Over the last few years, the smartphone has become more than a device we use to call people and send text messages.
But it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer number of apps — there are more than a million apps in Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.
So I broke out the most useful apps I use every day. You should probably use them, too.
I've been a Spotify subscriber for years. The service gives me access to nearly any song -- well, except maybe songs from Taylor Swift -- on demand and allows me to download music for offline listening.
My favourite Spotify feature is Discover Weekly, a customised playlist that's updated each week with music the streaming service thinks you'll enjoy.
Mint aggregates all of your financials -- your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, and more -- and puts them in one convenient place. The service helps you create budgets, produces reports that show what you spend your money on, and keeps a history of your purchases, which allows you to keep track of what you've been buying.
WNYC's app gives you live streams of WNYC, the most listened-to public radio station in the US, so you can listen to 'Morning Edition' and 'All Things Considered' as they air in New York.
It also has a huge library of on-demand shows, like 'Radiolab,' 'This American Life,' 'Fresh Air,' 'Marketplace,' 'The Moth,' and more.
Best of all, the app has an offline listening mode that downloads programming for you based on your preferences, so you can listen without a cellular connection, like when you're on an aeroplane or subway.
Dark Sky is the best weather app I've found. It tells you what the weather will be like throughout the day, giving you the exact time it's supposed to rain, snow, or be clear.
The minimalist design only shows what you need to know, and, best of all, alerts you right when it's going to rain or stop raining.
You'll never again walk outside unprepared.
Cost: $3.99. Available only on iOS.
Google Photos is the best way to store your pictures. It backs up all of them up, works on multiple devices, and organizes them based on what's in them. The app has intelligent search, so you can look for a photo just by typing in a location, like 'Paris,' or a thing, like 'beach,' 'mountains,' or even 'selfie.'
You just have to be OK with giving Google access to your photos.
I'd be lost without Google Maps. The public-transit directions are not only great -- check out all of the cities it covers -- but the app also offers routes for walking and cycling.
And when I drive, the app suggests the best route based on traffic, gives a heads-up about delays, and explains to you why you're on the best route.
Venmo is the simplest way to pay or request money from a friend. All you have to do is type their name, email address, phone number, or Venmo username into the app. Just make sure you only use Venmo with your friends or people you trust, especially when accepting payments.
Facebook's Messenger is more than just a texting app. It allows you to make phone and video calls and send money and GIFs, among other things. It's quick, easy to use, and more than 700 million people around the world use it.
It's the most useful app Facebook makes. For example, I recently had to get in touch with someone and didn't have her phone number, so I just used Messenger to call her.
Chances are that you see really interesting stories or videos online, but you may not have time at that moment to look at them. Pocket solves that problem. Pocket is an app that collects and saves all of the stories you want read. It has browser extensions, so all it takes to send an article from the desktop to the app is a click of a button.
Pocket also recommends articles based on your interests.
NYT Now is a free app from The New York Times -- you don't need to be an NYT subscriber to use it. It gives you an overview of the biggest news stories of the day, and it not only has stories from The Times, but also aggregates articles from a variety of sources.
But the best part about NYT Now is its notifications feature. It sends you notifications for relevant, breaking news. Many news apps tend to send you notifications for things you may not care about, but NYT Now's biggest strength is that it thoughtfully curates the news it pushes to your phone.
Cost: Free. Available on iOS.
Chrome is my preferred web browser on my phone and PC.
On the phone, it's fast, has a simple design, and syncs with Chrome on other devices. That means that recent searches, your bookmarks, and your browser history are available on whatever device you're using.
Tim Stenovec contributed to an earlier version of this post.
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