12 Smartphone Apps rated “best” by the UK Guardian

[Here are a dozen smartphone apps rated “best” by the UK Guardian in November 2017. Whilst the latest generation of smartphones come with heaps off apps, the ones below could be useful extras for you? Some have smartwatch extensions too.   Sandra Price]


Android / iOS (Free)

Urban travellers swear by Citymapper, which works for London, Manchester and Birmingham in the UK, as well as other cities around the world. From trains, tubes and buses to cycle hire and walking, it’ll guide you from A to B with a choice of routes and transport methods.

Android / iOS (Free)

Set your smartphone’s default alarm to permanent snooze in favour of this app, which aims to dispel your morning blues. It uses your phone’s microphone and accelerometer (the thing that detects when your phone is moving) to track your sleep through sound and movement, then wakes you in your lightest sleep phase near to your alarm time.

Android / iOS (Free)

The seemingly endless number of passwords needed to sign into your digital apps and services is dizzying, which makes password security a priority. Alongside the equally well-regarded 1Password, Dashlane password manager will help you generate secure passwords, then encrypts and stores them on your device so you don’t lose track.

Android / iOS (Free)

On the desktop, Microsoft’s Outlook email software is still used in lots of businesses, even if it isn’t always loved. But on mobile, the revamped Outlook app has been a critical hit: simply and stylishly blending email, calendar and file management, and working well with other services including Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

Android / iOS (Free)

Each iteration of Android and iOS brings faster, better photographic software to go with the more powerful cameras of new smartphones. But alternative apps are big business, with VSCO one of the best: not just for shooting, but for editing and sharing too.

Android / iOS (Free)

Google Maps and Apple Maps both do a good job as GPS navigation apps, but if you’re after an alternative, Waze – also owned by Google – is well worth a look. It draws on 90m drivers for live traffic data, and has good features to plan your journeys, including leaving at the right time.

Android / iOS (Free)

Apple has Pages and Google has Google Docs, but Quip is a powerful third-party documents app with an emphasis on collaboration. Besides word processing, it can do spreadsheets and task management, with chat features built in so colleagues don’t get in a tangle. It’s also good as a quick note-taker for individuals.

Android / iOS (Free)

To-do lists is one of those categories where people tend to have strong views on their favourites: Wunderlist, Any.do and Clear have fierce admirers, but Todoist impresses for its versatility. It’s as good for jotting down your shopping list as it is for managing big projects, and its Alexa integration means it can work with your Echo smart speaker too.

Android / iOS (Free)

People’s choice of messaging app is usually dictated by their social group: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc. But Telegram Messenger is worth a try: it offers similar encryption to WhatsApp, but is fully independent rather than owned by Facebook.

iOS (Free)

If your achilles heel is confusing “less” and “fewer”, or even “your” and “you’re”, Grammarly is here to help. It replaces the default iOS keyboard (Android is coming soon) and checks your grammar, spelling and punctuation as you go.

Android / iOS (Free)

IFTTT stands for If This, Then That, enabling you to link your devices and apps so that they work together. For example, if you share a photo in Instagram, it will also save to your Dropbox. When you get a missed call, your phone can email you a reminder. Or if you are nearing home, you can turn on your lights or central heating. Its latest tricks are working with smart speakers like Echo and Google Home.

Android / iOS (Free)

Since its release in 2016, Google’s video-calling app has been picking up plenty of fans as a FaceTime or Skype alternative. It can drop down to audio-only calls if your internet speed is sluggish, but is one of the smoothest, best-performing apps on anything better than an average connection.


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