You may have the latest and greatest iPhone 11 Max, but what good is it without awesome iOS apps? Not much good at all. Even if you don’t have Apple’s new top-of-the-line device, a major reason for owning an iPhone is the wealth of apps available for the platform. The question is, which ones should you install?

The apps included here will run just fine on the past few generations of iPhones, large or small. However, if you have an iPhone 11 or later, some apps let you do new, different things. The newer models include better cameras, Face ID, and more-powerful AR capabilities, which can make a difference for some apps. Inside the new phones’ guts, the newer processors also make many activities feel much zippier.

Our favorite apps cover a range of activities, including photo editing, social networking, messaging, getting organized, and staying healthy. There’s even one that helps you fill your gas tank cheaply.


Best iPhone Communication Apps

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger


Free

Whatever your take on the social network of record, its messaging app is without equal. You don’t need a phone number to use Facebook Messenger, you can use it on any device without the need for your phone to be present as it must with WhatsApp. It works on every platform, unlike iMessage. It also has many cool features, like audio calling and video chatting with AR masks, stickers, and even mobile payments. You can even play games through it with your contacts. Oh, and all of that’s free.


Gmail

Gmail

Free

Google’s email app is a wonderful communication tool. Like our other Editors’ Choice, Microsoft Outlook, it now lets you read mail accounts from Hotmail, Yahoo, and others via IMAP. It doesn’t integrate your calendar the way Outlook for iPhone does, but Gmail does make your entire email database easier to deal with than the preinstalled Apple Mail app. It’s smooth and fast, and even gives you five seconds to undo sending.


Kik

Kik

Free

Many messaging apps require you to give up your phone number to those who you chat with, but Kik only requires a username. And with a bot store already boasting more than 6,000 bots, Kik beat Facebook Messenger and Skype to the punch in the field of artificial conversationalists. Group chat, photo and video sharing, and gaming add to this youth-focused app’s appeal.


Outlook

Microsoft Outlook


Free

Microsoft Outlook’s light and flexible mobile email app supports nearly every email account you might have, includes an integrated calendar, and provides a Focused inbox that shows you only important messages. Frequently updated, the app includes an ancillary Apple Watch app and supports 3D Touch. Unlike the rest of Office Mobile, the Outlook iPhone app is totally free.


Skype

Skype


Free

Skype is one of the best free communication tools for the iPhone. The app lets you make video calls and supports rich texting with animated emojis. A good selection of bots gets you info you can use as well as entertainment. As with other versions of Skype, you can call or chat with other Skype users at no charge, or buy credit to call any other phone number, landline, or mobile.


Snapchat

Snapchat


Free

Sexting and security worries aside, the visual chat app Snapchat can be a lot of fun to use—if you can figure out its very nonstandard interface. Snapchat should not be used as a private and secure messaging app. Rather, it’s a simple app that you can use to swap funny, ephemeral visuals with your friends. Messages sent through Snapchat disappear from the receiver’s phone after a short time. Snap a picture, draw or write on top of it if you like, choose the amount of time the recipient can see it, and send away. Just bear in mind that all digital media is reproducible.


Spark

Spark Email

Free

Spark sports a slick interface and organizes your email into logical categories like Personal, Newsletters, and Notifications, though you can switch to a more standard full inbox view if you like. It handles multiple accounts, but doesn’t combine categories for them as Outlook does. The app is very configurable, with customizable swipe actions It also lets you pin improtant stuff and snooze emails to deal with later.


Viber

Viber


Free

The ability to seamlessly transfer calls from mobile to desktop and vice versa was an early differentiator for Viber, which lets you exchange sticker-emblazoned texts as well as make calls and engage in video chats and calls to standard phones for free. And though it requires your phone number, it does encrypt communications.


Best iPhone Education & Reference Apps 

ASL App

ASL App

Free

The ASL App is a free iPhone and iPad app specifically made for learning the basics of American Sign Language, and it’s a welcome introduction. It uses videos to teach you the alphabet, various useful words and phrases, and the required gestures. The free version covers the basics, and in-app purchases add advanced material in 99-cent packs. $9.99 gets you everything the app offers.


Bing

Bing


Free

People often forget that there’s more than one way to find webpages, directions, videos, and photos on the Internet. There are actually plenty of good reasons to try out alternatives to market leader Google, and the Bingapp for the iPhone shows several of them. Bing has a design that’s gorgeous, clear, and simple to use. Feature-wise, Bing’s app can keep up, and adds voice and camera input along with local info. What’s more, the Bing app’s home screen offers local guidance and news suggestions, rather than just a blank search box.


Chegg

Chegg Books

Free

Every college student is familiar with handing over several 100-dollar bills and lugging many pounds of textbooks from the campus store. Chegg’s goal is to take some of the pain out of that process. The app lets you rent, buy, or sell books. The company offers study apps, too.


Duolingo

Duolingo


Free

Could your learning a new language somehow add value to other people all over the world? It’s a strange idea, but one that’s playing out when you use the free language learning app Duolingo, which now has an iPhone app as well. As far as free, mobile apps for language-learning go, the Duolingo iPhone app is easily the best. A recent update makes your next lessons available offline, so you can continue learning even when you’re not connected to the Internet.


Elevate

Elevate

Free, with premium subscription for $39.99 per year

Elevate offers training in writing, listening, speaking, reading, and math. You can set your goals, and after you’ve completed some engaging exercises, it graphically shows your performance in each of these categories. Unlocking all content costs $39.99 per year, but you can try everything free for 30 days. Go ahead: Make yourself smarter!

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