We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.


These are the apps everyone should have on their smartphone

Because some apps are more useful than others.

THERE ARE ENOUGH apps out there but only a finite amount of space on your phone. This proves to be a problem at the best of times, mainly which apps are the ones you should definitely have and which ones are worth getting rid of.

The first question is the shorter one to answer so we’ve put together the apps that we think deserve a place on your phone. We’re going to go off the beaten track and not suggest the likes of Facebook or Twitter since it’s likely you already have them.

To keep yourself organised

For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

The traditional calendars on your phone are passable at best, but Sunrise shakes things up a bit with a great design and focus. Since it integrates with a number of apps, it can bring all of your events together into the one place.

Sunrise / YouTube

To help improve your language skills

For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

Duolingo isn’t going to make you fluent at a language, but it will help you get a good grasp on a new language. Breaking up each language into mini-games that only take a few moments to complete, it’s probably the most accessible way to start learning a new dialect.

Duolingo / YouTube

To impress your friends 

Wolfram Alpha
For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: €2.69

Sure you could Google the answer to a question, but why not go a step further and use Wolfram Alpha instead. Pretty much answering almost every mathematical question you can think of, it’s a powerful tool to have whatever you doing.

Wolfram Alpha Wolfram Alpha / App Store Wolfram Alpha / App Store / App Store

To speed up your texting 

For:iOS, Android
Cost: €0.89

While you have the free version of Swiftkey (with in-app purchases) out there, Swype just happens to be the more comprehensive version. Autocomplete and auto dictionary allows you to complete writing your texts faster and its learning capabilities help improve suggestions over time.

swype-589x500 Swype / App Store Swype / App Store / App Store

For a nicer view of the weather

Yahoo! Weather
For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

Despite the jokes that surround Yahoo, its weather app has a nice design and is rather comprehensive. Taking photos from Flickr to highlight the weather for that time is a great idea and the simplicity of it means you don’t have to trawl through useless info to find what you want.

yahoo / YouTube

For random fun snippets every day

For: iOS
Cost: Free

Ping is random. Basically a number of push notification sent to you, these can cover a vast number of topics and while they can be random in nature, they do keep you abreast of what’s new out there.

ping-2-630x468 Ping / App Store Ping / App Store / App Store

If you’re travelling abroad

Word Lens
For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

Since Google bought Quest Visual earlier this year, all of Word Lens’ translation packs are free to download. What it does is use your camera to translate written text and it works rather well.

QuestVisual / YouTube

To help warn you of bad weather

Dark Sky
For: iOS
Cost: €3.59

The hook of Dark Sky tells you whether it’s going to rain or snow an hour in advance. After that, it’s one of the nicest weather apps out there, tying with Yahoo! Weather.

Dark Sky Dark Sky / App Store Dark Sky / App Store / App Store

To make you more efficient

For: iOS
Cost: €2.99

Originally we were going to have IFTTT in, but the simplicity and versatility of Workflow won it out – if you’re an iOS user, that is. Easy to use, handy prepared combinations and a beautiful interface makes it a winner.

workflow-630x470 Workflow / App Store Workflow / App Store / App Store

To give yourself peace of mind

For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

Considering how hectic our lives are and how important mental health is, Headspace is one of the best relaxation and meditation services for those who don’t know where to start.

The first 10 days are free to try out, but it’s well worth the subscription.

Headspace / YouTube

If you find yourself stuck somewhere

For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

If you’re in an unfamiliar area in Ireland or in Europe, you will likely be able to rely onHailo to get you somewhere. Easy to use, you won’t have to worry about getting a taxi wherever you go.

Hailo Hailo / Google Play Hailo / Google Play / Google Play

For finding your way around town 

Google Maps
For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

For now, there’s nothing that comes close to matching Google Maps (with maybe the exception of HERE maps), but Google’s version is one of the most comprehensive maps out there.

Google Maps Google Maps / Google Play Google Maps / Google Play / Google Play

For keeping yourself and your notes organised

For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

It’s been around for a while, but there are few services which can top Evernote. Allowing to store almost everything in the one place for future use, it’s incredibly useful to have for work and personal use.

Evernote / YouTube

For finding a new place to eat or drink

For: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Cost: Free

Earlier this year, Foursquare split its app up into two, the original became a recommendation app while Swarm became a check-in app. While the latter hasn’t worked out, the former has thrived thanks to a new recommendation system that is able to find the best spots in any city.

foursquareHQ / YouTube

For catching up on articles

For: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

Considering how many articles there are to read, it’s likely you will want to save it for when you’re experiencing a quiet moment or traveling. Pocket allows you to save articles, images and videos onto your phone so you can catch up on articles when your schedule allows it.

crenkonline / YouTube



Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.