The best iPhone apps available right now (May 2018)
Apple’s iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to help you get the most out of yours. From dating apps to QR scanners, your phone is capable of nearly anything these days, and some apps just rise above the rest. We’ve recently cut our list of the best iPhone apps in half, bringing you the true cream of the crop: 100 apps, sorted by category, that will make your life simpler, easier, and more enjoyable.
Want to find nearby restaurants or track a package using your voice? Well, the official Google app allows users to have full-fledged conversations with their phone. It’s just like Siri, except it connects with your Google accounts.
Google Chrome is an upgrade from the default browser, Safari. The app can sync your history and bookmarks across devices and includes features like search bar autocomplete and unlimited tab functionality.
Facebook is the social network. If you want to make your phone Facebook official, you should download this app. A must-have for nearly anyone, as many other social apps connect through Facebook to acquire vital information.
YouTube used to come with your phone, but with iOS 6, Apple removed it. Luckily, Google brought it back. If you need to know what YouTube is, please meet us back in 2005. It now features YouTube Red, a monthly subscription service that allows downloaded playlists to be used offline and playback with no ads.
Bitmoji allows you to customize everything from your cartoon avatar’s hair and eye color to its outfits and accessories. With a huge library of stickers that include your Bitmoji, you can send dozens of different personal emojis through iMessage and any other apps that support the copy/paste feature. You can also link the app to Snapchat, to make your Snaps and Snap stories even more fun.
It may be owned by Facebook, but Instagram is still the best social network for sharing pictures and ruining them with silly filters. We say ruining, but we put X Pro II on just about everything.
Communication and messaging
Facebook now offers its Messenger service as a stand-alone app, enabling you to chat with your Facebook friends and anyone in your contacts with the app installed — and without having to be signed into Facebook. We recommend this app for the sheer volume of messaging that happens via Facebook, though it’s a little frustrating that the Facebook app itself no longer includes messaging functionality.
The de facto VOIP service that is owned by Microsoft, Skype is used by more than 250 million users worldwide. Free international voice and video calls are tough to pass up.
Want to make video calls without a hassle? Google Duo is a great alternative to FaceTime. You can connect with everyone regardless if they have an Android or iPhone. It works on Wi-Fi and cellular, and there is now support for the iPad.
WhatsApp, which is a great choice for anyone who doesn’t have unlimited texting and spends a lot of time connected to Wi-Fi, lets you send and receive messages, pictures, audio notes, and video messages.
Slack is the premier messaging app for teams and companies, allowing for clear communication throughout every level of your organization. Slack instantly syncs across all devices and is compatible with dozens of other apps and services (like Dropbox) to make your job simpler and easier.
Tinder is a terrible app if you want to date. It only shows you someone’s picture and age. But it’s fun to swipe people away as Hot or Not. If someone thinks you’re hot, you can chat.
Bumble flips the web dating paradigm on its head by forcing women to make the first move. Match with someone (the app functions pretty much exactly like Tinder) and the woman has 24 hours to send a message or the match expires.
If you would prefer to do your dating with people your friends can vouch for, check out Hinge. It hooks you up with the best matches in your extended network, connecting you with friends of friends.
Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel takes the guesswork out of finding a match. Based on its smart algorithm, you’ll only get 21 options every day at noon from people who have already liked you. There’s also a video section with prompts that allow you to gain more insight into a potential match’s personality, rather than relying only on photos.
Grindr is the largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people. Using your phone’s location, you can find other members close by to talk to, swap photos with, or meet in person.
With more than 18,000 recipes, the New York Times Cooking app not only provides stunning photography but also easy-to-follow steps. You can search for recipes by meal type, preparation method, and more. While the app is free to download, you’ll need a subscription to access content — you can either pay $5 per month or $40 for an entire year.
Oh She Glows
Oh She Glows includes more than 95 plant-based recipes that aren’t only healthy, but also look extremely stunning. Aside from exemplary photos of each recipe, you’re provided with a description of the dish, step-by-step instructions, a list of tips, and nutritional information.
Everyone dreads the moment when it’s finally time to split up the check. Tab makes it easy. The app allows you to snap a photo of your receipt, designate items for individuals in your group, and split up the prices, tax, and tip. You can share the receipt with others, and the app even supports Venmo — so there’s no excuse for that one friend who always seems to dodge the bill.
Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker
For those looking to make some changes to their physique, MyFitnessPal’s Calorie Counter app is perfect. The app allows users to take pictures of barcodes to find nutrition facts for any food product, as well as create goals to reach your desired weight.
Microsoft’s mobile companion app for the Xbox One allows you to navigate Xbox menus using your smartphone. The Xbox app offers compatibility with otherwise tedious Xbox apps like messaging and achievements.
The PlayStation app offers the same basic functionality as SmartGlass, except it’s for your PlayStation 4. View trophies, compose messages, and browse the PlayStation store with this app. Some games also include second-screen functionality for a deeper play experience.
Nintendo Switch Online
While it may not be the perfect solution — forcing you to use your phone in addition to your Switch console for voice chat — Nintendo’s just-released Online app offers the most convenient way to play Splatoon 2 with friends, and thus earns a spot on this list. Currently, Splatoon 2 is the only game the app supports, though this is sure to change over the coming months. Next year, Nintendo will begin charging a $20 yearly fee to use the Switch’s online features — but until then, the app remains free.
Twitch’s mobile app brings the wide world of game streaming to your fingertips. Chat with other Twitch users, view your favorite streamers’ channels, or watch recorded video of top gamers and events. The Twitch app is AirPlay and Chromecast compatible.
For fans of League of Legends, Instant eSports has you covered with live scores, breaking news, and match recaps for even the most MOBA-crazy consumer. The app also features the ability to follow teams or players to keep up with statistics, as well as the ability to chat with other fans.
Yelp is good for looking up almost any location, be it a restaurant or hardware store. Yelpers write in-depth reviews, and you can read all their nasty and nice comments. It has a helpful map view, too.
Foursquare City Guide
With FourSquare City Guide, you can easily find bars, restaurants, and more around your area. You can also read tips written by others and rate places you have visited. With a large community on the app, there’s also the option to follow brands, friends, and influencers for tips on where to go.
If you want to browse showtimes and/or buy movie tickets in advance, Fandango is for you. The iPhone app works well and can mean the difference between making a sold-out show or going home brokenhearted.
If you’re looking to buy tickets for a concert, sporting event, or theater show, then you will find them here. You can also use this app to sell or transfer tickets and get alerts on artists or events that might interest you.
Open Table is great for planning dinner on the fly. The free app allows you to search for new restaurants, explore menus, and even reserve a table.
Health and fitness
Sweatcoin — Sweat for Coin
Sweatcoin lets you convert your steps into currency units — the more you exercise, the more coins you earn. You’re then able to use it on rewards like gift cards, electronics, and more.
Calm is a meditation app that offers guided sessions for beginners, along with programs for those on intermediate and advanced levels. You can choose from different breathing exercises, adult bedtime stories, or soothing nature sounds to use during yoga.
Nike+ Training Club
Nike’s free workout app is, unsurprisingly, full of familiar faces. Celebrities and world-class athletes — such as Ellie Goulding and Ashton Eaton — use the app to present their favorite workouts. The app also allows you to track your exercise habits and sync with various social media sites.
Daily Yoga features several different ways to get in touch with your inner yogi. Short courses with accompanying music are free, but more advanced users can shell out some cash to get more poses, routines, and tunes.
Whether it’s in the morning, while at work, or in the evening, Headspace provides you with meditation sessions whenever you need them. With more than 100 guided meditations, you can choose from a wide variety of topics like focus, exercise, travel, sleep, and more. There are even sessions for children as well.
Spotify is changing the game for the entire music industry. It’s free on PCs and tablets, but $10 a month if you want to fully use it on iPhone. It’s worth it. You can listen to full albums and create playlists.
If you haven’t used Pandora by now, go turn your AM radio back on. Pandora uses music science to create stations around a song or artist. You tell it what you like and what you hate. It learns.
SoundCloud is the audio player that has become a favorite of musicians, talk shows and podcasts alike. The iOS app gives access to favorites, playlists, and trending audio, and lets you follow and listen with friends.
YouTube’s music streaming service provides music playlists and recommendations based on your taste in music, location, and time of day. A $14 monthly subscription fee will provide ad-free listening, offline downloads, and the ability to listen to music even when you’re in another app or when your phone is locked.
Amazon Prime members have access to more than just free two-day shipping. With Amazon Music, you can stream popular songs or download your favorite albums for offline playback.
Apple Music works with your iTunes account to give you personal recommendations based on your library. You can create your own profile and playlists, and follow friends to check out their tunes. Depending on the membership you choose — student, individual, or family — you’ll have to pay a fee ranging from $5 to $15 per month.
The New York Times
The biggest newspaper in the world comes to the small screen, offering breaking news alerts, morning briefings compiled by Times journalists, and the ability to save articles for offline access.
Al Jazeera English
For those looking to get their news on a global scale, Al Jazeera English brings a curated collection of top news stories and video from across the world, as well as 24-hour access to live video and background audio streaming.
We know what you’re asking: Why bother paying for a third-party podcast app when iPhones already have one built-in? More features, that’s why! Podcast lovers are sure to appreciate some of Pocket Casts advantages over Apple’s software, such as customizable skip intervals, Chromecast and Sonos support, the ability to boost voices over background noise, and even a selection of themes.
Apple News is already available on all iOS devices, and reduces the need for a variety of news apps. The “For You” tab allows you to pick and choose specific apps you’d like to receive notifications from. You can also search for specific subjects or publications and save articles to view offline later. All of the stories are also saved across all your iOS devices.
Use the NPR News app to stay up to date on both local and world events. The app provides written articles, NPR’s famous radio programs, and podcasts. Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Fresh Air are just a few of the choice offerings on the NPR News app.
Payment and money management
Use PayPal to check up on the transactions in your account, send or request money, and photograph checks or credit cards to add them to your account without messing with the details.
Venmo is the payment app for the people. Connecting directly with your debit card, Venmo offers free person-to-person money transfers. Credit transfers require a percentage fee. It’s compatible with many shopping apps for easy checkout.
It takes some time to set up, but Mint can track all of your spending and create a sensible budget for you. You can monitor all of your credit card purchases and banking through Mint, created by Intuit (of TurboTax fame).
Zelle is a payment service app that allows you to send money directly between U.S. banks within a few minutes. Depending on which bank you use, you might have already seen it integrated into your own banking app, but now it is available as a stand-alone app. Instead of having to enter your account and routing number, all you need to attach is your Visa or MasterCard debit card. Within the app, you can send money, request it, or split a specific amount between a group and receive the money instantly.
Designed with college students in mind, Splitwise helps you keep track of debts owed between friends and connects seamlessly with Paypal and Venmo so you can settle up at any time.
Enlight was developed to harness the full power of the CPU and GPU in Apple’s devices, delivering one of the most powerful photo-editing tools on iOS. If you own an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus or later, the app takes advantage of the wide color gamut of the displays in those phones, and features an extensive roster of customizable filters and special effects, allowing you to create even more amazing things with your already capable camera.
As the sequel to Afterlight, Afterlight 2 is the revamped version complete with tons of features to edit your photos — filters, artwork, text, advanced tools, and more. Unlike other photo editing services, this one doesn’t require a subscription or in-app purchases for additional tools.
8mm Vintage Camera
For those looking to capture videos in a retro light, 8mm Vintage Camera allows you to do just that. You can record video with live effects, apply effects to existing video, choose from a variety of different lenses, and more.
Looking to inject a little more life into your photos? Enlight Pixaloop gives you the ability to animate your photos with different effects. From loop styles to overlays (like raindrops or flames) or even architectural elements, the app offers plenty of ways to enhance your snapshots.
With Facetune, you can easily edit selfies and portraits in a variety of ways without having to use fancy programs like Photoshop. For $4, you can perfect your skin, reshape your facial structure, add makeup, and more.
Though it hasn’t been updated since 2013, we had to include Apple’s native ebook reading app. The app connects with social media platforms like Facebook so you can share your thoughts on your favorite novel.
Amazon rules the ebook reader world, but you can also get its Kindle app just about everywhere else, including for iPhone. Kindle features one of the largest literary selections in the world, and you can even subscribe to Kindle Unlimited to read as many as you want for $10 a month.
Google Play Books
Google Play Books offers millions of titles to choose from that you can read even when you’re offline. Any notes taken while reading will automatically sync to your Google Drive, which you can share with a group to collaborate on. With the addition of audiobooks, you can also listen to books on-the-go instead — with no subscription required.
Goodreads is similar to Yummly, but for books, providing recommendations based on books you like and books your friends like. The app lets you connect to book clubs and discussions with readers across the globe.
Prefer listening to books over reading them? Audible has you covered with more than 180,000 titles that you can download for offline play. Speed up or slow down narration speed to fit your preferred listening experience.
Amazon is the No. 1 online retailer for a reason. Browse Amazon’s vast collection of products quickly and easily. Plus, you can enable notifications for daily Amazon Gold Box deals so you never miss out on a discount.
There’s very little that you can’t buy or sell on eBay. The app is full-featured and much easier to use than the website. Bid on items, track your orders and sell all of your unwanted stuff right here.
With OfferUp, you can buy and sell your items locally by listing the item through your phone. You can browse items by image, category, or location and message buyers or sellers through the app. There are also safety features to make sure your transactions and conversations are secure.
Have a ton of stuff to sell? Letgo allows you to list your own items to sell by simply taking a photo. The company’s technology will then automatically title it and place it in an appropriate category. You can shop for yourself, and find local deals for secondhand furniture, games, cars, phones, and more.
Wish connects you to thousands of merchants where you can shop for fashion, shoes, kitchen gadgets, and electronics directly from those who make them. It also uses AI technology to find products based on the items you already shopped for on the app.
Twitter helps you keep your finger on the pulse of the world — and find out who’s worth listening to. Follow friends, celebrities, or companies’ official feeds to get instantly notified when something big goes down.
Ironically, the best way to watch YouTube videos with friends is only available on iOS. Uptime, the new social video sharing app from Google’s experimental Area 120 division, was invite-only. Now, the app is available to all users. Simply sign in with a Google account, find your friends, and get to it. You can even comment and react with emojis in real time.
Say you like Twitter as a concept, but you’re not a fan of the app. Then Tweetbot was made for you. One of iOS’ longest-running third-party Twitter clients, the latest version of Tweetbot delivers a better interface, as well as features you won’t find on the first-party app, like the ability to mute users, and dive into activity stats and analytics. Tweetbot also gives you free rein to fully tailor Twitter to your needs with customizable tabs, gestures, and themes. Not to mention, you’ll never see a single ad.
Hands down, Snapchat is the best app to use if you want to send naughty pictures to someone. Every picture or short video you send deletes itself forever after about 10 seconds. Watch out for screenshotters!
With Ditty, anything you write can be made into a short, silly song, complete with GIFs based on the lyrics. You can swap out the GIFs for your own media, and share your creation with other users of the app, as well as friends on social networks. While some songs cost money to use, many are unlicensed and free.
Apple has developed a new way to share videos on your social media feeds with Clips. Clips is a very simple app that functions like Your Story on Facebook or Instagram, but as a stand-alone app, it is much more powerful. You can record a video or use pictures and videos from your library to make a fun video to share with family and friends. It also includes many filters and other tools that function almost like iMovie, and the latest version 2.0 update adds features only for the iPhone X. It is the most feature-rich app to make short videos to share on your feeds.
ESPN has a monopoly on this sports stuff. Its official app is the best place to keep up to date with sports scores from all your favorite professional or college teams while you’re on the go. The ESPN app also now allows mobile streaming of WatchESPN and ESPN3.
MLB.com At Bat
For baseball fans, there’s still no better app than the official one. MLB.com At Bat features scores and news, as you’d expect. But the app goes a step further for MLB.TV subscribers, with live feeds for nearly every game, as well as Gameday Audio for those who enjoy tuning in to their favorite hometown radio announcer. You can cast games to a supported device, like an Apple TV or Chromecast, easily purchase tickets, and even set the app icon to your favorite club.
If you’re the type to watch every game, regardless of where you are, FuboTV will keep you tuned in. Whether it’s NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, or something else, the app has you covered with more than 75 channels with live games to stream on your TV or on a mobile device. You’re also able to watch live news, movies, and TV shows from other networks. To start, there is a free seven-day trial and after that, it will cost you $45 per month.
More athlete than a fan? This app lets you record your golf swing, tennis serve, or any other movement you want to analyze in slow motion. You can provide commentary, make annotations, and compare two videos.
The official app of the NFL lets you watch videos, highlights, and more. You’ll also be able to keep up with breaking NFL news, stats, and scores in real-time while on the go.
The ubiquitous, super-popular Netflix app nearly made our list of essentials. If you don’t know what Netflix is, we’re surprised you found our website. Netflix lets you stream movies and television shows for a monthly fee. Get started with our list of the best shows on Netflix right now.
If you want to keep up with TV shows, but can’t stand cable, Hulu is the best place to go. It has a lot of the major network and cable channel shows. A Hulu Plus subscription costs $8 per month.
Amazon Prime Video
As Amazon Prime continues to release more original content, it can be tough to keep up with what you want to watch. With the Prime Video app, you can download and stream all the movies and TV shows available on the service — including Prime Originals — on any of your iOS devices. Naturally, you’ll need to have an Amazon Prime membership.
If you’re looking to get rid of your cable box, YouTube TV lets you stream more than 40 networks for $40 per month. You can also have six YouTube TV accounts per household, allowing each person in the family to have their own login.
Travel and transportation
If you need to get somewhere and don’t have wheels of your own, hop in someone else’s ride. Uber’s “private taxi” service offers the privacy and safety of a stranger’s car as an alternative to public transportation.
Lyft offers a slightly less expensive version of Uber’s private cab service, allowing you to get from Point A to Point B — even if you’re not in a state to drive (or walk). Lyft offers ride discount credits upon registration.
Airbnb is no longer limited to finding places to stay while traveling. You’re also able to find and make reservations at different restaurants in the area you’re visiting, and if you’re looking for things to do, the app suggests different experiences including classes, workshops, concerts, and more — all of which you can book directly from the app.
Taking up a new language is tough, but Duolingo makes things a bit easier. It’s great for those looking to learn a language before heading abroad, whether it be Spanish, French, German, Vietnamese, Greek, Romanian, or Japanese. With lessons carved out into brief chunks, Duolingo makes it convenient to pop in every day to reinforce what you’ve learned.
Google Maps is the king of mapping apps, and it’s a reliable service you can use to navigate the area you’re in while receiving real-time updates on traffic conditions and public transit information. You can read and write reviews for businesses and restaurants, label your favorite places, see a timeline of your activity, and share your current trip and location with friends and family.
Why waste time in traffic or pay more than you have to for gas? Waze solves both of these problems by supplying you with access to community-generated, real-time traffic information and gas prices.
Waiting around for public transportation is never fun, but Transit helps make it a little bit easier. In addition to real-time arrivals for both buses and trains, you can also compare options to see which routes are better. You can also receive push notifications whenever transit is delayed, view schedules offline, find bike share stations, and more.
Via – Affordable Ridesharing
If you’re looking for an affordable ridesharing app, Via will help you save money. Promising low fares, the app picks up multiple passengers heading in the same direction — in an effort to keep rides cheap and reduce carbon emissions.
Utilities and customization
Translate Website Extension for Safari
Apple’s Safari browser, although still very good, hasn’t quite caught up to Google’s Chrome in a few key areas. Translating web pages is one of them. Fortunately, Safari now accepts third-party extensions, so other apps can share some of the heavy lifting. Translate Website Extension is a free download that pretty much does exactly what it says through a button in the Share panel — just press it and read. The app works through Google Translate and currently supports 104 languages.
Better by Ind.ie
There are plenty of ad blockers on the App Store that aim to streamline your web-browsing experience, but Better goes a step further with encyclopedia-like entries educating users on how unscrupulous advertisers and sites compromise your privacy. The app also encourages and permits responsible advertising practices — meaning you can still support the sites you love that play fair, while shutting out the rest.
It’s 2018, so you’d expect it would have gotten easier by now to record phone calls. While a wide majority of devices lack a built-in solution, there are apps like TapeACall to help. TapeACall streamlines the process, so all you need to do is open the app or dial the associated number before or during a call. The app creates a second line, which records your conversation once you go to conference mode. Afterward, you’re provided a visual voicemail-type list that’s easy to navigate through. If you pay a little extra, the app will even transcribe the audio for you.
Who doesn’t need to switch up the wallpaper every once in a while? While there is an abundance of apps to customize your iPhone’s home screen and lock screen backgrounds, our favorite is WLPPR for its expertly curated library and elegant interface. You can browse high-quality photography sourced from all over the world, and even outer space. A couple of stock collections are available with the free download, but you can unlock the rest and all future additions with a $3 in-app purchase.
With Files, you can keep all your documents easily accessible on all your devices whether you’re on your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook. The app includes a variety of features that allow you to clearly organize all of your different files and photos. It’s also compatible with third-party cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box.
Blogging and word processing
The app version of Weebly is just as easy to use as its web-based counterpart. You can post content to your blog or website, monitor activity, and save all your work offline, which will then sync across all devices on desktop or mobile.
While not an exact mirror of its web-based version, this app instead chooses to focus on quickness. It lets you quickly publish posts while also giving you the ability to moderate comments, view stats, and upload media on the go.
With Tumblr, you can post text, videos, GIFs, photos and more to your own blog in a way that’s easy and straightforward. For inspiration, you’re able to follow tons of different hashtags and accounts to fill your news feed with, as well as reblog other posts to add to your page.
New iPhone owners can download it for free, but even at $10, Apple’s flagship word processor is tough to beat. Packed with templates, editing tools, and change tracking, there isn’t much it can’t do.
With Google Docs, you can create, collaborate, and edit documents with others on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod. Those on the document can also work on it at the same time, with real-time updates as content is added. You can work on documents offline as well.