I’m pretty conservative when it comes to the apps I keep on my phone: If I don’t use an app at least once a week, it gets axed.
Part of the reason is because I don’t have much of a choice — 16 GB of storage fills up quickly.
But I also want my phone to be as useful as possible and to be clutter-free. It’s the most important tool for doing my job, staying connected to my family, and entertaining me when I’m bored.
Over the last few years, I’ve settled upon a handful of must-have apps that help me do all three of those things.
Here are the 11 apps I couldn’t get through life without:
How did we all go out to group dinners or split rent before Venmo? As someone who rarely has cash, this app helps me stay in good standing with my friends and keep track of paying rent and bills on time. I was admittedly a late adopter -- letting an app access your bank information is scary, after all -- but I now use it almost every day.
I'm a fan of Instagram, but I'm an even bigger fan of editing the photos I post to Instagram. The VSCO app helps me do that. It's easy to use, easy to make minor adjustments or test out filters, and the app often adds new filters to its marketplace (although not all of them are free). While Instagram is catching up when it comes to editing capabilities, VSCO is still the best photo editing app out there.
The best part about Google's apps is the seamless integration across all platforms. The Calendar app is is synced with Gmail and Maps, so my meetings automatically get added to the app, then look up where my next meeting is with one click. Plus, Google's Calendar is a lot more colourful and easy to use than Apple's.
Apple Music got me with a few months free when I first signed up, plus a Chance the Rapper exclusive. Now, I'm hooked. It's much easier to download songs offline than it is with Spotify and the curated playlists and radio stations are less repetitive than Spotify's.
I wouldn't be able to do my job without Tape-A-Call. The app records phone calls and interviews, acting as a third-party voicemail service. While it isn't perfect -- it once deleted a 45-minute interview all on its own, never to be heard again -- it usually serves me well. Plus, I'm able to upload my recordings straight to Dropbox so they can easily be backed up elsewhere just in case. Just remember to ask the person you're talking if it's OK to record the call (it's the law in some states).
Google's main search app is one of my most-used apps. Not only does it let me search the web, but it pulls in data from my other searches and shows me information based on what I frequently look up, like how the Buffalo Bills rank in the AFC East and stories from sites I often check, like The New York Times.
I'm obsessive about keeping track of how much money I'm saving and spending, and often want to check my accounts when I'm out and about. While my bank's app could have a better user experience -- it's honestly a bit antiquated -- it lets me do the basics: transfer funds around, deposit checks, and check my balance.
I use Pinterest for a longer amount of time than any other app. While I do aimlessly scroll through the pins and create new boards, I also use it for another reason: to find ways to wear new items that I buy. Searching for 'green bomber jacket,' for instance, will pull up photos of people wearing that item. You can then refine your search even further and save the photos you like. Pinterest makes getting dressed a lot easier.
I moved to New York City six months ago and, while I've gotten a lot better at finding my way around the city, I still need help figuring out which subway stop to get off at or which route is the fastest. Maps' public transit app saves my life -- or at the very least, several minutes of my time -- on a daily basis.
Last summer, a friend told me it was time to make the switch from Yelp to Foursquare for restaurant recommendations and I'm so glad I listened. While I frequently find Yelp to be full of people handing out one-star reviews due to one bad server at a restaurant, Foursquare reviewers typically focus on the food and the atmosphere. The rating system is also based out of 10 instead of 5, making the rankings more nuanced than Yelp's.
New York is home to several ride-hailing apps and cab apps, and I switch on and off between a few of them. Most often, though, I end up using Lyft. Its prices are usually the lowest and when I take Lyft Line, my fellow riders are usually friendlier and more polite.