These apps are in no particular order, but they represent apps that stand out from the crowd. Tried and true. Got a favorite app you want to highlight? Send us a note!
New iOS Users
New to iOS? Take a look at the our Help page for user guides and tips.
There are many apps for making calls on your iOS device. One of the very best ways is to use FaceTime. It's free and it's available on all iPhones and iPads. You can make free, unlimited video calls or audio calls to other iOS users. There are some 3rd party iOS apps for making calls that are worth considering, for a variety of reasons. Viber lets you call for free, even when traveling abroad, so you can call home (US users). And Spaxtel lets you make crystal clear international calls, inexpensively. Speek is a free app for easy conference calls (read a review of Speek, by Macworld).
If you travel abroad, remember How to Avoid Big International iPhone Data Charges.
Want a second phone number without buying a separate phone and extra service? Consider Hushed. It's an iOS app and a service. This allows you to keep your main number hidden, which can be useful for sales on Craigslist or other times you want to maintain privacy. You can get a phone number for $2. You can pay as you go or pay monthly or yearly.
Burner is a similar service, offering phone numbers as alternates to your main number so you can preserve anonymity when you want it.
Shopping and List-making
The best app for making shopping lists and any kind of list is AnyList. You can share your lists with family members, if you want, and you can sync it across all your devices. This is an easy and powerful app.
Apple's own Notes app comes with all iPhones and iPads. Read How to Switch from Evernote to Notes.
Bear is a great app that lets you sync across iPhone, iPad, and Mac via iCloud. Bear got a prestigious Apple Design Award in 2017.
If you want to take handwritten notes, one of the best apps is GoodNotes. You can even sync them across devices via iCloud.
MyScript Nebo is a note-taking app for iPad that requires Apple Pencil. It converts your handwriting to formatted, typed text. It can even convert mathematics symbols and equations, as well as diagrams and flowcharts. Very impressive.
Of course, many people still rely on Evernote for notes across all devices.
Doodling, Sketching, Painting
One of the very best apps is Paper, by Fifty Three. It can be used for quick doodles and for annotating photos, or even for taking a quick note in your own handwriting. It is used by artists, illustrators, architects.
Sketches is also a very nice app for sketching and painting.
Zen Brush is a unique app that lets you enjoy the feeling of drawing and writing with ink and a brush.
4 Must Have apps for the iPad Pro and Pencil combination: Procreate, Photoshop Sketch (free app and requires a free account with Adobe), Notability, Affinity Photo (like Photoshop on a Mac), Astropad Studio. Watch a very nice overview of these apps by Will Paterson, artist and illustrator:
Are you tired of forgetting your passwords or worrying that they might be compromised? One of the best solutions is 1Password, as a subscription service, or as an as an app you download for iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more.
Yes, there are so many weather apps, including the very nice native iOS app. One of the best weather apps is Dark Sky with very accurate hyperlocal weather forecasts and beautiful map info.
TripIt is one of the best apps for tracking your entire itinerary: flights, hotels, cars, and all relevant info.
FlightTrack gives you the most useful flight info.
Tucson International Airport is a web app (save it as a bookmark on your iPhone or iPad).
Elk is a currency converter that has won an Apple Design Award. It is clever and easy to use. It also comes with an Apple Watch companion app.
UpHail compares the prices that Uber and Lyft will charge you when you need a cab-like service.
Yelp can help you find the best nearby restaurants and other choices when you travel.
iTranslate helps you translate on the go.
WiFi Map helps you find nearby WiFi services.
The Infatuation offers curated reviews to let you find great restaurants on your iPhone. It offers offline functionality. Great for travel.
Want to create your own `e-card' to send birthday wishes or a thank-you note? Try Quick for a fast and good-looking `card' by annotating a photo, or try Typorama for really beautiful, professional-looking results.
Diptic lets you create unique `cards' by combining multiple images and adding optional text.
art from photos
Watrelogue automatically creates watercolor painting from your photos.
Prisma converts a ohoto into a work of art. A fascinating app.
Besides the native `Podcasts' iOS app, consider Overcast, a powerful and easy-to-use podcast app.
ListenNotes.com is a web service and a search engine for all podcasts.
To find showtimes of theaters nearby, try Flixster.
For Amazon Prime members, the Amazon Video app lets you stream movies and TV shows and optionally download some to your device.
Relax or sleep
Need white noise to relax or fall asleep? Try Noisli.
Calm helps you relax or meditate.
Pause guides you to relax and de-stress.
Sleep Cycle tracks your sleep cycles, gives you information summaries on your sleep patterns, and also works as an alarm clock to wake you up at the optimal time.
Sworkit is a workout video app that provides equipment-free workouts that can be done at home. It has an Apple Watch and iPhone version, and it's free with optional in-app purchases. A well designed app.
Stryve is an Apple TV app designed to stand in as a personal trainer and offers a 30-day free trial, and $5/month afterwards. It offers workouts customized to your fitness level and has made the interface very easy so you can jump in to your workout quickly. An iOS version of the app will be available soon.
Cody is an Apple TV app that offers high quality guided video sold in sets. The focus is on flexibility and strength: such as pilates, yoga, and interval training. The sets start at $10. They offer free streaming of live classes so you can try before you buy.
On Apple Watch, Activity and Workout are 2 native apps, reports Macworld. They can be launched with Siri and help you track goals.
Runkeeper helps you track your runs and works on Apple Watch and on iPhone. It uses the freemium model.
Seven is designed for very busy people is based on evidence that even 7 minutes of focused exercise can keep you in shape. It's free with optional in-app purchases. It comes with an Apple Watch and an iPhone version.
Strava is a popular app for cyclists and runners. Designed for tracking runs and bike rides, and also to challenge yourself by comparing your rides or runs against your past efforts or against others. It follows the fremium model and come with a version for Apple Watch and iPhone.
Just Press Record does what it says. It also transcribes your recordings and syncs via iCloud. It offers a Watch app.
Bumpers turns your iPhone into a studio for Podcast making. `Recording, editing, and sharing a podcast has never been easier! Capture high-quality audio, edit your recording, and produce your podcast using our free sound library. Publish your podcast to Bumpers, export to iTunes, and share it everywhere else. No prior audio experience necessary.'
1Blocker lets you enjoy the web without annoying ads.
Speedtest lets you test your bandwidth.
RunPee is silly, or funny, or clever (or all of the above). It can tell you the best times to run to the restroom mid-movie, without missing the best scenes.
Need to split the bill among several people? Tab does this nicely. It adds the tax and tip and splits it all. Even lets you share the receipts.
Textexpander for iOS is a keyboard app to let you define and expand snippets of text.
MyScript is a keyboard that lets you handwrite instead of type. It automatically converts your text as if it was typed.
ToDo's and Goals
Streaks helps you create goals and build good habits.
For tracking ToDos, the iOS native app Reminders is excellent and syncs across devices.
For larger projects, consider Omnifocus.
For those who use Taskpaper on a Mac, Taskmator is a nice iOS client.
Are you looking for a simple scientific calculator on your iPhone? Did you know that the native iOS calculator app becomes a scientific one when turned into landscape mode? You are welcome.
Wolfram Alpha lets you carry the full power of WolframAlpha.com in your pocket. You can do simple or sophisticated calculations, statistics, play with words and linguistics, access scientific info, and much, much more.
Soulver is a calculator with the ability to write notes. A beautiful app.
MathPad lets you handwrite a formula or an expression with your finger. It translates it to its digital equivalent, as an image, or in LaTeX, or MathML.
The most comprehensive list of iOS text editing apps is iTextEditors, by Brett Terpstra.
Some of the best apps for coding and dashboarding your work on iOS, by FinerTech.