Apple announces Apple Design Award winners — here’s our 7 favorite apps and games

3 split image featuring NYT Games app screenshot, Apple Design Award cube, djay pro screenshot
(Image credit: NY Times, Apple, algoriddim GmbH)

It's time for Apple's annual Apple Design Awards winners to be announced, that time of year when the company tries to honoring the best apps in its App Store.

The 14 winners were chosen by the App Store's editorial team, which they curated from a list of 42 finalists. The categories have changed over the years, but the 2024 iteration has seven: Delight and Fun,  Inclusivity, Innovation, Interaction, Social Impact, Visuals and Graphics, and Spatial Computing.

An award for each category is given to both a game and an app, so the seven total categories result in 14 total awards. The winners aren't defined by revenue or downloads but by a commitment to creativity and design. The 2024 winners will be recognized at Apple's WWDC 2024 developer conference, which starts June 10.

Here's the full list of winners, as well as a selection of our favorites we recommend you check out.

Apple Design Award 2024 list of winners

Our top 7 favorite Apple Design Award 2024 winners

Bears Gratitude - Writing a daily gratitude entry

Screenshot of the Gratitude Bears app on iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

In a world where the term 'doomscrolling' exits, Bears Gratitude is a wonderful reminder to encourage gratitude in our daily lives. It's a journaling app with hand-drawn art and bear characters to celebrate life. 

The supportive app awards stickers to represent accomplishments and mini-inspirational articles. 

It features simple, thoughtful design that encourages you to write when and what you want, but hopefully in an honest, embracing manner.

Honorable Mention: The NYT games app is great if you like the crossword, sudoku and other games they have, but we're sure you've seen it.

oko - Accessible navigation

Screenshot of the oko app on iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

Oko is a navigation app meant to help those who are visually impaired. Users hold their phone up and Oko determines when walk signals are changing with audio and haptic feedback. 

Utilizing Maps and AI, oko provides turn-by-turn directions and helps explore urban environments. Many reviews from visually impaired individuals praise the crosswalk capabilities and say that it helps them feels safer walking in cities.

Honorable Mention: Crayola Adventures is delightful and has a ton of diversity options for characters including body types, pronouns and skin tones. 

Lost in Play - A journey through childhood imagination

Screenshot from Lost in Play app on iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

Cozy games have become increasingly popular across all gaming platforms. Lost in Play is a cozy point-and-tap adventure game that follows a brother and sister exploring a fantastical world on the way back home. 

It's filled with thoughtful puzzles but is family-friendly.  The artwork feels like a Saturday morning cartoon and gently scratches that old LucasArts Monkey Island itch. 

Honorable Mention: Procreate Dreams, a design tool for 2D animations. Think of it as an upgrade to the original Procreate. Procreate makes great apps but they've won awards from Apple before. 

Crouton - Recipe manager, grocery list and meal planner

Screenshot of the Crouton app on iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

Crouton is an app that my partner uses almost daily. As the app claims, it really is great for managing recipes from websites, cookbooks, and ones you've written. The app cleans up recipes and helps condense them, especially from websites where an essay is attached to every ingredient list. 

The meal planner melding into a grocery list is a nice touch. You can create grocery lists directly from recipes as well. The UI is easy to understand and fairly intuitive. 

Honorable Mention: Rytmos, we haven't tried but the pathway puzzler looks interesting.

The Wreck - 3D visual novel

Screenshot of The Wreck visual novel app on iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

The Wreck is a 3D visual novel that follows failed screenwriter Junon navigating a difficult time in her life. Most of the first chapter of the game is free so you can see if the style and writing fits you. 

With eloquent style and well-developed characters, we think you'll find it intriguing. It does deal with some uncomfortable and sad emotions, and perhaps not for those looking for lighter fare. 

Honorable Mention: Gentle Streak Fitness Tracker is focused on all around wellness. the UI looks fairly clean and is there when you're ready for it.

Lies of P - Pinocchio meets Bloodborne

Screenshot of Lies of P on MacBook

(Image credit: Apple)

Based on the tale of Pinocchio but much grimmer, Lies of P puts you in control of Pinocchio as the puppet battles increasingly ghoulish enemies in a Gothic city. It features ferocious action and amazing graphics. It seems to run well on modern Macs too, making a good case for the joy of gaming on a Mac.

Honorable Mention: Rooms is another cozy game about building and interacting with rooms that you and others build. It's just pleasant.

DJay pro - DJ app & AI Mixer

GIF of the djay pro app in Apple Vision Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

The spatial computing category is mainly aimed at apps for the Apple Vision Pro. However, the djay pro app is available across all Apple devices. It's a fun way to DJ and mix music on turntables, interactive effects. It's kind of like building your own Electric Daisy Carnival set. 

Honorable Mention: Blackbox is specifically for Apple Vision Pro and is a puzzler spread over a spatial canvas in the headset. 

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.