Try Out These iOS Exclusives
While Android boasts of its incredible technical customization, Apple's iOS has a well-deserved reputation for interface design and aesthetics. Apple's tight control over both hardware and software makes iOS an easier environment to develop for, which leads many apps to debut on the Apple platform first. Whether you've got one of the new iPhones Apple released last fall or are holding on to older models like the iPhone 8 or iPhone 7, there are plenty of great apps for your phone that you won't find on any other device. (And iOS 13, coming this fall, should give developers even more to work with, especially for AR-friendly iOS apps.)
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)
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 newer iPhone (7 Plus, 8 Plus, X, XR, XS, or XS Max), 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, as the app maker's strong push into iOS apps shows. Its Timepage calendar app was a great first foray into the mobile space, and Moleskine has followed it up with another Apple Design Awards winner. Flow is an impressive drawing and note-taking app that does justice to Moleskine's notebook roots.
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). It's 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 and including cloud storage and app updates.
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.
iTranslate Converse ($4.99 per month)
A winner of the 2018 Apple Design Awards, iTranslate Converse is a more nimble version of iTranslate's mobile app, focused entirely on two-way voice translation for 38 different languages, with automatic language detection. Speak into your iPhone's mic, and the app quickly translates your speech into your selected language, complete with text and audio. Then, it's ready to listen for an answer and translate to the first language you used, providing text transcripts. Converse's main virtue is its ease of use, with a simple interface and few extras to get in the way. The app subscriptions start at $4.99 per month, with a free 7-day trial.
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.
Stylebook turns your iPhone into a handy wardrobe assistant, allowing you to quickly take photographs of your outfits and cut out the background. By doing so, you can see your clothes in a clean and sparse freeform canvas, letting you mix and match items of clothing to plan out your next outfit. You can tag your clothing into various categories, save favorite outfits, and organize your collection by brand, color, size, fabric, and other criteria. The app comes with a ton of extras, such as a packing list assistant, a calendar for planning outfits, shopping links, inspiration libraries, and the option to sync your collection across devices through iCloud or to share them through social media.
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.
Bear is a flexible writing and note-taking app that works great for jotting down quick notes, doodles, poetry and prose or even snippets of code. Focus mode lets you get right down to business, and a markup editor supports 20 different programming languages. Inline image and photo support combined with Apple Pencil and hand sketching makes adding scribbles, doodles, and illustrations a simple task. Bear also includes cross-note links, and tag support for easy searching. A pro subscription — $1.99 per month or $14.99 annually — includes note syncing, export options for multiple file types and extra editing tools.
Sid Meier's Civilization 6 (Free, $29.99 unlock)
If you want the full fat complexity of a 4x game and will accept no substitutes, you’re in luck. Aspyr's iPad port of Sid Meier’s Civilization VI brings the premier historical 4x game to your touch screen, putting you at helm of Earth’s great civilizations from the Stone Age to the future. Explore the world, exploit its resources and develop your culture and sciences while carefully balancing your military and diplomatic needs in this gripping strategy title. The game lets you demo the first 60 turns for free, after that, you’ll need to pay full price ($29.99) for the rest of the game, with additional civilizations and scenario packs available as in-app purchases. You will need a fairly new iPad to run the demanding game.
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. With the iPhone X now available, Halide's even begun to integrate 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 with the phone's new dual cameras.
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. Some of Overcast's features are locked or limited in the free tier, which can be unlocked with a $4.99 in-app purchase.