My iPhone App Playlist

Date: 12.Jan 2014 | Reading Time: 12 minutes, 50 seconds

In the spirit of app recommendation lists that keep popping up everywhere I decided to make my own. I do have a lot of iOS apps. In fact, I went a little overboard in 2012 and the first half of 2013. So much so that after I added up the amount of money I spent on app purchases, I went on a very strict app feast for the rest of 2013.

Anyway, my point is that I have tried a lot of apps and a couple stuck leading to the top apps I use today. Each category is in order of importance to my way of working. Well more or less. Halfway through I wasn’t able to decide on the proper order, so higher up is generally more important to me, but it’s a sliding scale the further down you get.

Quick Links

Internet Apps

While Internet is a pretty broad term, I use it to designate apps that are used to interact with the online world.

Felix

Without doubt still my favorite App.net client. It has gotten pretty slow on my iPhone 4, but I still keep coming back to it every day. Felix definitely is a top contender to the “most used app” spot.

Sunstroke

For my news reading I am using a Fever install on my server. Sunstroke is without a doubt the best way to access my Fever feeds on the iPhone and I have tried pretty much every Fever compatible iPhone client out there. It is not as versatile as Mr. Reader on the iPad for sharing out items, but from a pure reading perspective I have yet to find a better app.

Twitteriffic

I hardly use Twitter anymore these days. App.net has almost completely replaced the service with the bird for me. However, a lot of my colleagues still use it and I need a way to occasionally respond to DMs and mentions. Twitteriffic is a beautiful and more then adequate Twitter client for this job.

Articles

For my Wikipedia research I prefer to use a dedicated client like Articles. This is one area where I grabbed the client that looked best for me way back when I got my first iPhone and I just never tried another one. So there might be better Wikipedia clients out there, but Articles suits me just fine.

dict.cc

While my English is reasonably good, I do need to look up words once in a while. I found dict.cc a pretty good dictionary. Plus it is an offline dictionary, which is still something I rely on occasionally in spots with bad reception.

WeatherPro

I usually check the weather by looking out the window—now there’s a revolutionary idea! But when I need to look up the weather at a travel destination or to check a forecast for the upcoming week WeatherPro has proven to be the most reliable app for Germany and Europe in general. And it has nice detailed statistical infos and weather radar imagery. Not that I could make heads or tails of those, but they look nice.

Outbank

For German bank accounts there is nothing better then Outbank. It is available on iPhone, iPad and OS X and it actually works with a wide array of banks. While I don’t check my accounts daily, Outbank is certainly the cornerstone of my own digital accounting and that of our business.

Screens VNC

Another one of these “don’t use often, but critical when I do” apps. Screens allows me to quickly fix things on our server even when I am hundreds of kilometers away from home. Together with Screens Connect, its desktop counterpart, setup is a breeze and I don’t have to trouble myself with ports and SSL, etc. It just works.

Pushpin

I use Pinboard for everything bookmarking related, including keeping a downloadable archive of the bookmark, meaning if the page you bookmarked goes offline, you’ll still be able to see the archived copy indefinitely.

And a big feature for me is that I use Pinboard as Instapaper replacement. Pushpin is the client that helps me achieve that last part. Right now it is a basic way to browse my bookmarks and catch up on my unread items. However, there is a feature in the works that will make my goal of using Pinboard and Instapaper replacement complete: Offline reading. I don’t know when exactly it is coming, but I was assured it is coming and when the day comes it will be glorious. Or so I hope…

Dropbox

I don’t use the app that often, but it is very comforting to know that I have the option. Getting at anything in my Dropbox within a matter of seconds is truly convenient.

FaceTime

Skype can suck it. Especially since Microsoft took over and ruined the app even more. ‘Nuff said.

Productivity

Productivity is such a loaded word that I try to avoid it. In this case I really am referring to apps that allow me to do work or to keep track of stuff.

1Password

I don’t think I’d be able to survive without 1Password. I’d have to use the same password everywhere or juggle paper lists or something. Madness would ensue pretty quickly I am sure.

Thankfully, AgileBits has me covered in the insanity department. 1Password is the first app I install on any machine. And since it syncs via Dropbox I can access my password library even when I am on a random computer with Internet access.

Begin

Great little to do list app. Simple and very bare bones. Just what I need. I also have Omnifocus, but rarely use it. Begin I actually do use. It is a refreshing take on the old paradigm of creating lists to check off.

Mail.app

What can I say? I rely on email and I find the default mail app to be very much sufficient. I have used Sparrow in the past, but with iOS 7 I switched back to the default app and haven’t looked back.

Drafts

While I prefer to write on my iPad, I do use Drafts on the iPhone to sketch out quick ideas or as simple pasteboard. Sync with the Drafts for iPad app is instantaneous, so I can start a thought on my iPhone and continue it on my iPad in Drafts or Editorial without effort.

I have set up a nice little array of custom actions in Drafts, which allows me to use it as a plain text journaling app or as a quick entry bucket for story ideas.

Calendars 5

I used Fantastical before Calendars, but as it turns out Calendars has the same natural language event creation, but a much nicer calendar interface. I don’t use a calendar that often really, but it is always a pleasure to use Calendars 5 when I have to.

PCcalc

Powerful, quick, to the point. When I need to use a calculator this is the one I turn to. It allows me to be as simple or as complex in my calculations as I need to be and it can do so much more like convert units. Though for unit conversion I tend to use Vert.

I linked to the free version above as that is already plenty powerful and if you so desire you can upgrade its functionality to suit your needs, which is exactly what I have done.

Vert

Vert is another one of those laser focused apps without any cruft, a concept that I seem to really gravitate to, don’t I? Vert does exactly what it says on the tin. It converts a wide array of units and does so in a fast and efficient manner.

CarbonFin Outliner

Sometimes I need a list that is neither a todo list nor a full outline or mindmap. CarbonFin Outliner fills that niche nicely. It is very much alike the famous OmniOutliner condensed down for iPhone. It can be used as todo list app or as full blown outliner with comments and the likes. But it is clean enough that I can use it for my simple list making.

Navigon

The only turn by turn navigation I use. It is accurate, regularly updated with up to date map data and is generally nice to use.

From the looks of it my global version of Navigon isn’t offered any longer on the App Store. Instead there are several region based apps at a cheaper price.

DB Navigator

The app of the German railway services. More of a nuisance then a must have, but it is better then juggling paper tickets.

Media

Castro

The new kid on the podcast client block has bedazzled me from the day it came out. Yes, it is very minimal in its feature set. However, I found that it actually offers all the features I need and not more. Before I was using Instacast and lately Downcast, both great apps, but much too fiddly.

I am so much happier with Castro and without feature bloat. Give it a try. You might like it.

Audible

I cannot say enough good things about Audible. I love the way their service works. I love audiobooks. I love this app. That plus the fact that the support is simply awesome. Recently I found out that you can return two books a year within a year of purchase for a full refund without challenge from the staff. How awesome is that?

I highly recommend a membership with them.

Naturespace

Sometimes I need to switch off my brain completely or shut out the world. Naturespace is brilliant for that. It offers a great collection of high quality nature sounds that really transport you to the recorded location when you close your eyes.

Listening to nature is a poor mans replacement to actually going outside, but it is worlds better then blasting my ears with music all day or using white noise to drown out environmental distractions.

Camera+

My preferred quick and dirty image editor on the go. It has some nice filters and allows for some quick edits. And it allows me to share my pictures quickly and painlessly.

There are other similar image editors like VSCO Cam (which I won’t link to, because I despise it), but they all are too slow, ugly or have horrible filters in my opinion.

Filterstorm Neue

Now this is a real work horse. Where Camera+ is my Instagram app, Filterstorm is my image editor on the go. It is pretty amazing what the developer has managed to pull of here. Quick, high quality editing on a tiny screen and excellent sharing options including direct FTP upload.

AutoStitch

I do love panoramas. While the iOS panorama feature looks neat, my iPhone 4 is unable to use it. Also, I usually need more then a single horizontal strip of photos for my panoramas.

AutoStitch is the best panorama app I have found. I can throw any amount of images at it snapped in all kinds of angles and it stitches them into a coherent panorama at a great quality and at up to 18 megapixels if I so desire.

CameraSync

Once my images have been taken and edited, I upload them to Dropbox, my main storage location for all my pictures. CameraSync does so automatically in the background with a good selection of powerful options including the ability to prevent screenshots and videos from being uploaded if one so wishes.

Unbound

After my images have uploaded with CameraSync I tend to delete them from my device. Unbound allows me to browse my complete image library from Dropbox in a nice interface.

Paprika

A cooking app isn’t exactly media, but it is the only category that semi-fit. Paprika is a great recipe app, because it is available on iPhone, iPad and OS X and the recipes are synced between the devices. I can type in a new recipe when I am away for work and my wife can cook the dish at home a minute later or vice versa. Perfect.

Shopping

Amazon

I get everything from Amazon. The app is at the same time convenient and really not great to use. But it is better then the website at least from the iPhone, so I’m using it.

Kickstarter

Hi. My name is Alex and I have a Kickstarter addiction.

Seriously though, I love browsing Kickstarter projects in the app for awesome projects, while at the same time hoping that there won’t be, so I don’t feel compelled to throw money out the window.

I really should delete this app…

Delivery Status Touch

The best way to track where my shipments are at. Fullstop. Again a service that syncs across iOS and OS X. Those are really the most versatile, aren’t they?

Summary

Pew, that was quite the list. While I don’t use everything on this list daily and these are by far not the only apps I have installed on my iPhone, I would consider this group of apps essential for my daily work and play. I hope there were some nuggets in there for you #teamappdiction people. :)