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From slightly ropey beginnings in 2012, Windows 8 has developed and evolved. By now, you should be using Windows 8.1, a much more stable and user-friendly version, one that has an improved selection of apps available, free and paid.

We’re talking games, note-taking apps, video streaming, cloud storage, utilities, audio streaming and MP3 players and even e-readers. The selection is considerable.

Last updated: December 9, 2014

Below are the Windows 8 Modern apps that you should install, or consider installing, on your computer.

Cloud Storage

Dropbox, Box and OneDrive all naturally have apps for Windows 8, enabling you to access your cloud-stored data using the Modern interface.



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Offering 5GB of free storage, Box is a popular cloud storage solution among home and business consumers alike.



There is room for improvement in the Dropbox Windows 8 app, but it is functional and allows you to open, edit save and share your data with contacts. Although it doesn’t use the Dropbox folder on your PC (for instance if you are also using the desktop version) it does make your files available quickly.



Provides a single user interface to your (native) OneDrive, Dropbox or other cloud account, saving you the trouble of having to open different apps to browse your favourite photos. RainbowDrive also supports multiple accounts for each provider, potentially enabling vast storage.

Food and Drink

Cooking isn’t for everyone, but if you have an interest in getting to grips with one of life’s most vital skills, having a computer on hand is particularly useful. Touchscreen devices like Windows tablets are of considerable use in the kitchen, along with these apps.

Jamie Oliver


Perhaps the ideal kitchen companion, featuring a collection of free recipes and in app purchases of some curated menus from the world-famous celebrity chef’s impressive repertoire. Check our review of Jamie Oliver’s app Cook with Jamie Oliver On Your Windows 8 PC or Tablet Cook with Jamie Oliver On Your Windows 8 PC or Tablet Cooking with recipes found online can be a hassle when it comes to printing or writing recipes down. How does British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's Recipes app for iOS and Windows 8 help? Read More to find out just why we included it in this Best of Windows 8 Modern Apps list.



If you’ve ever come across a recipe with temperatures that don’t make sense, this app is for you. Banish problems getting your meals cooked properly with this Windows 8 app, which displays the correct temperature and cooking times for different foods as well as an illustation of gas mark, Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Recipe+ Nutrition Profiler ($4.99)


Designed to display nutrition information for existing recipes or ones you create. Works offline and features a database of over 12000 food types, this is a great way to find out just what foods in your diet are healthy and where you can make improvements.

You may also be interested in Go Veggie ($4.99)YumvY Cooking CompanionBaby Food Recipes ($1.49) and Allrecipes.


Video games on Windows 8 are touch optimized experiences, although they can often be accessed with keyboard and mouse. While there are several platform-specific games, you’ll find that quite a few of these titles are available on mobile devices. We’ve collected the best exclusive titles for Windows 8.

Halo: Spartan Assault ($4.99)


Awesome top-down spin-off of the popular Xbox 360 game, this is an unusually strong title for touch devices and unmissable if you own a Windows 8 device. An excellent companion to the main Halo series, we absolutely loved this game, and you can read more about it in my Halo: Spartan Assault review Windows 8 Gaming Hits Second Gear With Halo: Spartan Assault Windows 8 Gaming Hits Second Gear With Halo: Spartan Assault One of the greatest video game franchises, Halo has been shy of Windows PC since Halo 2 was released in 2004. Halo: Spartan Assault for Windows 8 changes all of that – but is it... Read More .

Medieval Apocalypse


This hack’n’slash RPG takes you into an apocalyptic medieval world where you play a knight completing quests to defeat zombies and collect gold. Yes, that’s right – a zombie/knight hack’n’slash with fast, frantic gameplay. Oh and it’s free too, which really seals the deal.



A beautifully produced free game is a new variation on the classic Mahjong – this time with Xbox Live integration to unlock achievements and challenge friends. Features several game modes, and you can use your fingers to rotate the game tiles for a better look at what can be paired off.

Non-Exclusives on Windows 8

Many other games can be found in the Windows 8 app store, such as the ever-popular Radiant and its follow-up Radiant DefensePinball FX2 and the popular Angry Birds titles, Angry Birds Space ($3.49) and Angry Birds Star Wars ($3.49) (largely the same as Angry Birds Space, but with added Star Wars-style goodness; it’s also virtually the same game as the iPad version, which Tim Brookes reviewed in 2013 Are These The Birds You're Looking For? The Angry Birds Star Wars Review [MUO Gaming] Are These The Birds You're Looking For? The Angry Birds Star Wars Review [MUO Gaming] In late 2009 Finnish developer Rovio did what every small development studio aspires to do - made it big with a simple yet addictive game. The recipe for success, or "milking it" was staring them... Read More ).

Meanwhile, The Chess Lv.100 is great for lovers of the ancient game, and Wordament is aimed at word game fans. For fans of the bigger game titles, GTA San Andreas ($6.99) is optimised for touch devices while Asphalt 7: Heat should satiate the needs of the speed freaks. Also consider the Xbox Games tool.

Image and Photo Editors

Whether you’re editing photos or creating a work of digital art from scratch, Windows 8 has on offer several great tools, free and paid, to help you achieve your finished piece.



Excellent photo app migrated from Windows Phone, with a collection of basic editing tools and over 70 styles, frames, filters and light leaks.

Fresh Paint


Easy to use painting/art Windows 8 app with very low learning curve, this is ideal for kids and adults, – all you need is a desire to paint! If you’re using a tablet with a stylus, such as the Surface Pro slates, this app suddenly becomes all the more powerful.

Gallery HD


Find photos and videos on your computer, network or external storage and enjoy them in stunning slideshows with fade and zoom effects. This is a great way to unify your images and view and edit them in a single app in Windows 8’s touch screen interface.

Other apps for your consideration include makeover app Perfect365, and annotation app Skitch Touch.

Music Players

Rock out with your Windows 8 computer thanks to this collection of MP3 players and audio streaming apps.

TuneIn Radio


Does it get better than free Internet radio? The popular mobile radio streaming app, now on Windows 8. Pretty much any channel in the world can be tuned into with this app, saving you the bother of finding the right stream in your browser. Curiously there is no TuneIn Radio Pro available for Windows 8.



Provides access to the amazing free VEVO service, where videos, live concerts and new artists await! Note that some events may need to be booked or a nominal fee paid.



Browse and listen to thousands of SoundCloud tracks, share with friends and explore playlists uploaded by other users. You can also mark tracks as favourites and play them from your personal dashboard.

Other worthy Windows 8 audio apps include Webradio and Mix Radio (formerly known as Nokia Music).


Like any computer platform, Windows 8 is designed for productivity as well as entertainment. It’s not all about cooking, either, with tools for note-taking, remote desktop and more.



Make notes, plan outlines, clip resources and sync your digital scrapbook to the cloud with this fast, impressive app with its unique finger-friendly dial menu. Features OneDrive syncing, enabling you to instantly see your notes on other devices. Note that EverNote Touch is also available if you prefer that notebook syncing service.

Word Viewer


Don’t have Microsoft Word installed? Don’t worry – if someone emails you a .DOC or .DOCX file you can use this viewer app to open and read it. Be aware that this is purely a viewer, however. You will be unable to make any edits only open, view and print documents.

TeamViewer Touch


Setup a connection to another computer in seconds, whether it is a Windows, Mac or Linux device. Connections are secure and no configuration is required for firewalls and proxies. If you regularly have to access other computers for support or collaboration, TeamViewer Touch should be your number one choice.


Whether you’re using a tablet computer, a desktop, laptop or hybrid, reading apps are vital to digesting information from the latest bestsellers to reports in PDF format.



Access to over 1 million books on the Kindle Store is granted to you with this app, which can sync across devices. Get reading!



The popular audiobook streaming service is now available for Windows 8 users, where a library of 100,000+ books is waiting to be read to you. Our Audible review Listen To Audiobooks On Your Windows 8 Device With Audible Listen To Audiobooks On Your Windows 8 Device With Audible Audiobooks are the most underrated form of literature out there! Audible's Windows 8 app and the Audible Cloud Player make them more accessible and fun to listen to than ever before. You'll love it. Read More  explains how it all works, but if you’re a fan of having a renowned actor read a book to you, you’ve probably stopped reading and bought it already.

Nextgen Reader ($2.99)


Originally designed as a Google Reader Windows 8 app, this tool now offers support for many other RSS feed reading services and has grown beyond its initial purpose into an extremely usable reader, complete with sharing options.

Want more than three? Try the Nook e-reader, the stunning Wikipedia app, Comixology’s Comics app with access to over 30,000 comics, and Comix, a player for your own CBR and CBZ files.


Your Windows 8 computer is a hub to the online marketplace, where names such as Amazon and eBay can be connected to directly from within a dedicated app and a purchase made. Who needs a browser?



Easily search, bid, buy and list your own items for sale or auction with the official eBay app for Windows 8. Very similar to the eBay apps for other platforms and just as easy to use.



Using this Amazon Windows 8 app is faster than using the website. Search is fast, processing purchases efficient – try it!



Whether you’re looking for something for sale, somewhere to live or even somewhere to work, this remarkable Windows 8 app lets you win at using Craigslist. Previously known as Craigslist+.

Social Networking and Communication

Chat online? Enjoy Facebook and Twitter? Perhaps you socialise on the front page of the web, Reddit, commenting on stories big and small?



Offering a superior Facebook experience that matches the popular social networking site, the only thing you can’t do with this app is play games! Pages can be accessed, although you cannot share links to them at present. Unlike other platforms, Facebook chat remains within the app, rather than in a third party.



Metro-style Reddit experience, this app shows the front page and all subreddits, any of which can be pinned to the Start screen. There’s far more to it than this, however, as explained in our RedditToGo review RedditToGo Offers an Intuitive Reddit Experience for Windows 8 RedditToGo Offers an Intuitive Reddit Experience for Windows 8 Browse Reddit intuitively, with columns. Reddit To Go is a Windows 8 app that opens every link you click in a column, allowing you to quickly browse from one story to the next. You can... Read More .



Limited compared to some of the alternatives, Twitter nevertheless offers everything you would expect as well as the Discover tool to find trends and follow suggestions. This is the only reliable and free Twitter app for Windows 8.

Other social apps you might be interested in are StumbleUponTweetro+ ($9.99) (a multi-account Twitter client), IM+ (an all-in-one messenger for reaching chat contacts across several networks) and the VK app for the popular V Kontakte social network


Windows 8 can be your toolbox. It can be your search tool, your calculator and even your digital nightstand.

Toolbox for Windows 8


This Windows 8 app displays up to six from a choice of 12 different tools (including clock, calculator, weather, timer, web search and social Facebook) in a single full-screen app. Useful!



Access all of your local and cloud storage from one simple app. File Brick also acts as a DLNA server and facilitates sharing from YouTube, Picasa and Flickr.

Network Speed Test


Giving you everything you need to check the speed of your Internet connection, this app is provided by Microsoft and helps you to determine what online activities you can expect to perform.

Meanwhile you can convert any unit you like with YourConverter, perform advanced calculations with Calculator – Calc Pro HD ($7.99), and make writing code simpler with Code Writer.

Video Players & Companion Apps

Watching TV and movies, streamed content from popular online movie subscription services? You need these apps.



Enjoy TV episodes, movies and original content from the world’s leading streamed subscription service. This Netflix app is comparable with the browser interface Netflix Showdown: Windows 8 Modern App Vs. Desktop Version Netflix Showdown: Windows 8 Modern App Vs. Desktop Version Netflix is a fantastic service, but users on Windows 8 have multiple options for enjoying it. Should you go with the modern-styled Windows 8 app, or the desktop version accessible in the browser? Read More , and in some ways better, as Justin Dennis discovered.

Hulu/Hulu Plus


What could be better than unlimited streaming of top TV shows and fantastic movies? Hulu Plus offers more than the standard Hulu service, and for many users is worth the upgrade.

Xbox SmartGlass


If you own an Xbox One and a Windows 8 device, this is the ultimate companion app, a second screen to interact with your console and TV. An Xbox 360 version of SmartGlass is also available.



The popular online collaborative video app seen on Android and iPhone is now on Windows 8, enabling you to upload clips and mix it with that of other people at the same event.

Hyper For YouTube


One of the most popular YouTube apps for Windows 8, Hyper enables you to view in SD, 720p and Full HD as well as download videos and MP3s to your tablet or computer. We were so impressed, we thought we would show you the benefits of Hyper For YouTube Hyper for YouTube: Download & Watch YouTube Videos From Windows 8's Modern UI Hyper for YouTube: Download & Watch YouTube Videos From Windows 8's Modern UI Read More .

Now It’s Your Turn…

You’ve seen the apps we’ve included in our Best of Windows 8 Modern apps, but which would you add? Are there any you suggest we should remove? The comments box below awaits your feedback, and we’ll be taking on board your suggestions when we come to curate our next update.

  1. Rich
    April 1, 2015 at 4:02 am

    April 2015 and there are NO good tablet mode file managers, video players, picture viewers, and if you add the word comparable you can add almost all other categories of apps.

    With a few exceptions only apps where companies can sell "stuff" have decent apps.

    Microsoft's Weather, OneNote, 2 Ereaders, Torrex and several games are such. Office is good but overpriced for consumers.

    Add the worthless search/sort function in the Windows Store and I see little future for Windows on mobile devices which is a shame since the # of great desktop apps is almost boundless.

    Compared to my 2 year old Android 4.4 tablet, with almost all free software, my brand new Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Windows 8 is virtually useless unless I use desktop apps.

    Then, and only then does Windows work, but the interface doesn't, not even with a stylus.

    Look at Total Commander, MX Player, Quick Pic, Flud and Foxit or Adobe PDF (until Adobe ruins it by their greed. Oops too late) on Android to see how a tablet should work.
    There are several good Office suites as well.
    Android is so far ahead of anything else on the tablet everything else is a joke. Including IOS Apple fans.

    Pop it on my $7 Amazon stand, or cast the screen, with a Bluetooth KB & mouse and my Android tablet does ALMOST as well as my Windows hybrid (won't cast, but a HDMI cable works) but the Windows hybrid wins because that is where Windows shines . . . the desktop and it's apps.

  2. Rhys
    February 5, 2015 at 12:14 am

    Hasn't anyone heard of 'Drawboard PDF'?!?!

    You have been missing out.

  3. Azus Smith
    December 31, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Cloud Storage is vision of Microsoft in upcoming years. This feature is engaging users with high-end future technology.

  4. Jerry
    December 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Komic Reader and News 360 are two of my favorite apps. News 360 is also cross platform so I get the same content on Android too.

  5. likefunbutnot
    December 16, 2014 at 7:05 am

    I use a non-Pro Surface with some regularity. The best single argument for modern-style apps is probably the paid Plex Client for Windows. Boy howdy is it slick.

    News Bento, File Manager HD, freda and Fotor are other tools I use quite often.

    Modern style apps are missing some things. Gaming blows, for example. Surprisingly, the options for local media playback are pretty limited, and some online services like Pandora that should have native clients are served only by third-party tools.

  6. Adarsh
    December 16, 2014 at 3:17 am

    I personally think Book Bazar Reader should have been in the ebook section. Supports many more formats as well as offering a numerous extra features such as taking notes and highlighting passages.

  7. portableman
    December 16, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Hyper For YouTube, OneNote, Nextgen Reader, Teamviewer are my favorite Windows 8 apps.

  8. Hildy J
    December 15, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    In the reading category, try Overdrive (books) and Zinio (magazines). Many libraries support checking out books and magazines to these apps making not just the app but the content free.

    December 15, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    You missed the Newegg app in the shopping category.

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