The 100 best iPhone apps (September 2017)
Apple’s iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want you to 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. If you’re into gaming, check out our best iPhone games roundup.
Best iPhone Apps: iOS essentials, messaging, and dating
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. Now featuring Youtube Red, a monthly subscription service that allows downloaded playlists to be used offline and playback with no ads.
Wikipedia finally made a revised version of its iOS app, which aims to give you better recommendations for content that you’re interested in and match you with articles that pertain to your interests. The app now offers users an “Explore” feed with a number of the most popular articles, as well as a featured article and picture of the day.
Best iPhone Apps: Communication and messaging
Signal, from Open Whisper Systems, is one of the most highly recommended apps when it comes to chat encryption and security. This app has military grade encryption for all your messaging and voice calls. It supports sending texts, voice calls, group messages, and sending media attachments. Edward Snowden famously recommended this app, which makes it a top pick for people who are looking for security, first and foremost.
Facebook now offers its messenger service as a standalone app, enabling you to chat with your Facebook friends and anyone in your contacts with the app installed, 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. Offering free international voice and video calls is a tough deal to pass up.
It’s also a standard texting and messaging app, but Hangouts was merged with Google Voice. It now gives you the ability to make video and voice calls, giving you a nifty all-in-one solution.
WhatsApp is a great choice for anyone that doesn’t have unlimited texting and spends a lot of time connected to Wi-Fi, letting 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.
Best iPhone Apps: Dating
Tinder is a terrible app if you want to date. It only shows you someone’s picture and age. But it’s super 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 for more familiar dates.
OKCupid gets the job done. It’s not great, but it’s free. It will give you matches based on how you answer questions. You can browse profiles and chat with those you’re interested in dating.
Best iPhone Apps: Food, gaming, and going out
There is an abundance of cooking apps on iOS, but Kitchen Stories goes a step further than most with features like video guides, step-by-step photo instructions, and compatibility with Apple’s tvOS, as well as watchOS for syncing shopping lists. You can create custom cookbooks to save your favorite recipes, read informative articles designed to inspire your next meal, and take advantage of a handy built-in measurement converter. Better yet, Kitchen Stories is available in 12 languages.
Just in time for the dog days of summer, Grill-It! was made to be your barbecuing companion. The app boasts tons of recipes and step-by-step instructions to help you prepare a variety of foods, from beef and poultry to seafood and vegetables. Everything’s easily searchable, and each entry comes with a description explaining the dish in great detail. The app is updated every month with new recipes for free, so you can continue to make delicious meals on the grill through the remainder of the summer.
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 sync nutrition facts for any food product, and you can create goals to reach your desired weight.
Best iPhone Apps: Gaming
Microsoft’s mobile companion app for the Xbox One allows the user to navigate the Xbox menus using their 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 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, and the ability to chat with other fans.
Best iPhone Apps: Going out
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.
AroundMe identifies your location and provides you with a list of businesses and services nearby. Whether you’re looking for a gas station or a five-star restaurant, AroundMe can find what you’re looking for.
If you want to browse showtimes and/or buy movie tickets in advance, Fandango is the best. The iPhone app works well and can mean the difference between making a sold-out show or going home broken-hearted.
Want to buy or sell tickets for the next game, concert, or any other event? This app is perfect for you. While it won’t wow you with its looks, the interactive maps and the huge marketplace will.
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.
Best iPhone Apps: Health, education, fitness, and music
Turn your grueling workout into an exhilarating fight for survival with an app designed to simulate a zombie attack. Build your base by collecting supplies and avoiding the deadly horde — all by running around town!
FitNet features a huge catalog of quick workouts that are perfect for busy individuals that don’t have time to drive to the gym and back. If you throw down some extra dough, you’ll also get hooked up with a personal trainer via text and video coaching.
Taking up a new language isn’t easy, but Duolingo makes it a little more manageable. The app is a popular choice for users looking to learn a variety of languages, including Spanish, French, German, Vietnamese, Greek, Romanian, and, most recently, Japanese. With lessons carved out into brief chunks, Duolingo makes it convenient to pop in every day to reinforce what you’ve learned.
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 Eatonare — use the app to present their favorite workouts. The app also allows you to track your exercise habits and sync them with various social media sites.
Yonder — Outdoor Adventures
Yonder is a free app that features more than 20,000 different outdoor destinations and 25 activity types. You can check out posts by hikers and kayakers from around the world, or craft your own weekend adventure with Yonder’s help.
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.
Best iPhone Apps: Music
Spotify is changing the game for the entire music industry. It’s free on PCs and tablets, but $10/mo 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 out of 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 and talk shows and podcasts alike. The iOS app gives access to favorites, playlists, trending audio, and lets you follow and listen with friends.
Tidal, the subscription-based music service backed by Jay-Z, offers high fidelity sound quality and high definition music videos along with access to exclusive tracks and albums. Subscribing to Tidal also nets you free music downloads across all devices.
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.
Tabs & Chords by Ultimate Guitar
Aspiring guitarists will have their hands full with this app. With Tabs & Chords, you can quickly find sheet music for almost any song you can think of. Users can even upload their own versions of songs, which are then available for download with ratings and reviews.
Best iPhone Apps: News, money, and photography
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.
For those looking to get fair, unbiased news on a global scale, Al Jazeera English brings a curated collection of top news stories and video from across the world, and 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.
Reddit: The Official App
Categorizing the Reddit app under ‘news’ may undersell it a bit. Reddit, with over 36 million subscribers, is one of the largest Internet communities out there. There are ‘subreddits’ for nearly every subject you can imagine, and many of them are dedicated to news.
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.
Best iPhone Apps: 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 charge a percentage fee. Compatible with many shopping apps for easy checkout.
It takes some time to set up, but once 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).
Minibudget makes keeping a list of expenses extremely easy, thanks to a simple and attractive user interface that also allows you to color categorize your payments. There’s a handy pie chart with percentages to show how much of your total budget you’re spending on what, and a checklist feature to help you manage your funds in real time.
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.
Best iPhone Apps: Photography
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, 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 that already capable camera.
Snapseed is a must-have if you have an iPhone. This app has more advanced features than the standard Photos app on your iPhone. It lets you enhance your photos with a vast amount of filters and tools that are very intuitive to use. Select the tool or filter you want and simply drag your finger left and right to make the changes. You can even choose to take a picture in RAW with a more advanced camera app and open the RAW files with Snapseed to make all your edits. It’s almost like having Lightroom made simple for a small touch screen device.
VSCO is like a super-professional version of Instagram, allowing users to shoot high-quality stills with advanced camera controls and post them to their VSCO profile. The community features original content from VSCO as well as a curated collection of user work.
Adobe Photoshop Express
Adobe brings the most popular image editing software to the mobile platform, with all the tools you need to create award-worthy compositions on their iPhone. Auto-fix, crop, and blemish removal are just some of the features available.
Unhappy with your selfies? Don’t blame the camera — blame the face! With Facetune, you can whiten teeth, erase blemishes, and anything else you might want to do to fix the subtle imperfections that drive you crazy.
Best iPhone Apps: Reading, shopping, and social media
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 e-book reader world, but you can also get its Kindle app just about everywhere else, including 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.
What’s the difference between Amazon’s Kindle app and Barnes & Noble’s Nook app, you might ask? Well, there isn’t much of one. Nook, though, does offer over 1 million free titles. So there’s that.
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.
Best iPhone Apps: Shopping
Amazon is the number one 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.
Feeling arts-and-craftsy? Etsy has you covered with their diverse marketplace featuring homemade and vintage goods from millions of creative people. The app works with Apple Pay or PayPal to ensure safe transactions.
The free Groupon app is perfect for all the coupon clippers out there. Save money and paper in one fell swoop, as Groupon presents you with incredible deals that often total up to 70 percent off a meal or outing.
Constantly refreshing the shipment tracking link won’t make your orders show up any faster, but the right app can make it less of a hassle to check. Anyone who’s been using iPhones for a while knows Junecloud’s Deliveries has been around for a very long time, but there’s a good reason — it’s still the best. With a dedicated Notification Center widget, Calendar support for estimated arrival dates, and compatibility with macOS via a desktop app, Deliveries ensures you’ll never miss that package you’ve been waiting for all week.
Best iPhone Apps: Social media
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, launched back in March but was invite-only. This month, the app was made 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. 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, hashtags, and keywords, and dive into activity stats and analytics. Tweetbot also gives you free rein to fully tailor Twitter to your usage, 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 screenshooters!
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 brand 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 standalone 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. It is the most feature rich app to make short videos and share on your feeds.
Best iPhone Apps: Sports, streaming video, and travel
ESPN has a monopoly on this sports stuff. It’s official app is the best place to keep up to date with sports scores from all your favorite professional or college teams 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 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.
Yahoo Fantasy Sports
For those who can’t get enough of fantasy sports, Yahoo’s app is the best in the business. Track stats for baseball, football, hockey, and basketball here, as well as participating in mock drafts and reading expert opinions.
More athlete than a fan? This app lets you record your golf swing, tennis serve, or anything else you would want to analyze in slow motion. You can provide commentary, make annotations, and compare two videos.
Twenty Four is the sports app for the metrics-obsessed basketball fanatic. Twenty Four provides daily and weekly stats to help individuals more aptly predict both player and team performance going into a game or series. Twenty Four also offers the latest and dankest NBA memes for individuals so inclined.
Best iPhone Apps: Streaming video
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. 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 most of the major network and cable channel shows. A Hulu Plus subscription costs $8 per month.
Need your Game of Thrones fix? HBO finally caved and created a subscription-based streaming app, no cable subscription required. It now works with Chromecast, too, so you can stream it on the big screen. Be prepared to spend $15 a month for it, though.
For $7 per month, Crunchyroll is like the holy grail of streaming for anime fans. Featuring over 25,000 episodes in its database, the app adds new episodes just one hour after their live premiere in Japan.
Best iPhone Apps: Travel and transportation
If you need to get somewhere and don’t have wheels of your own, hop on 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, slightly less professional 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.
Ride Fair will take the guesswork out of trying to figure out the rates from Uber and Lyft. The app will show you the wait times as well as surge prices for any nearby Uber or Lyft rides. Once you make your choice, the app will take you directly to the Uber or Lyft app so you can confirm. As long as the app is open, it will continuously update the location and the surge rates. This app is completely free, and it has no ads.
Looking to explore a new city or country? Viator Tours’ mobile app includes over 20,000 selectable activities in over 1,500 locations worldwide and features stuff like ‘skip-the-line’ passes and coupons for popular tours.
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 info and gas prices.
Being lost in a new city is one of the worst parts of traveling. Thankfully, CityMaps2Go allows you to navigate thousands of cities without looking like a tourist. If you’re traveling to a part of the world with spotty service or limited internet access, you can download maps and guides from the app beforehand. This handy feature keeps you from unnecessarily burning through data.
With Citymapper, getting around your favorite town has never been easier. The app boasts built-in downloadable transit maps for a number of big cities around the world, from New York to São Paulo to Tokyo. Simply let it know where you are and where you want to be, and Citymapper will return with a variety of options, from ride sharing, to biking, to hopping the subway. Whether you live and die at the mercy of public transportation or you’re a tourist out of your element, it won’t let you down.
Best iPhone Apps: Utilities, customization, blogging, and word processing
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. And Better doesn’t just block ads, but even ad blocker blockers, too.
It’s 2017, 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 fortunately 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. Afterwards, 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 are an abundance of apps to customize your iPhone’s home 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 stock collections are available with the free download, but you can unlock the rest, and all future additions, with a $3 in-app purchase.
Microsoft Translator is one of the very best foreign language translator apps that you can find. It has the typical text translation, but to that, it adds voice translation, picture translations, and you can even chat with someone who doesn’t speak your language if they install the app on their device. Microsoft Translator allows you to download a language so that you can translate something while you’re offline. With support for over 60 languages, support for the Apple Watch, and the ability to type or speak to translate this app is a great addition to your iPhone’s arsenal.
Best iPhone Apps: Blogging and word processing
The app version of Tumblr is just as easy to use as its web-based counterpart. You can post content to multiple blogs, save drafts for later, and schedule posts, all of which can be done offline.
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.
So you want to record a podcast. Rather than spending hundreds on the proper equipment and desktop software, why not start with an app like Bumpers? Bumpers has been called “Soundcloud for podcasts” precisely because it makes the process of recording and hosting remarkably simple. The app provides editing tools, allows you to publish on iTunes, and supports linking up with other users to produce shows with multiple hosts. If you’re new to the trade, it’s worth a try — especially because it’s completely free.
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.
Not everyone takes notes the same way. For those of us that tend to remember images better than words, there’s Nine. A visual note-taking app, Nine allows you to create entries simply by snapping photos and applying tags. Everything is searchable, and despite the stripped down nature of the interface, you can still apply filters and import photos taken with your iPhone’s camera app.