The App Store was first introduced in 2008, and it was the first digital store where mobile software started being distributed to the masses, according to BusinessInsider.
It gained a lot of traction over the years, and thanks to the iPhone’s popularity, a lot of developers have started to work exclusively on iOS.
As a result, there are dozens of iOS-only apps populating the App Store, taking advantage of the iPhone’s and iPad’s special hardware features — like 3D Touch, or the Apple Pencil — to make unique experiences.
However, with so much choice, even Apple’s own curation on the revamped App Store makes it hard to have a short list of “best” apps, which is why we want to step in.
Here’s a selection of eight exclusive useful apps (plus a game) to make the most of your iOS device(s).
1. Apollo — The best way to experience Reddit
Apollo is iOS’ best client for Reddit users.
There are two main things that make it noteworthy: First, the app is extremely customisable, with a variety of themes and gestures that can make the experience more tailored to a specific user’s needs and preferences.
The simple look-and-feel is highly reminiscent of native iOS apps, which helps it feel cohesive with the rest of the system while offering fluid, simple navigation.
2. Darkroom — One photo editor to rule them all
There are a number of fantastic photo-editing apps on iOS (VSCO, Afterlight, and Infiltr come to mind), but Darkroom has consistently been the best mobile editor I have used on my iPhone.
Its main strength comes in the way of flexibility, which makes Darkroom as close and powerful a tool as it gets to Photoshop on a mobile platform.
3. Focos — Tweak images and play with focus range
Focos is an iPhone-exclusive app, and more specifically an app meant for iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X users.
The thing those three phones have in common is a second lens on the back, which allows their cameras to use depth information and create blurred portrait backgrounds.
4. Bear — Take smarter notes
Bear is a special kind of note-taking app. In fact, I don’t think of it a note-taking programme at all, but more like a writing app.
I still fire up either Google Keep or Apple’s own Notes app when I just want to take a quick note or create a throwaway bullet list, but when there’s something more I want or need to write, I open up Bear — which, in short, is more of an Evernote replacement, if you will.
5. Things 3 – Keep an up-to-date to-do list
Much like Bear, Things is a productivity-focused app. However, unlike Bear, this is an app that actively encourages me to… well, do. It really is the quintessential productivity app.
6. WLPPR — Enjoy a handpicked selection of fantastic aerial wallpapers
WLPPR is one of the few wallpaper selection apps that feels properly curated other than just rich in the sheer number of available images.
The app consists of a few albums that include a few dozen backgrounds each, but they all have one thing in common, and that’s the fact that all pictures have been shot from the above.
7. Airmail — Manage your email like a boss
There are many good email clients on iOS, but after having used a number of them extensively (Gmail, Outlook, Apple’s stock Mail app, and even Mailbox, when it still existed), I eventually settled on Airmail.
What I most like about it, other than its clean aesthetic which fits in pretty well with the rest of the system, is its native support for some of iOS’ best features: Haptic feedback with proper 3D Touch support, Today/To Do widgets, rich notifications, a fast, handy preview of documents, and even Siri support.
8. Timepage — Moleskine’s alternative to your average calendar app
Unlike most of the apps here, I didn’t pick Timepage because I think it’s the best app of its category. Most iOS users generally crown Fantastical as the best calendar app option, and for good reason.
But when I stumbled upon Timepage, I downloaded it, started using it, and never looked back. Unlike most other apps in this list, it doesn’t feel like a native iOS app, but rather something that Moleskine would build.
9. Life is Strange — A console masterpiece brought to mobile
Life is Strange, dontnod’s award-winning episodic game that first launched on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows 10 in 2015, has finally made its official debut on mobile. And, for now, it’s an iOS exclusive.
This is not a mobile-native videogame. However, this is more of a story-driven interactive experience rather than a fun, arcade-style type of game, so it can be enjoyed on a mobile phone in its entirety nonetheless.