My top apps for Android and iPhone
Having had smartphones for some years now, and also having switched from Apple to Android, I feel I’m in a position to write about which apps I like and which ones I use the most. Here are my top apps for Android and iPhone.
To do this, I’ve broken them down into categories, simply because there are some that I use daily, and others I use rarely but wouldn’t want to be without. Let’s start with the most common.
Everyday Top Apps
Twitter - I love Twitter. Always have done. As a communication tool, or a way of interacting, it is superb. There are loads of Twitter client apps out there, and the vast majority of people that use Twitter on a regular basis seem to prefer a third party app such as Tweet deck to use Twitter. Although I’ve dabbled with these, I’ve always found that I preferred the official Twitter app, and this tops the list of most used apps for me. Despite their insistence on continually tweaking the layout, or minor bugs that occur such as mentions not showing, I’ve had less problems with the official app than any other, so I continue to stick by it.
Facebook - Ah ha Facebook. What’s the adage that people quote these days? Facebook is for talking to people you know, but don’t want to, whereas Twitter is for talking to those you do want to know, but don’t? That’s fairly true. I used to be an avid Facebook user, but now I tend to flick through it a couple of times a day at most. The official app does what it needs to, and again, though there are some annoying aspects to it (No thanks, I don’t wish to share that photo I’ve just taken with everyone on my friends list), it’s easy to use.
Whatsapp - Switching to an unlimited data plan with 3 at the start of the year means that I’m better off using a third party app to talk to friends and send pictures, rather than doing it all by text. I was late to the Whatsapp party, but the app allows you to have group chats easily, and I find it a fantastic way of keeping in touch with friends, and even with the eldest two kids, who I have in a group chat too.
Time waster Top Apps
Snapchat - I’ve written a blog post about Snapchat pictures, which I posted a week or two back. Snapchat has a (possibly fair) reputation for being the app used to send naughty pictures to people. Each picture you send is only shown for ten seconds maximum, meaning you can send and not worry who it will be shown to. The pictures you send can be saved in those ten seconds, but you get a notification when this happens. This app is definitely a boredom killer for me. It gets pulled out and used for throwaway moments. If you ever receive a Snapchat from me, assume I am bored.
Reddit is fun - You either ‘get’ Reddit, or you don’t. A collection of funny and interesting stuff, Reddit seems to house all of the stuff that inevitably gets shared days later on Facebook and Twitter. I stumbled across this app, which isn’t an official app, and have stuck with it. It’s easy to use (whereas I have found most other Reddit apps poorly laid out) and I can spend ages scrolling through the posts on here.
New Star Soccer - Horrible name, horrible logo, but my word it’s an addictive game. If you like football, and you like easy to use games, download this, pay for the career mode and then curse me as you lose hours, days and weeks to this game. Deceptively simple, brain numbingly addictive. It reminds me of the games I’d get on my old Spectrum or Atari ST back in the day when gameplay meant more than graphics.
Occasional use Top Apps
Google Play Music - I’m a new convert to this. Again, thanks to unlimited data on my phone contract, I can listen to streaming music on the go, and Google Music is ideal for that, but you can also sign up for access to tens of thousands of more songs for a monthly fee, rather than just the songs you’ve uploaded to the cloud. I’m not sure £9.99 per month is an expense I can justify for that service, but even the free service is probably the best music app out there, and certainly knocks spots off of my former favourite, Spotify, even with their newly announced free mobile service.
Waze - Intelligent driving (I like the sound of that, I may copyright it!) Waze is a sat nav app which you can use to report traffic jams, nearby police, accidents and more so that other Waze users get notified and can take action accordingly. It’s free to download and use, and actively updates your route as you drive to avoid traffic jams. I love this app as it keeps me informed on my journeys. It also has a handy feature which allows you to send your ETA to a friend via a link, and they can track
how far away you are. The only thing that would make this better is more information being fed into it, which generally means more people signing in and using it.
Google Keep - When I had an iPhone, the Notes application was great. Easy to use and just a simple design. I’ve tried Evernote a few times, which everyone raves about, but I never really got on with, and never really found a basic alternative to what I had via Apple. Then Google launched Keep to fairly minimal fanfare. I can now put notes on my phone and instantly access them on the PC if needed. It’s simple and easy and even allows me to do location based reminders for each note. Free to download. Easy to use. Simplicity at it’s finest, pretty much all you need from a Note app.
Starbucks - The Starbucks app allows you to keep track of the amount of stars you’ve earnt on your card, where your local Starbucks is, and also the opening hours. The one thing I use it for most though is keeping my Starbucks card information and paying for drinks (or for paying it forward!). There’s not much more that I can imagine you’d need from this kind of app. Starbucks have pretty much got it spot on with this. Another app that isn’t overly complicated, and though I’m surprised they don’t use it more for marketing offers, it’s a mainstay of mine. I just wish that Costa had something similar.
Life 360 - This is an unusual one. When Google decided to incorporate Latitude into Google Plus, I wanted a different way to keep track of people. Life360 probably deserves a review of its own, but it’s a way of keeping track of friends and family. I use it to track my kids when they are out (as I have it installed on their phones) and it allows me to see where they are but also where they have been. I also have my girlfriend on here (as I’m on hers too) so we can track each other, which is especially handy when one of us is making the long trip to see the other.
Co-op Bank - I’ve banked with the Co-op for years, and their app allows me to keep track of my balance. Compared to many other banking apps, it is fairly basic, though it does what it needs to at the moment, with updates promised for the start of 2014 which will mean I’ll be able to transfer money on the app too, finally bringing the app in line with other banks.
Do you have any top apps for Android and iPhone that you would recommend?