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Whether you fancy getting fitter, being happier or learning new things, these are the apps to grab
It’s 2018! And for many people, fervently hurling last year’s calendar into the abyss, a new year is a time to try new things.
With the right apps, your iPhone can make this process much easier. So whether you’ve resolved to try something new and amazing over the coming twelve months, or just want ideas on how to improve your life – and stick to new habits – then check out these dozen iPhone greats.
Remind yourself: Cheatsheet
Free or $2.99/£2.99 • v2.7.1 • 38.7 MB • By Christopher Adam Overholtzer
Some people like a constant reminder of their New Year’s resolutions. But rather than plastering walls and pets with sticky notes, or scrawling a wish list all over your person in pen, use Cheatsheet.
This app is primarily designed to house little things you need to remember: phone numbers, Wi-Fi codes, and the like. Your list is created and managed within the Cheatsheet app, and can subsequently be accessed using 3D Touch on the app’s icon, or the Cheatsheet widget.
Assuming you’re not too wordy, you can use Cheatsheet to list resolutions, so they’re only ever a prod or swipe away. And each can have its own icon, too, further helping to differentiate your various plans.
Infuse new habits: Productive
Free or $2.99/£2.29 • v1.3.4 • 9.3 MB • By Jaidev Soin
Many New Year’s resolutions are quite simple things to be performed on a regular basis – actions that improve your life (or other people’s) in some small way. But infusing new habits into your daily routines (and not letting them slide) can be tricky. Productive helps you track them and gamifies the result by logging successes and rewarding ‘streaks’.
That the app is gorgeous helps. Each habit takes on a vibrant icon that sits atop a deep grey background. Habits are assigned to morning, afternoon or evening, or whatever frequency you choose. Productive then sorts out a schedule and can optionally send alerts. For free, you get a few habits, which might be enough. A bit more ambitious in your New Year’s resolutions? A one-off IAP unlocks an unlimited number.
Get started with exercise: Streaks Workout
$2.99/£2.29 • v2.0 • 34.1 MB • By Crunchy Bagel
Having spent a good chunk of December shoving food into their faces and being sedentary, plenty of people see January as the ideal time to start losing weight. But rather than dieting, it’s often more positive to start exercising more regularly.
The idea behind Streaks Workout is to create routines that work for you. Only got a few minutes every day to dedicate to exercise? No problem – try the six-minute workout. Short on equipment or suffering from an old injury? Only select exercises you’re happy and able to perform.
When you’re done, the app will lead you through your routine, logging statistics, and optionally outputting the data to the iOS Health app. And if you can’t spare six minutes a day, moving about a bit more probably shouldn’t be one of your resolutions…
Learn to run: Zombies, Run!
Free + IAP • v5.1.2 • 279 MB • By Six to Start
If your idea of exercise is more about getting out of the house, you might like the notion of running. For some people, catharsis comes from regular jaunts on local streets, but for others running can be a grind – and it can be tricky to get started.
The idea behind Zombies, Run! is to inject some fun into running. And by fun, we mean abject terror, because the app dumps you in a post-apocalyptic future where zombies have taken over. You sign up for missions in this world of horrors, which naturally involve a lot of running, and must up your pace when zombies are close by – or get torn limb from limb.
If you’re just starting out, the app offers training plans to help you graduate to a surreal zombie marathon. Should you like that idea but hanker for something more conventional, try Couch to 5K instead.
Sleep more: Sleep Cycle
Free + IAP • v5.3.3 • 78.4 MB • By Northcube AB
Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep every night, but chances are you could do with a bit more, to avoid feeling groggy and run down. If you’ve resolved to get more shuteye, Sleep Cycle can help you get more good sleep, rather than just ending up in bed for more hours.
The app uses your iPhone’s accelerometer or microphone to analyse your sleep patterns, aiming to wake you during the lightest phase of sleep. It also tracks your sleep over time, outputting graphs and data you can peruse in order to figure out if you keep waking up at the same time every night, or, for that matter, if you should simply go to bed an hour earlier every night.
Eat better: Kitchen Stories
Free • v8.0 • 66.7 MB • By AJNS New Media
There are quite a few apps out there that want to get you eating more healthily, or to cut down on ‘bad’ foods and start dieting. Mostly, though, people just need to eat better, and part of that comes from cooking your own meals.
Kitchen Stories argues that anyone can cook, and arms you with all of the tools you need: loads of recipes, a digital shopping list, and a ton of videos and photography. If you lack certain skills, you can watch dozens of how-tos. When preparing a meal, most recipes include a photograph with every step, ensuring you shouldn’t go wrong – as long as your iPhone’s perched nearby.
Learn a language: Duolingo
Free • v5.0.8 • 69.3 MB • By Duolingo
A common New Year’s resolution is to learn a new language, whether to fulfil a lifelong goal, or better immerse yourself in the local culture during a summer holiday. The thing is, learning languages isn’t easy, and doing so can be time-consuming and confusing.
The magic behind Duolingo is in cleverly rethinking learning languages for the mobile age. Exercises are broken down into bite-sized quizzes, most of which can be completed in a few minutes. The app provides a score and rewards you for streaks. You can even have Messages-like conversations with the app’s Bots.
Although the app has its limitations, it’s perfect for getting started with the basics – and therefore for helping you achieve at least one resolution.
Master an instrument: Yousician
Free + IAP • v2.13.1 • 146 MB • By Yousician Ltd
Rather similarly to Duolingo, Yousician is a distinctly mobile and game-oriented take on an educational pursuit. You use your own keyboard, guitar or ukulele, and the app acts as a personal tutor, providing exercises for you to play along with.
When using a guitar, Yousician comes across a lot like Guitar Hero rotated 90 degrees, with you matching chords and notes that scroll across the screen. Things are a touch more conventional with a piano, exercises for which use standard music notation, but even here there’s a sense of fun throughout.
For free, you’re limited in terms of how much time you can play per day. Various subscription tiers unlock unlimited play for one or more instruments.
Become a code guru: Lrn
Free + IAP • v1.4 • 7.6 MB • By Lrn Labs, Inc.
For the most part, these are all about you filling in a gap in some code, rather than smashing out a load of working code yourself. This means Lrn isn’t for anyone who dreams of becoming a hardcore programmer in a matter of hours (which, note, is impossible anyway). But if you hit January 1 hankering to at least know the basics of variables, functions, conditions and loops, Lrn is a superb way to get started.
Read more: Instapaper
Free • v7.3.1 • 55.4 MB • By Instapaper Holdings, Inc.
Increasingly, we appear to be in the age of the headline. People gloss over snappy soundbites on social media, but this doesn’t help anyone’s understanding of events or subject matter. If your goal in 2017 is to read more, though, your iPhone might not seem the ideal way to do so.
Instapaper should change your mind. It’s essentially a time-shifting service for web pages. When you find something you fancy reading, you send it to Instapaper. The service strips everything but the content, giving you a highly readable offline personalized magazine of sorts, with all the things you recently wanted to read. It’s perfect, whether reading one-handed on a standing-room only train, or when curled up on the couch of an evening.
Be secure online: 1Password
From free • v6.5.1 • 129 MB • By AgileBits Inc.
You might have noticed there’s an awful lot of hacking going on these days. Sometimes, there’s not much you can do to counter this. But increasingly frequently, web-based accounts are taken over by nefarious sorts because the passwords protecting them are absurdly weak.
We doubt too many of you will have decided on upping your online security as a New Year’s resolution, but perhaps you should – and 1Password can help. On the iPhone, it’s entirely free, and provides a secure locker for logins, passwords, notes, payment information, and more. There’s integration with Safari, and should you want 1Password across platforms, a subscription enables locker sync and app access on the desktop and beyond.
Give yourself space: Pause
$1.99/£1.49 • v1.3 • 69.8 MB • By ustwo
In today’s hectic environment, a brilliant resolution would be to give yourself a little time to relax every day. You could easily enough add such a habit to Productive, mentioned earlier, but if you want an app to help you unwind during such sessions, try Pause.
It’s apparently based on Tai Chi and mindfulness practice, although the ’science’ seems a bit wooly. However, Pause can be effective in focussing and tuning out the world. You start by slowly following a blob on the screen with a finger, preferably listening to the chill-out audio through headphones. Pause then encuorages you to doze a bit while still caressing your iPhone, a bell eventually ringing when it’s time to snap out of your trance.
You might initially feel a bit daft immersing yourself in Pause’s minimal world, but if it releases stress and makes you feel better, downloading the app could prove to be the best New Year’s resolution of all.