December's Essential Apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone

By Tom Pritchard on at

December is now over, bringing 2014 to a close. It's been a big year, but December has seen plenty of things crawl out of the woodwork. Most seriously we saw a major hack of Sony Pictures which led to The Interview being pulled from release and then released on VOD (but not outside North America. Grrrr). We also saw a wearable that records TV if you fall asleep, learnt how to catch Santa, and  found out that EE is going to bring us even faster 4G speeds.

But like any other month December had some great apps appear for our devices, and here are the best ones for each platform.

iOS Apps

Procreate: A digital art-making app, Procreate has been updated to optimise its use with the brand new iPad Air 2. You can use your finger, or a stylus to create, and you don't need to worry about mucking things up if you rest your hand on the tablet. There are a massive number of features I don't have room to list here, but it is pretty damn extensive. If you are a creative type then you shouldn't let this one slip by unnoticed. [£3.99]

Duet Display: You might have an iPad sitting around at home not doing much. Maybe it's good for watching videos in bed, or perhaps reading books and comics. If you want to add some extra use to your iPad, try Duet Display. The app lets you use your iPad (or iPhone) as a second display for your Mac if you plug it in via USB. Why spend money on a fancy monitor, when you have a perfectly good device right there. [£10.49]

Workflow: This is a fantastic app that no iOS user should be without. Workflow automates over 100 different actions and turns each one into its own 'app' that you can store on your home screen and activate with a single tap. Make a GIF, share your location, find directions to the nearest coffee shop, and so on. The possibilities are amazing, so give it a whirl. [£1.99]

oneSafe: Unlike your average everyday password manager, oneSafe actually stores any information you want to keep secure. Credit card numbers, PIN numbers, passwords, you name it. It's all highly encrypted, and as long as you make sure the app is locked down correctly it should be safe (it can use TouchID, so that shouldn't be an issue. [£6.99]

Read our updated list of essential iOS apps here.

Android Apps

Minuum Keyboard: This one is a smaller keyboard that takes up much less space on your screen, and has an advanced autocorrect that means you can type quite poorly without things going wrong. It's been updated with a Material Design-style interface, and the aforementioned improved autocorrect. [£1.10]

Action Launcher 3: If you're tired of the basic app launcher that comes rolled into Android, you might want to give this one a try. Not only does it combine the best elements of Action Launcher 3 and Google Now Launcher, it throws in some Material Design-inspired interfaces to keep it looking pretty.There are a bunch of new features here (not all of them included in the free version), and I encourage you to check them all out. [Free -- with in-app purchases]

AZ Screen Recorder: Some Android phones have features that let you record the screen, while others do not. This is firmly for phones in the 'do not' category, just as long as they're running Lollipop. It's all free, there's no watermarking, and you can even record audio for a commentary at the same time. [Free]

Zapya: A cross-platform app (iOS, Android, and Windows PC) that lets you share a variety of files without necessitating a network or Bluetooth connection. They can be music files, video files, pictures, and many other things, and the transfer itself promises to be 128 times faster than your average Bluetooth connection. [Free]

Read our updated list of essential Android apps here.

Windows Phone Apps

Calculus Course Assistant: A handy tool from the folks at Wolfram Alpha, Calculus Course Assistant is designed to help you with calculus problems that you may be working your way through. But rather than just letting you cheat, it also helps you to learn basic calculus concepts. You know, for those times you won't have your phones -- like in an exam. [£1.99]

Tubecast: Tubecast isn't you're ordinary YouTube client, the reason being that you can use it to stream YouTube content to the likes of Chromecast, and Smart TVs. It's just been updated and now you can view and cast QHD (2K) videos, and videos running at 60FPS. [Free]

GoPro: The GoPro app has had one crucial update this week: those of you with a GoPro Hero 4 can now control it with the Windows Phone app. That means you can take photos, control video recording, and even copy those videos over to your phone to share with the world. [Free]

Duolingo: Duolingo has been praised for its basic-yet-effective approach to learning a new language, and now there are more for you to choose from. Now included in the app is Swedish and Irish, so you have a little bit more choice when learning something new. [Free]

Read our updated list of essential Windows Phone apps here.