Tuesday, April 26, 2016

10 Must-Have Apps for Your Android or iOS Phone

I am an app addict. My hobby is researching new apps, downloading them, and trying them out. Sure, I end up deleting most of these apps within a few days, but I love tinkering around because you never know when you're going to come across an app that will truly change your life. I know that sounds dramatic, but I really do have a handful of apps that make my life better.

So I thought I'd share my Top 10 Must-Have Apps with you. My requirements for this list were:

  • I had to use the app multiple times a week.
  • All apps had to be free to download
  • All apps had to work on both iOS and Android
  • App apps need a web version for use on a computer
  • None of the apps could be directly social media related
Why these rules? Because an app should be something you use on more than one platform. I own an iPhone and an Android tablet. I love them both, so having my favorite apps on both devices makes things really nice.

Without further ado, here's the list in no particular order.

10. Wunderground
There are a lot of weather apps out there, but few are simple, easy to use and as beautiful as the Weather Underground app (shortened to Wunderground). The app updates quickly and contains a considerable amount of weather data without feeling overwhelming.

9. Inbox 
If you're a Gmail user, you need to check out Inbox. It's your Gmail account evolved. It uses intelligent Google processing to make sense of your emails. Not only does it simplify the display, it also allows you to quickly archive emails with a swipe. One of my favorite features is the snooze button. If an email arrives at an inopportune time, simply tell it to come back at a time that works better for you, and it will. I hopped on Inbox when it was still in beta and I love it. I'll never go back to the traditional Gmail display.

8. Kindle 
There are a slew of ebook readers out there, but few do the job as well as Kindle. I love that it works across platforms so I can start a book on my iPhone and pick up the same book later at night on my Android tablet and it will instantly sync to the furthest place I've read. It's easy to add books to your reading list, and Amazon has a large selection of free and paid books to choose from.

7. Flipboard
Staying up with the news can be tedious, especially when you follow dozens of news sites and blogs. Flipboard simplifies this process. You tell Flipboard what you're interested in (it's also really good at suggesting topics), and it will put together an online newspaper/magazine for you. It's quick and easy to flip through the news, and if you find something interesting it's incredibly easy to share on your favorite social networks.

6. Trello 
Managing projects and tasks (whether for work or personal) can be difficult. There are hundreds of apps that can help with this, but few do it as well as Trello. It's an app that works well on the web and the app, and nothing is lost in either experience. Trello loads incredibly quickly and it's easy to put ideas down. So if you find yourself juggling lots of balls, put that information into Trello and put your mind to rest.

5. Stitcher
Podcasts are fantastic. If you haven't gotten into podcasts yet, let me suggest Freakonomics. It's an incredibly well produced podcast that will get your brain working. Podcasts are fantastic to listen to while commuting or on trips, and Stitcher makes it easy to follow your favorite podcasts, or discover new podcasts. The interface is simple and makes it incredibly easy to keep up to date with all episodes of your favorite podcast.

4. Simplenote
Your device probably came with a default notes app. And chances are it's terrible. Simplenote is just what it name implies: a simple note-taking app. There's no formatting to worry about or special features. Simply type your notes and it syncs those notes to the cloud. That way you can access your notes on any device, including your computer. 

3. Pocket
I browse dozens of sites every day as I scour the news and look for social media trends. I need a way to bookmark and remember all the great content I find. That's where Pocket comes in. This handy app helps you bookmark content so you can find it again, but it also serves as a great "read later" folder. When you have time to read the content you saved, the Pocket app strips away all the extra junk from the website so you can just focus on reading.

2. Google Photos
If you're like me, chances are you take most of your photos on your phone. But how often do you back those photos up? And how can you afford storage for so many photos? Google provides the answer with Google Photos. This great app can automatically back up all photos and videos on your phone. And you can backup an unlimited number of photos if you allow Google to save less data-intensive versions of your files (though the image quality is still quite high). Not only does it do this behind the scenes, it also lets you easily organize photos into albums, or create videos or collages. It's an easy-to-use photo app that every smartphone user needs.

1. Pushbullet
I have a constant need to push information from my phone to my computer and vice versa. I hate cluttering up my inbox with emails to myself. Pushbullet gets around this. This simple app makes it a breeze to send files, links and text from one device to another. And there's even a great Chrome extension so it's a piece of cake to find something on your desktop browser and send it to your phone for when you're on the go.

That's my list. There are plenty of other apps I love, but these 10 apps really do make my life better and help me be more productive. To download any of these apps, simply search for them in your app store.

What are your must-have apps? 

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