The 25 Best iPhone Apps

We’ve updated our list of the 25 must-have apps.


These are the ones we use again and again to save us money and time (or waste a little time and brain cells, if we’re being totally honest). We’ve also noted which apps also work on iPads. Let the downloads begin!


Just using your phone for texting and talking? Please! We assume you’ve got your Facebook app installed so you can stay in touch with your posse at all times. Here are the other apps you need.


Free – iPhone and iPad

If you have an iPhone 4S, you have FaceTime built in anywhere you go (regular iPhone 4s have FaceTime for Wifi). For the rest of us, Skype lets us chat for free where there’s a Wifi connection.


Free – iPhone and iPad

They invented it and we’re sticking with the original. Send and read tweets anywhere. Because we know you can’t stand to miss any of @LadyGaga’s postings. Runner up: Twitterific

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You’ve got Fandango for movie tickets, Pandora for free music, and Angry Birds because everyone else does. Here are a few more apps that make it easy to have fun on the go. (Need more? Check out: 10 Fun iPhone Apps


Free – iPhone and iPad

The Kindle app lets you read books on your phone and will automatically sync to your iPad, remembering exactly the page where you left off on your other device. Buying and downloading a Kindle book from Amazon takes less than a minute.

Max Damage

Free – iPhone and iPad

A fun game, but don’t blame us if it gives your home-alone child ideas …


NPR Music

Free – iPhone and iPad

Programs, interviews, concerts and music, including free streaming of new albums in the “First Listen” section. If you’re just looking for tunes, Pandora is a better choice, but for a true music lover, this is a must-have app.



Free – iPhone and iPad

What’s that song? Just point your iPhone at the speaker and magically, the song name and artist appear. True craziness? The lyrics will start to scroll as you listen.


Free – iPhone and iPad

Listen to podcasts without having to download them first. Great for when you’re not near a WiFi connection.


If you have the basics (Epicurious, Yelp, All Recipes, and Food Gawker), add these to up your foodie cred. Want more? Check out The 16 Best Cooking Apps for your iPhone or iPad.


EatingWell: Healthy in a Hurry

Free – iPhone and iPad

Recipes for healthy eating provided free. Additional recipe collections for 99 cents. Runner up: Whole Foods

Open Table

Free – iPhone and iPad

Reservations in an instant at thousands of restaurants. Offers nearby choices if the first search isn’t successful.

Seafood Watch

Free – iPhone and iPad

Ocean friendly seafood recommendations and substitutions.


Free – iPhone and iPad

Tells you how much to leave without you having to do any math. After a margarita or two, invaluable.


On a side note …

25 wasn’t enough! So here are some great recommendations by category:

5 Best iPhone Fitness Apps

5 iPhone Apps for Easy Money Management

25 Best Apps for Busy Moms on the Go



Beyond The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN, we recommend these fun and informational apps.

NPR News

Free – iPhone and iPad

Listen to live NPR broadcasts, or search by favorite program like “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” or “Morning Edition.” You can also read top news stories. A few bugs with the latest version frustrated users, but those seem to be resolved.

The Onion

Free – iPhone and iPad

Irony alert. Ever since we read that The Wire creator David Simon would be taking on the uber-happy streets of Wilmette, we’ve been hooked.



Free – iPhone and iPad

For political and cultural junkies, this app will keep your pithy opinions up-to-date.


You should have the apps for all the deal sites you regularly use (Groupon, Living Social) and also all the big guys (Amazon, Gilt and eBay) but here are some others we love.



Free – iPhone and iPad

Brand new app from Etsy to let you shop on the go.


$1.99 – iPhone and iPad

Best $2 I ever spent. Let’s you compare unit pricing in all those stores that don’t provide the information (Target, Costco). Know instantly what size is the best deal.


Of course you have the apps for the airlines you fly regularly, but here are some additional ones for fun or business travel.


Free – iPhone and iPad

Shows you the parking rates for garages near your destination based on time of day. Even tells you the last time the information was updated.


Free – iPhone and iPad

Upload all your important documents (including copies of your driver’s license, passport, insurance cards, etc.) You can access them via Dropbox from your phone.

Gate Guru

Free – iPhone and iPad

What food is near your gate? And how far is your connecting flight’s gate? Every airport I’ve ever been in has been on this app.


Free or 99 cents

Compares flight, hotel and car rental deals—you buy directly from the airline or rental car website. Much better than the consolidator websites. Pay a buck, and lose the ads.


Free – iPhone and iPad

Find your way by subway, bus, tram or rail in 400 cities around the world (or just in Chicago). Weekly updates keep it current.

Wi-Fi Finder

Free – iPhone and iPad

Where’s the nearest free WiFi? This app will find it.

Work/To Do

Awesome Note

$3.99 – iPhone and iPad

Goes far beyond the built-in app to manage notes by category. Can coordinate with Google documents.

Genius Scan

Free – iPhone and iPad

Scan and turn documents into pdf or jpg files with your cell phone.

QR Code Reader and Scanner

Free – iPhone and iPad

Whenever you see that square with the QR code, just point your phone and get info fast.

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