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 make the "Best Of" lists, but deliver fantastic utility or interesting new features to your iPhone or iPad. (Image Credit: Sam Rutherford/Tom's Guide)
If you're curious about Snapchat's funky filters, but don't have the time for a new social network, Apple's Clips is for you. Clips allows iPhone and iPad owners to shoot stills and video and then add wacky filters. Its biggest selling point, though, is Live Titles, the subtitles you create by speaking. Just be prepared to repeat yourself, as the app may not always hear you right the first time.
MyScript's Nebo is a feature-rich note-taking app built with the iPad and the Apple Pencil in mind. Featuring MyScript's Interactive Ink technology, Nebo automatically parses your handwritten notes into text, while allowing you to easily format your text, add extras like emphasis, underlining, bullet points, diagrams, mathematical notations, and picture annotation. Users can write equations and calculate or export to LaTeX, export text into Microsoft Office documents or text files, and search through your notes to quickly find something you've scribbled down. If you're more about jotting down notes as opposed to typing them down, MyScript Nebo is an incredibly versatile note-taking tool.
Moleskine may be better known for its notebooks than its mobile apps, but the company's Timepage calendar app for iOS does a good job at being stylish and feature-packed. A smart calendar and day planner, Timepage works with existing calendar providers like iCloud, Facebook and Google, while providing some nifty calendar views and easy event creation. The base view provides a simple timeline of the day's coming appointments, with a date tab on the side for selecting specific days of the week. A month "heatmap" view quickly shows which days are free or busy, with filters surfacing particular events or calendars. Natural language parsing for event creation, maps and weather info, and natural language support are among the other additions. The iPad app provides expanded view modes and split-screen support.
The stock Voice Memos app does an good job as a voice recorder, but if you're looking for something more muscular, try out Just Press Record, a one-tap recording app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch that also adds some useful features like built-in transcription features for easy note taking. Users can record from a long press on the app icon, from a lockscreen or notification widget. The app can transcribe speech with support for a number of languages and spoken punctuation commands. Recordings are sorted by date and time, and can be manually renamed. The transcription also allows you to search through recordings for specific terms. You can sync recordings and transcriptions to iCloud, where they can be shared to a variety of apps.
The Microsoft Garage continues churning out interesting app projects for mobile devices, among them, Word Flow, an iOS keyboard alternative designed to work with one-handed, thumb-swiping typing while on the go. Word Flow displays the keyboard in a radial arc, allowing you to more easily swipe with thumb to the right keys without having to go through painful contortions. In addition, the app comes with the usual features of a good mobile keyboard such as a recommendation and autocorrect engine, and neat extras like customizable backgrounds.
Patronus is a personal security app that provides location sharing as well as an enhanced mobile 911 service that helps dispatchers locate you immediately based on your mobile phone's GPS sensors. An "On My Way" feature allows users to share their location and destination with contacts so they can watch your progress on a map link; when you arrive, the app sends a message to confirm your arrival and shuts off location sharing. Patronus's standout feature is its enhanced 911 system, which assists in forwarding your location to 911 (rather than having to rely on less precise cell towers), or displays your exact location to easily notify the dispatcher. In addition, trusted contacts are automatically notified of your emergency calls. Lockscreen support, notification widgets and Apple Watch support let you quickly shoot out an emergency call even on a locked phone.
Astropad Graphics Tablet is a neat tablet app that turns your iPad or iPhone into a graphics tablet for your Mac. Astropad provides a natural drawing experience, and should work with any Mac out of the box. It supports a wide variety of pressure sensitive stylus brands, such as Adonit, Wacom and Apple's own Pencil. The app is designed to work equally well whether you're connected to your Mac wirelessly or through USB, and features color correction, palm rejection, customizable shortcuts and gesture controls.