Power up your device with these amazing apps
Recently got a new iPhone? Fire up a new device and it’ll have plenty of apps preinstalled. What Apple gives you can be useful – but the App Store provides many thousands more superb apps that further improve the iPhone user experience.
Whether you’ve got the latest iPhone 14 or a more modest upgrade, our 14 tips will help you make more of your device – and meaningfully go beyond what Apple offers itself.
Halide ($11.99/£10.49 per year)
You might balk at paying a subscription for a camera app, but Halide is superb for serious snappers. It provides a wealth of manual controls. Smart RAW processing helps you secure the best quality shots. And there’s even an optimized iPad version for rare occasions when you need to take a photo with your tablet.
You can perform basic edits to pics in Apple’s Photos, but Snapseed takes things further. You get a huge range of tools for everything from subtle adjustments to slathering filters and grunge on to previously pristine pics. The app’s non-destructive workflow means you can at any point tweak or remove a previous editing step.
A frustration with Apple Watch is Apple’s prescriptive approach to fitness streaks. Crunchy Bagel’s Streaks app can be better tuned to your individual needs, helping you more successfully integrate all kinds of positive habits into your routine – and remove negative ones. Flexible scheduling (do ‘X’ task ‘Y’ times across ‘Z’ days) combined with built-in timers and stats tracking make it a must.
1Blocker ($14.99/£14.99 per year)
The internet is packed full of distractions and clutter that spoil the browsing experience. With 1Blocker, you can instantly remove trackers, adverts and other annoyances. But this is no blunt instrument – settings can be tweaked and customized on a per-site basis, for example to retain ads on sites you want to support.
Apple long ago gave up trying to hide file management from iPhone users, but there are holes in the Files app. FileBrowser fills them in, making it a cinch to browse and download documents from local network drives and computers, remote servers, and a wide range of cloud storage services.
BFT – Bear Focus Timer ($1.99/£1.79)
The Focus system built into Apple devices is useful for tweaking your iPhone experience in different contexts. But sometimes you want rid of all distractions. BFT helps achieve this by you placing your phone face-down while a timer runs. When it’s done, you get a short break – and a reward card featuring a happy bear.
Keeping up with news can feel like a full-time job, and it’s inefficient to scroll through social networks and visit countless websites. NetNewsWire streamlines everything by you following the sources you love, quickly browsing headlines, and tapping on items of interest to read them in a distraction-free view. Extensions allow you to follow Twitter feeds and Reddit threads as well.
Safari’s tabs view makes it easy to browse open tabs – but having too many open leads to clutter. A smarter option is to use Safari for what you want to read now and send everything else to Pocket to read later. You can even use the app to listen to articles if your tired eyes are done for the day.
Google Maps (free)
Apple Maps has come a long way since the bad old days, but shortcomings remain. Put Google Maps on your device for superior transit and POI info, worldwide street view, and an excellent offline feature, which lets you download maps for journeys where your internet connection is spotty or non-existent.
MultiTimer (free or $7.99/£6.99)
We’ve made it all the way to iOS 16 and yet still Apple’s Clock app has a solitary on-screen timer. Fortunately, MultiTimer has you covered, in being able to run several timers simultaneously. It also lets you save custom timers of varying types – Pomodoro; countdown; world clock; interval; stepped – for use whenever you need.
Adobe Scan (free)
You can scan documents into Notes, but workflow and scan retrieval is awkward. Adobe Scan wisely provides a standalone scanning app – and it does the business. For no outlay, it lets you quickly compose and share multi-page scans, which can be saved to PDF to instantly get at (and search for) the text within.
Widget Wizard (from free)
Many apps now have widgets you can place on your Home Screen or Today view. Widget Wizard goes heavy on customization and is especially useful for agendas and activity. With calendars, you can view upcoming events (including all-day ones) in a straightforward list; and with health, you can instantly get at stats you care about.
Morpho Converter (free or $3.99/£3.99 per year)
Chances are you do the same conversions again and again. Morpho Converter cleverly allows you to stash favorites, letting you get at them with a couple of taps. Dig deeper and you can explore a world of related conversions, and common units of measure from over 250 countries and regions.
Finally, when it comes to downtime, finding out where to watch a TV show or movie is these days trickier than knowing when. JustWatch simplifies everything. Tell it what services you use and it outlines viewing options for any search you make. Not sure what to watch? The app can help, by way of regularly updated recommendations.