By Alex Brooks
Inspired by M.G. Siegler, here’s an end of 2014 summary of the apps I’ve been using during the year. At the end of 2015 I’ll do another, and so on.
Unlike a lot of individuals who follow Apple and therefore are very interested in new apps, I rarely change my home screen on my iPhone. The apps have largely been static for 12-18 months, but every so often a better version of an app comes along so I’ll do a replacement or the app will update and I’ll move it off the homescreen because I don’t enjoy it anymore or it no longer serves the original purpose (*cough* Foursquare).
As of the end of 2014 I’ve got 20 “Apps” on the homescreen (including Apple apps, and Settings, etc.), 6 folders, for a total of 65 apps sitting on the homescreen. For reference I have 255 apps on the iPhone, which is now an iPhone 6, 64GB, Gold. Unless I have an app that sits on the homescreen I almost always use Spotlight to open an app, unless of course opening from a notification.
So here are my 25 apps, in alphabetical order. (Not including Apple default apps, and they’re not necessarily all on the homescreen):
Barclays Mobile Banking
I bank with Barclays, says it all really. App is pretty terrible overall but serves its basic purpose.
Reputable news on the go is tricky. But BBC News can be trusted to some extent, this app is mostly used for sending through breaking news.
My job dictates that I tweet a lot and update multiple Facebook pages. Much of these updates can be predicted ahead of time so Buffer is a great way to queue them up. It is also the only tool I’ve found that will reliably post to both Twitter and Facebook without making a mess.
Check the Weather
Has been my go to weather app for some time. Love the simple interface, the data is solid as it’s pulled from Forecast.io, and overall it’s a fantastic app.
iPhone End of 2014 Homescreen
If you live in a city with Citymapper then you need this. It’s a god send for anyone living in London, helps avoid rain and get you home as quick as possible. This year I had an opportunity to try it out in a different city (Paris) where it also made life so much easier.
Much like Check the Weather, I’ve been using this app since it arrived on the rainy shores of the UK. In the UK it rains a lot, any Londoner worth their time carries an umbrella at all times but this app is helpful for knowing when to avoid the heavy downpours, and when it’s safe to dash to your destination. The notifications can be a little hit and miss, but it’ll impress your friends if you can predict rain to the minute.
Good source of news, silliness, and friend stalking.
Since Facebook bifurcated Messenger into a separate app it’s served itself well. Many, many people use Facebook to communicate so this is an essential app.
I manage more than two dozen Facebook pages and this is a great way to do it on the go.
With iOS 7 and 8 Apple’s default calendar app improved significantly but not enough to throw Fantastical off the top spot. At a glance Fantastical shows me what days are busiest and with what using colour coded dots. The list of events is super natural, and with more than 100 events on an average week it doesn’t skip a beat and allows me to go about my business without hassle.
One wish would be its handling of Microsoft Exchange invites.
Well this has been my bug bear of 2014, but it might be turning out okay in the end. I will probably never understand why Foursquare felt the need to split checkins and discovery into two separate apps. With the split Foursquare lost its place in my homescreen top spots. This app is still incredible for finding places to go, keeping a list of places to go, and knowing the secrets of those places. Why they couldn’t add a simple checkin button for timesaving baffles me though.
Me and Apple Maps have trust issues. Every so often I’ll go back and see how it’s improving, but even when things look good there’s still that lack of trust. So since its release Google Maps has been my go to navigator and map, whether that be on foot or in a car.
Who doesn’t have this? Great for sharing photography, cataloguing memories, but also following friends and family to see what they’re up to.
A late in the year addition, this app is making a solid showing despite its limited use. Offers a fantastic way to keep up with what’s being posted on Facebook and Twitter without having to scroll through hundreds of posts.
Great app for listening to Podcasts. Particular features that make it stand out in the crowd are auto-downloading of Casts, and the Smart Speed effect for cutting out the silent gaps.
It’s still a thing.
Despite having over 10,000 songs in my iTunes Library, and a subscription to iTunes Match I very rarely open the Music app and very rarely use iTunes. I no longer purchase music on iTunes, it’s all done through Spotify.
Still love to keep a track of my Foursquare checkins, and this is now the only way to do it. Has taken a top spot on my homescreen.
The Economist Espresso
Another late entrant in 2014. This app gets updated daily with detailed news and features that are great to read on the go. It sends a notification once a day when the digest is ready and is free with an Economist print or digital subscription.
Another good source of news, much like BBC News this app sends breaking news updates but also offers a newspapers worth and more of daily news.
I’ve been using third party Twitter clients on iOS since before it was even possible to download from the App Store. I’ve been using Tweetie since November 2008, and have been fairly loyal to Tweetbot since 2011 when it was released. This is the app that I use most day to day but with time it’s becoming more difficult to stick with a third party app. Be interesting to see how this shapes up in 2015.
The only reasonable way to get around in London.
For those friends and colleagues rocking an Android this appears to be the go to app for messaging over a data connection. Good for group chats as well.
Superb for finding something on Wikipedia quickly and then receiving a perfectly formatted page which makes it easy to search, jump sections, and skip to other articles.
Yahoo News Digest
This app nearly didn’t make it. I take issue with news that is curated like this, but the sourcing is pretty good and the selection of news is better than other services (Circa springs to mind) so for now it stays. Like other news app this app sends two notifications a day, one in the morning and one in the evening, to notify that a new digest is available.
And that is my top 25 apps for 2014. This excludes default Apple apps like Clock, Camera, Photos, Safari, Mail, Messages, etc that get used a lot. There’s also some fairly new apps on my phone that I’m still trying out so maybe they’ll make it onto the list next year.
Come back in a year to see what’s changed. Continue the conversation with my on Twitter: @alexbrooks
Source: World of Apple