It’s not hard to find great lists of the best apps to load into your iPhone and iPad, if you want to load up on crowd favorites such as Facebook, Instagram or Spotify. But the App Store conceals a wealth of apps that might not have gotten any widespread accolades. We searched through the App Store to bring you more hidden gems — apps that don’t always get a lot of attention or headlines, but deliver great utility, interesting new features or fantastic experiences to your iPhone or iPad. Whether you’ve got a new iPhone or just want to freshen up your current model, give some of these overlooked iOS apps a try.
Featured in the 2018 Apple Design Awards, Agenda is a note-taking app that stands out on Mac and iOS devices. This app takes a date-oriented approach to organization, attaching timestamps to your notes so that you can easily view your progress and the evolution of your projects. You can organize your notes by project and category, and highlight specific items into your agenda to make them easier to find. Notes can be synced on iCloud or shared through print or a variety of formats like PDF. The app is free to use, with premium features like events and markdown editing unlocked through an in-app purchase.
Another Apple Design Awards winner, iTranslate Converse is a more nimble version of iTranslate’s mobile app, focused entirely on two-way voice translation for 38 different languages, with automatic language detection. Speak into the phone mic, and the app quickly translates your speech into your selected language, complete with text and audio. Then, it’s ready to listen for an answer and translate to the first language you used, and provide text transcripts. Converse’s main virtue is its ease of use, with a simple interface and few extras to get in the way. The app subscriptions start at $4.99 per month, with a free 7-day trial.
Portrait mode on dual-lens iPhones like the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone Xlets you take striking photos, but if you want more customizable effects and the ability to refocus images, consider Focos, which lets you adjust Bokeh effects with variant shapes, adjustable aperture and diaphragm settings, and added depth filters. You can even tweak your existing Portrait Mode photos after the fact. While Focos doesn’t have the newer customizable lighting features of the stock camera’s updated Portrait Mode, it’s an excellent addition to your mobile photography bag of tricks.
Jot – Notes & Todos
Rather than throw in a whole mess of features you might not even use, note-taking app Jot focuses on the bare essentials: the quick creation of notes and to-do lists, presented in a simple feed style with swipe menus for pinning, archiving or sharing your notes. Don’t come in expecting stickers, elaborate tagging, sketching or other bling; Jot’s specialty is quick, distraction-free note taking.
Enlight Photofox is the latest edition of the award-winning photo editing app, allowing users to create stunning double exposures and other artfully manipulated effects. The app comes with a wealth of tools to affect color and tone, with filters, masks and layer effects making it easy to stitch together photos using a variety of blending modes and tools to keep everything seamless. The app offers some effects free, with an unlimited subscription unlocking all features.
Calzy 3 takes a neat approach to calculator apps with a “Memory Area” for quickly saving and labeling calculations, variables, and other bits of data that you might want to store for easy reference across multiple sessions. The app also includes a configurable keyboard, 3D touch support, scientific functions, history and bookmarking, as well as multitasking support. It’s an excellent all around calculator app, and it’s no surprise that it got recognition in the 2018 Apple Design Awards.