Best Free Apps for Your iPhone

Posted on Monday, Apr 11 2011 on 12:00 PM
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Here are the best apps that should be on your Apple iPhone:

Movies and Musics

Pandora (Free): A great way to get music that fits you without the hassle of having to cue up songs or do the necessary research.

Shazam (Free): Easy way to figure out what artist and track you’re hearing at any given moment when that information isn’t available.

Netflix (Free; Sub. Req.): This iPhone app requires a Netflix subscription so if you have one then you should install it.  You won’t be using it to watch movies in bed at home like my dad does but if you catch yourself somewhere with time to spare and want to watch an old episode of Southpark it works great.

Yelp (Free): If you’ve used Yelp before it’s the pretty much the same thing on the iPhone, just a nice scaled down version.  Easy way to look for something good to eat nearby.

Movies by Flixster (Free): Movie times, trailers, Rotten Tomato rankings are among the many features that make this a nice robust movie listing app.  I also have the MovieFone app but I prefer to use this one.

Homegrown Apps

Remote (Free): The value that you derive from this app will likely be determinant on how integrated your home AV setup is with your computer.  If you simply like to listen to music from you computer speakers you might enjoy the ability to change the song from anywhere on your wifi network. However, if you have invested in other Apple products such as an Apple TV, an AirPlay enabled device and/or an Airport Express it’s a great way to be able to control all your music and media throughout your home.

Find My Phone (Free): The usefulness of the actual app on your phone may prove to be minimal however if you happen to own an iPad it is a quick and easy way to pinpoint it’s location should you misplace it or worse.  If you haven’t already, you should be sure to setup your iPhone and/or iPad for the free Find My Phone service.  You can do this by creating a new email account in settings and picking the MobileMe option.  Fill in your Apple ID that you use to purchase items from the App Store and you should be all set.

Photography

Photoshop Express (Free): I included this one for two main features that are currently lacking from Apple’s native offerings: rotate and crop.  It’s a solid free option to take care of these two tasks which come up from time to time especially when the accelerometer calibrates incorrectly.

On The Road

Taxi Magic (Free): Lets you book a taxi straight from your phone, track it’s location in route and even pay from your phone if you have an account setup (I pay with cash however as they charge you a $1.50 surcharge each time you make a payment through their system).

MapQuest Mobile 4 (Free): Mapquest Mobile is by no means the best map app. Apple’s offering, powered by Google, is far better.  However MapQuest offers something that Apple doesn’t: turn by turn directions.  And it’s the best free offering out there.  There have been rumblings that iOS 5 will bring this as a native feature but until then the MapQuest app serves this purpose well.

Strands (Free): There have been a good deal of apps released recently providing workout tracking and summary but Strands has served me well over the past couple years and it’s free.  It gives you audio mileage and duration updates, a full breakdown of your workout once you’re done and will store your workout on your phone for future reference.  If you want something a little more polished and/or have Nike+ shoes, Nike+ GPS ($1.99) is a great paid alternative.

Security

Google Authenticator (Free): If you use Google for a lot of services like I do and worry about your account getting hijacked this provides an extra line of defense. You’ll need to opt into Google’s 2-step verification process. Doing so will then require you to use the Authenticator app to generate a time sensitive code in order to access your account from any new device.  It may sound like a pain but once you have it setup it really doesn’t effect you unless you’re signing into a new computer. Google allows you to generate application specific passwords for things like Outlook, iCal, your iPhone etc. which are not compatible with the system.  The only headache it’s provided as of yet is that Adwords Editor doesn’t store your password so I have to keep that application specific password handy.

Other

FlashLight4G (Free): Does exactly what it’s supposed to, turns the iPhone 4 flash on continuously and does it quickly.  I’ve actually had more instances than I would have thought where this came in handy.

Google Translate (Free): Type or say whatever you want and it will spit it back at you in both text and audio in whatever language you want.  Haven’t needed this as much recently but I figure it’s worth the small amount of space it requires in case a situation presents itself.

Amazon Price Checker (Free): Amazon is usually the place to find the best deal on any big purchases especially in the states where it is currently able to forgo charging the consumer sales tax (which may not last all that long).  However, I don’t use this app for it’s price checking capabilities as much as I use it as a queue for items I’ve found but at that moment don’t want to purchase or don’t have the money.

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