Some of Apple’s default apps are better than others.
Luckily, the competition within the app industry is fierce and there are plenty of compelling and beautiful alternatives.
From fan-favourites like Spotify and Google Maps to lesser-known wonders such as Vesper and Humin, developers are constantly raising the bar of what our iPhones are capable of doing.
We’ve collected the best of the best.
Apple's Voice Memo app is simple, but it's easy to mess up when saving. Recordium gives you all the functionality of Voice Memos along with the ability to visually edit clips on the fly, annotate recordings, and even adjust the audio quality. It also syncs with cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
Vesper is an elegant and intuitive way to take notes that plays nicely with photos. Its simple design and the ability to tag and categorize your notes means most of your time will be spent writing instead of trying to figure it out, and that's exactly how note-taking should go.
Fantastical 2 is an intuitive, well-designed calendar that can do everything you want it to along with some bonuses. You can toggle between a light and dark theme, dictate events, and it even fills in the details for you based on how you describe your appointments.
(Fantastical 2, $9.99)
Humin is an upcoming app that organizes your phone contacts in a way similar to how you'd remember them. Alphabetical lists are gone, replaced by contextual search terms such as 'met last week' or 'lives in Brooklyn.'
Spotify is the king of streaming apps. With a massive on-demand music library that syncs across all devices and the ability to download tracks for offline listening through Spotify Premium, it's entirely possible for it to completely replace Apple's Music app.
It's not quite Spotify, but for Amazon Prime subscribers, Amazon Music is a great perk with promising potential. Amazon Music is all about curated playlists based on your tastes, but there's also on-demand music and the ability to download tracks for offline listening.
(Amazon Music, Free)
Dark Sky gives you minute-to-minute weather predictions for your specific location up to an hour ahead of time, letting you know exactly when it will rain or snow. The weather animations and maps look clean and beautiful, too, which is a nice touch.
(Dark Sky, $3.99)
Chrome has a clean design, voice search, and the ability to open unlimited tabs. Chrome also syncs with your bookmarks and favourites across all devices with the browser. Google even claims you can save up to 50% of your data usage using Chrome.
Gmail puts the power of Google into your email, and it's a solid, familiar experience for many users. Google lets you switch between up to five accounts, and the app also predicts what you're searching for to speed things up.
Hop is a lightning-fast app that re-organizes your emails into chat-like messages, but it always leaves you the option of viewing your emails in the traditional format too. It's a nice way to blur the formality of emailing with the familiar style of modern messaging.
Google Maps is hands-down the best maps app you can use. Seamless integration with public transit, lane guidance, and top-of-the-line source data keeps the app reliable, fast, and just plain helpful.
(Google Maps, Free)
WhatsApp is a feature-rich messaging app that does exactly what you want in a messaging app. And with over 500 million users, it's not exactly a niche experience. The Broadcast Channels feature is an easy way to categorize your friend groups for group messaging.
For those looking to sync their notes across all of their devices, Evernote is the best way to go. You can scan business cards, save web clippings, record audio, and jot things down, all with the knowledge that whichever device you're on will have your most recent notes.