15 iPhone Apps That Will Make Your Life Much Easier

What would we do without smartphones? Constantly in our hands or our pockets, our trusty devices make our lives easier and more efficient.

Apps are on the rise, with more than 218 billion app downloads in 2020, according to TechCrunch. But there’s plenty more to be discovered than social media favourites Facebook and Instagram. Many offer innovative tools to keep track of travel, note-keeping, and weather checking.

For those really intent on optimising their habits, these are the 15 apps your home screen might be missing.

1. Waze

Google Maps Waze
Google Maps and Waze
Getty/Hoch Zwei

No one likes being stuck in traffic. Google’s GPS navigation software app makes journeys smoother with driving directions, a live traffic map and road alerts. Compatible with smartphones and tablets that have GPS support and available in over 50 languages, it’s a lifesaver for trips down the road or further afield.

2. Venmo

"Paypal, Venmo, or Cash Only" Sign
A “Paypal, Venmo, or cash only” sign with a QR code is displayed on a table at Beauty Bar in New York City.
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

A fast and effective way to send and receive money, Paypal’s mobile payment service has over 52 million users. It’s great for shared expenses, whether that’s splitting a bill, household costs or sending gifts to friends. Venmo users can also send notes with each payment, adding a social element to managing finances.


Man taking a photo
A photographer has gone vial after revealing what different camera lenses do to your face.
Wpadington/Getty Images

One for the aesthetic-minded, this app offers creative photo and video editing tools. A haven of filters and effects, amateur photographers can take their Instagram creations to the next level. VSCO encourages users to share their creations as a source of inspiration for others on their curated VSCO Grid.

4. Calm

Calm App
The Calm app logo is featured on a soothing background.
Christi-an Slomka/Calm

One of the most popular mindfulness apps in the business, Calm offers guided meditations for a range of ailments and occasions. Take a deep breath and listen to a musing on improving sleep quality, or self-confidence. A roster of celebrities have recorded mediations, including Harry Styles and more recently Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes.

5. Evernote

12 - early promise
Executive chairman of Evernote, Phil Libin, promotes practical app Evernote.

A handy tool for keeping all your loose ends in place. Evernote is an upgrade from traditional pen and paper. Note-taking, organizing, to-do lists and archiving functions makes this a popular app with executives and entrepreneurs wishing to document their thoughts. Notes can be text, drawings, photographs, audio, or saved web content that syncs across your devices.

6. Google Translate

30 Google - Getty
More than 500 million people a day use Google Translate, which supports more than 100 languages.
Getty Images

Gone are the days of arduous dictionaries or phrasebooks. Google Translate is a no-fee service that instantly translates texts into over 100 other languages. The app has improved in recent years and is now able to translate pictures, audio and entire web pages. In doing so, Google Translate is helping shape a generation of slightly less clueless tourists.

7. Strava

Strava maps and records runs so that fitness enthusiasts can improve their performance.
REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

An app that soared in popularity over the pandemic, this social fitness app helped users stay sane over various lockdowns. Not just for athletes, Strava allows you to record a run or map a cycling route, and analyse your training after with performance stats.

8. Dark Sky

Rain on an umbrella in bad weather
Dark Sky gives minute-to-minute weather predictions.

Dark Sky provides hyper-local weather data to your phone. With minute-by-minute predictions, you’ll know exactly when to grab your umbrella. Colourful radar animations show users the path of a storm, including where it’s come from and where it’s headed next.

9. Yummly

Chili con carne National Chili Day iStock
Yummly acts as a ‘smart cooking sidekick’ recommending recipes based on your tastes.

Out of ideas for dinner? This recipe app picks a dish based on your tastes and the contents of your fridge. Yummly now comes with cooking videos, tips and meal planners to minimise chaos in the kitchen.

10. Flipboard

Flipboard gathers news and information in one place.
Courtesy of Flipboard

Flipboard curates news and information for your interests−from business, health, tech, sports teams, cooking and travel. Readers can stay connected to local and national news in over 1,000 cities and towns in the U.S. and Canada. Whichever stories pique your interest can be added to your own Flipboard Magazine, which can be shared among friends.

12. Citymapper

Another navigation app, this time dedicated to public transit. The mapping service compares available transport options from one place to another, with live timings. Users can decide if taking the train, the bus or walking, is best for their route. The app only works in supported cities but those number at over 58, from Miami to Tokyo.

13. Mint

Mint is an app that can help you reach your tricky financial goals. Features include personalized insights, custom budgets, spend tracking, and subscription monitoring. In 2020, over 24 million users trusted the app with their hard-earned cash.

14. Shazam

Apple Music on an iPhone with headphones
Shazam helps you figure out which song is playing.

Can’t place that tune? Shazam will identify any song in seconds based on a short sample picked up by a microphone on the device. Users can discover more than just artists, with movies, advertising, and television shows also identifiable. The novel app was first created by Shazam Entertainment but has been owned by Apple since 2018.

15. GasBuddy

Gas station pumps
GasBuddy compares fuel prices so that motorists can get the best deal.

Based in Boston, this tech app compares fuel prices at over 140,000 gas stations in the U.S., Canada and Australia. GasBuddy became the No. 1 app on the U.S. App Store in May 2021, due to fuel shortages caused by a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline.

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