So, you’ve just gotten a brand new iPhone over the Christmas season. Now what? The start of a new year is just around the corner. And although you could switch over all of the applications you’ve been using, now is a beautiful moment to branch out and experiment with something new. It doesn’t matter whether you have a new iPhone 13 or a new iPhone SE; here’s a list of some applications that are useful, entertaining, or just much superior to the ones that came pre-installed on your device.
Listen up, Apple’s Mail application is perfectly enough. Gmail is just modestly superior. There is a reason why Microsoft Outlook is considered to be a classic. On the other hand, Spark Mail is a straightforward, reliable, and free solution that offers a great deal of customizability. In addition, additional options are available, including the ability to enable smart notifications (no more alerts from that strange service you joined up for six years ago) and the ability to integrate with services like Dropbox and OneDrive.
You could, of course, continue to use Apple’s Reminders app, but there are many superior alternatives available. For those that want something with a little more strength than a bullet list in your Notes app or that sticky note they have jammed in their pocket, Todoist is an excellent place to start. It’s a versatile tool used for everything from personal chores to professional undertakings. It also integrates with many third-party applications, like customized photo gallery, Slack, Calendar, and Spark.
If you’ve ever had trouble keeping a plant alive, you’re not alone in your struggles. Is it possible for someone to have the discipline to monitor the soil moisture levels every day? Although there are many plant-related applications available, Planta is the only one that has assisted me in keeping any of my plants alive — and flourishing. In addition to helping you determine which plants should be placed where in your house, it also reminds you when to water and re-pot your plants and even provides temperature warnings for your outside babies. It may also help you identify the mystery plant your auntie gave you. Besides the free version, there are a variety of subscription alternatives to choose from.
If you want to be more active, there are a few applications that do it and Strava. The app doesn’t need the use of a fitness tracker or wearable (though you can integrate a number of the most popular ones), and it supports a wide range of activities, including basics such as bicycling, walking, and running. Other third-party connectors are available as well, making it simple to utilize as a central center for all of your fitness objectives. In addition to challenges that allow you to earn discounts on exercise equipment, there are intelligent personal safety elements and various methods to track your progress throughout the game.
Clearly stated in the title: You’ll Need a Budget. If you’re serious about being proactive about spending and saving for the future, YNAB is a problematic competitor to beat. At first glance, the categories and approach may seem to be a bit overwhelming, but you can make it as complex or as simple as you like. In addition, it is available with two membership options: $98.99 per year or $14.99 per month, both of which are relatively expensive. However, I discovered that the software paid for itself within the first month of service over many years of use. In addition, there is a free trial period of 34 days to determine whether it is worth it for you. On the other hand, Mint is a fantastic and completely free alternative.
Purchasing e-books may quickly add up, particularly if you’re a keen reader. Libby connects you with your local library, allowing you to borrow books, periodicals, and audiobooks for no cost at all. You can read inside the app or send your readers to your Kindle. Libby has a good feature in that it automatically syncs across all of your devices, so it doesn’t matter which device you’re using to read on. It also works with Apple CarPlay and enables reading when not connected to the internet.
Do you know how frequently you should sharpen your knives and how often you should lubricate your cutting boards? What about knowing when to replace your shower curtain or flip your mattress? Tody is a convenient and configurable software that alerts you when it is time to clean what and when it comes to cleaning. You may arrange duties by room, assign responsibilities to members of your family or roommates, and compete against Dusty, a dust gremlin, to keep things exciting and entertaining (and clean). For those of us who are neat freaks, it also helps us see how clean our homes are — and it helps us resolve conflicts over who is doing the majority of the cleaning. While there is a one-time price of $6.99 to pay, there are no further in-app purchases.
Password managers are a fundamental part of good security hygiene. I like 1Password since it works with my Apple Watch and is interoperable with various operating systems and browsers. It works with Touch and FaceID, is simple to set up, and even securely keeps your credit card information for use when you go online to purchase. It will also notify you if any of your passwords aren’t up to par, and it is easy to create new ones on the fly if necessary. Unfortunately, there isn’t a free version available (although there is a 30-day trial), but there are lots of alternative free password managers to pick from, such as Bitwarden, Dashlane, LastPass, and even the ones integrated into Safari and Google Chrome, which are all excellent choices. Although each has its own set of pros and downsides, using any password manager is preferable to using none at all.
It’s been a challenging period for everyone involved. What’s excellent about Calm is that it contains meditations tailored to your requirements, such as greater attention or decreased anxiety, as well as reflections on everyday issues to ponder on. For some who find mindfulness unappealing, Calm also offers a selection of sleep tales and music tracks. Sure, you presumably already have YouTube and its thousands of free white noise films, but it’s great to be able to drift off to the sound of Idris Elba reading you a bedtime tale now and again. The Headspace app is another popular alternative designed for novices who want to dip their toes into the world of meditation and mindfulness.
Having a running record of all the money you owe your friends, family, and roommates is valuable, and Venmo makes it easy to keep track of your obligations. However, although there is a subscription tier, the free version performs all you need it to do, including automatically dividing bills, recording recurring spending, and hooking out to Venmo to pay for those costs.