Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Have you been lucky enough to get a new iPhone 7 recently? Perhaps you’ve found one in your stocking on Christmas morning or treated yourself to a new bit of kit after a grueling year?
Once you’ve finished admiring your new gadget, you’ll need to install some apps. But which ones should you download?
In this piece, I’m going to give you 15 recommendations. Some of them are the “must-haves”, some of them highlight the iPhone’s impressive hardware, and some make use of the iPhone 7’s latest features.
Be sure to add your own recommendations in the comments.
Install these apps to instantly supercharge your iPhone experience.
1. Evernote or OneNote
There are loads of note-taking apps in the App Store. It can be tough to know which is the right one for you.
If you stick with Evernote or OneNote, you’ll be on solid ground. Evernote hasn’t enjoyed a great year after the revised price plans were released over the summer, but it’s still unrivaled in terms of features.
OneNote is an excellent free alternative. It’s not great on OS X, but on an iPhone it’ll do everything you need to keep your life organized.
2. Google Maps
Apple’s Maps app has improved considerably since it’s early days, but it’s still no rival for Google Maps. It leads the way on turn-by-turn navigation and boasts route options for walking, driving, public transport, and cycling.
Download — Google Maps (Free)
If you’re a Windows user and want to avoid iTunes, VLC is the best ways to get video content onto your device. Use the “Sharing Via Wi-Fi” feature (Menu > Sharing Via Wi-Fi) and you can drag-and-drop TV shows, movies, music and more directly from your desktop.
Download — VLC (Free)
The SwiftKey keyboard has been popular with Android users for many years. Since Apple started allowing third-party keyboards in 2014, it’s become just as popular with iOS users. It’s the leading swipe-based typing app.
Download — SwiftKey (Free)
Disillusioned with WhatsApp since the Facebook buyout? Give Signal a try. The app is NSA-proof. It’s open-source, everything is encrypted, and its server doesn’t store any of your communications. Group calls and text are both supported.
Download — Signal (Free)
iPhone 7 Specials
If you’re coming from a pre-iPhone 6S device, you’re in for a treat: the devices now offer 3D touch. The technology lets you press firmly on your screen to launch actions instead of apps.
The phone also boasts better speakers and a much-improved 12 MP camera. Here are some of the best apps that utilize the newest features.
Shazam was already a must-have app for any music lover. It lets you identify the title of a song by listening to it for a few seconds.
Thanks to 3D Touch, you can now identify songs faster than ever. Just press firmly on its Home Screen icon to get the ball rolling.
Download — Shazam (Free)
7. AFAR Travel Guide
Covering most of North America, Central America, and Europe, the AFAR Travel Guide is a handy app to keep on your phone.
3D Touch enables you to instantly see what’s nearby. You’ll never be left searching for a decent restaurant again.
Download — AFAR Travel Guide (Free)
8. Magic Piano
Not all apps use 3D Touch to launch quick actions. Magic Piano applies it to the volume control. The harder you press, the louder the note will be.
The app itself lets you learn to play the piano by using beams of light to guide your fingers.
Download — Magic Piano (Free)
Spotify needs no introduction. But thanks to the iPhone 7’s two stereo speakers, which can provide twice the volume of the iPhone 6S, the music sounds better than ever.
Perhaps that missing headphone jack doesn’t seem so bad after all!
Download — Spotify (Free)
Considering its size, the iPhone 7’s camera is a joy to behold. It’s got phase detection autofocus, a quad-LED flash, simultaneous 4K video and 8 MP image recording, face/smile detection, and HDR.
But the camera app is still not everything it could be. Camera+ addresses some of the shortcomings. It’s got the best digital zoom on the market, lots of scene modes, a horizon level, a way to separately set exposure and focus, and even a front-facing flash.
Download — Camera+ ($2.99)
Prepare to be Amazed
The iPhone 7’s new A10 Fusion chip is incredible. It makes the iPhone 7 the most powerful smartphone on the market by some distance.
Install some of these resource-heavy games and prepare to be amazed. If you’ve got an old iPhone laying around, a side-by-side will really highlight the difference.
11. CSR Racing 2
CSR Racing is the most successful drag racing franchise of all time. The game itself is fun to play, letting you build your garage of cars and customize them accordingly. But the in-game graphics are where it really comes into its own.
Download — CSR Racing 2 (Free)
12. F1 2016
Formula 1 is already sexy. What’s not to love about some of the finest machines in the world flying around a track at well over 200 mph?
Thanks to the A10 Fusion chip, it just got a whole lot sexier. Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, promised “console-level performance” when running the Codemasters title. He wasn’t wrong; the line between console and mobile is becoming increasingly blurred.
Download — F1 2016 ($9.99)
13. Deus Ex GO
Racing games are great for showing off an iPhone’s power. Their fast gameplay, impressive visuals, and thumping soundtracks draw on every aspect of the device’s potential. But they’re not for everyone.
If you’re more into puzzle games, you’ve got to install Deus Ex GO on your new phone. Considering its genre, the graphics are stunning. You play the role of a secret agent who needs to unravel a mystery by solving grid-based problems.
Download — Deus Ex GO ($1.99)
14. Samorost 3
Samorost 3 is another puzzle game. Honestly, it’s possibly the most beautiful game in the entire App Store. The artwork is stunning, the soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful, and the gameplay is engaging.
Download — Samorost 3 ($3.99)
15. Geometry Wars 3
Geometry Wars 3 is an arcade shooter that sees you battle against hordes of baddies on 3D grids.
Doesn’t sound like it’s going to showcase the iPhone’s hardware to its fullest? Think again. There are objects flying around everywhere, the color palette is intense, and the music is thumping.
Download — Geometry Wars 3 ($7.99)
Leave Your Recommendations
If you download these 15 apps, you’ll have a great start to your life with your new phone. You’ll have the basics covered and learn about the awesome power of the latest Apple device.
Of course, there are hundreds more apps that can simultaneously help you stay productive and showcase the newest features.
What apps would you recommend to someone who’s just unboxed a new iPhone 7? Let us know in the comments below.
Image Credit: D_Zheleva via Shutterstock.com