Sometimes, we sit and reminisce about the days when digital technology wasn’t quite so prevalent in our everyday lives. Our phones and our apps have seemingly become extensions of our brains. Today, our apps are way more than games or simple communication tools but essential software that enable us to live modern, always connected lives. Do you remember excitedly downloading dozens (or even hundreds) of apps when you got your first smartphone? Those days have mostly passed, replaced by a few juggernauts that dominate our screen time. In case you’re open to discovering a few new apps, we thought we’d assemble a master list of our favorite apps that we use the most often.
Favorite Music App
Spotify– Music is such an important part of our lives, so why not have the best music app? Ever since first downloading Spotify years ago, our musical horizons have been greatly expanded. That’s thanks to Spotify’s expert and algorithmic curation of playlists. Love jazz but don’t know where to start? See this post for our favorite playlists we are listening to on Spotify right now.
Favorite Shopping App
Shopstyle – There are two ways to shop online. One is shopping-tainment, which is when you browse without anything in particular in mind and are simply looking to discover. The other is when you have an idea for something you want, and need to find it ASAP. In the latter situation, I use Shopstyle, as it’s the best tool to use when searching for something specific, even if you only have a loose idea of what that is. Shopstyle aggregates products from all over the internet, so you can save time looking in one place, rather than going from website to website. You can easily narrow down your search by price, brand, and color.
Favorite Design App
Over – This awesome app gets a lot of use from our team because you can easily manipulate multiple layers of photos and videos. There are a ton of professional templates for inspiration, as well as high-quality stickers and brand images at your disposal. Everything is customizable, and you can easily upload your own fonts and logos. It’s also very intuitive–if you can think of it, you can make it.
Favorite Printing App
HP Smart – Smart scan documents, prints on the go, and prints photos through the app for free with an Instant Ink subscription. You might not have known you needed an app to print from your phone until now, but once you have it (along with a compatible HP printer), you’ll wonder how you lived without it.
Favorite Recipe App
America’s Test Kitchen – We love America’s Test Kitchen. They are the first recipe source we go to when looking to make something we’ve never made. Rather than trying our luck with the recipes from random blogs or Pinterest, or even other recipe websites, we’ve realized that if we follow ATK’s recipes, we wind up with a crowd pleaser every time.
Favorite Transportation App
Google Maps – Aside from the random person on the street that still asks for directions, we expect everyone knows and uses Google Maps. The staying power Google Maps has had is remarkable. Over years and years of using it, we still think it’s the best directions app available. I think that’s because Google Maps has continued to expand their offerings, while not making the app too feature-filled or too clunky to use.
Favorite Hotel Booking App
Tablet Hotels – In today’s world, where everything is available at your fingertips, curation becomes even more important in order to make sense of the internet world. When it comes to hotels, we are pretty picky, and Tablet Hotels has been our number one trusted source for great hotels. While their list of hotels continues to grow, they still have a review process before hotels are added to their database.
Favorite Restaurant Booking App
Resy – Even in a town the size of Charleston, there are so many restaurants to choose from, so curation is once again an essential element when browsing for a new spot to try. Resy has high enough standards that you can expect a good meal with every booking.
Favorite Weather App
Dark Sky – The problem with most weather apps and forecasts is that they are designed to present an averaged view of what a day’s weather looks like. Additionally, they typically over-represent weather, so even if there is only a 30% chance of rain during one hour of the day, you’ll still see rainclouds on your app. Dark Sky is great because its default view breaks down the weather hourly and shows the likelihood of rain during the next hour–a practical feature for people planning their commutes or a quick outing.
Favorite Utility App
Measure on iPhone (new with iOS 12) – Perhaps due to our seemingly non-stop home projects, we constantly find ourselves wishing we had a measuring tape on hand, but never do. That’s why this app, which is now available with iOS 12 (and may have some compatibility challenges beyond just updating to the new iOS), has been so helpful. What’s even better is that after you’ve measured, you can set the measurement, take a step back and take an image that includes the measurement, perfect for using further down the road.
Favorite App We’ve Downloaded in the Last 30 Days
Citymapper – Now that we live in NYC part-time, we rely on public transit much more often, especially the subway system. While Google Maps is great for helping to identify the best lines to take, Citymapper seems a little bit better connected to the real-time data of arrival times. It’s also beautifully designed and is available in lots of major cities around the world.
Favorite Reading App
Medium – We try not to read or watch the news too often, so when we do read articles, we like to read ones that have a little more depth to them. Medium, the open publishing platform founded by Evan Williams (the same founder as Twitter and Blogger), allows anyone who wants the opportunity to write thoughtful pieces the opportunity to be heard, without having to run a blog of their own.
Favorite Airline App
Delta – We might be a bit biased because we are loyal flyers with Delta, as it’s the largest airline in Charleston, but their app has a lot packed into it without being too difficult to use. We especially love the luggage tracking updates, which have saved the day for us a few times. One example: on a connecting flight, one of our bags was accidentally sent to baggage claim. Thankfully, we had a long layover and received the notification about the bag via the app, so we were able to retrieve the bag and recheck it to our destination.
Favorite App for Reminding Us That We Use Our Phones Too Much
Screen Time (found in Settings on iOS) – If you haven’t looked at this feature on your iPhone (I’m sure there’s a similar feature on Android) yet, please do. Either you’ll be interested to see how you spend your time on your phone and not care enough to do anything about it, or you’ll be freaked out and instantly implement a digital detox. Whichever reaction you have, we think it’s healthy to be cognizant of your usage habits for anything in life, whether that’s your phone, food, work, television, money, sleep, etc. Screen Time reports keep us accountable and enable us to set limits on specific apps when we feel like we need them.