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What are your "must-have" iPhone or iPod touch apps—the ones you can't live without? (Figuratively speaking, I hope.) Please omit apps that come pre-installed.

Rules

  • One app per answer.
  • Use this format for the first two lines of your answer:
    ## [app name](link to website)
    [App Store](link to appstore)
  • Include short description.
  • Check for duplicates before adding new answers.
  • If you find a duplicate, vote it down and encourage its poster to upvote the original entry instead (and remove the dupe).

Please exclude iPad-only apps from here; there's Great iPad Apps for those.

Disclaimer: I know this type of question is controversial. However, great many people do find that properly implemented and curated CW polls can be useful. (If you are one of those who do not, could you simply consider ignoring this?)

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closed as not constructive by bmike Nov 15 '12 at 22:36

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1  
Why do people insist on downvoting in these types of questions. That's really in poor taste, I think. If you don't like something, just leave it alone. – Philip Regan Aug 31 '10 at 20:39
2  
Hmm.. the price probably depends on the Apple store (e.g. for me prices show in Euros) Which price should we note? – Juan A. Navarro Aug 31 '10 at 20:56
    
@Juan: yes, prices vary and are in different currencies. I think the most "universal" for our purposes is USD; you can check the US$ prices for each app at appshopper.com. Over here we use the euro too, and I personally chose to put both USD and EUR prices e.g. in this answer. – Jonik Aug 31 '10 at 21:39
    
It's a bit silly to list prices here as they change pretty regularly. If somebody reads the description in the answer and is compelled to buy it, they can click through to the app store to see what the current price is. – bpapa Nov 28 '10 at 19:47
    
@bpapa: Fair point. Then again, it may have some value that readers can see right away whether an app is free or its (ballpark) cost. – Jonik Nov 28 '10 at 21:20

86 Answers 86

Dropbox

App Store

Conveniently access files in your Dropbox on the go.

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Out of all 40 apps listed here before my contribution, this is the only one I would include as "iphone app I can't live without". – cregox Dec 24 '10 at 19:20

Twitter

App Store

The official Twitter client. Previously known as Tweetie 2.

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I used to use TweetDeck, but after trying this (when it was made free and renamed Twitter for iPhone) I haven't gone back. Very smooth, inspired UI. – Jonik Aug 27 '10 at 11:58
    
Meh, Echofon is much better. – DisgruntledGoat Dec 16 '10 at 15:11
    
Unfortunately, recently started to display unremovable promoted tweets. And that can't be disabled. – Eugene Bujak Mar 6 '11 at 14:07

Reeder

App Store

Google Reader client.

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3  
Reeder is truly what an RSS reader should be. I wish I could find a desktop counterpart that matched it. – Bryson Sep 15 '10 at 22:28
    
@Bryson, why you need a mobile RSS reader? Can't you read it from web browser? – Graviton Sep 27 '10 at 13:55
    
I use the web Google Reader on my iPhone daily and i am not missing much, up to now. What are the main advantages of an app? – LennyAskDifferent Dec 14 '10 at 11:14
    
Well, Reeder's interface is much nicer (and cleaner) than that of Google Reader. Also, Reeder supports offline reading. – mipadi Feb 9 '11 at 17:05
1  
@Bryson there's Reeder for Mac. madeatgloria.com/brewery/silvio/reeder – Eugene Bujak Feb 21 '11 at 11:14

Remote

App Store

Wifi remote control for iTunes music library (or Apple TV). This is made by Apple but doesn't come pre-installed.

(Some have pointed out that Remote's development has stagnated, but personally I don't mind that much, as the app works as great as ever, and all major features are already there.)

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IMHO a very handy, instantaneous way to control music playback at home. Unlike with infrared remotes, walls are not an obstacle. :) When first trying this (some 2 years ago), it was one of those tech "wow" moments. – Jonik Aug 28 '10 at 9:24
    
They came out with a new version within the last 2 weeks. – Benjamin Oakes Oct 21 '10 at 15:58
    
Yeah, they did. Version 2.0 includes e.g. proper iPad support which is really neat. – Jonik Oct 22 '10 at 17:16

Facebook

App Store

If you're into Facebook, their official iPhone app is pretty good for staying connected with people.

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Shazam

App Store

Records a few seconds of what you're currently listening to and then shows you information about this song. Shazam is quite old by now, but still an amazing piece of software that's always useful from time to time.

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Can you compare Shazam to SoundHound - which one is better? – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 7 '10 at 6:54
    
I'm forced to use both: SoundHound is generally better at finding a song. I had many situations where Shazam didn't know a song but SoundHound found it easily. However, SoundHound isn't sensitive enough. As an example it's not possible at all to catch a song from the radio in my office. Shazam on the other hand seems to adapt and can easily record songs also from this same radio. – Marc Dec 7 '10 at 10:28
    
SoudHound seems a lot faster than Shazam. Will start to try to match a song even before the full capture. It also identified songs that Shazam didn't. And SoundHound's free version allows unlimited matches, while Shazam allows 5 per month. – lpacheco Jan 11 '11 at 11:02

1Password

If you use 1Password on your Mac, the iOS app is quite handy. It can be linked to a Dropbox account therefore keeping data synchronized between your desktop and iOS device. There are regular and pro versions available for both iPhone and iPad.

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Sleep Cycle alarm clock

App Store

An alarm clock that analyzes your sleep patterns (using iPhone accelerometer) and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase.

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Just got this over the weekend, and I'm very impressed. Currently have a pretty bad cold, and I remember waking with coughing fits a few times during the night. Because I was using this app, I could tell what time they were and how long they lasted. It also wakes me at the time I want, and its been easier to wake up, because its not in the middle of a sleep cycle. Pretty cool. – xdumaine Jan 31 '11 at 13:07

Things

App Store

Task management tool. The todo items can be synced (over wifi) with OS X and iPad versions.

 

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1  
Cheaper alternatives exist, but I haven't regretted buying Things (having used it for almost 2 years). I like the simple yet powerful UI. – Jonik Aug 27 '10 at 9:52

PlainText

App Store

Dropbox text editing.

For editing text on iPad & iPhone. PlainText is a simple text editor with a paper-like user interface. Unlike the default Notes app, PlainText allows you to create and organize your documents in folders and sync everything with Dropbox.com. Requires iOS 3.0+

After trying different note-taking apps like SimpleNote and Evernote, I discovered this beauty a few days ago and it immediately replaced the built-in Notes app for me, both on my iPhone and my iPad. It fit my needs perfectly, and is really simple & beautifully designed. YMMV, but it's free to try.

P.S. Elements is a feature-packed alternative with Markdown support and built-in email, but I'm not sure I need those features and it's $4.99.

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Thanks for the recommendation! Seems to fit my needs pretty well, as I already use Dropbox and often use plain text files for notes. Now I just need to do some Dropbox reorganising to make my stuff show up in this app... – Jonik Dec 14 '10 at 16:44

SoundHound

App Store

SoudHound seems a lot faster than Shazam. Will start to try to match a song even before the full capture. It also identified songs that Shazam didn't. And SoundHound's free version allows unlimited matches, while Shazam allows 5 per month.

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I love it! But I guess I could live without it... :P – cregox Jan 12 '11 at 7:43

Angry Birds

App Store

The best game in the app store

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1  
I bought into the angry birds hype, but quickly got over it. Realized it was just a trial and error game with a good physics engine, not exactly my forte. A great time waster nonetheless. – xdumaine Jan 31 '11 at 13:13
    
With people, of any age, who haven't played much games before (or perhaps used iPhone at all), it's fun to load this up and see them quickly learn the game, then become a bit addicted to it. – Jonik Apr 15 '11 at 2:26

Cydia

Cydia (jailbreak required)

Cydia is a software application for iOS that is a graphical front end to APT and the dpkg package management system. It allows a user to browse and download applications for a jailbroken iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

cydia-screenshot

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WhatsApp

App Store

WhatsApp Messenger is a smartphone messaging app which allows you to exchange messages with your friends and contacts without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is cross platform and available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Nokia (beta) and yes, those phones can all message each other! To send and receive messages, WhatsApp utilizes your existing smartphone internet data plan: 3G/EDGE (or Wi-Fi when available)

In addition to messaging, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry WhatsApp Messenger users can send each other unlimited images, video and audio media messages.

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Articles

App Store

Best way to read Wikipedia.

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1  
Is this better than the official Wikipedia app? – mipadi Sep 27 '10 at 16:36
1  
I would say yes, but this of course is subjective. – Marc Sep 29 '10 at 9:17

Simplenote

Note-taking in a better interface than the default Notes application (no Marker Felt) and notes are synched to a server for easy backups and viewing elsewhere.

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2  
This is awesome. There's an OS X app called Notational Velocity (that's also open source) that also syncs with Simplenote, and can be set to store notes in my Dropbox. This keeps my notes backed up locally, in the cloud, and in Simplenote's server as well as being editable across any platform. Such a great app/service. – Bryson Jun 3 '11 at 17:33

IMDb

App Store

iPhone app for the largest movie database website IMDb

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Spotify

App Store

For listening to music off the internet (directly on wifi/3G or via offline playlists).

NB: Spotify is only available in certain countries, and Spotify Premium (€9.99 or £9.99 per month) is needed to use the iPhone app.

Now with iOS 4 + iPhone 4 (unlike with my unjailbroken iPhone 3G earlier) the experience is really good, as you get background play and ability to use normal iPod playback controls (e.g. the headphone remote). In other words, it's similar to using the built-in iPod app, except that you have approximately 10 million tracks available at your fingertips.

 

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Aren't most apps only available in certain countries? I've tried to install Japanese apps on my American iPod, and been rejected by iTunes as needing an AppleID/iTunes account with a mailing address in Japan for that. – Ken Nov 16 '10 at 0:40

OmniFocus

App Store

Task management application that uses the Getting Things Done (GTD) organizational method. Also available for Mac and iPad.

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instagr.am

App Store (free)

It’s a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures. Snap a photo with your iPhone, choose a filter to transform the look and feel, send to Facebook, Twitter or Flickr – it’s all as easy as pie. It’s photo sharing, reinvented.

Simple idea, brillantly executed.

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Pandora Radio

App Store (free)

Everyone probably knows about Pandora Radio by now. Put in a favorite artist and it helps you locate similar artists. It's helped me find many new bands.

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Adobe Photoshop Express

App Store

Great little mobile photo editor!

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Annoyed that it doesn't let me do scaling to make images smaller for sending MMS, but it's good for the couple limited things it does. – Bryson Jun 3 '11 at 17:35

Dictionary.com

App Store

Comprehensive, yet free, dictionary & thesaurus. Key features:

  • All word definitions come with the app—no internet connection needed
  • Decent UI with autocomplete (no need to type in the whole word)
  • Audio pronunciations (internet connection required for this)
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Trainyard

App Store ($0.99 USD)

A great puzzle game with tons of levels. Kept me playing for days, and I've still been unable to beat a couple levels after a couple months of having the app. There is also a free version. Intuitive, fun, and brain exercising.

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Tweetbot By Tapbots

App Store (Price: $2.99)

Description

Tweetbot is a full-featured iPhone (and iPod touch) Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it’s the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds & animation, or features like multiple timelines & smart gestures, there’s a lot to love about Tweetbot.

enter image description here

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Soulver

App Store ($2.99)

Soulver is by far the most useful calculator app in the App Store. It's a much easier and more powerful way to work with numbers over a normal calculator. Embed text with your calculations to make it easier to see the problem you are solving. You can easily go back and make a change earlier in the calculation and have everything updated, similar to a spreadsheet. You can use several lines and reference previous lines in your calculations allowing yourself to split up long equations or even reuse parts to see different results. These can all be saved on separate sheets so it's easy to go back and reference them later. You'll never go back to a normal calculator again.

(Sorry, will only let me post one hyper link)

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Remember The Milk

App Store

The best way to manage your tasks.

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RTM is actually a paid app - it's free to download but after 2 weeks it only works with a paid account on the RTM website! – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 7 '10 at 6:56
    
not anymore. the app is now free (if you want advanced notifications features, then you need the paid account) – gsharp Dec 7 '10 at 8:46

Pulse

App Store

Reeder is the best RSS reader for Google Reader. But Pulse is much nicer to randomly read various feeds.

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I like it, but I find it crashes a lot for me. Anyone else? – Ciaocibai Jan 30 '11 at 22:15

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