8 Really Useful iOS Apps

There are 1.2 gazillion apps on Apple’s App Store, but most of us keep just about 40–50 on our devices — and use no more than 8–10 on a regular basis. Here are some of our favorites. Which are yours?

Google Maps: Before Google Maps app, there was GPS. And before GPS, TripTiks from AAA (and in Great Britain, Ordnance Survey maps). But in the 21st century, you don’t leave home with Google Maps on your phone. We have used them in America and Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and in some fairly off-the-beaten track places in Asia. Die-hard Apple fans may swear by Apple Maps, but for us Google it is.

Google Maps

Preserve your sanity. Don’t leave home without it.

Download (Free, except they’ll track you to eternity.)

Website: maps.google.com

Skype: In the pre-smartphone era, long distance and international calls used to be atrociously expensive. As a pioneer in internet-based free telephony, Skype won over legions of users. A collective groan was heard across the world when Microsoft acquired them, but Skype has held its own against competition from Viber, WhatsApp, Line and others. Call quality is generally good, the service reliable, and the app intuitive (even if a bit stodgy — but then, it’s owned by Microsoft, isn’t it?)


“Hello…Helloooo? Can you hear me?” (Happens sometimes, but works well most of the time.)

Download (Free, optional in-app purchase.)

Website: www.skype.com

1Password: Suffering from password fatigue? Coping with a dozen services that all require a password change every three months, and every password must be unique, hard to guess, contain upper case, lower case, a digit, a special character and a doodle? You need 1Password.


For those who have too many, too secure passwords, that need changing too often.

Download (Free), in-app purchase

Website: 1password.com

Scanner Pro: Receipts, multi-page documents, any document that needs to be scanned, OCR’d, signed and sent. Edge detection. B&W, grey scale, or color scans. Perspective correction. If scanning a book, the app even adjusts for the “spinal curve”. You’ll be using it often than you think.

Scanner Pro by Readdle

Road warriors: Stay organized. Free if you can pronounce “Readdle” correctly (We wish!)

Download ($3.99)

Website: readdle.com/products/scannerpro

Pic Scanner Gold: It’s 2017. Do you know where your 20th century photos are? In the attic or basement, fading away? Give them a digital life. This app scans multiple photos, crops automatically; features an Adobe Creative Cloud-powered image editor; and can turn old pics into e-Greeting cards, shareable albums — even a ViewMaster-inspired slideshow. Over two hours last weekend, we got about a hundred photos done. Not bad!

Pic Scanner Gold

Multi-feature photo scanner app, does a lot more than just scan photos. Get it — your memories are worth it.

Download ($4.99)

Website: www.picscannergold.com

Runkeeper: “Track workouts, set goals, follow a plan, stay motivated, see progress” — so goes the company blurb, and with 40m users, it’s clearly working. It has been alleged that the app, like Uber, tracks users’ location all the time — not just when the app is active — and sells it to advertisers. But hey, don’t ya know there’s nothing like a free app?


If you’re a runner or a cyclist looking to burn calories, this is a real useful app. No bull.

Download (Free). Plenty of in-app purchases.

Website: www.runkeeper.com

Vivino: If even Runkeeper won’t get you off your couch, think this way: For every 85 calories you burn, you earn yourself a glass of wine. Jog or cycle over to the wine store, and this app will help you find the right wine at the right price — no sweat: Scan the label, et voilà! User ratings and reviews! As reliable as app ratings on the App Store, you ask? No, seriously, Vivino really has helped us discover some pretty decent wines.


The secret weapon for your next trip to the wine shop.

Download (Free, in-app purchases)

Website: www.vivino.com

First Aid: Can you recognize the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, and know what to do if someone displays these? Do yourself and your family a favor and get this app. Quick tips for emergencies, provided by the American Red Cross Society. It’s a “native app”, so all information resides on your device and you don’t need to connect to the internet to use the app. If you don’t live in the U.S., see if the Red Cross has a similar app for your country (They do, e.g. for U.K., Australia, New Zealand)

First Aid by Red Cross

Accidents happen. Be prepared — You can be a life saver.

Download (Free)

Website: www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps