Deciding which apps to download from the thousands available on the App Store or Google Play can be stressful — especially if you just bought a new phone. Even if you’ve had your phone for years, you may not be using apps that are worth your time.
INSIDER found 24 apps that will make your life better, whether by shortening your commute or delivering groceries to your front door. The best part? Most of them are completely free:
Half-LinkedIn, half-Craigslist, TaskRabbit helps you find people in your neighbourhood who will take care of everyday tasks for you. All you have to do is describe the task, and choose and book someone from a list of qualified and vetted 'Taskers.'
I've used TaskRabbit for everything from fixing a leaky sink to building a bed frame. Taskers on the app have detailed profiles and client reviews which give me peace of mind, and they're usually less expensive than professionals I find on Yelp.
Like Headspace, Pacifica is designed to help you relax and manage stress. In addition to following guided meditations, you can also keep track of your mood, identify negative thought patterns, and set goals. But while Headspace requires a paid subscription after its initial 10-day free trial, Pacifica is completely free.
If you've ever made, downloaded, and listened to playlists offline in Spotify Premium, you basically already know how to use Instapaper. This app keeps me entertained during long, boring commutes underground and lets me quickly bookmark articles I want to read later.
You can also organise articles into neat categories, highlight your favourite lines, and leave notes in the margins.
In my experience, Hopper doesn't always find you an amazing deal on a flight -- especially if you're buying tickets last minute -- but it has consistently helped me find cheaper options than sites like Expedia.
All you have to do is enter your trip details and follow Hopper's recommendation. If the app tells you to 'WAIT,' you will get a notification the instant that the flight's price drops. If Hopper tells you to 'BUY,' the flight is at its cheapest, and you should book it immediately.
I've lost track of how many times Google Maps has made my commute longer than it needed to be. Citymapper factors in all travel options including subway, bus, rail, ferry, and bike and car sharing to show you the easiest -- and quickest -- way to get from point A to point B.
The app also updates in real time to give you accurate ETAs and alert you if, for example, a train will suddenly skip your stop.
Waze uses crowdsourcing to find you the best route to take when you're driving. Drivers in your area share real-time updates about traffic, speed traps, police, and more, so you get alerts when you're on the road. The app will even show you the cheapest gas station nearby, so you can save money and time.
It's easy to get into a routine and cook the same meals over and over again. Allrecipes' Dinner Spinner helps you find new recipes and directions based on ingredients you already have. All you have to do is enter the ingredients and how much time you have to cook, along with any dietary restrictions.
You can even discover recipes based on ingredients that are on sale at stores in your neighbourhood.
If you don't like to cook, or you don't have time to cook, use Postmates to order food from places in your neighbourhood. You can even get snacks and household items like cleaning supplies delivered from a convenience store nearby.
In college, I used Peapod whenever I didn't have time to go to the grocery store. The app carries fresh produce, most national brands, and household items like laundry detergent. All you have to do is fill your 'shopping cart,' and schedule a delivery time.
If Peapod doesn't deliver in your city yet, try an alternative like Instacart.
HelloFresh reduces food waste by sending you exactly what you need to cook healthy, delicious recipes.
Whether you're trying to lose weight, eat healthier, or try new foods, HelloFresh will give you what you need. The app has new recipes every week that are tasty and easy to make. All you have to do is choose a meal plan at a price that works for you, and HelloFresh will send you the exact amount of fresh ingredients you need, along with a recipe and clear instructions.
I've also tried and enjoyed Blue Apron, a similar service that's not limited to healthy recipes.
My two roommates and I use Splitwise to split household bills like utilities, Internet, cleaning costs, and more. I've also used the app to keep track of random IOUs during road trips with friends and other group activities.
While Splitwise helps you track bills over time, Venmo lets you pay people back -- and get paid -- with the tap of a button. If you're not using Venmo by now, what if I told you that you never have to sit through another awkward conversation again over who owes what after splitting a dinner bill?
Mint helps you stay on top of your bills, track your spending, and keep an eye on your credit score.
I started using Mint in college to help me better budget my money. You can set reminders to pay your bills, track how you spend your money, and see all your bank accounts, credit cards, bills, and investments in one place.
The best feature of the app? You can get your credit score for free.
Instead of relying on your phone's basic alarm clock, try using Sleep Cycle. The app uses the accelerometer in your phone to track your movements when you're sleeping, determine which sleep cycle you're in, and find the best time to wake you up within your pre-set time range.
Good&Co lets you take fun quizzes and matches you with companies based on culture fit and your personality strengths.
Good&Co uses personality science and psychology to match you to careers and companies based on your answers to hundreds of fun questions. You can discover everything from 'What Kind of Coworker Are You?' to 'What's Your Approach to Getting Things Done?' When you answer a question, you must indicate on a sliding scale where you fall between two options. Examples of questions include: 'You attend a poorly organised protest against holes in Swiss cheese. Do you A) chat with a stranger, or B) play Candy Crush?'
I downloaded Tiny Scanner years ago, and I've been using it since to scan everything from my licence, to important bills and concert tickets. It only takes a few minutes, and at $0, it's much more affordable than a printer.
During my senior year of college, I was pretty overwhelmed by the job searching process. While LinkedIn Job Search isn't perfect, it gave me a simple and quick way to find new opportunities (and stay optimistic). You can enter specific criteria such as industry and location, and the app will notify you when a new job matches your description.
You can also apply to jobs in minutes with your LinkedIn profile.
I found every single doctor I currently go to through Zocdoc. All you have to do is choose what you need to be treated for and your health insurance, and the app will show you doctors nearby or in your city who are in your network.
You can also read through detailed patient reviews before you decide to book an appointment.
Since Facebook removed the ability to check your Facebook messages on your phone without the Messenger app, it's a safe bet that you already have this downloaded. But did you know you can do everything from send money to play games like Snake on the app? Messenger's camera even has an AI-powered camera that can understand your captions and turn them into filters.
FaceTune reminds me of a simplified and easy-to-use version of Photoshop on your phone. You can brighten your eyes, whiten your teeth, blur wrinkles, zap pimples, and more.
FaceTune 2, which is free but only available on iOS, adds the abilities to change the size of your nose and jaw, among other features. You can even edit your photo live before you take a selfie.
You can do pretty much anything to your photos on Afterlight -- up to and including making an iPhone picture look like it was taken with a Polaroid. And since every filter on Afterlight is fully adjustable, you can layer countless features for endless effects. Add light flares or dusty overlays, straighten your picture, adjust its exposure, and more.
Can you tell I'm obsessed with this app?
If you're not a fan of the 'social media popularity game,' you may prefer VSCO over Instagram. Like FaceTune and Afterlight, the app has photo-editing tools and filters, but what sets it apart is the ability to create your own VSCO profile or feed.
The best part? The site doesn't have (public) followers, likes, or comments, so you can just enjoy yourself and be creative.
For a brief period of time, I watched Netflix on my phone so often that my hands started cramping -- that's how useful this app is. The app's 'Download' feature even lets you save and watch shows and movies offline. Obviously, just don't do what I did and binge watch two seasons of a show in two days.
I know I've gushed about it before, but I really do love Bitmoji. The app adds hundreds of sticker options to Snapchat and is a fun, personalised way to respond quickly to texts and messages from your friends.
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