The iPhone and iPad come with some useful stock apps that cover everything from music playback to ebook readers, email, and podcatching. Still, if Apple's standard apps don't meet your approval, iPhones running iOS 10 (and the soon-to-be released iOS 11) can remove built-in apps from the home screen so that you can replace them with third party apps of your own choosing. If you're a new iPhone owner or just want a change of pace for your old device, check out 20 of our favorite replacements for the built-in apps on your new iPhone or iPad.
It's hard to beat the convenience of Siri, Apple's digital assistant which you can activate with the sound of your voice. And Apple is planning improvements for iOS 11 including a more natural-sounding Siri. But if you're frustrated by Siri's struggles to answer seemingly straightforward questions and you don't mind physically launching an app, try out the iOS version of Google Assistant. When we had the two assistants face off against one another, we were impressed by how Google's version handled tasks like directions and reservations; it's also tied in to Google's knowledge graph, which means more satisfying answers on average.
The Apple Home app functions as a great control app for HomeKit compatible devices, allowing for remote control of your Apple TV, smart lights, thermostat, and other devices. But it doesn't control everything, and if you're using other smart home hub devices, like the Google Home speaker or the Amazon Echo, then you may as well jettison the iOS Home app for the Google Home app or the Amazon Alexa app, respectively. The Google Home app allows for remote control and configuring of Chromecast and Chromecast Audio devices, as well as the Google Home speaker and compatible smart appliances, while the Alexa app handles the Amazon Echo, as well as Amazon's AI and search assistant, Alexa.
While the iOS calendar is serviceable, if you're looking for more power features, check out Fantastical. This iOS calendar delivers a clean presentation of events in daily, weekly and monthly calendar views, backed up by really easy reminder and event management. Users can create events through a traditional menu-ased interface, or simply type or speak a quick audio note that the app automatically parses into an event (which users can further tweak). In addition, Fantastical integrates with most major calendar services, including iCloud, Google, Exchange and more. The Day Ticker is especially great, allowing users to view and manage their events and reminders. Apple Watch integration pushes your events and appointments right to your wrist for easy reference.
Simpler Contacts is an address book alternative that combines ease of use with some powerful features for cleaning up your address book. It's got easy de-duping of contacts, allowing you to quickly find and merge contacts with similar names and contact details, as well as eliminate entries without names or contact details. You can add particular contacts into groups for easier sorting and group messaging, and a favorites section allows you to quickly access your most frequently used contacts. The app also includes cloud backup of your contacts.
Skype's been around forever, and boasts a user base of more than 300 million subscribers. The mobile app is a great replacement for Facetime, featuring free Skype-to-Skype audio and video calls over the internet. Group video calls allow you to talk with up to 25 users simultaneously, and the app's messaging lets you chat with up to 300 other users at a time, with photos, video messages, location sharing, and emojis. Perhaps best of all, it's cross-platform, allowing you to make calls to other people whether they're using iOS, Android, Windows, or Mac.
Apple's Find My Friends does a good job of sharing your location with your contacts, but another free app that we really like for the same job is the Life 360 Family & Friends Locator. The app allows for easy location sharing, with a Circles organization model for selective location sharing to groups, like family and friends. Users can set geofenced locations that notify you if a contact arrives or leaves, and the app comes with a messaging system. Premium plans include features such as expanded location history, unlimited locations for geofencing and local crime alerts; a Driver Protect plan provides crash detection, roadside assistance and driving habit reviews. Another plus? It's cross-platform, allowing you to share and receive location data with Android devices.
iBooks is a solid ebook reader platform, but Kindle blows it away with its cross-platform compatibility, openness to more formats and ever-increasing integration with Amazon's other apps such as Comics and Audible. More than 1 million titles are available in the Kindle store, from the latest bestsellers to free classics. A customizable display lets you set font size, brightness and other settings. Kindle syncs your last page read, bookmarks, highlights and notes between devices and platforms, allowing you to read on your iPhone, and continue reading on your iPad, or even carry on listening at the same point if you have the audiobook. A new addition is a Kindle Unlimited program that gives Kindle users access to thousands of audiobooks and e-books for a monthly fee.