Skip to main content

These are the 6 iPhone apps I can’t live without

An iPhone 13 Pro Max with a home screen showing Spark, TickTick, Lastpass, Splitwise, Goodnotes 5 and Inoreader
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I don't download many new apps these days, but that's mostly because the apps I currently use have proved indispensable. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

My choice of the top six apps that help me organize my life is in part governed by the iPhone 13 Pro Max and refurbished iPad Pro 2020 that I use every day. I'd likely use some different apps if I used one of the best Android phones and Android tablets instead, although most are available on both mobile operating systems. 

If you're looking for new ways to manage various parts of your life, or simply want to try out something new on your iPhone, here are my top six app recommendations.

1. TickTick 

The TickTick logo on a pale blue background

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

This task management app is one of two apps on this list where "apps I can't live without" is no exaggeration. All my professional and personal projects are kept within various lists and folders, with deadlines, tags attached to each one to make sure I'm up to speed with all the stuff I need to do daily. TickTick also has some of the best iOS widgets I've come across, letting me check a whole list or week's worth of tasks just by glancing at my home screen.

As much as I aim to stay consistent with my structure, I have yet to find the one exact method that works for me. Fortunately, TickTick can hope with my chopping and changing, making it simple to move between list, calendar and matrix views and swap tasks between different lists, making sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

Download TickTick: App Store (opens in new tab) / Google Play 

2.  LastPass 

The LastPass logo on a pale blue background

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The other app that I rely on a huge amount daily, LastPass handles all my passwords and autofills them for me whenever I need. Useful when you need to maintain a lot of unique passwords, as the best online security advice says.

You have to pay to use LastPass across multiple platforms (which I do) but if I had to pick one platform, I'd definitely use my phone. Having all my passwords on hand is very handy, particularly since I'm often setting up new devices 

There are other options for the best password managers out there, but I'm going to be sticking with LastPass for the foreseeable future.

Download LastPass: App Store (opens in new tab) / Google Play

3.  Splitwise 

The Splitwise logo on a pale blue background

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I share a house with three others, and Splitwise (plus a good bathroom cleaning rota) is what keeps life peaceful and orderly.

Whether you're trying to split with individuals or among a group, Splitwise takes the pain out of calculating who owes what when someone pays a bill on behalf of everyone. It then bundles everything together so you know the grand totals of what you need to pay and to whom after a particularly exciting night out or several days on vacation. It's still useful when you're only dealing with one other person, since you get an itemized history of all the transactions you've put through Splitwise, helping you decide who's turn it is to order takeout this week.

Download Splitwise: App Store (opens in new tab) / Google Play

4. Spark 

The Spark logo on a pale blue background

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

While I'd be happy sorting my emails through the default Apple Mail app or Gmail, Spark has provided a more attractive and intelligent method of checking my messages.

I particularly like the Smart Inbox feature, which has learned over time which emails I actually read immediately after getting a notification, and which I don't. It's drastically reduced the amount of email interruptions I get each day, which has helped me avoid distraction when I really ought to be concentrating on something else.

Download Spark: App Store (opens in new tab) / Google Play

5.  Goodnotes 5 

The Goodnotes 5 logo on a pale blue background

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

This app is here because it's my primary note-taking app on my iPad. Having the freedom to take hand-written notes with a stylus is my preferred way of making quick reminders and so on, but being able to quickly check those notes when I'm away from my iPad or WiFi is invaluable.

I could of course do this with the default Apple Notes app, but I prefer Goodnotes' wide variety of templates, and the stickers system that makes it easy to save and reuse shapes and drawings for certain tasks. This hybrid of an infinite digital notebook with the best parts of using a real notebook make it the ideal notes app for me.

Download Goodnotes 5: App Store (opens in new tab) 

6.  Inoreader 

The Inoreader logo on a pale blue background

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

To keep on top of all the news that goes on in the tech world, I use an RSS reader, my reader of choice being Inoreader.

Once you've set it up with your news sources, you can scroll through and read or bookmark what interests you with impressive speed. You can quickly scan hundreds or thousands of stories, or split them into sections and take your time analyzing stories in more detail through the in-app reading window. I find the free version does the job perfectly well for my needs, but Inoreader Pro is available if you want to add huge numbers of feeds and get them sorted automatically and even read to you through text-to-speech.

Download Inoreader: App Store (opens in new tab) / Google Play

Next: These are the 5 iPhone apps our Senior Editor Kate Kozuch can't live without.

Richard Priday
Staff Writer

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.