Sure, iPhones and iPads are pretty great right out of the box – but taking the time to set up a handful of extra utilities can improve the experience no end.
Here, then, is a quickfire set of recommendations that can be used to make your device more secure, more useful, and better looking. Most of these apps you can set and forget, while others will provide a constant service. Let’s dig in.
Clarity is a wallpaper editor that can help you craft the perfect background for your device. Load up your favorite photo and apply gradient masks and frosted glass effects to ensure the time is always clear on the lock screen and your apps remain legible on the home screen. Everything is incredibly customizable, and there’s a huge library of beautiful artwork to choose from if you tire of your own photos. An optional subscription unlocks more editing tools and wallpaper packs, but you get a lot for free.
If you’re forever running out of storage space, or you’re sick of searching a full-to-bursting photo library to find the best shots, Gemini is a godsend. It scans your camera roll and automatically picks out images you could probably do without: duplicates, blurry pictures, screenshots, photos of text, and so on. It’s an incredibly efficient way to clear out and declutter your photo library. Gemini runs on a subscription model, but if you just want a one-time spring clean you can achieve a lot in the three-day free trial!
Sometimes, the really simple ideas are the best. Cheatsheet has you make a list of very short notes comprising things you don’t want to forget – door codes; phone numbers; Wi-Fi logins. Items can be made distinct by assigning them icons. The entire list can then be added as a widget to your Today and Lock screens, for easy access. Much easier than fumbling through the Notes app, and it plays nice with the Apple Watch, too.
Nuisance calls and telemarketing scams are a pain. Manually blocking their numbers is a pain, too. So why not let somebody else do the hard work and screen your calls for you? Hiya is a service designed to automatically protect you from automated and spam callers. Once configured and activated through Settings, the app cross-references calls against its huge worldwide database of numbers to detect and block spam as it comes in. Hiya’s scam-detection capabilities are regularly updated, and the core service is completely free!
Safari’s privacy tools aren’t bad, but the truly privacy-conscious may want to go a step further with this fully private web browser. Despite what you may think, it’s not just for keeping embarrassing web searches under wraps. DuckDuckGo’s true power is in how it stops companies tracking your web activity while also protecting you from potential threats like hackers or malicious websites. It can even help you dissect those easily-ignored privacy policies, and it gives every website a “privacy rating” to help you know who to trust.
If you’re concerned about privacy but don’t want to switch browsers, 1Blocker X offers a neat solution. It’s a content blocker that plugs right into Safari to make browsing the web faster, safer, and more private. It filters out unwanted elements from websites you visit – primarily, that means blocking adverts and stopping advertisers tracking you. Cutting content streamlines everything, which in turn should make sites load faster and use less data.
It’s bad practice to reuse the same password across multiple sites and services; if just one gets breached, it can leave you vulnerable everywhere. But inventing and memorizing dozens of secure passwords is no easy feat. Enter LastPass, an entirely free password manager that solves both problems. You can keep your login and payment details safe and yet readily accessible on all your devices (not just iOS), create complex unbreakable new passwords with a single tap, and explore existing login details in a user-friendly manner.