Want a better 2017?

There’s an app for that.

An exploding phone. Photo Credit: Mohi Syed.

Let’s face it: 2016 could have been better. Here’s a list of apps that will help you have a better 2017.


Duolingo: Learn something.

Duolingo is one of the easiest ways to learn a new language. Period. It only takes two minutes to get set up, and the lessons are broken down into short, 5-minute sessions.

Pair with: romantic trips to Paris.


Pocket: Read more.

Pocket allows you to save any article you find, on any of your devices, to a single, searchable place. You can even read those articles offline. Setup is a bit of a pain, but once you get into a groove you’ll never look back.

Pair with: lazy Sunday mornings.


Penny: Track spending.

Penny automatically keeps track of your spending so you don’t have to. Stop looking at your bank statements and start seeing where your money is going in real time. Plus, Penny keeps track of your bills, shares fun insights, and warns you if anything looks out of place.

Pair with: a big sigh of relief.


StrongLifts: Build strength.

If you’ve ever wanted to start lifting weights, there’s no better place to start than StrongLifts. It’s a dead simple program: five exercises, with five sets of five reps for each. You’ll be hitting personal bests in no time.

Pair with: beaches.


Fitbit: Be active.

To get the full Fitbit experience, you’ll need to fork over some extra cash for one of their many fitness trackers. However, once you do you’ll be able to engage your friends in periodic step challenges. Even without them, Fitbit’s app makes it oh-so-satisfying to hit your activity goals.

Pair with: smack talk.


Streaks: Form habits.

As you might have guessed from the name, Streaks is a glorified streak counter. While it comes with a $4 price tag, its elegant simplicity makes forming habits easy (including the habit of using Streaks every day). Streaks is iOS only, but here’s a good alternative on Android.

Pair with: New Year’s resolutions.


Overcast: Listen faster.

Overcast is a wildly popular podcast app that goes toe to toe with Apple’s built-in app. In addition to the standard podcast-listening functionality, Overcast smartly shortens silences to save you time without affecting your listening experience.

Pair with: work commutes.


Inbox: Respond quicker.

Gmail’s younger sibling, Inbox is simultaneously a simpler and more powerful experience than most other email apps out there. Included in its many features is the ability to snooze emails or reminders for later. But best of all, Inbox will suggest responses to emails so you can take your laziness to the next level.

Pair with: inbox zero.


Gboard: Text better.

Some might not consider this an app, but replacing your default keyboard on your iPhone or Android device can make a world of difference. Among other things, Gboard allows you to search for and send gifs directly from your keyboard.

Pair with: lots of gifs.


Forest: Stay focused.

When you want to stay focused, open the Forest app and hit start. If you leave the app open the whole time, a tree will grow. If you don’t, the tree will die. A little tree-shaming can go a long way to helping you stay focused.

Pair with: finally paying attention in class.


Hopefully these can get your 2017 started off right. And if not, well… there’s always next year.

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