You may have the latest and greatest iPhone 11 Pro, but what good is it without some awesome iOS apps? Not much good at all. Even if you don't have Apple's new top-of-the-line device, a major reason for owning an iPhone is the wealth of top-notch apps available for the platform, now at more than 2 million and counting. The question is, which ones should you install? We've got you covered. The experts here at PCMag have tested a vast number of apps, separating the good from the bad, to come up with this list of the 30 best iPhone apps.
The apps included here will run just fine on the past few generations of iPhones, large or small. However, if you have one of the newer phone models, some apps let you do new, different things. New iPhones include better cameras, Face ID, and more-powerful AR capabilities. Inside the new phones' guts, the newer processors also make many activities feel much zippier.
Our favorite apps cover a range of activities, including photo editing, social networking, messaging, getting organized, and staying healthy. There's even one that helps you fill your gas tank cheaply. We've broken this list into 12 relevant categories, so you can browse just the app types that most interest you using the links below. Each app name is linked to its page on the App Store; if we have a review of the app, that's linked in the description text.
Be sure to revisit this page from time to time. Cool new apps arrive on the App Store all the time, so we update this list as we make new discoveries. Have you become enthralled with an app we failed to mention? We'd love to hear about it. Leave a comment and we might add your suggestion during our next update. We didn't forget Android users either; we have a separate roundup of the 30 best Android apps as well.
Whatever your take on the social network of record, its messaging app is without equal. You don't need a phone number to use Facebook Messenger, you can use it on any device without the need for your phone to be present as it must with WhatsApp. It works on every platform, unlike iMessage. It also has many cool features, like audio calling and video chatting with AR masks, stickers, and even mobile payments. You can even play games through it with your contacts. Oh, and all of that's free.
Google's email app is a wonderful communication tool. Like our other Editors' Choice, Microsoft Outlook, it now lets you read mail accounts from Hotmail, Yahoo, and others via IMAP. It doesn't integrate your calendar the way Outlook for iPhone does, but Gmail does make your entire email database easier to deal with than the preinstalled Apple Mail app. It's smooth and fast, and even gives you five seconds to undo sending.
Many messaging apps require you to give up your phone number to those who you chat with, but Kik only requires a username. And with a bot store already boasting more than 6,000 bots, Kik beat Facebook Messenger and Skype to the punch in the field of artificial conversationalists. Group chat, photo and video sharing, and gaming add to this youth-focused app's appeal.
Microsoft Outlook's light and flexible mobile email app supports nearly every email account you might have, includes an integrated calendar, and provides a Focused inbox that shows you only important messages. Frequently updated, the app includes an ancillary Apple Watch app and supports 3D Touch. Unlike the rest of Office Mobile, the Outlook iPhone app is totally free.
($2.99 at Software Advice)
Skype is one of the best free communication tools for the iPhone. The app lets you make video calls and supports rich texting with animated emojis. A good selection of bots gets you info you can use as well as entertainment. As with other versions of Skype, you can call or chat with other Skype users at no charge, or buy credit to call any other phone number, landline, or mobile. You can even get a phone number that lets anyone call your Skype account with a regular phone.
Sexting and security worries aside, the visual chat app Snapchat can be a lot of fun to use—if you can figure out its very nonstandard interface. Snapchat should not be used as a private and secure messaging app. Rather, it's a simple app that you can use to swap funny, ephemeral visuals with your friends. Messages sent through Snapchat disappear from the receiver's phone after a short time. Snap a picture, draw or write on top of it if you like, choose the amount of time the recipient can see it, and send away. Just bear in mind that all digital media is reproducible.
The ASL App is a free iPhone and iPad app specifically made for learning the basics of American Sign Language, and it's a welcome introduction. It uses videos to teach you the alphabet, various useful words and phrases, and the required gestures. The free version covers the basics, and in-app purchases add advanced material in 99-cent packs. $9.99 gets you everything the app offers.
People often forget that there's more than one way to find webpages, directions, videos, and photos on the Internet. There are actually plenty of good reasons to try out alternatives to market leader Google, and the Bing app for the iPhone shows several of them. Bing has a design that's gorgeous, clear, and simple to use. Feature-wise, Bing's app can keep up, and adds voice and camera input along with local info. What's more, the Bing app's home screen offers local guidance and news suggestions, rather than just a blank search box.
Every college student is familiar with handing over several 100-dollar bills and lugging many pounds of textbooks from the campus store. Chegg's goal is to take some of the pain out of that process. The app lets you rent, buy, or sell books. The company offers study apps, too.
Could your learning a new language somehow add value to other people all over the world? It's a strange idea, but one that's playing out when you use the free language learning app Duolingo, which now has an iPhone app as well. As far as free, mobile apps for language-learning go, the Duolingo iPhone app is easily the best. A recent update makes your next lessons available offline, so you can continue learning even when you're not connected to the Internet.
$6.95 per month
If you love anime (or live-action Asian TV), Crunchyroll is the ad-free streaming service for you. It offers tens of thousands of episodes, shows simulcast from overseas, and numerous services fans crave, including social interaction features. We do wish, however, that it had a Netflix-like recommendation feature.
Downcast's iPhone app shines with excellent features, smart downloading options, and a great interface. It's worlds better than the stock Podcasts app from Apple. Downcast is suited for people who want a lot of control over their podcast listening experience, and it's that fine level of control that makes it our Editors' Choice. Downcast lets you customize not only how often the podcast catcher checks for new episodes, but also where you are when it does, using geo-fencing. For example: "Check for new episodes when I arrive at work."
Get in on the cryptocurrency craze with this full-featured and well-designed app. See current rates and set up digital currency wallets for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. You can use Touch ID or Face ID (on the iPhone X) to secure viewing of your account, and set price trigger alerts.
LevelUp can save you a few dollars the very first time you use it. The app provides the easiest possible way to pay at your local salad bar, café, or doughnut shop. You won't be billed until the beginning of the following month, either. You can also order ahead through the app, and find participating nearby businesses. No more waiting in line!
Despite some controversy in some areas over hotel laws, we've had nothing but good experiences, clean rooms, and friendly hosts via Airbnb. The app has all the capabilities you could ask for and more. Travelers can book their stay, chat directly with the host, get exact directions, and explore fantasy accommodations like furnished tree houses. Hosts can vet potential boarders, manage their calendars, and promote their properties through the app. It's a win-win proposition.
Yes, driving by yourself with a combustion-engine vehicle is so passé, but those of us who still occasionally use that old 20th-century mode of transportation universally want to pay as little for fuel as possible. Gasbuddy shows you the best prices at the nearest stations. I discovered that I could either pay $3.19 per gallon in Manhattan or hop over to New Jersey and pay $2.37. With a big enough tank, that could cover the cost of the tunnel!
Free, with $9.99 Elite upgrade
Bicycle-ride tracking app Cyclemeter collects a wealth of data, is very accurate, and contains several well-thought-out features. Cyclemeter is a free download, but to unlock all its capabilities you'll need to pay $9.99 for the Elite in-app purchase. It maps and records your bicycle rides, then compiles all your data into excellent graphs. Despite its name, Cyclemeter doesn't just record cycling. Other activities, from cross-country skiing to running, also come preloaded. And now you can control many of this fitness app's functions from an Apple Watch, and store your workout data in iCloud.
$12.99 per month
There are other components to fitness than huffing and puffing on the jogging track. Relieving stress is high on the list, and meditation can aid in that goal. Headspace offers hundreds of guided meditations that can reduce anxiety and increase mindfulness. In-app subscriptions for more courses start at $12.99—still a lot cheaper than a shrink!
Before the Internet, if you wanted to buy a used item or strange service not available in a local store, you crossed your fingers and hoped it was in your newspaper's classified ads. Now, 5miles adds a twist to Craigslist, letting you specify how far you want your search to reach. It's a wonderful, if occasionally seedy, digital marketplace that resembles Pinterest in its card-like presentation. 5miles's mobile marketplace connects nearby buyers and sellers. Enter a bustling bazaar of goods, services, housing, and job offers right on your iPhone.
Dubsmash lets you create and share short videos of you lip syncing to an audio clip. It's silly, pointless, and a lot of fun. Sometimes that's what you need. The app is more than a goofy idea, though. The huge catalog of user-submitted sound files includes everything from questionable political quotes to famous movie one-liners to animal noises. If it's good enough for Hugh Jackman, it's good enough for you.
Free, with in-app purchases for some features
Adobe is known for creating the highest-quality imaging software around, and Photoshop Express follows in this pedigree. In a clear interface, you get excellent lighting and color correction tools. Not only are there classy preset effect filters, but you can create your own custom ones, too. The only drawback is that some features require an Adobe account or in-app purchases.
Apple's mobile video-editing app is the perfect tool for making those snaps and clips from your last vacation watchable—and enjoyable. iMovie makes it easy to do a surprising amount with your media, including freeze-frame, filters, titles, trimming, and adding background music. And now it's free.
Free, with $45-per-year Premium subscription
List-making and task-management app Any.do has a unique feature called the Any.do moment that encourages making a habit of reviewing your daily tasks. Geolocation reminders actually work in this app, and it's an overall great app for jotting down tasks and goals.
$11.99 per person per month
PCMag's favorite collaboration tool also has a great iPhone app. Asana not only shows you your tasks and notifies you about status changes, but even let you create new tasks, projects, and kanban boards. You can add comments, files, and images from your iPhone, and you can do all of this offline for syncing when you're reconnected.
Free, with premium subscriptions starting at $39.99 per year
Like LastPass, Dashlane puts your login credentials at your fingertips with this iPhone app—and literally if you have an iPhone with TouchID. Some users may find it simpler to use than LastPass, though you pay to use it on more than one device. It keeps all your username and password combinations safe. It can also generate strong passwords. As with any password manager, all you have to remember is one strong password to unlock your Dashlane account, and all your other passwords will be accessible to you to unlock all your online accounts.
Duo Mobile adds a comforting layer of security to your most critical logins. It works well with sites like Yahoo and services like LastPass or Dashlane, by requiring you to tap a button on your iPhone to permit logins from new devices on any of your Web accounts. And if you use an Apple Watch, tapping that will log you in, too!
The iPhone app Cloze collects tweets, emails, Facebook posts, and other bits of communication from your contacts, and prioritizes them based on people who are most relevant to you. In other words, even if your boss isn't chronologically at the top of your Twitter feed, she will be at the fore of your Cloze view. It's a wonderful tool for getting relevant information about people in your network, and its Web app has even more features and insights to love.
Create private groups consisting of family, friends, or coworkers and communicate in many different ways. The app is very flexible, letting you start with a simple chat to which you can add people, setting up a group with an avatar, or using a QR code to join. Your group can even have its own notification sound, and turning a photo into a text meme is a snap. It's an attractive alternative to Facebook Groups.
Free, with $2.99 upgrade available (Free at Apple.com)
No one likes ads, but ads on the mobile Web are especially obnoxious, eating up your time and your data. It's now possible to throw off the yoke of privacy-compromising trackers, pop-over ads, and the like with iPhone ad blockers. If you're willing to pay, 1Blocker will deliver the most powerful and flexible ad-blocking experience on the mobile Web. If you're not willing to pay, it's still pretty great.
This all-in-one calculation app, Converter Plus, delivers numbers on nearly everything, from currency conversions to loan interest figures. It converts metric to imperial measurements for temperature, cooking volumes, length, and more.