Phones are like fingerprints; no two people’s are the same. In the seemingly endless sea of apps that populate the Apple and Google stores, it’s hard to know which apps are good, which ones are just OK, and which ones are total snoozers.
As for me, I’m a minimalist. I try to use my phone as little as possible.
That doesn’t mean I use a flip phone; on the contrary, I have an iPhone XR (humble brag) and I love sending my friends animojis. I’m also not a total Philistine, because I do have a few apps that I couldn’t live without. Even though they’re a little bit vanilla, these are apps that I would recommend to anyone, and I couldn’t live without.
1. Spotify (Free or Subscription)
I love music...a lot. That doesn’t make me unique or anything--tons of people love music--but Spotify is easily my #1 used app. Create playlists, listen to free stations, browse friends’ playlists, or discover new music, Spotify does it all. I really love the Discover Weekly and Release Radar playlists, because they keep me up to date on all of the freshest tunes. Did I mention that it also has podcasts? There’s basically nothing (at least audio-wise) that Spotify can’t do.
2. GuitarTuna (Free)
I play guitar, and GuitarTuna is a super-simple, free app that I can use to tune my guitar wherever I go. It’s not the most accurate tuner in the world, but it beats trying to use pitch harmonics in a crowded room to get all tuned up. The visuals are great, you can choose from 4 instruments in the free version, and it doesn’t need to update all that often. Overall, I love this app.
3. Genius Scan
For writers like me, converting things to PDF is a daily occurrence. Genius scan is awesome, because you can use your camera to take pictures of documents, and it automatically converts them to PDF. If you sign a bunch of contracts, send faxes, or just need a better way to send documents around without using a scanner, Genius Scan is the app for you.
I’m a gmailer. I know that Google is an evil company that harvests data like a corn thresher and spreads it out among its platform to be used by advertisers who are looking for new and better ways to market their products to me, but the Gmail app is solid. I use a couple of accounts, and the app makes it really easy to switch between them. I can sort, star, and organize my emails from my phone so that everything is nice and neat when I log in on my laptop at night.
Another company with a bad reputation for data and privacy practices (or non-practices), Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, isn’t the best corporation in the world. Instagram is cool though. Who doesn’t like following cool people that go cool places, do cool things, and wear cool clothes? I have to admit that I feel like I’m getting a bit too old to keep up with influencer culture, but by being picky about whom I follow, I can keep myself away from its materialist insanity and focus on rad stuff instead. If you like seeing neat landscapes, climbers are the best folks to follow. They’re always going to awesome places.
So there you have it! My apps are admittedly a bit vanilla, but that’s OK. They work for me. I typically do research to find apps that I know I’ll use, and I delete the ones I won’t. I don’t like a busy screen, so I keep icons, apps, and distractions to a minimum. I just like it that way.