The only 9 apps released in 2015 that we're still actually using

Even as someone who tests out new apps as part of my job, I often find myself getting bored with them after about a week. I stumble across a great concept, and am initially intrigued by it, but realise after a few days that it just doesn’t fit into my daily life.

I’m not alone. Most people use the same five apps over and over again.

But there are a few apps every year that do become part of our everyday routines. These apps are here to stay. Of the apps released 2015 — or the ones which had major updates that completely changed how we use them — my colleagues and I identified nine we were still actively using at the end of the year.

Many of them are still in our rotations because they make something we do every day better: listening to podcasts, checking Twitter, or browsing the news. The others let us do something we hadn’t been able to before, from trading stocks without fees to easily making crazy GIFs.

Here are the only apps from 2015 we are actually still using:

HBO Now is a slick way to watch 'Game of Thrones' without a cable subscription.


HBO's standalone app lets you access all its original programming, shows, and movies straight from your iPhone or iPad. The app has a sleek design that, according to Apple, 'sets the standard for high-quality TV streaming services.' If you don't have cable, this is the best (legal) way to get access to all your favourite HBO shows.

Price: Free, requires subscription $14.99 month (iOS, Android)

Robinhood lets you trade stocks on your phones without paying any fees.


Robinhood is an app built around one promise: no-fee stock trading. The app makes trading cheap, intuitive, and mobile. The beautiful interface also won an Apple Design Award. As reporters who cover business, we don't trade stocks, but many of our friends and families swear by this app and use it frequently.

Price: Free (iOS, Android)

Periscope brought live-streaming from your phone into the spotlight.

What Twitter did for making micro-status updates, Periscope could do for live video broadcasts. That may explain why Twitter bought the app and its small team in February before it even launched.

If you've never used Periscope before, here's how it works: You download the app to your phone, log in, and start a live video stream with your phone's camera. Your friends on Periscope and Twitter will be notified to tune in, and viewers can interact with broadcasts by commenting and leaving virtual hearts.

Price: Free (
iOS, Android)

Overcast is the best way to listen to podcasts.

App Annie

Overcast was already the best app to listen to podcasts on before this year, but a big update in 2015 made it free for everyone. This means free users can now get access to 'smart speed' -- which takes away pauses to speed up the podcast -- voice boost, and downloading on the cellular network. There's really no reason to not have Overcast replace the native podcast app on iOS.

Price: Free (iOS)

Slash is a custom keyboard that lets you send videos and GIFs without leaving the app you're in.


Slash is the best iPhone keyboard out today, and its killer feature is taking the pain out of jumping between your apps. Slash's innovation comes in the form of a blue forward slash that sits at the bottom of the keyboard. That slash is a magic button that can instantly give you access to a slew of app-based search engines baked into the keyboard itself.

Price: Free (iOS)

Tweetbot 4 will make you a Twitter master.


Tweetbot 4 is the best Twitter iPhone app for power users. It lets you easily monitor all the stats on your individual tweets, and your account in general, and it cuts out all the ads you would have seen in your timeline.

Price: $4.99 (iOS)

Giphy Cam helps you make insane GIFs out of everyday moments.


Giphy Cam is a new app that's like 'Photo Booth,' on Mac computers, for creating GIFs.

You choose filters and backgrounds -- like flying tacos or psychedelic swirls -- and then hit the record button to make your own GIF. You can then save it to your phone or post it to social media so your friends can admire your GIF game.

Price: Free (iOS)

1Blocker lets you choose exactly what type of web content you want to block.

Lisa Eadicicco

1Blocker is the smartest iOS ad blocker out there, and helps you customise exactly what you want to block. You can block trackers, Twitter or Facebook widgets, custom web fonts, even Disqus comment and 'adult' sites.

And you can, of course, whitelist sites -- if for instance you want to allow ads on a site that relies on them for revenue. Blocking ads is free, but if you want to block multiple things, you'll have to pay $2.99.

Price: Free (iOS)

NYT Now and BuzzFeed News expertly curate the news for you.


The NYT Now and BuzzFeed News apps pull not only from their own content, but curate the best news from around the web. They also both give easily digestible breakdowns of the day's news highlights. Both apps do an excellent job, and which one you should use simply depends on your own editorial preference.

As of 2015, these apps are both free (NYT Now existed in a previous paid iteration).

The BuzzFeed News app is all about ease. It curates the breaking news around the web, pulling in articles from BuzzFeed as well as other publications, in addition to newsworthy tweets or longform journalism. You can also teach the app to be even better with customisable notifications, or share the content with your friends.

BuzzFeed News, Price: Free (iOS, Android)

NYT Now, Price: Free (iOS)

Additional reporting by Tess Danielson, Steven Tweedie, Lisa Eadicicco, and Alex Heath.

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