The VERY BEST iPhone Apps For 2015

Reviews Michael Grothaus 13:49, 12 Nov 2015

All the best iPhone apps in one place - what more could you ask for?

Apple’s App Store boasts one of the most extensive collections of apps this side of the sun. Inside you can pretty much find anything – and we mean anything. But what are the best and, more importantly, which are worth having on your iPhone? In a bid to locate, download and test the best apps for iPhone we’ve been tinkering with applications all year to bring you a list of the best apps currently available. We’ll be adding 10 new applications to this list every month, so check back regularly as there'll always be something new.

To keep things tidy we’ve decided not to include the big apps that every man and his dog knows about –– Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Mail and the like. Instead, we’re focusing on useful applications that might have slipped under your radar. These apps are all designed to be either informative, useful, fun or quirky –– you'll find no dross in here. Just solid gold hits all the way through. 

So, without further ado, here's our pick of the best.

Dojo - Best stuff to do in London (free)

Dojo is a great “things to do in” London app. It’s got a beautiful layout and differs from most tourist apps in that it has an awesome selection of niche events and little known bars and cafes. If you’re in London, you’re sure to find something to do on Dojo. Think of it as kind of like Time Out London without the generic listings.

Buried Town (£0.79)

Buried Town is a fun mostly light graphics and text-based game in which you play a survivor who washes up on an island in a canoe. As you look for other survivors on the mysterious island you soon realize it's overrun by zombies and every minute will be a fight for survival. You’ll need to avoid not only zombies, but disease, gather supplies, build shelters, and work together with other characters to survive. It’s a great little horror title.

CleanSpace (free)

CleanSpace is an app that allows you to see the air quality of the air you are breathing. But not only does it alert you to the air quality around you, it tells you what the air quality will be like on an upcoming journey and can even offer alternative routes with better air quality. CleanSpace also offers physical rewards for making clean travel choices and connects you to the growing community of people also helping to improve the air we breathe.

Boomerang from Instagram (free)

Boomerang is a new app from Instagram that is kind of trying to take on Vine. But instead of recording six-second videos Boomerang takes 10 photos in rapid succession of each other and the plays them back as a very short video. You can then post your short clips to Facebook or Instagram.

Live GIF (£1.49)

Live GIF is a great app if you love the iPhone 6s’ Live Photos feature. What Live GIF does is take those Live Photos and instantly turn them into a GIF you can share online. The app also allows you to save your Live Photos as short videos. You can then share your GIFs or videos via Facebook, iMessage, Twitter, Email, Instagram, and more.

Moonlight Mahjong (£0.79)

Moonlight Mahjong is one of the games I’ve had on my iPhone for years. Seriously, it’s probably been on my iPhone for at least five years now. It’s my go-to time-waster/brain-teaser when I just need a little release. The game is Mahjong Solitaire in beautiful virtual reality 3D. You can pinch, zoom, and rotate around the Mahjong pieces to get a better idea of which pieces you have, where they are, and how to connect them. There’s also a wide variety of modes including scramble, challenge, puzzle, and even relaxation. If you’ve never played Mahjong, this game is a great place to start. It’s also the most beautiful Mahjong game on iOS.

LuckyTrip (free)

LuckyTrip is a really cool app for those that like to travel. It also has a unique premise. Simply enter in how much you have to spend on a trip and LuckyTrip will show you where you can go–whether it’s taking a flight, finding a place to stay, or finding a destination. The app searches SkyScanner for flights and has a database of other destinations built-in. When it matches a place with your budget it will tell you where to head off to.

PAUSE (£1.49)

Pause is a relaxation app based on Tai Chi and mindfulness practice. The app’s creators say “by slowly and continuously moving your fingertip across the screen, PAUSE triggers the body’s ‘rest and digest’ response, quickly helping you regain focus and release stress within minutes” and they say their claims are backed up by EEG studies. When I tried it I did indeed find it relaxing. Besides the cool visuals it’s got a calming audio score which could put you to sleep if you are not careful.

Guardian Soulmates (free)

If you’re tired of the shallowness of Tinder or the confusion of dating apps like Match, you might want to check out Guardian Soulmates. Created by The Guardian newspaper, they’ve just released their first iOS app of their long-running dating site. The app allows you to create a free account, search your matches, and like and message potential dates. Of course, you’ll need to subscribe if you want to send them messages back.

Money Dashboard (free)

Money Dashboard is the UK budgeting app I’ve been waiting for for a while. In the US the king of the budgeting apps is Mint–but that isn’t available in the UK, and now it’s no longer needed. Money Dashboard has been around for a while and their app has always kind of sucked. But they just released a completely redesigned, overhauled version 2.0 and it is amazing. Track your spending across accounts, see your money spend organized on beautiful charts, and set budgets to keep you in control. Money Dashboard is the best budgeting app on the UK App Store.

Seashine (free)

Seashine is one of the most beautiful iOS games I’ve played in a while. You play a small bioluminescent jellyfish that needs to keep consuming things to keep its lights on. Make you way through dark undersea worlds and encounter fascinating creatures and objects along the way. But don’t let your light fade! Or else you might get eaten by a bigger fish.

moo-Q (free)

moo-Q is an app for those that want to take part in scientific research from the comfort of their phone. The app helps you track and measure your mood and then asks you to take numerical puzzle tests, which help the researchers on the other end see how mood affects your cognitive abilities. The tests can be frustrating, but it's really interesting looking at the graphs of your results and see how your brain functions depending on the mood you are in.

iTranslate (free)


We’ve written about iTranslate before. It’s the app that allows you to type or speak phrases you want translated so you can communicate with foreign speakers. The company has just released a new update to the app with an awesome iOS keyboard extension. Now users can use the iTranslate keyboard in any app in iOS to translate in real time. Yes, that’s right: you can write in english and have a text conversation with someone who is writing in German and both your words will be translated in real time.

Knocker (free)


If RightMove had a baby with Tinder it would be Knocker. This property finder app allows you to swipe through property listings until you find one you like. It allows you to search by current location or close to a favourite place and displays results in a Tinder-esque card view. It’s also got a map view so you can see right where the property you want to rent or buy is at.

Two Dots (free)


Two Dots is the follow up to the original hit Dots game. But in the sequel users can now play across 385 beautifully designed levels and unlike in the first game where you aim was to just connect dots, in Two Dots you can sink anchors, make a line, create bombs, extinguish flames, and much more. The game also has some beautiful minimalistic design–and it's free.

Microsoft Translator (free)

Microsoft has been really getting into the translation game. First it previewed some cutting edge real-time translation software for Skype, now it’s released the Translator app for iPhone. With this app you can speak or type your words and phrases in and get them automatically translated into dozens of languages. The app can also speak the translations for you–handy if you’re not sure how to say them. Another really handy feature is the ability to save favorite translations for quick access.

Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon (£3.99)

Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon is the sequel to Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor–one of the best puzzlers ever made. In the game you play a spider spinning webs through a mysterious abandoned mansion. Though your goal is to keep progressing through the levels–doing your spider thing: spinning webs, eating bugs–you’ll notice a story starts to appear about the history of the mansion and its occupants. One really cool feature about this game is that it works in real time and real weather. That means if it's dark and rainy by you, it will be dark and rainy in the game. Trust me, it sounds like an odd game, but it is highly addictive.

Pacifica (free)

Pacifica is an excellent app for anyone struggling with depression or anxiety. Using proven Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness, relaxation, and other health techniques, the app allows you to track your moods and other habit metrics and offers exercises to reduce your stress or anxiety when things feels like they are getting a bit out of control.

Race The Sun (£3.99)

Race The Sun is one of the most beautiful racing games I’ve seen on iOS in a long time. In it you pilot a solar craft that gets its energy from the sun. The object of the game is to get as far as you can–evading obstacles–until the sun goes down and you run out of solar energy. It’s makers say the game was “inspired by arcade games of the past with a focus on highscores, short game sessions, and pure fun mingled with a nerve-wracking tension”–and based on the gameplay, no description has ever been more accurate.

Angry Birds 2 (free)

So there’s been this little game series you may have heard about called Angry Birds…Just kidding. Everyone in the world knows Angry Birds–it is literally the most downloaded mobile game of all time. And now Rovio, the company behind the series, is back with its official sequel: Angry Birds 2. This time the game has gotten a slight visual makeover as well as new multi-stage levels. But the biggest difference is perhaps the new ability to select the order in which you launch your birds in. This adds an entire new element to the game as if you choose the order poorly you might not be able to complete the level.

Pennies (£2.29)

If you’ve ever wished there were a minimalist finance app–well, your dreams have just come true. Meet Pennies. The app turns traditional finance tracking apps on their heads by eschewing complicated charts and tags. Pennies focuses on one thing: how much you spend and how much you have left to spend. It allows you to set a financial budget and then quickly enter every penny you spend thanks to its intuitive interface. Since it doesn’t bother you about categorizing or tagging transactions, this is the perfect app for those that just want to know what their money in and money out is at a glance.

GIF for Messenger (free)

Recently Facebook has started allowing third party app developers to make apps that integrate with its Messenger app. GIF for Messenger is perhaps my favorite. It allows you to insert millions of animated gifs into your Facebook messages. And that app makes sorting for that perfect gif easy because it offers categories like reactions, music, trending and more. Plus you can also save gifs right from Safari and store them in GIF for Messenger for later use.

Spendlytics (free)

Spendlytics is an amazing app that Santander released on the day Apple rolled out Apple Pay in the UK. The app allows Santander customers to get an overview of their spending habits, breaking down transactions into types and sortable by week, month, or year. That app is one of the best spend tracking apps available to UK iPhone users (since Mint isn’t supported in the UK). However, you do need to be a Santander customer to use it. As good as the app is, it could use some improvements, including Touch ID login and the ability to see spending in all categories and not just the ones Santander defines.

Layout from Instagram (free)

Layout from Instagram is a companion app made by Instagram that allows you to do a little more with your photos than the regular Instagram app does. You can “re-mix” up to nine of your snaps into cool layouts, add effects, and then upload those combined shots to your Instagram feed. It’s a cool app that will give hardcore Instagramers a little more stylish control over the number and layouts of the photos they publish.

Pixelmator (£3.99)

For graphic design aficionados, the app of the week that will excite them is Pixelmator. Pixelmator has long been considered the best desktop graphics editor on the Mac outside of Photoshop. Last year Pixelmator brought their app to the iPad and now the team behind it has brought the editing app to the iPhone. Besides numerous effects and retouching tools, the app allows you to work with layers and selections--making it a productivity tool along the lines of its desktop counterpart. And at only £3.99 its a tool that does a lot for very little cost.

Dark Sky (£2.99)

Dark Sky is one of the coolest weather apps I’ve ever seen. That’s because it uses your GPS location to give you hyper-accurate forecasts for the next hour out. It can tell you exactly when it will begin to rain or snow, offering minute-by-minute forecasts so you know if you have enough time to walk the dog or get that jog in before it starts pouring. The app also offers weekly forecasts and features beautiful animations and a Notification Center widget.

Threes! Free (free)

Threes! is the addictive numbers puzzler that has taken the mobile world by storm. In it you mesh numbers together to match them. Once matched, those numbers double. Your goal is to match as many numbers on the board before it fills up. The game has traditionally cost money but now the publisher has released this free ad supported version. Give it a download and I can guarantee you you’ll realize you’ve never played a better time waster. And the little voices the number blocks talk in are just a huge bonus (you’ll see what I mean).

Santander Cycles (free)

If you’re a Londoner, this is one app you’re going to need to download. Santander Cycles allows you to hire cycles from the city’s bike-sharing scheme right from your mobile phone. It takes the place of the old Barclay’s Cycle Hire app. Using the app you can get a hire code sent right to your iPhone, which allows you to completely bypass the docking station terminal. The app also has maps that show you where the closest docking stations are and allow you to plan your route. This app is also officially licensed by Transport for London, so you know it’s accurate.

Eurovision Song Contest (free)

Bloody hell, Eurovision, right? I mean what can you say about the singing contest that is more kitsch than substance. Yet still it’s a popular event that has lasted for decades–and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere any time soon. With the official Eurovision Song Contest app you can get a complete overview of the contest so far including scores, contestant bios, and more. You can also view photos, videos, and even buy the songs in the music shop portion of the app.

GLP - Great Little Place (free)

There are a ton of travel apps on the App Store–some excellent, most not. What I love about GLP is the premise behind it: it’s like Tinder for travel, but only little-known places are shown. Swipe through profiles of restaurants, bars, pubs and coffee shops that are off the beaten path. Profile are submitted by local users, which means you’ll probably swipe upon a hidden gem most tourists don’t know about. If you’re planning trips this summer, download GLP now.

The FIFA Weekly (free)


How doesn’t like football? That’s right: no one. But major footy fans will probably be especially keen to download this new iPhone-only FIFA Weekly app. The app is a digital magazine featuring the latest news, interviews, and scores from the world of FIFA. Each Friday around noon the latest issue will download to the app automatically, so you can always to be sure you have enough football information for the weekend ahead.

Keyboard Sound (free)


You know that tick-tack sound of the iPhone keyboard? It’s annoying right? That’s why most people shut it off. But then there’s this app, which lets you customize the sounds your iPhone keyboard keys make when you tap them. I’m not saying any of these sounds are less annoying, but it’s a cool app for people who want to give their iPhone a unique personality.

DayCost Free (free)


There’s a lot of personal finance managers for the iPhone out there, but the reason I like DayCost so much is because it makes entering transactions as fast as possible–just in three steps. That’s thanks to its iOS widget. Pull down the Notification Center, enter the amount of your transaction and enter the category and you're done. The app automatically generates easy to understand graphs so you can see where all your dough is going.

Dialr (£0.79)

This app is simple but brilliant. Dialr allows you to put quick links to your favorite contacts in Notification Center. Just swipe down from any screen to access Notification Center, tap on their name and the iPhone's dialer will automatically launch and call them. It's a killer feature that really shortens the time it takes to call your contacts if you're a frequent caller. Brilliant.

Organizer (free)

The horrible thing about Apple's new Photos app for Mac is that you can no longer adjust the location metadata in your photos like you could in iPhoto. This iOS app helps fix that. With it you can manipulate the location and time & date metadata of any photo on your iPhone. Change it there and then import your pictures back to Photos on your Mac–or simply use iCloud Photo Library–and now you've got that sorely missing location-editing feature back.

Betfair Predicts (free)

The General Election is less than a month away and if you're a political junkie you're going to want this app. It takes information from Betfair's exchange markets and combines it with latest political polling to show you the likely outcome of the election. Betfair boasts that they've called the last six world elections correctly and well ahead of time. Will their app be right this time? Download it now to find out next month.

Google Calendar (free)

Finally Google has brought its Calendar app to the iPhone. The official Google Calendar app  features a sleek Modern interface with day, week, and month views. A unique view is “Schedule”, which allows you to see all your immediate events along with photos and maps to the place you’re going to. As can be expected, Google Calendar also automatically adds any flights, hotel bookings, concerts, restaurant reservations, and more from your Gmail inbox. It also works with iCloud and Exchange calendars so you can use one app to track all your events no matter which calendar server that event is on.

SubscriptMe (free)

SubscriptMe is a brilliant free app that helps you manage all your paid subscriptions, like Netflix, Pandora, Dropbox, and more. Once you install the app on your iPhone SubscriptMe will look for any apps which might have paid subscriptions and present its findings to you. Swipe right to confirm you subscribe to that service and then enter your cost details. SubscriptMe will then give you a total spending breakdown of how much that subscription will cost you per month, per year, and in your lifetime. It’s a great app with a niche focus that could really help you identify if the subscription you are paying for is worth it to you in the long run.

HERE Maps (free)

Nokia has brought its increasingly excellent HERE maps service to the iPhone. The killer feature of HERE is the ability to save maps for offline use. This is incredibly handy when traveling in a foreign country where you might not have data service--or be willing to pay costly roaming charges. HERE also boasts voice-guided turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic and incident information for more than 40 countries and public transport maps, directions and information for more than 900 cities.


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