Must-Have iPhone and Android Apps

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Ever since the release of the App Store for the iPhone in 2008, mobile applications have turned our phones into incredible devices capable of doing all kinds of things. Currently, there are over 2.2 million apps available to download on the App Store, ranging from games to productivity to learning. With the sheer amount of availability on the App Store, it can sometimes be tough to ascertain which apps are the standouts. So let’s go through some of the top apps to download in 2017, so you can the best of the best on your iPhone (or Android).

Our mobile devices have the potential to help keep your life organized, and allow you to focus more on the things that matter most to you. There are some great apps out there – most are free! – so download them today and boost your productivity and streamline your daily life.

For Directions & Maps

Google has long been the leader in maps. While Apple’s version, Apple Maps, has gotten consistently better at getting people to and from their destinations, Waze has become a standout option in replacing your stock navigation app. Waze is a community-powered navigation app that will give you real-time traffic information. When using Waze, the app will give you continuous updates on quicker routes that may pop-up, and notify you of of hazards on the road or cops nearby. The cool part about this is that these notifications are input by other drivers using the app. Waze’s millions of users essentially act as a driving social network, that creates pinpoint accurate maps and information that will allow you to reach your destination in the quickest and safest way possible. If you’re thinking the idea of millions of people using their phones to report traffic information doesn’t sound too safe, don’t worry, the app utilizes voice recognition to get this info. The best part about this app is that it’s totally free, so head over to the App Store or Google Play and make your driving a little time a little more efficient.

For Weather

Ever wake up in the morning in such a rush to get ready you don’t realize it’s supposed to heavily rain later on in the day? With Dark Sky, you’ll never be out of the loop when it comes to unpredictable weather. While the stock Apple weather app will give you a fairly good amount of data about the weather, Dark Sky will take it further, displaying a “feels like” temperature reading, sky conditions, hourly precipitation information, and even a graph giving accurate forecasts by the minute. You read that right, Dark Sky can provide accurate forecasts down to an exact minute. About to take your lunch and want to walk to grab a coffee but the sky is looking like it’s about to rain down second? Simply check Dark Sky, and it will give you an accurate time of when it might rain, saving you from returning to your desk drenched and miserable. Dark Sky is available for $3.99 in the App Store or Google Play.

For Your Finances

If you have ever felt financially unorganized, or even just wanted to get a better overview of your finances, then you might want to check out Mint. Developed by Intuit, Mint can pull all of your account into one place, and allow you to see where you’re spending. If you need to put together a budget, Mint will analyze your accounts and spending habits, and alert you to stick within your proposed spending goal. Mint can also help you save up for that summer vacation or that new car you’ve been wanting, by suggesting how much money should be saved each month. Another helpful feature is that Mint can alert you when your bills need to be paid, and keep you up-to-date on your credit score. Mint is available to download for free on both platforms.

Venmo is an app that allows you to send quick payments to friends. A great solution to the always tricky situation of splitting a bill, all it requires is for you to link a bank account or card to it, and you’re good to go. Backed by a guarantee that all transactions are secure, Venmo is a quick and easy way to pay for a multitude of things. Recently, well-known retailers like Lululemon, Footlocker, Ulta, and Forever 21 have begun accepting payment via Venmo, and that list will only continue to grow. Venmo is available for free on the App Store.

For Productivity

Gone are the days of writing to-do-lists in notebooks, and with Todoist, keeping up with the tasks you need to get done is simple. Anytime during the day something pops into your head, Todoist allows you to quickly add reminders for your daily life. To further organize your events, a color coded system gives you the option to sort tasks by priority. For those who like to see a visual representation of their increase in productivity, Todoist creates daily and weekly graphs displaying tasks completed and which days are most productive for you. This app is currently at #124 in the iOS App Store among thousands of other productivity apps, with an average 4.1 rating out of 5. Andrew, a local college student, told me, “I’ve used Todoist for a few months now, and it’s allowed me to make sense of my busy days juggling school and work”. Todoist is available for free on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC

If your office or personal workspace resembles a clutter of post-it notes and random scribbled notes without any rhyme or reason, then Evernote should be in your suite of productivity apps. Evernote is a robust note-taking app that gives you the ability to write notes, collect ideas, and keep your files and projects neatly organized. Evernote doesn’t limit you to simple textual notes either. Take back your notes and make them in your own creative way by adding PDF’s, video clips, photos, audio, and even sketches to them. The best part? Your notes automatically sync across all of your devices, giving you seamless access to your content. I have personally used this app for the past 5 years, and it has been my go-to note taking app. All my notes are well organized, and searching for any of them is a breeze.  Evernote is available for free on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC.

For those who find themselves in the situation where they need to scan a document, but have no immediate access to a large and cumbersome scanner, CamScanner is an app you need to have. CamScanner allows the user to create high quality scans of practically anything. This is perfect for those who need to scan copies of business receipts, invoices, business cards, or certificates. No need to worry about cropping your images, as CamScanner does this for you automatically, resulting in a sharp and clean image. With the option to save your scans in JPEG or PDF formats, you can easily share your scans on the go. If you need to make edits to your documents, CamScanner gives you the option to make annotations or watermarks. If you’re worried about the security of your documents, the app will let you set a passcode to protect it. CamScanner is available for free on iOS and Android.


For Entertainment

Finally, the perfect app for the film junkie and for the person whose favorite place is the movie theatre. Movie Pass allows you to save money on all the movies you pay to see. All you have to do is sign up, pay a fee, and then see as many movies as you want. Of course, there are limitations, but in the end this app will save you money and allow you to be able to be able to binge watch movies at the theatre 24/7. Make this app worth while and sign up today.

A little unconventional for entertainment, but perfect for the geek in all of us, the NASA app gives you all the inside scoop on what is going on in space and the latest missions. You can read articles, watch videos, and you can explore space in the comfort of your own home. You can do anything from track satellites to explore the planets and stars. This app is perfect if your guilty pleasure is the galaxy and learning more about the world.

Be a part of the best apps on your phone, and make sure you download these today.

Avid writer and reader with a curious mind. I'm always looking to get the most out of life! Follow me on Twitter @whatsaschoon

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