While many big-name apps are available on both Android and iOS, there are still quite a few that you’ll only find on your iPhone or iPad. Sometimes it’s for technical reasons, like audio latency. Sometimes it’s for Retina-level graphics. And, of course, there are times when it just seems like platform exclusivity for its own sake.
Regardless of the reasons, here are 13 awesome iOS apps you won’t find on Android.
1. Camera+ ($2.99)
There are a lot of great camera apps out there for both platforms, but Camera+ is one of the most popular — and it’s only available on iOS. Lots of shooting modes, exposure and focus controls, alignment grids, and a variety of great editing features make this a solid deal for $2.99 (or $4.99 on the iPad). It also includes Clarity, a nice feature for making the most out of any light conditions.
2. Enlight ($3.99)
Another great all-in-one photo app, Enlight is built around making edits as easy as possible. You can add text, tweak filters, even apply masking and blend multiple photos together. With features made specifically for sharing on Instagram, you can be sure you’ll get tons of followers and likes. $3.99 is a pretty good price, but you won’t find that deal on Android.
3. Paper by FiftyThree (Free, IAPs)
When it comes to drawing apps, Paper reigns supreme. Its wide variety of sketching tools, photo annotation abilities, and note-taking functions combined with a simple, pleasing interface to create a fantastic all-around app. Using the dedicated (but expensive) stylus makes it an even better experience. You can start using it for free, but only on an iOS device.
4. Hyperlapse (Free)
Time-lapse videos are really cool, but they’re hard to make with your phone. Keeping your device stable over more than a few seconds can prove to be a big challenge, and that can have drastic effects on your video. Instagram’s free Hyperlapse app uses stabilization technology to keep everything looking smooth for iOS time-lapse videos without a ton of camera shake.
5. Adobe Photoshop Fix (Free)
While they’ve released some apps for Android, Adobe seems to focus on iOS for their more popular creative tools, like Photoshop Fix. This app helps you smooth out skin tones, removes blemishes, and fixes up anything else you might want in your photos. Professional-level retouching and finishing tools make this a must-have for serious mobile photographers (those with iPhones, anyway).
6. Dark Sky ($3.99)
People are really particular about their weather apps, and a lot of people who have high standards use Dark Sky. Its focus on “hyperlocal” weather gives you a really accurate idea of when precipitation is coming, and its useful radar animations help you see what’s going on nearby. Whether you think the added functionality is worth paying $3.99 for, there’s no denying it’s a nice-looking app. And it’s only on iOS.
7. Overcast (Free)
It sounds like another weather app, but Overcast is a podcast player. Its biggest draw is that it compresses the silences in podcasts so you can listen to the whole show faster without sacrificing listening quality. It also normalizes volume across different shows so you can always hear clearly. And it’s now free! If you’re still using iTunes to listen to your podcasts, you’re missing out. And you’ll continue missing out if you use Android.
8. Figure (Free)
While other platforms have been trying to woo creatives away from iOS, there are some apps that keep them coming back. Figure is one of them; this easy-to-use music-making app lets you craft your own beats with a few taps. Combine drums, bass, and lead synth, then tweak the rhythm, range, and scale step to get the exact sound you’re looking for. More advanced users will appreciate other features like an arpeggiator, adjustable shuffle, and Pump mode.
9. Tweetbot ($9.99)
Third-party Twitter apps are all over the place, but Tweetbot has been around for a very long time and still sits atop the throne. Its scheduling, analytics, mute filters, and other features make it a must-have app for anyone addicted to Twitter. It’s also really useful for anyone running a blog or a website and trying to get social traffic. $9.99 is an awful lot for a social media app, but there’s a reason it’s so popular.
10. Infinity Blade III ($6.99)
The Infinity Blade series has always been one of the most graphically impressive game series available on mobile devices, and it’s only available on iOS. It’s an addictive action RPG that lets players battle it out with swords, axes, hammers, and other handheld weapons against a range of powerful enemies. This is a beautiful game, and it really takes advantage of Apple’s mobile hardware and graphics capabilities.
11. Papers, Please ($7.99)
While Papers, Please doesn’t have amazing graphics, it’s known as a rather affecting game. And it’s been praised as a good example of video-game-as-art. You play a border guard stamping passports of visitors into a fictional country, and you’ll watch a story unfold that requires you to decide whether to allow or deny people access. It’s a bit of a sleeper hit, but you’ll only be able to check out the touch-enhanced mobile version on iOS.
12. Bike Baron ($2.99)
Physics games can be a lot of fun, and Bike Baron’s physics puzzles are an absolute blast. Guide the Baron and his motorcycle through crazy levels by alternately hitting the gas and the brake, collecting rocket packs, and not hitting any explosive barrels. The graphics are goofy and fun, and levels can be played in a couple minutes. Definitely worth the couple bucks for your iPhone or iPad.
13. Year Walk ($3.99)
If you haven’t heard of Year Walk, you’re behind the mobile-gaming times. This digital version of a Scandinavian tradition sees players moving through a haunting, frozen landscape and meeting mythical creatures. It’s a unique, unnerving, almost literary, experience and absolutely worth downloading. If you don’t have an iPhone, you can get it on Steam; just not for Android.
Your Favorite iOS Exclusives
While many of these apps have Android equivalents, some just absolutely can’t be replicated elsewhere. These certainly aren’t the only iOS-exclusive apps, though — there are even a number of great native iOS apps that are worth using. And there are a lot of other apps that you can only get on an iPhone or iPad. We want to hear about your favorites!
Which apps keep you using your iOS device? What would you have to give up to go to Android? Which iOS exclusives are your favorites? Share your thoughts in the comments below!