] It’s hard to imagine a world without apps, but that was the reality of the smartphone sector until Steve Jobs unveiled Apple’s App Store a decade ago.
This remained the largest repository of downloadable content (DLC) for many years, though arch-rival Google now offers greater choice in its Android Play Store.
Even so, iOS apps are often launched before Android versions, and Apple customers still have an incredible diversity of DLC to choose from, including many unique apps.
In compiling our shortlist of ten unmissable iOS apps, we’ve avoided anything gaming-related, unduly frivolous or overly expensive.
These apps could all make a significant difference to daily experiences as an Apple user…
Launch Center Pro. This ingenious app initially resembles a typical smartphone screen, filled with icons and graphics.
However, tapping an icon performs a customised task, rather than opening a program.
Among hundreds of options, you could use a thumbnail image of your house to call home, or attach the last photo you took to an email.
iA Writer. The limited size of iPhone screens means typing will always be challenging, and even iPads are flawed when it comes to regular data entry.
iA Writer improves usability by adding a number of features to the basic QWERTY keyboard.
There are cursor arrows and formatting buttons for HTML, a word count and reading time estimator, plus multiple export formats.
Infuse Pro 5. Cross-platform file access has always been one of Apple’s greatest strengths, and Infuse Pro 5 represents an intriguing adaptation.
Adding multimedia content like movies or shows into a folder makes them accessible from anywhere, while programs can also be streamed via AirPlay or Google Cast.
Infuse adds subtitles, cover art and metadata, and it’s compatible with storage media ranging from Dropbox to Plex.
1Password. Remembering today’s plethora of account login credentials is becoming completely impractical unless you have an eidetic memory – or 1Password.
This password storage utility dovetails with Safari to store identities, reminder notes and licence details.
A paid upgrade introduces desktop PC and Apple Watch compatibility, enabling users to secure online accounts using complex passwords they’d otherwise never remember.
Readdle Documents. Having won awards in over 70 countries, the popularity of document storage device Readdle is clear.
It stores everything from emails and webpages to music files and PDFs, alongside compatibility with all the major online storage services (Dropbox, iCloud, etc).
Readdle is also free, making its attractive UI and simple operations seem all the more appealing.
Google Maps. Despite recent improvements, Apple’s in-house maps aren’t very good.
Google Maps is far superior, offering turn-by-turn navigation and even public transport directions in certain cities.
Street View is endlessly absorbing, while in-car sat nav becomes redundant when Google Maps is run through Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring.
Chrome. Staying with Google, their Chrome browser is also a market leader – and it’s available on iOS.
Using the world’s most used web browser reduces the likelihood of display or compatibility issues compared to Safari, which remains something of a niche browser.
Being able to share bookmarks and favourites across PC and Android devices is another benefit of Chrome, whereas Safari is rarely glimpsed outside Apple’s walled garden.
MyFitnessPal. As healthy eating becomes increasingly intertwined with mental health, MyFitnessPal seems very timely.
Scanning product barcodes instantly reveals a huge database of nutritional information, including the carbohydrates, fat, protein and calories in that particular item.
Other useful tools include a recipe importer, calorie tracking services, granular fitness goals and compatibility with exercise apps.
Sprouter. As 2019 dawns, social media fatigue is setting in as established platforms lose their lustre.
Sprouter simplifies the task of monitoring activity across multiple platforms, by combining Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest into a single app.
It’s possible to publish updates across every social network at once, which is a real time-saver.
Forest. The latest version of iOS includes activity trackers, providing a sobering summary of device usage and screen time for individual iOS apps.
Forest encourages users not to unlock the handset, by planting a tiny virtual sapling and setting a time period. If the phone isn’t unlocked in this period, the sapling flourishes.
However, unlocking the phone before the deadline kills the sapling. And if that’s not enough motivation, it’s possible to raise revenue to plant real trees in third-world communities.