I’m always in the market for new apps. I fiend apps. I love them for productivity, novelty, obscure information, you name it. We often throw around the old marketing adage ‘there’s an app for that’ without truly realizing how many of our day’s activities are made easier (sometimes even done for us) by apps.
Are you ready to get meta?
I have an app on my phone that a friend of mine is developing. It tells you everything you need to know about your app usage: how many you use daily/weekly/monthly, total time in each, number of times it has crashed, etc.
That’s right. I have an app about apps on my phone.
But while learning about my ‘app-its’ (my app habits), I realized there are a lot of gems on my phone that I’ve never bothered to share with friends. Hence the post. Without further ado, here are 5 apps you probably don’t have but should check out.
I don’t care that you all know how vain I can be. When I check Instagram or Twitter and the follower count decreases, a piece of me dies just a littie. ‘They don’t like me’ I sometimes whisper to myself. Why am I putting this in writing? InstaFollow and JustUnfollow are tools that help you manage your followers and identify those who have unfollowed you. I particularly like JustUnfollow because the free version even lets you see details like people who haven’t tweeted in the past 6 months, which makes cleansing your follows a lot easier.
I’ve always been one to say that you shouldn’t worry about your follow:following ratio unless the you’re at the limits and it’s a serious problem. With these tools though, you can efficiently manage your lists to ensure that you aren’t carrying any dead-weight or sneaky unfollow-backers. Seriously, these people are the equivalent of those shoppers who leave the empty carts all over the grocery store parking lot. For shame.
I’ll try to make this as simple and concise as possible: Onavo compresses data so you use less of it. Onavo helps you be smarter with your data and use apps wisely by compressing your usage in the background. Again, like Sleep Cycle I was very skeptical about how effective this would be. Surely if it worked, everyone would use it.
I can’t speak for others, but through simple reports I find it extremely useful to know where my data is going and which apps like to hog it. I usually save about 100MB a month which equates to just under 10% of my total usage. If you have a plan that you’re close to maxing out each month, or just want to use your data wisely (especially if you’re on a share/family plan) this app is a must-have.
Some people just have a need to know what’s going on under the hood. They end up becoming mechanics, engineers and super-villains hell-bent on exposing the identify of Batman. Except for the latter (because I firmly refuse to support the Gotham crime ring), I have the app that can feed that curiousity. When I first got System Utility, I just checked the dashboard once a month and found it interesting. Believe me, I’m aware of how ironic it is that I didn’t take a deep dive into this app.
Once I did though, I got some insanely accurate information about how my battery was discharging, the memory I was using, my CPU and processes, available disk space and my network. For example, by clicking on the ‘Battery’ overview, I can learn that a full charge of my phone would take approximately 40 minutes. Maybe not ‘need to know’ information, but handy to have.
I have to admit to two things: 1. I’m super stingy when it comes to purchasing apps due to the amount of free alternatives 2. I was highly skeptical of this app and its true value vs. the placebo effect. Now, I’ve been using SleepCycle for the better part of 6 months and I can tell you this: it really does lead to feeling more rested.
For anyone who’s unfamiliar, SleepCycle is an app that tracks your body’s movements during sleep and wakes you up within a specified range of time (rather than a 6:30 AM alarm, you’d set it to wake you up at the best time between 6:00-6:30 AM) using music or sounds that get gradually larger. I noticed a considerable difference after 3 weeks and have found it to be a great means of increasing energy. How many apps can you say directly added a little skip to your step, after all?
The only down-sides of Sleep Cycle are that, for it to work, you have to keep the app running all night. If you don’t have a bedroom that allows you to charge your phone while also resting on the bed next to you, this is a bit of a deal-breaker.
If you’ve read many reviews on Microsoft Office for iOS, they’ve likely condemned the iPad app because it requires a pricey Office 365 subscription. But the iPhone version is full of features. I’ve found it to be incredibly handy for creating and editing documents on the go and most of the features you’ve grown to know and expect from the desktop version are present. The interface is simple and easy to navigate too.
If using a free alternative has never sat well with you or you spend a lot of your days working in existing presentations, spreadsheets or documents then it’s a must-have for your phone.
In short, these apps probably won’t change your life in a drastic way, but they will make it a fair bit easier to go about the things that you were planning to do anyway. With the amount of time we spend on our phones and within apps, we owe it to ourselves to ensure that we’re only using the best possible offering for our custom needs.