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

By Tom Pritchard on at

Give it a month and we will be in the second half of this decade, which is crazy. November has brought us Star Wars: Battlefront, the iPad ProFallout 4, Steam Machines, the newly disappointing Apple TV, BlackBerry's bizarre new phone, and some horrible new online surveillance legislation.

November also had a great many apps, so let's take a look at the best ones the eleventh month of the year had to offer.


Captain Grocery List Shopping: A handy little app that lets you share your shopping lists with friends and family. The point is to keep yourself connected with other people, and for them to find out when you're heading down to the supermarket; that way they can tell you if they need anything. The app's AI also learns about your own shopping habits and makes suggestions based on what you normally buy and what you're running out of at home. [Free]

Texpand: An app that introduces proper keyboard shortcuts to your Android device, so that you don't need to type regular things out in full, saving you a bunch of time in the process. It also works on multiple keyboards, so you don't need to revert back to Google's stock offering. [Free]

Google Translate: A necessity if you're trying to understand any sort of foreign language, the latest update makes it a whole lot easier to learn other lingos. Not only is there photo-translation between English, German, and Arabic, you can also save entire languages to your phone so the app doesn't become useless when you have no data or access to Wi-Fi. [Free]

Alto Mail: Organising your inbox is no easy task, and Alto Mail makes it easy to figure out what's important and what's not. It works with all major email accounts, organising it all out and highlighting any important information. That means no more having to read useless spam on the off chance that some of it is useful. [Free]


inviita: Looking for a day out but have no idea where to go? Try inviita. It's a map that uses your location and to generate a 'tour' and send you off on a grand day out. It's the whole day too, and not one of those apps that only sends you to a single place. Plus you can organise tours in major cities across the world, in case you're going on holiday. [Free]

Lean: One for proud owners of an iPhone 6S or 6S Plus. This one is quite simple, it turns your GIF/webm-like Live Photos into regular still photos en masse. Perfect for saving space, because mini videos do love to hog your phone's storage. [Free]

Real Talk: Sometimes we don't have much of a clue what we're doing with our futures, and we need some advice from someone who knows what they're talking about. Real Talk puts you in touch with professionals from all walks of life, and they're ready to help you out and pass on valuable knowledge and wisdom. [Free]

Firefox: iOS isn't as open as Android or Windows Phone when it comes to browsers, and it takes a while for stuff to appear. If you don't want Safari, Chrome, or Opera, you now have the choice of Firefox. It has private browsing modes, and syncs across to your desktop browser to make sure you're never without your history, bookmarks, and everything else. [Free]

Windows Phone

Fallout Pip-Boy: The companion app for Fallout 4 which syncs to your gaming rig of choice and pulls the game's Pip-Boy interface onto your phone. Everything you can do on the in-game menu can be done on your phone, including inventory management, fast travel, playing holotape games, healing, and so on. [Free]

Truecaller: A crowdsourced app designed to make sure you know who that weird unknown number is before you answer the call, and lets you block any scammers, telemarketers, or other nuisance callers. The latest version has been optimised to use less data, and has a revamped design. [Free]

Noiseapp: This one is an app that detects how much you're moving and adjusts the volume of your audio accordingly. So, say, you're out running and decide to stop to take a break, the app will reduce the volume automatically. [Free]

DuoLingo: One of the big names in language education apps, DuoLingo has just made its way to Windows Phone devices. Pick one of 12 different languages to learn, and you pick up words and phrases using interactive quizzes. The best part is that you learn at your own pace, not at what someone else thinks is right. [Free]

Bonus App: Star Wars (iOS, Android)

There's a new Star Wars film coming out in just a couple of weeks, and before it hits the big screen you should give the official Star Wars app a download. It's your portal for the latest news about the franchise direct from Lucasfilm, along with augmented reality features, behind-the-scenes peeks, Star Wars-themed weather updates, a soundboard, and more. [Free]