Congratulations and welcome to the club — you’re now the proud owner of a new iPhone. And right after your figure out how to add your contacts, make phone calls, set up your email and send text messages, you’re going to wonder, “Which apps should I download?”
That’s where I come in. I’m here to save you from embarrassment. That’s right, because all your already-have-an-iPhone friends are going to bombard you with “Haven’t you downloaded that app yet?” until you’re fully dialed in. So here are 50 common yet useful and well-known apps to get you started covering many of the bases you’ll likely use your iPhone for: social networking, entertainment, news, productivity and more. And the best part? They’re all free.
Click through to take a look at your starter kit.
The process is pretty simple but addictive: Take a photo, subject it to one of Instagram’s beautiful filters to give it a cool new look, then share it with friends and family via social media or email. Plus, every time you open the app you’ll see a stream of your friends’ Instagram photos as well. More than 15 million people are already on Team Instagram.
Get juicy tidbits of news, witticisms and other life commentary from friends, family members, celebrities or complete strangers — 140 characters at a time — even while on the go, with the Twitter iPhone app. And while you’re at it, why not share your own thoughts. My suggested topic: What you’re having for lunch that day.
Don’t call LinkedIn the Facebook of the professional world — they hate that. But use this app to stay connected to your professional network while on the go. More than 150 million members worldwide are already taking advantage of LinkedIn’s industry news, groups, and ability to share content with network members.
Tiny Review combines all the photography fun of Instagram with Twittery-worthy jokes and snarky comments. It goes like this: Take a photo, use Tiny Review to write a, well, tiny review on top of the image, and then send it out. Your Facebook and Twitter followers will no doubt enjoy reading all your opinions, inspiring quotes, jokes and other commentary on life.
iHeartRadio brings you more than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 U.S. cities, plus user-created custom stations based on your favorite songs or artists. Publish your listening activity to Facebook.
SoundHound is the solution to those moments when you hear a song on the radio or at an event and need to know who sings it. With unlimited music recognition, SoundHound features fast and accurate music identification, plus a singing search (meaning, you can sing it the song) and free unlimited LiveLyrics for more than 1 million of your iTunes tracks in SoundHound Player.
Stitcher Radio has gotten rave reviews for its clean interface and wide variety of available radio shows. Listen to your favorite news, comedy, sports, talk and storytelling radio shows and podcasts from NPR, CNN, Fox, BBC, Carolla, SModcast, Joe Rogan, Maddow, Rush, Fresh Air, Freakonomics, Radiolab and others on demand.
With VEVO, enjoy 45,000 free high-quality music videos from more than 11,000 artists, plus exclusive videos, premieres and select live performances. See which music videos are being played around you and around the world with the Music Maps feature, or share the videos you like with your friends via Facebook and Twitter. Serious Apple fans will also dig the ability to watch videos on Apple TV with Airplay.
USA Today’s iPhone app lets you browse and read stories from News, Money, Sports, Life, Tech and Travel 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Watch related videos, enlarge images and share stories via Facebook, Twitter, email or text message. Get notified of breaking news via a breaking news banner in News and by subscribing to push notifications.
The New York Times invites you to enjoy its world-class multimedia, with video and slide shows embedded in articles and in the Video and Photos sections. You can save and share articles through Facebook, Twitter and email, and bookmark sections and blogs. The app is updated with breaking news events as they occur.
Listen to NPR’s hourly news updates, create a playlist of stories to hear in any order or save for later, hear public radio podcasts on demand without downloading and syncing, read stories while listening to live stations and more. Also, a program guide lets you know when your favorite programs are playing live.
This award-winning app from The Associated Press puts the world’s news right in the palm of your hand. Personalize the app to meet your needs and interests — select stories from your local newspapers and broadcasters, plus AP’s best videos, photos, national and international coverage.
Watch CNN TV live; stream video coverage of live events and video clips; access the 2012 Election Center; receive breaking news alerts on the home screen; get local stories and weather with My CNN; share stories via email, SMS, Twitter and Facebook; and view, record and submit video and photo iReports directly from your own phone.
This word game is so simple yet so addictive it’s become a full-blown phenom. Players, aka your friends, take turns forming words horizontally or vertically on the gameboard, trying to score as many points as possible with each word. Certain placements will triple or double the value of an individual letter or an entire word, so use some strategy!
By the same people who brought us Harbor Master comes Temple Run, the super-addictive adventure game that brings out the Indian Jones in every player. Race down ancient temple walls and along sheer cliffs by swiping to turn, and jumping and sliding to avoid obstacles. Oh, and don’t forget to collect those coins.
OK, so in theory you and the birds (which are angry) are seeking revenge on some pigs who stole the birds’ eggs. Or something. Point is, you get to lay waste to the pigs’ fortified castles by catapulting birds at them. Angry Birds Free features 24 levels that aren’t in the full version and eight mini episodes. Try your hand at this physics-based demolition game.
This latest installment of Tap Tap Revenge follows the same concept: Tap the targets on your screen to the beat of the music and score points for accuracy and timing to earn more songs. Add in multiple difficulty levels, hundreds of available songs, and live online battlegrounds, and you’ll never have the same Tap Tap Revenge experience twice.
If you misplace your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, the Find My iPhone app will let you use another iOS device to find it and protect your data. Simply install this app on another iOS device, open it, and sign in with your Apple ID. Find My iPhone will help you locate your missing device on a map.You can then choose to display a message or play a sound, remotely lock your device, or erase your data on it.
Control iTunes and Apple TV using your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch over your Wi-Fi network. From anywhere in your home, you can change a song, pick a playlist, play a movie, or browse your entire library just as though you were sitting right there in front of your computer.
Check out current conditions from your local weather station, plus get seven-day forecasts, hourly forecasts, interactive maps showing all weather stations in your neighborhood and a list view of favorite locations and recent searches. Snow and winter sport reports, National Weather Service Radio, and Twitter integration are also nice features.
Using the Amazon Mobile app, users can search, shop, compare prices, read reviews and make purchases on Amazon. Other helpful shopping features include the ability to scan a barcode, snap a photo and check availability. Users can access their existing cart, wish lists, payment and shipping options, order history, 1-Click settings, and Prime membership benefits, just as they do on the web.
Don’t miss hard-to-find items with instant alerts when outbid or auctions are ending; and when you’re listing items for sale, use the research feature to find out how much your item is going for, then save time by prepopulating your listing. Share items you’re selling or buying via Facebook and Twitter.
This app, in association with the wildly popular deals site, lets users buy and redeem deals directly from their phone. You can also keep track of all your purchases and sort them according to location and their expiration dates, plus share deals with friends and family.
Able to translate between 57 different languages, Google Translate can decipher phrases by voice recognition as you speak, or by text as you type. The app can also vocalize your translations, as well as display them in full-screen mode, making it easier for others to read. Translations can also be starred for future reference — even if you’re offline.
You’ve already oohed and aahed over Google Earth on your desktop — now you can take that same global satellite and aerial imagery along with you on your iPhone. Navigate the world with a swipe of your finger, browse geo-located photos and Wikipedia articles from around the world, and search for cities and other places around the globe.
Enjoy more than 500,000 free lectures, videos, books and other resources on thousands of subjects, all part of free courses created and taught by instructors from leading universities and other schools. See all the assignments and updates from the instructor in one place and check off assignments as you complete them, plus take notes and highlight text in iBooks.
Streamline your browsing of Wikipedia with history grouped by visit date, and bookmarking that not only bookmarks individual entries, but individual sections within an entry. Additional features include a table of contents browser, multiple search methods, dual language searching, full in-page searching, Wiktionary dictionary, interactive font resizing and many others.
Selected as one of the top 50 apps of all time in Apple’s Hall of Fame, Fotopedia Heritage features 30,000 photos and serves as an inspiring travel guide. In cooperation with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the app includes point-of-interest descriptions, travel planning tools, an instant slideshow, wallpapers, sharing via social media, search and navigation, and did I already mention really stunning photographs from all over the world?
If you don’t already have a Dropbox account, you need one. This free service lets you bring all your photos, docs and videos with you, anywhere. After you install Dropbox on your computer, any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, your iPhone and iPad and even the Dropbox website! With the Dropbox app, you can take everything that matters to you on the go.
Evernote is an easy-to-use app that helps you remember everything across all your devices. Save your ideas, take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists and record voice reminders — Evernote makes all these things completely searchable. Plus, notes are synced across all the computers and devices you use and you can share them with friends, family and colleagues.
The WordPress app makes it easy to manage your WordPress blog or website from your iPhone. With WordPress for iOS, you can moderate comments, create or edit posts and pages, and add images or videos with ease. All you need is a WordPress.com blog or a self-hosted WordPress.org site running 2.9.2 or higher.
iBooks is an amazing way to download and read books. iBooks includes the iBookstore, where you can download the latest bestselling books or your favorite classics – day or night. Browse your library on a beautiful bookshelf, tap a book to open it, flip through pages with a swipe or a tap, and bookmark or add notes to your favorite passages.
Preview movies that are opening this week and see what’s a hit at the box office, discover what’s new on DVD and Blu-ray, browse a catalog of more than 50,000 films, watch high-quality trailers and video clips for more than 10,000 blockbusters and indie flicks, read movie review from Rotten Tomatoes, get maps that show nearby theaters and movies they’re playing and more.
The Cards app lets you create and mail beautiful greeting cards personalized with your own text and photos — right from your iPhone. Take a quick snapshot and with a few taps and swipes, an elegant thank you note or “wish-you-were-here” card is on its way to any mailbox in the world. Choose from dozens of designs and customize your card with a personal message and photo.
With the PayPal iPhone app, check your balance, withdraw funds, or view past transactions anytime, anywhere. You can also snap a photo of a check to add money to your PayPal account (yes, for free!), and find local PayPal-using merchants. Even on the go, your financial info is safe with PayPal.
Mint is your new financial friend. Mint can view all your accounts, plus categorize all your transactions. You can also manually add transactions at the time of purchase so you can keep track of how you’re spending your cash. And in order to avoid late fees and monitor cash flow, Mint sends you alerts and advice — right to your iPhone!
Quickbooks online user? This mobile app service is free with your subscription. Create invoices and get customer information on the go. (Note: You must be running iOS 4.2 or greater. This is not compatible with QuickBooks for Mac. But …) You can add, view and edit customer information, manage outstanding balances, create and view estimates, invoices and sales receipts, plus convert estimates to invoices and more.
The Bloomberg app provides instant access to business and finance news, market data and portfolio tracking tools, plus Bloomberg Television Live, a 24-hour global business and financial news, related videos within articles, top audio interviews from Bloomberg Radio, and the ability to share stories view Facebook and Twitter.
Fitocracy injects all the addictive fun of a video game into staying healthy or losing weight — except the level-ups are real. Earn points, unlock achievements, beat quests and slay the laziness dragon by joining a fitness community dedicated to getting you in shape.
MyFitnessPal can help you lose or maintain your weight. An easy-to-use calorie counter, MyFitnessPal has the largest food database of any calorie counter (more than 1.1 million foods so far). Plus, you can scan barcodes to find foods you’ve eaten, track nutrients, learn more than 350 different exercises, create custom exercises, connect with friends to motivate one another, set goals for yourself, and view personalized reports.
With The Eatery app you can snap a photo of what you’re about to eat and the app will deliver all the calorie and nutrient information — perfect for those on a diet or just trying to maintain their weight. Also, you can invite your friends and they’ll encourage you and keep you honest.
Developer: Massive Health
Search by restaurant name, find restaurants nearest to you, and see real-time availability. Plus, see search results on an interactive map, refine results by price or cuisine, read restaurant reviews, and best of all — reserve your table, right from your phone.
Use Yelp to search your community for restaurants, bars, tailors, bakeries, ice cream shops, salons, spas, car washes and just about anything else your city might contain. Plus, you can read other Yelp users’ reviews of their own experiences at a particular establishment to decide what’s good and what isn’t. Don’t forget to check-in, write your own reviews and share photos and quick tips via Twitter and Facebook.
Capture wine photos, comments and location, as well as share wine recommendations via Facebook and Twitter. Follow your friends to see what wines they’ve tried and loved, plus make the most of the app’s dictionary of common wine terms and food and wine pairing guide courtesy of Hello Vino.
What Do You Think?
Did we miss one? Is there an app you’d like to see added to this list? Let us know in the comments.