It’s not hard to find great lists of the best apps to load into your iPhone and iPad, filled with crowd favorites such as Facebook, Instagram or Spotify, but the App Store conceals a wealth of apps that might not have the same popular limelight. We sifted through the App Store to bring you these hidden gems, apps that don’t always make the “Best Of” lists, but deliver fantastic utility and interesting new features to your iPhone or iPad.
Overcast is an iOS podcast app by Instapaper creator Marco Ament that features clean design and neat audio and management features that make it a great mobile podcatcher. Overcast covers your podcatching basics for downloading podcast episodes, notifications of new episode releases, offline play, and podcast discovery. The secret sauce comes with two nice audio features. Voice Boost normalizes the sound levels of speech, automatically boosting quiet voices and lowering loud ones. Smart Speed automatically cuts away at gaps and silence in the podcast, speeding up play without distorting the audio. Some of Overcast’s features are locked or limited in the free tier, which can be unlocked with a $4.99 in-app purchase.
Keep your photos and videos on the level with Horizon, an iOS camera app that automatically shoots horizontal photos and videos with the help of your iPhone’s internal gyroscope. Horizon always keeps your videos and photos horizontal, however, you hold your device. The app supports a variety of resolutions and aspect ratios, a variety of leveling modes, slow motion video capture, as well as eight built-in filters. The free tier includes a watermark and locks some of the fancier features such as 2k video and slow-mo, which can be removed with in-app purchases.
RockMyRun delivers specially designed music mixes with consistent energy and tempo to help you make the most out of your running and exercise routine. Mixes run the whole gamut of genres and time periods, from hip-hop to rock, the 90s to Oldies and dubstep to classical. Another neat feature is “myBeat” technology that can adjust each mix’s energy level to your step pace, heartbeat or through manual adjustment. The app also integrates with other exercising apps such as Runkeeper and MapMyRun, allowing you to record your runs while RockMyRun keeps going. The free tier provides mixes of up to 45 minutes and is ad-supported. A premium subscription removes ads and provides longer workout mixes.
Pacifica (Free, premium subscription)
De-stress, cope with anxiety and get the negativity out of your life with Pacifica, a mobile habit-forming app that teaches users to be mindful of their emotional well-being. A daily mood tracker is designed to help you log your emotional state, with text notes to help you review the things that set you off, make you happy or help you cope. Daily tasks such as guided meditations, thought analysis and other mini-activities use a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques help break the anxiety cycle and relax. Signing up to a premium subscription unlocks the unlimited use of Pacifica’s activities, as well as private messaging features.
Dark Sky ($3.99)
Kickstarter-funded weather app Dark Sky impressed many with its hyper-accurate local weather forecasting, with “down to the minute” rain and snow predictions using radar mapping. Dark Sky’s one Achilles heel was the lack of longer term forecasting, but that’s no longer the case with the latest major update. Incorporating features from the Forecast.io Web app, the latest version of Dark Sky now includes 24-hour and next week forecasting, and new light backgrounds making the radar maps easier to read.
Business travelers and other frequent flyers are going to love LoungeBuddy, an app that helps users locate airport lounges at more than 400 airports globally, complete with crowd-sourced reviews, details such as amenities, operating hours and more. A handy Lounge Access Wizard allows users to enter their trip details, service class and any applicable memberships such as, elite status or credit cards in order to present you with nearby facilities that you can access for free or for a fee.
IF by IFTTT (Free)
IFTTT is a neat task automation tool built around the idea of If (This), Then (That), from which the app takes its name. IFTTT can take triggers from a variety of channels (which can be everything from popular services such as Facebook or Twitter to smart devices), which can then be set to trigger actions on other channels. IFTTT comes with a wealth of templates, available in curated collections, or in featured, trending or all-time favorites. Users can easily pick and choose, modify or create their own recipes to help automate their lives.
iOS users with a crafty side will want to check out SnapGuide, a repository of user-created how-to guides for everything from arts, crafts, DIY fixes, tech tips and food recipes. Each guide is lavishly illustrated, with detailed instructions and full-page photo guides. Users can view featured guides, check out a variety of topics from gardening, automotive, arts & crafts and other projects, as well as popular and recently uploaded guides. Users can comment on, like, and share guides or even create new guides of their own
FileThis automatically gathers and organizes your online statements, bills, receipts and other documents from your credit cards, bank accounts, insurance and utility companies. The app then conveniently turns them into text-searchable PDF files delivered to the cloud storage service of your choice, putting your important documents and receipts within easy access anywhere you have an internet connection and allowing you to dispense with bulky paper binders and folders. FileThis allows users six “connections” (bank accounts, CCs, utilities, etc.) while premium plans can cover up to 30 distinct connections.
Practice+ (Free, in-app purchases)
Practice+ is a multipurpose utility app for musicians, providing a variety of tools to help make the most out of practice sessions. Practice+ comes with a configurable metronome, tuner, recorder, setlist, pitch player and looping tools. Each of those is packed with a wealth of settings and features, allowing you to set everything to your liking. The app is free to try, with in-app purchases unlocking advanced features. From practicing, to tuning, and even on-stage, Practice+ is a versatile toolkit for the music enthusiast or professional
Reddit Ask Me Anything (Free)
Reddit’s regular Ask Me Anything or AMA sessions feature community-led interviews of notable people such as politicians, actors, scientists and more. Everyone from Barack Obama, Peter Dinklage, and Neil deGrasse Tyson participate in online interviews where Redditors ask them anything. The official Ask Me Anything app allows users to participate in active AMAs, as well as enjoy archives of AMAs by a variety of guests from just about every field under the sun.
Doorsteps Swipe (Free)
Doorsteps Swipe is real estate Tinder, helping you skim through a variety of nearby rental and for sale properties with a quick swipe on your phone screen. The app puts you in touch with a wealth of up-to-date real estate listings locally and across the country, which you can filter by location, pricing, rental/for sale or other parameters. The app also learns from your swipes to better tailor itself to your preferences. Users can also view detailed information on their saved swipes, such as amenities, pet policies, and open house schedules.