade, and Sleepcast is one of the better options to make it so. Not only does it let you choose an audio playlist to wake you up in the morning (rather than the same boring old tune), it's capable of sending the alarm audio to a wireless speaker. [Free]

PhyWiz: Physics homework getting you down? Here's an app to help you get things done. Not only will it solve physics problems for you, it'll take you through the working, step-by-step, so you can actually learn to do it yourself (apps aren't allowed in exam rooms). It also has over 300 free questions to help you get some practice in. [Free]


Embark: Tired of apps that restrict public transport information to the big cities? You're in luck, because Embark has all the information you need. It's not completely universal yet, but with over 60 cities included you're far more likely to get the info you need. It's got real-time tracking and information, a route planner, step-by-step directions, and a personalised feed of online content to keep you occupied in your travels. [Free]

Morning Mail: If you're sick of sifting through your email each morning, this might be the one for you. Once you have it connected to your account, it'll pull up the unread messages one at a time. All you have to do is see the gist of the message, and swipe at the screen to do something with it. Delete, archive, or read, those are the three choices you have. [Free]

Swysh: Tired of tapping your screen to control your music playback? Lucky for you Swysh is here with gesture-based controls to mix things up a bit. Just wave your phone around in one of a few pre-set directions, and you can control the playback of your music. [Free]

Workflow (Update): Workflow is an amazing automation app that lets you create app-like buttons on your homescreen to perform various tasks automatically. It got a great update this month, that integrates automation service IFTTT into its functions. The possibilities of what you can do with Workflow are now pretty much limitless. [£2.29]

Windows Mobile

Spoticast for Spotify: Tired of the barely supported Windows 10 Spotify app? Thankfully there's a better choice for you. Spoticast has all the basics you need from Spotify, with no adverts and YouTube videos thrown in for the ride. All your songs, playlists, and recommendations will be brought along for the ride, just be warned that none of the usual Premium features seem to be here. [£3.89]

Crunchyroll: Your go-to place for asian animation, be it from Japan, China, or elsewhere. Crunchyroll is known for its extensive catalogue of anime, available for you to stream whenever the hell you like. A lot of it is free to watch (with ads), but some of it will need you to subscribe before you watch. [Free - with subscription]

Hacked?: With the number of security breaches happening these days, you need to be extra vigilant. But how do you know if your data might have been compromised? Once it has your email, Hacked? tells you whether or not any of your online accounts have been compromised – even if it was years ago and you totally forgot that you ever signed up. It also has an alert feature that warns you the next time your data might be compromised, so you can change your password asap. [Free]

Viber: This one is well known, letting people call, text, and video call over the internet rather than relying on your monthly allowances. Now its available on Windows 10, as a universal app so you can make calls whenever you like - regardless of which machine you're on. [Free]