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What to look for in iPhone and iPad apps


There are 10’s of thousands of apps available to download in Apple’s app-store – some are free, some cost a little and some cost a fortune. Whilst some of these apps are fantastic value for money, some of them are expensive, or in the case where they are free, are not worth the time downloading. This article gives an idea about what to look for and some fantastic apps to make your life easier.

Most of us know that feeling of finding an amazing-sounding free app – be it a game, navigation tool or note-taking utility for your iPhone or iPad…we download it, eagerly open it up and start exploring its features, only to find it’s a demo of sorts. This could mean:

  • The app will only work for a few days;
  • There is very limited functionality;
  • Anything it creates has a sizeable logo overlaying it;
  • The app will only work a certain number of times;
  • Only part of the app is ‘unlocked’ until you buy a subscription;
  • Intrusive advertising ruins the user experience.

Advertising is probably the most tolerable of the list above, vendors have to make their money somehow, but on occasions, the adverts have ruined the user experience, popping up randomly, meaning the user inadvertently clicks the advert link. This generally leaves the user feeling underwhelmed and frustrated, rather than looking at the advertising brand favourably.

There are a few indicators to look at before downloading apps – you can read the user reviews, read the detailed description, but it’s highly likely that for the free apps, its easier to download them, try them, and delete them if they’re not what you’re looking for.

Paid apps are a different story…you are buying a product from a supplier and there is pressure on that supplier to provide a high-quality application with regular updates with inevitable bug fixes and new features being included all the time.

We’ve sieved through the app store to pick out some great apps for you to try out – some useful, some are fun but we like them! We’ll reluctantly use the term ‘the top 10….’ for example, as that’s a matter of opinion but these are sure to make your user experience a little more complete:

  • EverNote – An advanced note writing app that allows you to format, search and sync much more effectively than the standard Notes app. Price? Free!
  • Twitter – An app that connects to your Twitter account. See our article about Twitter. It’s more useful than you’d think!
  • WhatsApp – OK so it costs $1 or 69p to download, but it will save you a wad of cash when you use it to text and picture message for free…pass the word around to your friends too, because both parties need it for it to work!
  • Facebook – fairly self-explanatory – never miss a status update with the Facebook app!
  • Amazon – an amazing world-leader in retail, selling almost anything with amazing customer support.
  • BBC News – whatever is going on in the world, be the first to find out with real-time updates and a classy user interface.
  • Google Earth – crystal clear and jaw-dropping user experience to discover the world when you can’t afford a plane ticket.
  • Converter Plus – fed up of your Gran using pounds and ounces? Never query her again, for free Converter Plus is here!
  • XE – a professional and free currency exchange rate provider, giving both current and historical rates. You can choose your own base rate.
  • Dropbox – fantastic free legal file distribution tool, designed for collaboration and to keep all your files where you can reach them, regardless of which device you were using them on.
  • Epicurious – interactive and deliciously free recipe finder!
  • Find My iPhone – left your iPhone or iPad somewhere? If you downloaded this free app, you will be able to track it down the whole time it’s switched on…a must-have for peace of mind.
  • Flipboard – Delightful and classy make-your-own newspaper tool. You can choose what you want to read about, and it makes your own menu for you. We love this – including the fact its free!
  • Google Search – Google have made their own free search app and its fabulous, as you can expect from the masters of the internet. You can even take a picture and Google will search on it – helpful for identifying plants, animals, vehicle makes and all sorts!
  • Opera Mini – Fast, free, secure and sexy web browsing, and a nice alternative to the default Safari.
  • RunKeeper – Keen bean with donning the trainers? RunKeeper is free and stores all sorts of useful information about your training regime…where you’ve been, how long it took, when you did it…great for the budding athletes amongst us.
  • Shazam – listening to a song? Can’t remember what it is? Shazam to the rescue! Simply hold the microphone somewhere near the music and Shazam will tell you what the music is. IT’s free too!
  • Blokus – A great little game, costs a couple of pounds but can be played alone or in a team, strategic, fun and mind-boggling!
  • Tripit – Travel a lot? This free and handy little app collates and manages all your travel plans, so you will never miss another connection.
  • WebMD – A FREE and very helpful health diagnosis app that can not only save you money on health care but could save a life in an emergency.
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About theithandbook

Reaching every day people and businesses with simple, effective and modern IT advice.

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