The App Store (or Google Play Store) is flooded with more than 2 million apps, and new ones debut all the time. We’re all familiar with popular options like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Uber, and the other hundred-thousand pointless apps too. What about little-known apps that provide real value, though? There are some surprising options out there, and we’ve hand-picked 8 of the most notable ones for your convenience.
For keeping it all under wraps: LastPass
What’s the point of having all this good stuff, not to mention your online banking and emails, on your smartphone if any old so-and-so can access it all? That’s why we use unique, multi-character passwords for each of our accounts. Right?
That’s where LastPass comes in. LastPass is an easy way to give all your accounts great password security, while you yourself only need to remember one master password. The premium version is well worth the $12 investment to keep your phone and the computer locked up tight.
For keeping up with the world: Feedly
News, blog posts, instant updates – if you want to know what’s going on as it’s going on, then you need to get Feedly. You can collect all your favorite news and information sources in a single app and scroll through, getting the latest news in an instant from all sorts of sources.
For efficiency: SwiftKey Keyboard
You mean you’re still flailing about, tapping your thumbs against the screen and wasting precious energy typing out words with individual presses?
Come on, caveman. You need to get with the times and upgrade your phone’s keyboard to SwiftKey Keyboard, which will ramp up your messaging to lightning speeds. With SwiftKey, you simply need to press, hold and drag your finger over the keyboard in the pattern of the word you want to type. It’s almost always accurate and always faster.
For a classic challenging game: Minecraft
Minecraft is one of the most downloaded gaming apps in history and one of the most popular computer games ever released. The miniature version of the immensely successful Minecraft still allows you to make use of the features and gameplay that PC and console gamers all over the world love. Mine materials and construct wonderful buildings and world in an open-world sandbox game where the possibilities are endless.
For killing time: Pocket Casts
If you have an iPhone, then podcasts have never been an issue. There are many faults with iTunes – even the most die-hard Apple fanboys would agree – but a selection of easily-accessible podcasts is not one of them.
Android users have always had it tougher, though, which is why Pocket Casts is such a godsend. It’s a fantastic podcasting app that makes it easy to manage and sort all your favorite podcasts, plus sync them between devices so you’re never without something to listen to.
For intense fun in the palm of your hand: Zynga Poker
Alright, so all this office suite, social media, news, and whatnot is great but sometimes you just want to use your phone to have fun without having to tediously play through a ton of same-old levels and in-app purchases.
So, fire up the Zynga Poker tables. Like many popular online poker sites, the Zynga Poker app offers free mobile games against millions of other players, working your way up to the high-stakes tables and competing in huge games with nothing but your own wit and nerve to see you through.
For becoming more worldly: Duolingo
You’re reading this in English, which means one of two things: you speak multiple languages, or you speak English and only know a little of another language. Most native English speakers are terrible for learning other languages, and as much as we want to there’s a pervasive rumor that “it’s too late” to start learning.
Nonsense – Duolingo proves that wrong. It’s a fantastic way to learn how to speak a huge variety of other languages from French to Spanish to German and even Irish, Esperanto, and Welsh among other lesser-known languages.
For an entertaining commute: Bubble Shooter
This classic arcade game is potentially one of the most addictive games ever designed. You have a huge wall of different color bubbles. Fire bubbles at them and they stick to one another; if you make a series of three or more bubbles then they’ll all pop.
There’s nothing more satisfying than popping your way through a huge chunk of them at once.