The Week's Top Android, iPhone, iPad, and Windows Apps

By Tom Pritchard on at

Despite how chilly it might be getting the past few days, I still wake up to find my bedroom window is burning hot. I suppose that happens to houses facing almost directly east, but it does make me wonder how effective it would be to slap some solar panels on that side of the house. Not that it matters, as there's no way my landlord will cough up the cash for that. Meanwhile it's getting cold enough that I have to turn on the heating. Ah, autumn.

In other other news, we have some apps for you to enjoy. Here's this week's list:

Android: Casto (Free)

There are a number of ways to stream your Android device to a desktop these days, but if you want something that doesn't cost any more and isn't difficult to set up, Casto might be one to try.

It connects to your browser by scanning a QR code on the Casto website. From there what happens on your phone screen is relayed to the browser, albeit in less than stellar quality. Once you enable the accessibility settings on your device, you'll also be able to control it using the browser and your mouse. It's very basic, but it (mostly) works.

Casto is not without its problems, however. For starters the quality is quite poor. While you can adjust it, the higher the browser quality becomes the slower the phone is to react. After a point trying to do anything just causes the whole thing to disconnect. It also doesn't seem to fair well with touch gestures, even simple ones like trying to swipe to the next screen.

That said, if you want a quick and easy way to keep an eye on your phone screen without having to pick it up, Casto isn't such a bad choice.

You should also try:

Google Maps (Update): The latest update to the ever popular Google Maps brings voice commands into the mix, using Google Now to get things done. [Free]

Paper Planes: A fun little app, letting you design your own paper plane and virtually send it off across the world for another user to find. [Free]

Ivy: Another sidebar with quick access to your favourite apps, akin to the one built into Samsung's Edge phones, So that Edge display is now mainly for the aesthetics. [Free]

iPhone: Laugh.ly (Free - with premium subscription)

There are plenty of streaming services out there for video, music, and even podcasts, but how come stand-up comedy never gets any love? If you're a comedy fan, and you've grown tired of the offerings on Netflix, this is the app for you. It's a free to use streaming service, offering recording of stand-up shows throughout the years.

Using it is no different from other streaming services. There are trending acts, editor's choices, different channels, and the option to find your own content by genre, topic, or opting for a surprise. There are also Last.fm-style radio stations that play content similar to certain famous comics. The top one when I was using it was Carlin (as it should be), so the station played clips of work with a very similar tone to his. As ever, the idea being that you use this to discover new content that you'll enjoy.

Laugh.ly is free to use, though it is supported by ads and has a premium subscription. The £3 per month premium tier is 100 per cent ad-free, has filters for profanity, and offers content exclusive for subscribers.

If you like your comedy, or you just need a laugh, and you don't want to keep paying for individual albums or specials, this is a great option for you.

You should also try:

Stephen Hawking's Pocket Universe: An illustrated guide to the universe, talking you through everything you could ever want to know about everything around us. [£5.99]

Eyeshot: A photo-sharing app with a twist, this one gives your uploads a limited life span that can be extended by an hour every time someone likes it. [Free]

Fork it: Turn your cooking into a game, with an RPG-style quest system to turn your ingredients into hearty meals. [Free]

iPad: 1Tap Receipts (Free)

It's important to keep hold of your receipts, and digitising them is a great way to ensure they're kept safe. There are plenty of apps that offer that, but 1Tap Receipts offers a few extra features.

The main function of the app is to take pictures of the receipts and extract all the necessary information. You snap one or more pictures of the slip of paper, and 1Tap receipts will keep a copy secure for a full six years. None of that is new, though, and those features can be found in almost any receipt digitising app.

What sets 1Tap Receipts apart is that it can link up with HMRC, letting you add your digital receipts to your tax return if they qualify for it. That's done at the tap of a button, and saves you having to fill everything out for yourself. The latest version of the app also lets you email copies of your digital receipts (from services like Amazon, hotel booking sites, and the like), adding them to your account with all the same benefits as any digitised paper receipts.

So if you're self-employed, or you want a receipt-scanning app with a bit extra, this is one to check out.

You should also try:

Compo: A simple writing app for the iPad, because all that necessary formatting stuff is just fluff that gets in the way. Apparently. [£2.29]

Lose it!: An app that helps you keep track of your calorific intake, by making you snap pictures of your food. It actually making that annoying practice useful for something.
[Free]

Windows: Disko (£1.89/£7.69)

It doesn't matter what device you use, freeing up space can be a bit of a bind. You have to search around for files that take up more space than they should, and deal with them accordingly. Disko is an app that lets you work out where all your space-hogging files are coming from, and it only takes a single button-press to find out.

The auto-scanning feature shows you which areas of your device are taking up space, showcased in three different ways: individual files, folders, or specific file types (music, video, pictures, etc). Once you've found all the awkward files, you can delete them with just a few taps. Disko sends anything you want to get rid of to the recycling bin as a precaution (in case you do something by mistake). The only exceptions are system files, which are automatically protected to avoid crippling your device.

So whether you're using your phone or your PC, this makes freeing up storage space an absolute breeze.

You should also try:

Fitbit (Update): The fitness app is now compatible with the Xbox and Hololens. Just in case using it on your phone or PC wasn't good enough. [Free]

Skype Preview (Update): A bunch of new features were added here this week, including the chance to hide conversations, easier contact adding, and improvements to the loudspeaker. [Free]