If you’ve just gotten a new iPhone — whether it’s your first iPhone ever or simply the latest installment of a long-standing loyalty to Apple’s phones — you’ll likely have some adjusting to do. If you’re a veteran iPhone user, you’ll need to get used to iOS 9, plus new hardware features like 3D Touch. And if you’ve never had an iPhone before, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with a brand-new operating system and an unfamiliar phone.
One of the best things about getting a new phone is installing the apps that will make the new device both fun and functional. But, particularly if you haven’t used iOS or its App Store before, you probably feel a little bit overwhelmed when you think about how you’re going to find the most useful apps for your new iPhone — particularly if you’re looking for something beyond the array of apps that come pre-loaded on every iPhone.
Fortunately, you’re not on your own when it comes to navigating the App Store for the first time (or for the first time in a while). Read on to browse our go-to iPhone apps and get a head start on making that brand-new iPhone work even better for you.
Any.do is a task management app that you can use not only on your new iPhone, but also on your Mac or PC. That makes it easy to keep track of your to-do list wherever you are. You can set reminders so that you remember tasks at the right place and time, create and organize multiple lists, share to-do’s with family or colleagues, and add comments or notes to tasks.
Citymapper is a must-have app if you rely on public transportation to get around your city (supported U.S. cities are New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia). You can plan your route by subway, bus, rail, ferry, bike, car-sharing, or even Uber. The app notifies you of delays, enables you to compare route options across transit lines, and even offers smart features like an offline subway map.
3. Dark Sky
Dark Sky is a much more capable weather app than the one that comes pre-loaded on your iPhone. It can predict when it will start raining or snowing at your exact location, and offers you a detailed outlook for the next 24 hours. You can also get a day-by-day summary of the weather for the next week, and watch weather patterns evolve with beautiful maps and simulations.
4. Day One
Day One is a great app to download if you want a simple way to keep a journal or notes that you can access from your iPhone, tablet, and computer. You can make journaling a habit with notifications, add photos to your notes, and add context to your memories with information like weather and location. The app can sync and back up your data, and you can even share select entries with Facebook or Twitter.
Evernote is a perennial favorite among users who need to stay organized across their devices, and for good reason. You can write and collect ideas in notes, clip web articles, capture handwritten notes, share ideas, and collaborate with other users. You can even transform your notes into a screen-friendly layout for presentations, and access all of your notes on your phone, tablet, or computer.
6. Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger is a must-have for anyone who keeps in contact with friends or family members via Facebook. You can send text messages, make voice or video calls, share photos and videos, and record voice messages from Messenger. You can also send a map of your location to friends you’re meeting up with, send money to friends when you split the bill, or start group chats with your favorite people.
7. Google Maps
Google Maps is a great alternative to Apple Maps if you, like many iPhone users, have had less-than-stellar experiences with the iPhone’s default navigation app. Google Maps can choose a route for you based on real-time traffic data, suggest which lane you should be in, and help you avoid traffic jams. Thanks to an integration with Open Table, you can also make a restaurant reservation from within the Google Maps app.
8. Google Photos
Google Photos is an excellent choice to back up all of the photos that you’ll take with your new iPhone. You can automatically back up your photos, and view them from any of your devices. The app will automatically organize your photos, and enable you to easily search your photos. You can also make albums or movies, and the Google Photos Assistant can automatically make animations and collages.
Hopper is a must-have app for frequent travelers. The app helps you to figure out when to fly and when to buy your plane ticket by using data sets comprised of billions of flight prices to help you figure out how to get the lowest fare. Hopper will notify you when prices for the flights you want to book are at their lowest predicted point.
10. Hotel Tonight
Hotel Tonight is another go-to app for travelers, particularly those who make spontaneous trips. The app enables you to find last-minute deals on top-rated hotels (so that you aren’t stuck booking the low-end option on the outskirts of town). You can book a room anytime from tonight to seven nights away, and easily choose and book a hotel without spending hours scrolling through options.
Mailbox is a highly-rated alternative to Apple’s default Mail app. In fact, many of the gestures that Apple added to the latest version of Mail took cues from Mailbox, which enables you to swipe messages to the archive or trash can, scan entire conversations in a chat-like view, put off messages until later, and take advantage of the app’s ability to learn from your actions and automate tasks.
Manual is a great choice if your iPhone’s camera is the feature you’re most excited about learning to use. Manual enables you to get custom exposures with your iPhone camera, with full control of the shutter, ISO, white balance, focus, and exposure compensation. You can save your photos directly to your Camera Roll, and use a rule of thirds grid to better compose your photos.
Mint is an App Store favorite thanks to its wide array of tools to help you manage your finances right from your phone. You can make a budget, track your spending patterns, monitor your investments, and get custom recommendations based on your lifestyle and goals.
14. NYT Now
NYT Now is one of the best news apps for iPhone users, with comprehensive coverage of the day’s most important stories, daily briefings to get you caught up on what’s going on in the world, and a curated feed of the best stories from around the web. Access to everything in the app is free, and you can easily share and save articles right in the app.
Overcast is a must-have if you’re a podcast enthusiast. It’s a simple app, but offers intelligent features like Smart Speed, which saves you time by automatically shortening silences during talk shows; Voice Boost, which normalizes volume so that every show is loud, clear, and plays at a uniform volume; and Smarter Playlists, which take into account factors like your priorities, filters, and sorting rules.
Pocket is a great app to have on your iPhone if you find yourself without signal and wishing you had something to read or watch. You can save articles, videos, and other content from your browser or from apps like Twitter or Flipboard, and view them on any of your devices later, even without an Internet connection. Pocket is a great tool to have on your iPhone if you routinely find interesting content when you don’t have the time to read or watch it.
Slice will be your best friend if you’re a frequent online shopper. Slice will automatically identify tracking numbers in your email when you make a purchase, which makes it a lot easier to keep track of when your boxes will be delivered. Slice can also help you to get your money back if the price of an item drops after you buy it, send you an alert when something you buy has been recalled, and easily access receipts for returns or for work-related expenses.
Spotify is a great app to download if you aren’t a fan of Apple Music. You can listen for free, or subscribe to the premium service. You can find your favorite artists and albums, make playlists, listen to playlists for every genre and mood, discover new music, or even get a student discount or a family plan.
Sunrise should be at the top of your App Store wishlist if you rely on Exchange, iCloud, or Google Calendar to keep track of your schedule. Sunrise offers a beautifully-designed calendar and connects with a wide array of your favorite apps (like Facebook, Evernote, Foursquare, TripIt, Todoist, and Trello). It comes with a custom keyboard that helps you schedule meetings from any messaging app, and can even offer relevant weather forecasts and driving directions.
SwiftKey is a keyboard that replaces iOS’s default keyboard with one that adapts to the way you type. SwiftKey learns your writing style to give you more accurate autocorrect and next-word prediction. That reduces the number of keystrokes you have to make, and the app offers a number of other features — like multilingual typing, support for more than 800 emoji, and swipe typing — to make typing faster and easier.
Timeline is a must-have for news junkies, and puts the day’s news in context. Its content offers a different way to think about the day’s headlines, and makes sure that you’re informed about the historical context of the day’s event. You can scroll through the timeline quickly to get a quick glimpse of what led to the day’s news, or read all of the details on the stories and topics that interest you.
Uber is found on the iPhones of most people living in large cities, and for good reason. Uber offers on-demand rides at a variety of different tiers of service, ranging from the budget-friendly UberX to the mid-range UberBlack to the high-end UberLUX. You can tap once to request a ride, and transactions are both cashless and can be split among friends.
VSCO is a go-to app for mobile photographers, and offers advanced camera controls — including manual focus, shutter speed, white balance, and exposure compensation — plus some of the best editing capabilities available on the iPhone. You can share photos by posting them to your Grid, or creating longform content for your Journal, or upload to favorite photo-sharing apps like Instagram. You can explore other photographers’ work and follow others in your personal feed.
Workflow is one of those unique apps that can make your iPhone and the apps on it work better for you. You can connect apps and actions together to automate the things you do on your phone. The app supports more than 200 different actions, and even enables you to make your own apps that will be housed on your home screen, or create extensions that plug in to other apps.