Your iPhone comes with a bunch of standard apps right out of the box.
But since the App Store launched in 2008, developers have found ways to improve on the basic apps that come with your iPhone. For every basic app like Calendar, Music, and Weather, there’s a better alternative.
We rounded up some of the best alternative apps that can make your iPhone so much better.
Gmail is a much better email app than Apple's own program, assuming you're already a Gmail user, of course.
The official Gmail app from Google syncs better with your account and makes it easier to search for older messages. You can also view messages as threaded conversations, just like Gmail on desktop.
Mailbox is another good alternative to Apple's Mail app. Mailbox treats your email inbox as a to-do list and encourages your to take care of messages as soon as they come in.
The real benefit is that you can swipe messages away and have them return later when you're ready to look at them. You can also use Mailbox's new 'Auto-Swipe' feature that will automatically archive certain types of messages so they never clutter up your inbox.
Apple's Music app is good for listening to MP3s you already own, but there's a lot more music out there to discover.
Spotify is the best solution. For $US9.99 per month, you get access to millions of songs from all the major record labels. You can even download them directly to your device and listen to them offline. And if you still want to listen to MP3s you've downloaded, Spotify can play those too.
WhatsApp makes a great alternative to the Messages app that comes with your iPhone. Apple's iMessage service only lets you chat with other iPhone and iPad users. But WhatsApp works on all major platforms and won't eat into your texting plan if you have one.
If you ever get lost, use Google Maps to find your way back instead of Apple's program.
Apple Maps was plagued with problems from the beginning. It's gotten better, but Google Maps is still the best. Google has better driving directions and more accurate location data. Google Maps also includes public transit directions, which is essential for city dwellers.
You can't do much with the Notes app installed on the iPhone. It lets you write important things down, but doesn't give you a way to save it in other places. Evernote is the best alternative. Evernote lets you jot down text, audio, and photo notes that sync across all your devices. You can also tag your notes by subject, so they're easily discoverable. Evernote is a much more robust tool than Apple's standard Notes app.
The built-in Photos app on the iPhone collects photos, and videos but doesn't always organise them well.
Impala comes in handy since it can quickly organise thousands of images and videos into albums. The app can scan your photos and organise them by subject. For example, if you take a lot of photos of your new baby, they will all be grouped into an album automatically.
Apple's weather app only provides a brief snapshot of the the day's weather.
Dark Sky gives you all that, with the added bonus of predicting when it's going to rain down to the minute. The app features impressive maps and radar so you can track oncoming storms. It's also one of the most beautiful apps we've seen on the iPhone.
The problem with Apple's Contacts app is that you have to make sure you always manually update the email address, phone numbers and emails of the people in your phone book.
Addappt can fix that. As long as your friends have downloaded the app, people can quickly change their contact information and you'll get an instant notification. Imagine never having to update contact info again.
Apple's Calendar app got a nice new look last year, but it's still a pain to manually input new events.
Fantastical 2, which is widely regarded as the best calendar app for iPhone, fixes that. To add an event, you just need to type in something like 'Lunch with Ryan at 2 pm on Friday at Chipotle' and Fantastical will do the rest. It's a much more natural way to use a smartphone calendar.
It can be tedious setting an alarm on your iPhone. You have to manually set different types of alarms and ringtones to wake yourself up.
Instead of tediously adding new alarm times and ringtones, Rise makes it very simple to set a new alarm by sliding your finger up and down the screen. The entire app is controlled with swiping gestures, which makes it much easier to use than Apple's Clock app.
If you use the Chrome browser on desktop, you'd be crazy not to use the iPhone version too. By logging into your Google account, Chrome for iPhone can pull in your browsing history, bookmarks, etc. for a seamless transition between your devices.
Apple's Safari may have similar features, but since a majority of people use Chrome on the desktop, it makes more sense to use the iPhone app too.
Checkmark 2 is an app that is a better alternative to Apple's Reminders program.
Checkmark 2 takes everything Apple's Reminders app can do and adds even more options. For example, you can easily reschedule recurring events with a tap and group multiple locations together so you're reminded of the same thing every time you visit a place (like pick up milk every time you go to a grocery store). The app also looks a lot nicer than Apple's Reminders.
There's nothing worse than knowing you lost your iPhone.
Apple's Find My iPhone feature is good for tracking your phone, but can't do much else. Prey lets you track your missing device plus use the phone's camera to snap photos of the thief. It can also emit an alarm that you control remotely from Prey's website.
iPhone's stock camera is pretty bland. It doesn't provide you with many options to customise and alter your photos.
Fortunately, Camera+ has a ton of features that can spruce it up. The app provides you with a selection of customisation tools for taking perfect pictures. You can adjust your phone's flash and enhance photos with a variety of filters that are much better than the ones that come with the iPhone.
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