October's Essential Apps for Android, iOS, and Windows

By Tom Pritchard on at

We are officially into the last quarter of the year, and in a few months we'll be forgetting that it's 2017 when we write down the date. There's lots to do before then, though, and we have to start that off by getting through October. Here are the apps you should download to make it through to November safely.


Opera VPN: It's a shame Opera's VPN isn't available on desktops, because it's one hell of a good deal: 100% free (and will apparently remain that way until the end of time). It let's you change your virtual location and can encrypt your online activity, check Wi-Fi security, and even has a built-in ad-blocker. [Free]

Parallel Windows for Nougat: Nougat's new split-screen view is a great addition, but it has some limitations. Parallel Windows solves one of those limitation by letting you open two side-by-side windows of a single app. Simple, but very useful. [Free]

Conscient: A simple automation app that forces your phone to complete certain actions when set conditions are met. Things like, getting into your car automatically opening up Maps, or plugging in headphones opens up your music player, and so on. [Free]

DeskDock: This one lets you use your desktop's mouse with your Android device as if it was a separate monitor connected to your main computer. The free version is limited, but the Pro version lets you share a keyboard and features a drag-and-drop file-sharing system. [Free]


Speedify: This one's for optimising your data usage and speed. It lets you switch between Wi-Fi and mobile data seamlessly and automatically. It has tools to prevent you going over your data limit, and it functions like a VPN to ensure you get the best speed possible. [Free - with subscription]

Stoptober: This one is obvious, but since October is the annual month where health officials try and get people to quite smoking it makes sense that there's an app for that. The Stoptober app not only helps you log your progress on a four-week-long journey to quitting smoking. It also comes with a number of motivational tools to make sure you don't give into any cravings you might have. [Free]

Swift Playgrounds: An Apple-made app that gamifies coding, letting people learn to code in Swift. Naturally Apple wants you to be able to create apps for its systems with its own programming language, so this is here to make it easy and fun. [Free]

UTelly Anytime: A central hub for finding video content online, automatically taking you to the service where it's available to stream and/or buy. If you're sick and tired of constantly searching for a place where your favourite TV programmes are available, this makes life an awful lot easier. [Free]


Office Lens: It took a while for this one to arrive on Windows 10, but here it is. It lets you use your device's camera to digitise real life text whether it's on paper, a whiteboard, or somewhere else entirely. Images can be converted into Office-friendly documents to use elsewhere, and built-in OCR lets you actually use digitised text for something useful. [Free]

Truecaller: A crowd-sourced caller ID system that lets you see who's calling you, even if you don't already have them in your phone book. Perfect for avoiding all those spam phone calls trying to flog you bogus car insurance claims. [Free]

Universal Emulator: We all love our retro games, and this one lets you use any Windows 10-based device as a retro game emulator (except the Xbox One, for obvious reasons). It works for the NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and the Sega Genesis. [Free]

Desktop App Converter: One for any prospective Windows Mobile developers, particularly those who have apps in the desktop app store. This one is nice and simple, since it takes the desktop app and converts into a mobile-friendly app. That way all five people still using Windows phones can enjoy it. [Free]