12 Useful Apps We Wish Existed in Real Life

Whether you use Android or iOS, the app store on your smartphone of choice has more apps than you could possibly try out in a lifetime. We have apps to make our Instagram photos better and apps that can help us be more creative. You can download apps to message your family and friends or apps to search for cheap flights to go visit those friends and family members. There are tons of practical apps.

There are loads of impractical apps, too. We have emoji keyboards. We have funny apps, which — you guessed it — exist just to make you laugh. Plus, you can download apps to get food delivery when you really don’t want to leave home, even if it’s just to grab a sandwich or a box of frozen macaroni and cheese at the corner convenience store.

No matter how many apps you download, there’s still a void that can’t be filled (even if the storage on your smartphone is dangerously close to full.) That empty space is for the apps that we wish existed but, try as we might, we can’t actually find in the App Store or the Play Store. Everybody has their own app wish list. But the fictional apps ahead are ones we’d be particularly eager to download if they ever become a reality.

1. The omniscient anti-procrastination app

bored sad woman in front of computer

We all procrastinate, so we wouldn’t mind an app that can help us stop | iStock.com/anyaberkut

Need to stop procrastinating at the office or when you’re working on a project at home? Then you’ve probably figured out existing time management apps probably don’t cut it. So you need an app that stops procrastination by sounding a loud alarm every time you open Facebook, Minecraft, or Instagram on your phone, or each time you stray from work-approved apps on your computer. The only way to shut off the obnoxious alarm? Getting back to work.

2. The app for indecisive Instagrammers

young woman is lying on the grass and thinking

Figuring out the right thing to post and say on Instagram can get tricky, so we’d love an app that can help | iStock.com/LittleBee80

Instagram is a confusing place (even if you know all the basics on how to use Instagram and how not to abuse hashtags.) So you need an app that can guide you through the process of crafting the perfect Instagram post. Give it a few choices, and this app will help you choose the right photo to post. It can also generate some ideas for how you should caption your photos (without sounding pretentious or narcissistic) and could warn you when you add an excessive number of hashtags. 

3. The ex-erasing app

Man looking forlorn on the edge of his bed

Erasing an ex from social media is tough — we’d love an app that could do the dirty work for us | iStock.com

If you needed a good reason to skip out on the popular milestone of making a relationship Facebook official, just think of the distasteful task of erasing online evidence of the relationship when things go south. But if you can’t resist announcing your relationship to the social network, then you need an app that automatically scrubs all evidence of a just-ended relationship from your social media accounts, keeps your ex from viewing your profile, and even prevents your ex’s activity from showing up in your feed.

4. The app for people who can never remember others’ names

People at casual catering discussion meeting

Some of us have trouble remembering people’s names, so it would be great to have an app that could help | iStock.com/Rawpixel Ltd

Pause and think about this for a second. How good are you at remembering the names of people you see once or twice a year? Can you recall how you know these people and instantly summon a suitable topic of conversation? We thought not. So you need an app that can identify all of the people at a company holiday party or other obligatory function and remind you of their names. The app can also remind you of where and with whom these people work, and what boring things you talked about the last time you saw them.

5. The app that makes grocery shopping so much more organized

Man and woman grocery shopping together

Wandering around the grocery store is nobody’s idea of fun, so we want an app that organizes our shopping lists | iStock.com

Few and far between are the people who truly enjoy grocery shopping, and odds are good you aren’t one of them. If you find yourself crisscrossing the store in an attempt to find all of the items on your list, then you need an app that organizes your grocery list by where the items are in the store and tells you exactly which aisle to go down to find each one.

6. The app for informed arguing

Couple arguing while driving

It would be great to have an app that could tell you when somebody’s argument hinges on false statements | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

We all spend time with people who have different political views than we do. But with fake news and willful misinformation so prevalent online, people differ on basic facts now, too. This app can listen in on your conversation to fact-check everybody’s arguments and flag assertions that are either definitely false or may be questionable. Or, turn on the anti-prejudice mode and get prompts on how to enlighten people whose arguments hinge on racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic ways of thinking. 

7. The app to stave off awkwardness

Grabbing a beer on a date

An app that could periodically text you good topics for conversation would make first dates a whole lot less awkward | iStock.com

Some of us are great at striking up a conversation with someone new (and making that conversation last all night). Others, not so much. This app can periodically text you interesting topics for discussion when you’re on a first date or attending an event that you anticipate being awkward. Sure, it might feel weird to check your phone periodically — but you know that you’d already be doing that anyway.

8. The app that assures you your head cold isn’t killing you

sick man blowing his nose in bed

An app that can reassure you you aren’t dying would make catching a cold or coming down with the flu a little less stress-inducing | iStock.com

We’ve all tried Googling our symptoms when we’re feeling under the weather. And more often than not, the resulting WebMD page convinces us that we’re actually dying. Save yourself the worry and download an app that, when you scan your fingerprint and tell it your symptoms, will assure you aren’t dying. It will also be able to tell you how to medicate or alleviate your symptoms and advise you as to when you should actually seek medical attention.

9. The app that deletes you from other people’s phones

Businesswoman using mobile phone

If you keep getting messages from people you wish you hadn’t shared your number with, then you need an app that can delete you from other people’s phones | iStock.com/diego_cervo

Have an acquaintance or two whom you regret giving your phone number? Usually there’s not much recourse except to put up with their occasional text messages, or to block them altogether, which feels pretty harsh. This app will easily and painlessly rid you of communication from unwanted contacts by surreptitiously deleting your number from their phone. 

10. The app that helps you to spend less money in your favorite apps

pretty young woman texts on her mobile phone

Spending too much money on food delivery and ride-hailing apps is something we all need help with | Stock.com/kcslagle

No matter how closely you watch your budget, your purchases in food delivery apps and ride-hailing apps can add up pretty quickly. This app will keep track of your budget and learn your app-centric spending habits. Then, it can warn you if you order Seamless too many times or take Uber instead of the subway too often.

11. The app that can tell you when your great idea isn’t so great

Mixed race young people sitting at a table

You need an app to tell you when your latest idea really isn’t so great | iStock.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

We usually run our brilliant and not-so-brilliant ideas by our friends who can typically tell the difference between the two. But you probably still need somebody to keep you in check, even when your friends aren’t around. This app can vet your ideas and tell you when what you think is a brilliant idea is actually a pretty terrible one. Useful for nights when you’re inebriated, days when you’re sleep-deprived, or any other time your judgment is impaired.

12. The app you can install on your parents’ phones

Customers handle a new Iphone 7 at Puerta del Sol Apple Store

An app that can guide your parents through common tech questions would save you a lot of time in troubleshooting those issues | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Plenty of young people end up playing tech support for parents who don’t know Android from iOS and always manage to have major problems with their phones. This app, once you install it on your parents’ phones, will be able to determine when they’re having a problem and guide them through common problems and questions. And you can use it to make certain settings off-limits, for instance, to keep them from accidentally turning off data.