During the holiday season I’m sure that Apple iOS products are going to be popular gifts. These devices are pretty cool on their own, but to really unlock their potential there are some apps that are incredibly useful to have. Since I’ve been using my iOS devices for a few years, I thought I’d take a chance to share what some of my ‘must have’ apps are. Most of the time I look at the free apps, but there are a few apps on this list that will come with a price tag attached to them. This list is the top 13 apps you will want to load up as soon as you can. Trust me, these apps will just add to your device.
- Facebook (Free) – In today’s world almost everyone has a Facebook account. In fact, Facebook support is baked into iOS 6. But, in order to make use of the native OS support for Facebook you first have to install the app. With the app in place you can use Siri to send Facebook updates, or even update your status from the notification bar. The Facebook dev team has done a good job of improving the app so that now it works pretty smoothly. Gone are the days it would take 30 seconds to refresh your news feed.
- Tweetbot ($2.99 iPad, $2.99 iPhone/iPod) – Yes, I know it sucks that there are two versions of the app. In fact I held off on getting this app for a long time because I didn’t want to pay for the app twice. I was lucky and found the iPad version on sale and then made the leap to Tweetbot. If you use Twitter a lot and have multiple accounts Tweetbot is a power tool. If you use Tweetbot across multiple iOS devices there is a feature that you will love. Tweetbot uses iCloud to sync your timeline across your devices. This means regardless of the device you use your timeline will always start where you left off. Believe you me, this is very useful. Another feature I love in the Tweetbot app is the ability to mute users or even hashtags. For example if you follow someone who is going on a tweet spree you can use Tweetbot to mute them for as short as a day or as long as forever. I’ve looked long and hard for the perfect Twitter app, and this is best one I’ve found so far.
- Google Chrome (Free) – If you aren’t a fan of the native Safari browser then Chrome is the browser for you. If you’ve used Chrome on a desktop computer then the iOS version will be very familiar for you. Some of the great features here are the ability to sync your Chrome bookmarks via the cloud across all of your devices. This means if I bookmark something on my laptop the next time I open Chrome on my iPad this bookmark will show up on the tablet. Chrome also lets you see what tabs are open on your other devices and then open them on your tablet. This is incredibly useful if you looked up a restaurant on your laptop and then forgot to e-mail the results to yourself. Just open the remote tab and then you have the same information.
- Google Maps (Free) – When Apple removed Google Maps from iOS devices in the iOS 6 update many users were upset. The Apple Maps app just wasn’t up to par with what Google had been offering. Well now you are in luck as Google just recently released the Google Maps app on iOS. This app has all the features you like in the browser version of maps but in the palm of your hand. Go ahead and try Apple Maps but make sure you have Google Maps as a backup on your device.
- YouTube (Free) – When Apple updated to iOS 6 the native YouTube app was removed from iOS devices. Users could still reach YouTube via a web browser but the user experience wasn’t quite the same. Google has released an app that influenced the redesign of the YouTube homepage. The app will track all of your subscriptions and provides a better full screen experience than my Google Chrome browser provided.
- Netflix (Free) – Keep in mind the app is free but you have to subscribe to Netflix to view any streaming content. This app lets you stream over Wi-Fi and cellular data so wherever you are you can be entertained by the vast streaming library. If you have Netflix then this app is a must have.
- Amazon Instant Video (Free) – Much like the Netflix app this is the most useful if you have an Amazon Prime account. However, you can buy/rent Amazon videos via the app interface as well. This app was just released for iPhone/iPod devices so you can watch Amazon content on any of your devices.
- Stitcher (Free) – If you listen to a lot of podcasts like I do, then this app is going to be useful. So long as a podcast is cached on Stitcher you can listen to it at anytime. Not only that, but you can bookmark where you are in a podcast and then continue from that bookmarked location on any of your devices. A lot of newer cars are coming with built in support for Stitcher in the stereo system. In fact, I use this app to listen to podcasts on my commute to and from work.
- TuneIn Radio (Free or $0.99 for the Pro Version) – If you like to listen to conventional radio then this app will be one you like. A variety of radio stations are listed within this app and you can listen to them via an Internet connection. This app even allows you to pause a stream temporarily.
- Flipboard (Free) – I love this app, in fact its one of my favorite ones. If you like to read up on a variety of topics then Flipboard is the app for you. The app aggregates stories via RSS and then arranges them in a magazine like fashion on your devices. You flip through pages of topics that interest you. For instance I have categories for technology, movies, and comics on my account. The app lets you add from a variety of categories and has a fantastic user interface.
- Pocket (Free) – This app is incredibly useful when used in conjunction with Tweetbot and Flipboard. The basic premise is you can save stories to read later. Support for Pocket is baked into Flipboard and Tweetbot, but once you have a Pocket account you can e-mail articles in that you want to read later. When you have time to get back to your saved stories just open up the app and they will all be available for your reading pleasure. I use this app a lot to save news stories I want to write/talk about later.
- Find iPhone (Free) – This is a must have for all of your devices. Simply put, it use the location services, aka the GPS, to find any of your iOS devices if they should go missing. The app places all of your devices on a map and gives options to have them make a noise, display a message, lock the device, or in a worst case scenario wipe the device clean of all your data.
- Skype (Free) – If you use Skype this puts it right on your device. The app allows for both voice and video calls on any kind of data connection.
If you’ve read through this list, you’re probably thinking ‘where are the games?’ Well stay tuned for a later article where I’ll cover some of my favorite iOS games.
Tags: Amazon, Facebook, featured, google, iOS, Netflix, tech, Technology, Twitter