The Best iOS Apps You’re Not Using

Give These Overlooked Apps a Try

It’s not hard to find great lists of the best apps to load into your iPhone and iPad, if you want to load up on crowd favorites such as Facebook, Instagram or Spotify. But the App Store conceals a wealth of apps that might not have gotten any widespread accolades. We searched through the App Store to bring you more hidden gems — apps that don’t always get a lot of attention or headlines, but deliver great utility, interesting new features or fantastic experiences to your iPhone or iPad. Whether you’ve got a new iPhone or just want to freshen up your current model, give some of these overlooked iOS apps a try.

iTranslate Converse ($4.99/mo)

Another Apple Design Awards winner, 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 the phone 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, and provide 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.

Focos (Free)

Focos (Free)

Portrait mode on dual-lens iPhones like the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X lets you take striking photos, but if you want more customizable effects and the ability to refocus images, consider Focos, which lets you adjust Bokeh effects 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 Focos 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.

Jot – Notes & Todos ($1.99)

Rather than throw in a whole mess of features you might not even use, note-taking app Jot focuses on the bare essentials: the quick creation of notes and to-do lists, presented in a simple feed style with swipe menus for pinning, archiving or sharing your notes. Don’t come in expecting stickers, elaborate tagging, sketching or other bling; Jot’s specialty is quick, distraction-free note taking.

Calzy 3 ($1.99)

Calzy 3 takes a neat approach to calculator apps with a “Memory Area” for quickly saving and labeling calculations, variables, and other bits of data that you might want to store for easy reference across multiple sessions. The app also includes a configurable keyboard, 3D touch support, scientific functions, history and bookmarking, as well as multitasking support. It’s an excellent all around calculator app, and it’s no surprise that it got recognition in the 2018 Apple Design Awards.

Frost ($4.99)


For gameplay that’s a bit more hypnotic and abstract, check out another 2018 Apple Design Awards winner, Frost, by kunabi brother GmbH. This deceptively simple puzzle game builds on the behavior of swarms of creatures, represented as variously colored dots streaming through your screen. As you tap and slide across the screen, each species will respond to based on its own unique behaviors, such as following drawn paths, fleeing from other creatures of a certain color, or following along if they see creatures of another color in the stream. Frost’s abstract, hypnotic visuals can be charming to watch as each colored swarm flows through your iPhone or iPad display.

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