We’re in the habit of reviewing hundreds of new apps here at MakeUseOf, and though most of us probably have pages and pages of random apps on our iPhones, how many of those can we honestly say we use on a regular basis – like at least once a week? Once I took a cold hard look at my home screen, I narrowed it down to the following 10.
I’m not including built-in system functions like Mail, Safari, camera, iBooks, and Google Maps – although those are all daily use apps for me. Though if you want to be pedantic, add those to the list and call it my top 15 then.
In no particular order whatsoever…
Byline [iTunes link – $1.99]
Although Reeder is my RSS reader of choice for my iPad and Mac, I prefer the speed and simplicity of Byline for my iPhone. I don’t need an elaborately designed experience with masses of functionality – just a way to drill through the 300+ stories a day that come in from my feeds (link) and mark some off for further reading. Byline syncs well with Google, and provides a basic and speedy interface, as well as caching images when I’m not looking.
BBC News [iTunes link]
I must admit, having a free, non-biased news source makes me proud to be British. The BBC News app not only provides a simple breakdown on various customisable categories of news (so you can hide the pointless entertainment “news” for instance), but also allows users to watch around-the-clock video streams from the BBC News TV channel on Wi-fi or 3G data connections.
Sleep Cycle [iTunes link]
I was using this as my main alarm clock, but it doesn’t work so well with our new foam mattress. Still, I thought it was worth mentioning. After learning the characteristics of your sleep movements and cycles, this app will continually monitor your sleep and wake you up at some point during a set window of time when you’re in the lightest sleep cycle – thereby avoiding that groggy feeling and instant need to hit the snooze button for another 10 minutes.
As I said, it’s not going to work with very stiff mattresses like foam, but for the most part this app really does work, and 90% of the time it will wake you up feeling fresh and ready.
Find My iPhone [iTunes link]
Armed with my wife’s iCloud login data, I use this to see if she’s on the way home from work, and if not, I send a barrage of non-silencable messages reminding her that she technically finished 30 minutes ago.
Before you accuse me of being something horrible, know that mostly I use it to see when she’s getting close to the house so I can go and greet her with a big welcome home hug. Awww. I also described in a previous post how we used it to trace her phone when it was stolen.
BoardGame Companion [iTunes link]
Despite development having been seemingly abandoned on this app, I still use it regularly to calculate scores in Agricola games, and for that single purpose it works beautifully. For those of you who don’t know, Agricola is a board game in which you try to build the most varied and efficient farm, and as fun as it is, counting your score can be tiring.
Amazon [iTunes link]
Perfect for when I’m out and about and see something I want – a quick price check using the barcode scanner tells me if it’s cheaper on Amazon, and I can save it to my basket right there with a single click. Great for the money saving tactic I described before of leaving it in your basket for a month before you’re allowed to buy it.
eBay [iTunes link]
I do try to follow the “buy nothing new” movement, and for that eBay is a lifeline. The iPhone app gives me on-the-go mobile notifications for auctions I’m planning on sniping at the last minute, all with a nice mobile-optimised interface. It also makes selling a breeze.
Ticket To Ride Pocket [iTunes link]
A perfectly executed board game to iPhone conversion from Days of Wonder, with local multiplayer to other iDevices and vs AI modes. A great little diversion when my wife and I are travelling.
Trillian [iTunes link]
I recently switched my desktop messaging client from Adium to Trillian, a free IM client which integrates pretty much every kind of messaging platform you could hope for – including Facebook. The iPhone version is also the most reliable way I’ve found to get all sorts of IM messages on the go – previously I’d used BeeJiveGT and other iOS clients, but found there was a short delay in receiving messages.
I’m pleased with Trillian so far, and it means I never miss a message from either of my awesome bosses.
Tumblr [iTunes link]
I maintain a Tumblr blog as a single-purpose photolog which I then import as a widget to my Self Sufficiency blog. The Tumblr app is fast, easy, and works with minimal fuss. Simple, effective – I love it.
Those are my top 10, but how about you? Care to share a few absolute essentials that you use on a daily basis? Are you an obsessive app downloader but never actually use them? Let us know in the comments.
Don’t forget to check our full Best of iPhone Apps and Best of iPad Apps pages too for loads more hand picked app recommendations.