Updated: 50 best free iPhone apps 2015

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PCHF Bot
Jan 10, 2015
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Facebook




The world's biggest social network brings a tightly honed experience to the iPhone and iPod touch, but nonetheless still enables you to access your contacts, feeds and other important information. This sense of focus makes it in many ways superior to using Facebook in a desktop browser.

If you pick up an iPhone 6s / iPhone 7 when it launches later this year, Facebook will likely be one of the first apps you'll want to download.

RunKeeper




The prospect of Nike+ but better and for free might sound unlikely, but that's what RunKeeper provides. Previously split into 'pro' and 'free' versions, the developer now generously includes all the features in one free app.

That means you can spend no money, yet use your iPhone's GPS capabilities to track your jogging and cycling routes, and examine mapping and details of your pace and calories burned. Activities can be shared online, and treadmill runs and other exercise details can be entered manually.

If you like this then make sure you read 10 best iPhone and iPad apps for keeping fit and 5 sports headphones for iPhone and iPod touch.

Storehouse




Storehouse is all about telling stories with the help of gorgeous photos and videos. Although you can submit your own tales, you can also just take in other people's submissions, on anything from amazing journeys in the jungle through to meticulously prepared meals.

Manual




One of the biggest new camera features in iOS 8 is the ability to finally adjust your exposure settings.

Although you can manually brighten and darken the frame with the basic built-in camera app, the Manual app adds some more granular control over settings such as ISO and shutter speed.

Calorie Counter




If you're feeling the need to cut down on your food intake, Calorie Counter's a smart download. The app is well designed and, importantly, has a massive food-item database, making it easy to input everything you eat. Web sync, optional social features, reports and goals add to the goodness.

Groove




If you've a large music collection, it can sometimes be difficult to decide what to listen to next. Groove tries to figure out your listening habits and cross-references your collection with Last.fm data.

The result is constantly evolving automatic personalised playlists that might just change your iPhone music-listening habits for good.

Instapaper




Instapaper was the app that kicked off the whole 'read later' thing, giving you a way to save web pages for later. It's still the best, boasting a fantastic and readable default theme — and now it's free.

Perhaps more importantly, it also fully integrates with iOS 8, meaning you can now directly save to Instapaper from any browser that supports Share sheets.

TodoMovies 3




TodoMovies is a to-do list for movies. You use it to browse what's on (and, if you like, what's been on — including years ago) and build a list of what you want to see.

Cleverly the app also enables you to rate each movie, thereby building up a list of your favourites that you can refer to at any time.

TripIt




Organizing travel just got automagical. Whether you're a planner or the spontaneous type, TripIt helps transform your travel and booking confirmation emails into a master day-by-day itinerary, with all your plans in one place, via the web or your phone.

Along with creating your itinerary, TripIt also suggests attractions and activities according to your schedule, and even looks up all the information we seem to forget like weather, maps, and directions.

Podcasts




Apple's apps and software have always been variable, but Podcasts was just a mess when it was first released. However, an update streamlined the interface, and enabled you to create custom stations that automatically update and synchronise over iCloud.

Paid solutions like Instacast still edge Podcasts for mad-keen podcast devourers, but Apple's freebie comes close.

7 minute workout




There's more to exercising than just running, and 7 Minute Workout can help introduce you to a whole new set of calisthenics.

The app includes instructions for a whole series of exercises including tricep dips, planks (not to be confused with planking), box squats and much more. It even provides instructional video for each to make sure you have the proper form.

Find My Friends




A.k.a 'Stalk My Contacts', but Find My Friends does have practical uses: if you're meeting a bunch of iPhone-owning friends and want to know where they're at, for example, or for when wanting to check where your spouse is on the road, to see if it's time to put the dinner in the oven/pretend to look busy when they walk through the door. (Or maybe that's just what freelance tech writers do.)

Flickr




Long-time internet users frequently dwell on what might have been regarding Flickr. It should have the ubiquity of Facebook, but seemingly missed the mobile boat.

Still, Yahoo! now has new leadership and if apps like Flickr for iPhone are any indication of what's to come, the service might get a second wind.

Photosynth




We did a bit of a double-take on seeing Microsoft's name attached to this, not least given the lack of a price-tag. But PhotoSynth is a really great panorama app; it's user-friendly and fun to use, especially when watching your panoramas take shape while you capture them.

The iOS Camera app also has a panorama mode, but PhotoSynth's more flexible and works with older devices.

Google Maps




It's no secret just how badly Apple's own mapping app performs, although it has got better post-iOS 6.

Fortunately, Google Maps is a free download, and a far better solution than the old Google Maps app as well, thanks to the inclusion of turn-by-turn navigation and - in some cities - public transport directions. It's an easy way to supercharge your iPhone's mapping capabilities and one of the first apps you should grab for the iPhone 7 when it launches.

30/30




Timers and task managers are usually designed with extreme efficiency, to the point they practically yell NO FUN ALLOWED in your face.

30/30, however, provides a streamlined, tactile interface that happens to look great, is fun to use, and that makes it a breeze to create lists and define timers. It also enables looping for anyone addicted to the Pomodoro Technique.

Evernote Scannable




Although Evernote Scannable isn't the most feature-rich iPhone scanner you're ever likely to see, it's a winner when it comes to efficiency. Open it up, plonk a document on a background with enough contrast, and the app in a moment scans it in.

You can send the resulting JPEG to Evernote, share it to another service, or do further scans that will be compiled to PDF.

Dropbox




Plenty of apps exist for transferring content between your computer and your device, but Dropbox is free and easier to use than most of its contemporaries. Dump files you want to sync in a folder on your computer and Dropbox for your device will enable you to access them, download them for offline viewing, and, in many cases, view them.

Love Dropbox? Then check out our article Essential tips for every Dropbox user.

Citymapper




If you live in or visit one of the supported cities (which include London, Paris, Berlin and New York), Citymapper is an essential download, assuming you want to find your way around more easily.

It'll zero in on your location and then intelligently get you from A to B, providing all kinds of travel options and routing, and, where relevant, live times for transit.

Skype




FaceTime is a great alternative to standard voice calls, but it's no good if you're trying to contact someone without a Mac or compatible iOS device. Therefore, Skype remains an essential download.

The interface is simple and usable, enabling anyone with a Skype account to make free calls to other Skype users and cheap calls to anywhere in the world. If you're on Pay and Go, this is particularly handy, but the app also enables iPod touch users to utilise their devices for calls.

Photoshop Touch




Photoshop Touch has all your post processing needs. This versatile post processing tool lets you tweak your images for everything from brightness, contrast, saturation to toning down the highlights (otherwise known as the bright parts of the frame).

Beyond some basic adjustments, the mobile Adobe workshop comes with layers and many of the same filtering effects from the full fledged desktop app.

Movies by Flixter




Movies by Flixter succeeds where it matters. Select a film and the app figures out where you're located, lists nearby cinemas/theaters, and displays times your chosen movie is showing. Efficiency can be further increased by pinning favourite cinemas to the top of the list.

UP by Jawbone




Up might be Jawbone's latest app designed for the Jawbone Up24 fitness tracker, but you can also use it with just an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or iPhone 5S by itself.

Thanks to the new Health app and the step tracking capabilities of Apple's M8 and M7 co-processor you can use the app to track your steps, sleep and food intake.

Twitter




The official Twitter app might lack some of the features found in the likes of Tweetbot, but it does provide a sleek and simple means of using the service. It also rapidly rolls in new features from the website, such as the Connect and Discover views, along with expandable tweets that contain photos and videos.

Evernote




Clients to access the popular Evernote service for storing notes and ideas online are available for so many platforms that we half expect a ZX Spectrum app to be announced tomorrow. On the iPhone, Evernote is efficient and usable, enabling you to rapidly scan your notes and also create new ones.

YouTube




Apple binned its own YouTube app from the iPhone, presumably because it hates Google far more than it loves online video.

Google's own YouTube app works much as you'd expect, enabling you to search and watch an almost limitless number of cats playing pianos, people moaning about stuff to their web-cams, and more besides.

ShowStopper




You know how it goes: hand your iPhone to someone so they can check out an amazing picture you took, and before you know it they're scrolling like a maniac through the entirety of Photos.

Stop such rudeness with ShowStopper, an app that enables you to make locked galleries on the fly. You get up to four images at once, but can go unlimited for $0.99/69p.

Kindle




With iBooks on the iPhone, you might wonder why you should bother with Amazon's Kindle. After all, the app's not as pretty as iBooks, nor is there an integrated store (you buy in Safari and sync purchases to the app). However, Kindle offers a massive selection of books compared to Apple's app and the reading experience is great.

Wikipanion




The Wikipedia website works fine on iPhones, and there is an free official Wikipedia app but Wikipanion is another freebie which gives you quick access to article sections, in-article search, viewing options, a location based map search, bookmarking, and the ability to tweet about whatever odd fact you've just unearthed. Also, wonderfully, there are no ads.

Dictionary.com




Over two million definitions, synonyms and antonyms are available in the palm of your hand with this free, offline dictionary and thesaurus. The app is fast and efficient, includes phonetic and audio pronunciation of words, and its interface seems perfectly suited to the iPhone.

1Password




Although iOS includes iCloud Keychain, 1Password is a better system. It's fully cross-platform and enables you to store multiple identities (such as a full one for payments and a simplified one for forums), secure notes and software licence details. As of iOS 8, 1Password integrates with Touch ID, meaning you can use it with Safari, although the app also retains its own built-in browser.

Vidgets




A great many Today view widgets seem quite gimmicky, but Vidgets provides a great mix of monitoring and utility.

The standalone app enables you to add and organise the likes of world clocks, network indicators, and widgets outlining remaining space on your device. These are then immediately available in Notification Center.

eBay




On using the eBay app, there's a good chance you won't go near the eBay website again. The app is fast, has great saved searches (which flag new finds), and enables you to create listings. The last of those things is also improved by the built-in bar-code scanning.

Duolingo




We're always waiting for the other shoe to drop with Duolingo, but it seems this organisation really does want you to learn new languages entirely for free.

And it's a fantastic app — fun, friendly, and packed with bite-sized quizzes that hold your interest and never become onerous. It's perfect for anyone who wants to dabble in a bit of Spanish, French, German, Portugese, Italian, Irish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish or even English!

Shazam




Shazam is an app that feels like magic when you first use it. It's deceptively simple—hold your iPhone near to a music source, and wait while the app listens and tells you what track is playing. But the sheer technology behind this simplicity is mind-boggling, and while Shazam doesn't always guess right, it's worth a download.

Swiftkey




The revamped iOS 8 keyboard is far better than its predecessor, not least because of the predictive word bar, but SwiftKey takes things a step further. Rather than laboriously tapping out individual keys, you just glide your finger across them. This can make for some comical typos initially, but SwiftKey soon speeds up iPhone text entry.

Yousician Guitar




For the most part, Yousician Guitar feels quite a lot like Guitar Hero, only you use a real guitar and the app is cunningly teaching you how to play it.

Things start with the absolute basics, but before you know it, you're strumming and picking with the best of them. The app's free, although with limited daily play time. Subscriptions enable you to learn more rapidly.

Find my iPhone




For the paranoid souls out there (or the unlucky ones who've had their devices pilfered), Find My iPhone is a must-have download. Assuming you've a 2010 or later iOS device, you can set up a free account and locate your devices within seconds. (Note that older devices can also be added to Find My iPhone - you just need a recent one to get things going.)

Kayak




Kayak aims to be an all-in-one smart travel app, providing the means to search for flights, hotels, and car rentals, and then manage your trip and track your flights. Alerts can be defined to inform you about price changes, and the interface is clean and simple, ensuring that you don't miss any important details.

Bonjournal




Whether you've a thirst for adventure and are looking for inspiration on where to travel or are more of an armchair tourist, Bonjournal enables you to live vicariously through other people's beautiful photo blogs.

And if you do end up somewhere amazing yourself, turning your experience into a great-looking and sharable story is a simple, efficient process.

TuneIn Radio




Don't bother buying a DAB radio - just install TuneIn Radio instead and plug your device into a set of speakers. TuneIn Radio has a great interface for accessing over 50,000 digital stations; it also has AirPlay support, and you can use it as an alarm clock.

Google Translate




Google Translate is a bit like an insanely portable and entirely free gaggle of translation staff. When online, you can translate written or photographed text between dozens of languages, or speak into your device and listen to translations. And for English to French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish (and back), the app will attempt to live-translate (even when offline) any text in front of the camera.

TunnelBear VPN




The idea behind TunnelBear is to keep browsing private and to get around censored and geo-locked websites. The interface is insanely simple — you just tap the country you want to browse from and wait a bit.

Connections are generally robust but easy to restart if they drop. For free, you get 500 MB per month. Spam your Twitter feed and you'll get an extra GB.

TED




TED is brain food. The app provides access to talks by insanely clever people, opening your mind to new and radical ideas. You can also save your favourite talks locally, for even easier access, or ask the app to inspire you, based on your mood and available time.

SkyScanner




Skyscanner's a great website, which enables you to punch in airports and find out the cheapest way of getting from A to B. The Skyscanner app is the same, but it's on your device and with a spiffy AI. Well worth a download, even if only to check flights for an upcoming holiday.

Timehop




The nature of social media is it's all about the 'now'. With Timehop, you get the chance to revisit moments from this day, based around your online history.

The service connects to whatever accounts you allow it to, and then shows you what was happening in your world. It's a simple concept that's perfect for iPhone.

GarageBand




Apple's GarageBand turns your iPhone into a recording studio. Previously a paid app, GarageBand now has a freemium model. For no charge, you get full access to its features, including a range of smart instruments, MIDI editing and song arrangement.

The only limitation is that relatively few instruments are included, but more are available via IAP.

BBC iPlayer




BBC iPlayer is by far our favourite of the TV catch-up apps, largely because it tries to do what's right for the viewer, rather than the suits. You can watch live TV or check out shows that have been broadcast over the past 30 days. Archived shows can be downloaded to watch later, and there's also AirPlay support for firing footage at your Apple TV.

Netflix




Brits might rightly grumble that the Netflix selection leaves a little to be desired, but it's still a very affordable way to get a ton of TV in front of your eyes. The app works much like you'd expect: browse, watch, realise it's three in the morning - again.

Flipboard




It would be a hard ask to expect the Flipboard experience on the iPhone and iPod touch to match that of the iPad version, but it nonetheless has a good go, transforming your favourite feeds and news sources into a tiny, beautiful digital magazine.




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