BEST iPhone Apps 2015: The Good. The Bold. The Quirky

Reviews Michael Grothaus 12:43, 19 Feb 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 in the run up to Christmas. 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.

TransferWise Money Transfer (free)

I’ve been using TransferWise for a while now, and I’m glad they’ve finally released an iPhone app. TransferWise is the brainchild of the Skype founders and allows users to send foreign funds to themselves or others without paying exorbitant international fees to banks. Say I want to send £1000 to someone in America. A bank would take as much as 5% of that money in international transfer fees. But TransferWise matches your funds transfer with other TransferWise transfers going in the opposite direction. The result is your transfer actually never leaves the country you’re in--the money gets to its destination from other TransferWise users in the destination country. TransferWise’s fees for this? Just 0.5%. I have literally saved hundreds of pounds in fees using TransferWise. And now that I can use TransferWise from my iPhone I suspect I’ll be using it much more in the future.

Currenci (free)

Speaking of money...Currenci is a free currency converter with a beautiful, minimalist interface. It supports over 160 currency conversions and sports different themes so you can skin the app to your liking. But what I really love about it is that it offers a Notification Center widget that allows you to quickly access the currency converter with just a swipe.

Radical (free)

Radical might have the shortest app description ever. It reads:

Press Play. Dodge Walls. Get Radical.

Two Modes: Normal and Hard

As you can see from the screenshots above, the games graphics aren’t any more advanced than its gameplay. Yet Radical is tremendously addictive. You simply maneuver your triangular spaceship through a maze that speeds up the farther you get. It’s a terrific time waster on the commute home--and it’s free, so why not give it a try?

Shifts (£1.49)

Shifts is a mobile calendar app tailored to shift workers. If you work outside a normal 9 to 5, you’ll love this app. The app allows you to quickly mark the days and times of your upcoming shifts with just a few taps. You can place a moon icon on the calendar for a night shift and then a sun icon for a day shift. Everything is arranged beautifully on a monthly calendar view. The app also allows you to place up to two shifts per day. It’s perfect for nurses, security guards, or anyone who has constantly changing work schedules.

Hopper (free)

Hopper is a airline flight checker that has a secret weapon--its algorithm that searches billions of flight option and predicts how prices will change and when the best time is to buy your ticket. I love the calendar view that color-codes the best days of the month to fly to any given destination. Also the textual price prediction advice explains the chances of the ticket going up or down in nice clear terms. If you’re buying airline tickets for an upcoming trip, try this app. It may just save you a lot of money.

Alfred Remote (£3.99)

Alfred Remote is the companion mobile app to Alfred 2 for OS X. The Mac productivity app gives you greater control over your MacBook by enabling advanced hotkeys and offering increased search capabilities. The Alfred Remote companion iOS app allows you to control some of these things from your iPhone. For example, with Alfred Remote you can lock, restart, shut down, log out or sleep your Mac. This is nice if you work in a public environment and forgot to lock your Mac before you walked away from your desk. The app also allows you to eject all devices, quit all apps and empty the trash. More advanced features are also available including the ability to control iTunes and run user-defined scripts, AppleScripts and terminal commands.

BBC News (free)

The BBC has released a much-needed refresh to its BBC News app--and it is awesome. The new app finally takes the flat design cues from iOS 8, giving it a stunning new look. But what’s more is the app itself is much more customisable. For starters there is a new My News section, which allows you to personalize your newsfeed. Simply tap anywhere you see a + button to add the story subject or category to your personalized feed. Once personalization options are added you’ll be able to sort stories by topic or time. Besides the personalized news feed the new app also allows you to easily find content based on your location, stories you’ve recently viewed, and current news.

Timeline (free)

Speaking of news apps...Timeline is an interesting take on the news. It places a story in historical context and shows you past stories or information in a timeline view. The idea is today’s stories are more relevant or easier to understand if you have an idea of where they fit in the context of history. Getting the news in this fashion isn’t for everyone, but people that like to find out more about the historical context of stories will really like the app.

Funny Or Die Weather (free)

Viral humor site Funny or Die has released a weather app. No joke. And it’s a real weather app with five-day forecasts and all kinds of weather stats like Barometric Pressure, Wind Speed & Direction, Humidity, UV Index, Sunrise & Sunset, and more. The thing that makes it different is that it includes funny weather factoids with each forecast. Factoids like "The humidity of water is extremely high" and "No one knows what a barometer is.” I’ve been using the app for the last few hours and, jokes aside, it’s actually very good. It’s got beautiful weather animations and as it sources its data from Weather Underground, it’s as trustworthy as any other weather app.

Powder - Alpine Simulator (free)

It’s ski season coming up so why not get a digital jump start with the minimalist Powder ski simulator app on your iPhone before you hit the real slopes? Powder caught my eye because of its beautiful design aesthetics--it reminds me of the minimalism found in Monument Valley. The gameplay is simple, you ski down the mountain as far as you can go without hitting an obstacle (like a tree). But the farther you go, the harder it gets. Reminds you of a certain flappy game, doesn’t it?

Hotel my Phone (free)

You’re out with friends and as the night goes on you notice your iPhone’s battery is almost dead. The only problem is you’re expecting a really important phone call. Out of luck? Not if you’re using Hotel my Phone. The app allows you to “check in” on another friend’s phone when you’ve forgotten your phone--or that battery dies. By checking in to your friend’s phone all the calls and messages sent to your number will be forwarded to your friend’s device. The app even lets you make calls and texts with your number from your friend’s phone. It’s a pretty cool solution for a common problem.

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