The 11 most beautiful apps of the year

What makes an app catch your eye?

We think the most beautiful apps of the year use colour creatively, simplify otherwise annoying experiences, and spark our imaginations with stunning game environments. They feature a strong attention to detail, along with a smart overall design that matches the function and feel of the app.

These are the most beautiful apps of 2015.

Periscope is revolutionising live broadcasts.


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. The app's straightforward design also manages to keep the focus on the scene you're sharing.

Price: Free (
iOS, Android)

Paper will help you capture ideas in an elegant way.


Paper for iPhone is a gorgeous app that expands the notion of what 'taking notes' means on your phone.

You can use it to make everything from lists to presentations that include charts and graphs. It basically helps translate the experience you have writing on 'paper' to your phone -- bringing back all the tasks that more traditional note-taking apps lack.

Price: Free (iOS)

NYT Now is great for digesting the news.


The New York Times has made one of the best news apps with NYT Now. There's an entire team at The New York Times that is responsible for making sure it is constantly updated with not just breaking news -- and features -- from the Times, but also with highlights from other news outlets. And the icing on the cake is its easily digestible breakdowns of the day's news highlights.

Oh yes, and it's free for anyone.

Price: Free (

HBO Now provides premium programming 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)

Fresh Air is the best-looking weather app we've seen.


Fresh Air is a gorgeous weather app that emphasises visuals with its minimalist weather graph. You can scroll forward in time to see how the weather will be in the future, and it also connects to your calendar app to give you forecasts on upcoming appointments.

Price: Free (iOS)

Spotify is a great app for streaming music.


Spotify is the best streaming music service there is, and this last year we saw the app get a major redesign that ushered in a new colour scheme that ditched the old olive green aesthetic. One of Spotify's killer features is Discover Weekly, which builds a custom playlist each week for you with its spot-on AI. If you haven't given it a try yet, it's a fantastic way to find fresh new music.

Price: Free, or $9.99 per month premium (iOS
, Android)

Alto's Adventure is a casual endless runner with character.


'Alto's Adventure' puts you in control of a snowboarder as you try to make it as far as you can down the endless mountain, chasing llamas, performing double back flips, and grinding rails for points along the way. The physics-based gameplay and beautiful night and day animations combined with a stunning environment make this game worth the download.

Price: $0.99 (iOS)

SoundCloud will find your next favourite artist or jam.


We wish other apps took cues from SoundCloud on how to build an intuitive and friendly music player with a simple yet striking style. The app's swipeable interface is great for skipping part of a song and navigating between playlists, and a growing number of artists choose to debut their songs or demos on Soundcloud before officially releasing them on other streaming services.

With access to all of SoundCloud's millions of tracks, you can queue up a song you like and the app will continue to play music that's similar, which is great for music discovery.

Price: Free (
iOS, Android)

Robinhood will help you trade stocks in style.


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, and there's also nifty night and day themes and an Apple Watch version of the app.

Price: Free (iOS, Android)

Google Photos is the best photo management solution -- and it's smart too.


Google Photos is the best app for managing and storing your photos in the cloud. Its interface is super easy to understand, and it has features that your camera roll doesn't, like facial recognition and the ability to search for what's in a photo by simply typing in a word.

It will be easier than ever to find those old pictures of your dog.

Price: Free (iOS, Android)

Acorns will help you save.


Acorns makes saving money easy. It takes the spare change from your daily purchases by rounding up to the nearest dollar and investing the difference into five diversified portfolios. You can also invest lump sums of your choosing at any time.

Its investing formula is backed by Nobel Prize winning economist and the father of Modern Portfolio Theory, Dr. Harry Markowitz. There's also a strong attention to details in the app's minimalist design that ties everything together.

Price: $1 per month for accounts with a balance under $5,000, 0.25% per year for accounts over $5,000 (iOS, Android, web)

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