iPhone Life magazine

10 Must-Have Apps for Your iPhone

The basic group of apps you need on your Apple device is a subjective selection. The perfect app for one person is a dud to another; the app one person uses daily may be a headache to someone else. Risking a barrage of disagreement and discontent, I pose the following list of apps as the ideal home base for any iDevice. After years of slogging back and forth, trying this app, rejecting that one, testing this one, discarding that one, the seemingly endless task is done. Here is the final cut, the apps I found I was using over and over, without complaint, lamentation, or griping.

I do not offer these apps as a list of the very best,” no such list can be drawn, but these apps are the rock solid” ones. They may lack pizzazz, but they get the job done, effectively and with minimal fuss.

Here it is, the ideal list of apps for your Apple device:

Simplenote (free). Use this basic writing app to write notes, short reminders, explanations, or descriptive paragraphs. It is easy to use, visually clean, and efficiently direct, and it has an excellent search system. This appropriately named note maker is simply the best note-making app out there.

Fantastical 2 ($2.99) is a great calendar app: simple, clear, easy to use, and very practical with its variety of views and events/tasks summary. It is the reigning champ of calendars at a reasonably low price! Saying more about this app’s outstanding features and simplicity in use would be gilding the lily.

Gmail (free) is one of the best email apps on any platform. It does its job cleanly and it does it well. Its generous use of white space keeps user attention clearly focused on the message being written. Cross platform universality means desktop modifications will reach your digital device app. Google updates the app periodically and each revision seems to be a significant improvement to what is already a solid email app.

Mailbox (free) is a notable contender for the email crown worn by Gmail. This app helps you maintain a "zero” mailbox with just a gesture or two. Swipe one way, the message is archived; swipe and pause, and it is deleted; swipe the other way and your email is filed for later action or viewing at a time of your choosing. One of the handiest email apps around!

Wunderlist (free). Every iDevice user needs a good to-do list manager and Wunderlist is one of the best. An added bonus is that the app syncs seamlessly across all platforms. Users can create folders with lists of tasks and/or to do’s. Though Wunderlist lacks glitz and glamor, it does what it is designed to do solidly, without flare or bombastic flash. It is the task/to-do list manager of choice

Errands (free). Apple users have reasons to gloat as Errands, arguably the best task/to do list manager anywhere is only available on iOS devices. This outstanding app is a great alternative to Wunderlist. It is colorful without overdoing it, clean, and effective, and it does it all in a simple, utilitarian way. Because it lacks the cross-platform connectivity of Wunderlist, the championship crown stays with Wunderlist.

Alarmed – Reminders and Timers (free). My favorite app on my iPod Touch, Alarmed – Reminders and Timers is a terrific alarm app which can be customized with the dates and times of your choosing. The app is also a timer which allows you to create individualized, custom-titled timers of varying duration. This wonderful little application belies its amazingly comprehensive nature and and surprisingly effective utility. 

Evernote (free). Storage is essential to good record keeping. Evernote does it all and it does it everywhere across all platforms. The free version will satisfy most users; but for a reasonable price, the premium version will satisfy everyone. The power of Evernote is appreciated only after working with it a little. It permits quick short notes or hugely detailed ones and saving of audio, photo, and text files. And its built in OCR tool handily converts copy images to text. Finally, its lightning fast search capability and amazingly effective tagging system makes it the true champion of storage apps.

Photoshop Express (free). This very useful photo editing app will help improve photos in a variety of areas: lighting, contrast, focus, and even removal of extraneous subject matter. An excellent photo editing for nonprofessionals who want to modify photos with minimal effort and ease. 

Last Pass (free). Every user should consider a password manager for their device and LastPass may very well be the best. The benefit of a password manager is that you need to remember only one password to unlock all your stored passwords. The premium edition at $1 a month is your best bet. Stored passwords are encrypted and decrypted locally thereby securely locking them on the commercial server. An added bonus is that LastPass can be used across the entire spectrum of devices.

Want to master your iPhone and iPad? Sign up here to get our tip of the day delivered right to your inbox.
Email icon
Want more? Get our weekly newsletter:
Richard Szpin's picture
Richard Szpin's BMW has become the WWW. His motorcycling passion has taken him from central Canada to Newfoundland, Vancouver, Martha’s Vineyard, Deal’s Gap, North Carolina, and New Orleans. He has ridden to many great north American cities and written about it. Now he rides the web and is learning to blog about his adventures at www.szpin.ca