10 Free iPhone Apps you’re Not Using But Should Be
It’s not hard to find great lists of the best apps to load into your iPhone and iPad, filled with crowd favorites such as Facebook, Instagram or Spotify, but the App Store conceals a wealth of apps that might not have the same popular limelight. We sift through the App Store to bring you 12 hidden gems, apps that don’t always make the “Best Of” lists, but deliver fantastic utility and interesting new features to your iPhone or iPad.
1. Overcast (Free)
Overcast is a iOS podcast app by Instapaper creator Marco Ament that features clean design and neat audio and management features that make it a great mobile podcatcher. Overcast covers your podcatching basics for downloading podcast episodes, notifications of new episode releases, offline play and podcast discovery. The secret sauce comes with two nice audio features. Voice Boost normalizes the sound levels of speech, automatically boosting quiet voices and lowering loud ones. Smart Speed automatically cuts away at gaps and silence in the podcast, speeding up play without distorting audio. Some of Overcast’s features are locked or limited in the free tier, which can be unlocked with a $4.99 in-app purchase.
2. Horizon (Free)
Keep your photos and videos on the level with Horizon, an iOS camera app that automatically shoots horizontal photos and videos with the help of your iPhone’s internal gyroscope. Horizon always keeps your videos and photos horizontal, however you hold your device. The app supports a variety of resolutions and aspect ratios, a variety of leveling modes, slow motion video capture, as well as 8 built-in filters. The free tier includes a watermark, and locks some of the fancier features like 2k video and slow-mo, which can be removed with in-app purchases.
3. Iconical ($1.99)
Iconical allows you to customize your app icons as well as create custom ‘action’ shortcuts to your homescreen, providing a level of customization akin to what you get on Android. Iconical has simple UI that makes it easy for you to create custom icons with the app’s built-in drawing tools, or allows you to download a custom image, allowing you to quickly make your home screen your own. The action shortcuts are a particularly neat feature, allowing you to create custom actions for 250-plus supported apps, such as opening Skype to call a specific person, mail specific contacts or quickly firing off a tweet.
4. RockMyRun (Free)
RockMyRun delivers specially designed music mixes with consistent energy and tempo to help you make the most out of your running and exercise routine. Mixes run the whole gamut of genres and time periods, from hip-hop to rock, 90s to Oldies, and dubstep to classical. Another neat feature is “myBeat” technology that can adjust each mix’s energy level to your step pace, heartbeat, or through manual adjustment. The app also integrates with other exercising apps such as Runkeeper and MapMyRun, allowing you to record your runs while RockMyRun keeps going. The free tier provides mixes of up to 45 minutes, and is ad-supported. A premium subscription removes ads and provides longer workout mixes.
5. U Messenger (Free)
There are a lot of free messaging apps out there, but U Messenger does some interesting things that help make it stand out. U Messenger covers all your free messaging basics, with text, photo, voice, and video messaging, stickers, group chats, messaging history, and more. Where U Messenger stands out are its “Recall” features, which allow users to recall photos, text messages, and other content sent to other users devices, even after they’ve been sent and viewed. There’s also a “Break Up” feature that can automatically take back all content sent to another user, as well as removing the each other from your respective contacts list.
6. Camera +($2.99)
The Camera+’s biggest pro is the clarity filter. That little feature will fix anything from poor exposure to camera shake. In the version fresh for iOS 8 adds manual controls for adjusting focus, shutter speed, ISO and white balance. We really like the Shutter Priority mode that lets the app pick the settings for you. The layout is intuitive and easy to use; it’s just an all-around good app.
7. Dark Sky ($3.99)
Kickstarter-funded weather app Dark Sky impressed many with its hyper-accurate local weather forecasting, with “down to the minute” rain and snow predictions using radar mapping. Dark Sky’s one Achilles heel was the lack of longer term forecasting, but that’s no longer the case with the latest major update. Incorporating features from the Forecast.io Web app, the latest version of Dark Sky now includes 24-hour and next week forecasting, and new light backgrounds making the radar maps easier to read.
8. LoungeBuddy (Free)
Business travelers and other frequent flyers are going to love LoungeBuddy, an app that helps users locate airport lounges at more than 400 airports globally, complete with crowd-sourced reviews, details such as amenities, operating hours and more. A handy Lounge Access Wizard allows users to enter their trip details, service class and any applicable memberships such as, elite status or credit cards in order to present you with nearby facilities that you can access for free or for a fee.
9. SnapGuide (Free)
iOS users with a crafty side will want to check out SnapGuide, a repository of user-created how-to guides for everything from arts, crafts, DIY fixes, tech tips and food recipes. Each guide is lavishly illustrated, with detailed instructions and full page photo guides. Users can view featured guides, check out a variety of topics from gardening, automotive, arts & crafts and other projects, as well as popular and recently uploaded guides. Users can comment on, like, and share guides or even create new guides of their own.
10. FileThis (Free)
FileThis automatically gathers and organizes your online statements, bills, receipts and other documents from your credit cards, bank accounts, insurance and utility companies. The app then conveniently turns them into text-searchable PDF files delivered to the cloud storage service of your choice, putting your important documents and receipts within easy access anywhere you have an internet connection and allowing you to dispense with bulky paper binders and folders. FileThis allows users six “connections” (bank accounts, CCs, utilities, etc.), while premium plans can cover up to 30 distinct connections.