Try Out These iOS Exclusives
While Android boasts of its incredible technical customization, Apple's iPhones have always been about the apps. True, Google Play offers a lot of apps for Android phones, but app makers seem to target Apple's platform with their best offerings first — and in some cases, iOS is the only place you can find some apps.
Whether you just picked up an iPhone 11 or you're holding on to an older model, there are plenty of great apps for your phone that you won't find on any other platform. And thanks to iOS 13, there are even more features that app makers can take advantage of to deliver a unique experience on the iPhone.
From fantastic image editors, clever games, journaling apps, and all-around utilities, here are 15 of the best iOS exclusive apps in the App Store right now. (Image Credit: Tom's Guide)
Spectre Camera ($2.99)
The winner of iPhone App of the Year honors from Apple, Spectre Camera is another impressive piece of photography software by the team behind Halide. This camera app delivers beautiful long exposure shots, with the help of AI and software magic to stabilize the shot, process light trails, and remove crowds, moving vehicles, and other ephemeral elements. The result is a photo highlighting the perfect scenic view. Spectre takes in hundreds of shots during the exposure time saved as a live photo, so you can view and share the exposure in progress, individual stills, or the final result.
Apollo: Immersive Illumination ($2.99)
Apollo: Immersive Illumination is an impressive photo manipulation app that takes advantage of all the extra 3-dimensional data saved in your iPhone's Portrait Mode photos and then applies some editing magic to let users augment their photos with new light sources in real time. This allows you to add lighting and special effects that are impossible or difficult to set up beforehand. An important caveat: As Apollo uses depth data in portrait mode photos, you'll need a specific iPhone (the iPhone 7 Plus or 8 Plus or any Apple phone since the iPhone X), and will need to take the photos with the default iPhone camera app to properly preserve the depth data for lighting effects.
Pixelmator Photo (iPad, $4.99)
Pixelmator has long been one of our favorite mobile art applications, and a new app, Pixelmator Photo, is geared toward photo manipulation. Pixelmator Photo is able to apply nondestructive color augmentation and editing to your images. The app comes with a wealth of tools to repair, touch up, and enhance your photos, allowing for fine-grained editing, or fast presets for quick tweaks. Pixelmator Photo's powerful tools turn your iPad into a mobile photo editing powerhouse, easily justifying its place in the 2019 edition of the Apple Design Awards.
Flow by Moleskine ($1.99 per month)
Moleskine isn't just about physical journals and notebooks anymore. The company has made a strong push into iOS apps, highlighted by Flow, an impressive drawing and note-taking app that does justice to Moleskine's notebook roots. It’s so good that it managed to bag both an Apple Design Award and a nod as 2019’s iPad App of the Year.
Users can draw or take notes on an infinite-width canvas that lets you customize everything from your writing tools (virtual pens, pencils and markers in a variety of colors and sizes) and paper (from Moleskine's traditional ivory paper to black, white, and blue, with options for grids and more). Flow provides a luxurious drawing experience that fully supports iPhone and iPad interfaces. The app is free for a 7-day trial, with subscriptions costing $1.99 per month. With that fee, you get cloud storage and app updates.
Hyper Light Drifter ($4.99)
Heart Machine’s award winning action RPG Hyper Light Drifter delivers a slash’em up experience that is both gorgeous and tactically intense. As the Drifter, you’ll explore a rich pixel art world that draws inspiration from both fantasy and science fiction, with pastoral environments filled with high-tech detritus and magical and technological monstrosities. You’ll need to take advantage of every aspect of the Drifter’s abilities and arsenal as you slowly piece together what happened to you and your world while engaging in fast-paced, almost dance-like battles against mooks and boss monsters. Hyper Light Drifter provides touch controls with haptic feedback to provide a tactile assist to your controls, while also offering support for MFi controllers for players more used to a traditional gamepad.
Agile Tortoise makes a mean note-taking and quickfire writing app with the aptly named Drafts, now in its fifth iteration. Fire Drafts up, and the app provides you with a quick blank page and a keyboard at the ready. New entries and notes get placed into an Inbox so you can tag and sort them later. Alternatively, you can use any of the dozens of useful quick actions and app integrations to turn your jotted-down text notes into documents, tweets, emails or messages, while Inboxed notes can be tagged for sorting, flagged for importance, or archived. The text editor itself is highly customizable, allowing you to tweak everything from spacing to line heights and margins. A premium subscription lets you add and edit quick actions; it also adds themes and icons while introducing workspaces and other handy productivity features.
Things 3 ($9.99)
Cultured Code’s Things 3 is a lean, mean task management machine, providing a clean experience for quickly organizing tasks, to-dos and projects quickly with a simple entry options and an interface that makes adding new entries and tasks a snap. A Today view lets you quickly focus on your most urgent items for the day, while tools like Tags and Areas of Responsibility let you easily organize the tasks and projects relevant for personal use, work, side gigs and other spheres. The latest update brings things in line for iOS 13 while also updating the interface and usability with enhanced share options, Siri shortcuts, and more. Things takes the premium, one-purchase path rather than a subscription model, and it syncs up well with its Mac counterpart.
NEX Team's HomeCourt turns your iPhone into a personal basketball coaching aide and sports science tool, using the iPhone's camera and sensors to record and analyze a player's movements as they go through standard shooting and dribbling exercises. As you take each shot and motion, HomeCourt analyzes your movements, recording important metrics like the type of shot, release time, leg and release angles, where you take each shot and whether you managed to score or miss. It's a great way to train smarter as well as harder, with a variety of shooting and handling drills available. The free tier of HomeCourt lets you analyze up to 1,000 shots a month, with premium subscriptions either increasing that cap or removing it, while also adding more advanced drills and metrics.
Enlight Photofox (Free)
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.
Focos takes advantage of the dual lens cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X to let users tinker around with and refocus images after the fact. The result is a more customizable Bokeh effect 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 it 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.
Apollo for Reddit (Free)
Apollo is an excellent iOS Reddit browser, with a ton of features such as markdown editing for comments, a jump bar for quick navigation, and an excellent media viewer for everything from photos, videos, and GIFs. The collapsible comment viewer makes navigating a comment thread a breeze, a GIF time scrubber lets you fast forward or rewind, and configurable gesture controls make navigation easy.
Another app that comes to iOS after winning over fans on the Mac, Agenda is an app that takes a date-oriented approach to organization. Your notes get timestamps, which allows to easily view your progress as you projects evolve. Agenda lets you organize notes by project or category. You can also highlight specific items, making them easier to find. Sync your notes over iCloud or share them in a variety of formats. Everything's easy to use, with a $9.99 in-app purchase unlocking the premium features available in this iOS version.
Halide is a camera app that does a good job balancing between powerful features and a clutter-free, user friendly interface. Customizable gesture controls let you easily adjust things like focus and exposure settings, while more in-depth controls like manual camera settings and focus peaking are available for more control. Whether you're going for simple, auto-focus snap shooting or you're trying to set up a more studied and technical shot, Halide is worth a look. When the iPhone X came out two years ago, Halide added new features, such as an interface built with the edge-to-edge screen in mind, along with editing tools that take advantage of depth sensing made possible by the multiple lenses found on all modern-day iPhones.
Moleskine Timepage ($4.99)
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.
Overcast is a iOS podcast app by Instapaper creator Marco Ament that features clean design and neat audio and management features that make it a great mobile podcatcher. Overcast covers your podcatching basics for downloading podcast episodes, notifications of new episode releases, offline play and podcast discovery. The secret sauce comes with two nice audio features. Voice Boost normalizes the sound levels of speech, automatically boosting quiet voices and lowering loud ones. Smart Speed automatically cuts away at gaps and silence in the podcast, speeding up play without distorting audio. A premium Overcast tier, which you unlock with a $9.99 purchase, removes ads.