What’s on your phone? Perceived as excessive mobile users, we here at Pocketnow get asked this question more than just about any other question. The thing is, not all of us are heavy users. And even those of us who are don’t necessarily rely on a bevy of applications to get us through the day.
On the flip side, some of us hoard applications and never use them. Some of us install upwards of 100 applications and use most of them on a regular basis. Most of us, however, reside somewhere in the middle.
So what do the Pocketnow editors have on their phones? Which applications do they deem vital? Who packs their phones to the brim with apps and whose needs are the bare minimum?
We’ve responded with our current setups in the paragraphs below. Enjoy!
“Geocaching is my game”
It’s hard to narrow down all the apps I use but I can certainly give you the highlights. We’re going to skip the stock apps, like mail, messaging, etc. I’m also going to skip the Facebooks, Twitters, and Netflixes, because most already have those. The first thing I need is a geocaching app. If I’m on Windows Phone, the official app is a decent experience. On Android, C:Geo is hands down the best geocaching experience on any platform. It’s free and so is a Geocaching.com account, so go out now and try it.
Other apps I used on the regular include Kindle, Words with Friends, the various Sparkle games by 10Tons (I’ve bought at least one game on 6 different platforms). Those get me through the train rides.
Finally, OneNote and OneDrive have dominated my cloud computing experience. I don’t live an exciting life, nor are my apps particularly thrilling. Sorry about that. Guess I’ll go drown my sorrowing in the Bloons Tower Defense Daily Challenge.
“A mixture of weather, news, and fitness apps”
On my T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 925, my two favorite apps are probably Bing Weather and MixRadio. The weather app I mostly use as a live tile. It’s faster and better looking than other weather apps I’ve used and a current location live tile can be pinned that always updates based on where I am, while I can have other live tiles for specific locations. MixRadio is another high achiever since it offers free music downloads and basically a one-touch button for playing music that it knows I’ll like without me having to specifically tell it to do anything.
I’ve also got MyFitnessPal’s summary live tile pinned towards the top so that I can easily see my calorie allotment for the day. It updates automatically as I burn calories using Endomondo while bicycling or walking.
Another unique app that I use is Image Watermarker. This allows me to add my PNG image based watermark to photos I take on the phone before uploading them to social networks. For news, I mainly use Windows Phone’s integrated people groups to create live tiles that load news feeds from Twitter accounts and display updates as they are tweeted, but my other favorite news apps are NBC News because of its awesome Cortana integration (I can tell it to read the headlines out loud) and Bing News for its integration with the Windows 8 News app. While it’s not an app per-se, I’ve got the Pocketnow website pinned to my start screen as well, and since we implemented the live tile code, it shows up as an animated tile that automatically loads pictures and headlines as they happen.
“Swiftkey is a must-have”
I’ve learned from Tony (hence, why he’s not in this list) that no matter how many apps you install, you really only use a few. My needs actually revolve around a couple of apps, like Instagram for example, which for me is about convenience since I can share the same photo everywhere at once. Whatsapp, BBM, Tumblr, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are obvious, but I do have a couple that are not so common. I’ve been using Pocket Informant since the Windows Mobile days to handle my calendar, and I love Mailbox for turning my email into a task machine. Genius Scan+ is another app I use constantly to keep up with receipts, and I use iCam to keep an eye on my apartment while I’m out. Swiftkey is a must-have on any Android phone, and I keep up with my running stats through Nike+ Running. Again, my needs are basic, and these are the first apps I install on every phone that I use.
“This could take a while…”
“Pebble, Automatic, Nest, Pushover, and IFTT are apps that run all the time. Google Authenticator is there whenever I need two-factor authentication.
On devices that I have the green-light to root I have BusyBox Free, SuperSU, Root Explorer, ClockSync, StickMount, SoftKeyZ, and SQLite Editor.
Microsoft’s RD Client enables me to connect to the computers and servers at my day job from anywhere I have an Internet connection. Various benchmarking, diagnostic, and signal analyzer apps come and go.
All told I have 6.5GB used with 20GB internal storage free on my Nexus 5. That leaves me with plenty of room for games, music, movies, and even more apps.
Again, depending on the device, I may have more or less apps installed at any given time, but this is a pretty good summary of what I have loaded most of the time.”
This is an excerpt from Joe’s Pocketnow Insider piece from back in June. You can read more about what Joe runs on his device here.
“I like living in the past-future”
Timehop (Android, iOS). I’m exactly the kind of navel-gazing nostalgia buff that Timehop’s creators were thinking of when they crafted this completely self-indulgent app. Give Timehop permission to sift through your tweets, ‘grams, and Facebook updates, and it’ll greet you each morning with your posts from two, four, even six years past. It’s a great way to remind yourself just how wild your life used to be before you succumbed to the relentless soul-crushing inevitability of modern existence and got yourself a real job.
Hotel Tonight (Android, iOS, Windows Phone). Planning sucks, so any product that gives me permission to put it off is a winner in my book. Enter Hotel Tonight, an app for finding lodging in an unfamiliar city – but one which requires you to wait until the day you arrive to use it. The idea is that it helps hotels fill unbooked rooms at the last minute, and in exchange you get a super-sweet cheap rate at a place that’s probably swankier than what you’re used to. I use this app all. the. time. And I adore it.
Muzei (Android). Taylor introduced me to this one, so in return for his generosity I’m stealing what was probably going to be one of his own entries in this very post. Muzei bills itself as a “living museum for your Android home screen,” and indeed that’s exactly what this live wallpaper shuffler does: downloads and displays a new piece of famous art on your phone automatically every day. Now, normally that wouldn’t be my bag … but with the handy NASA Image Of The Day plugin, I get a new sweet space travel photo as my Moto X wallpaper every damn day, one that fades into soft focus on command so I can see my widgets and icons more clearly. And that, friends, is exactly the kind of thing that gimbals my nozzle.
Chief News Editor
“File access is key”
I don’t have a great answer to this – or rather I do, but it hasn’t changed much in the last year-and-a-half.
Probably the app I use with the most consistency is DicePlayer, a straightforward media player with nice network support. That’s key for me, since I don’t tend to use much in the way of hosted media services: my files stay on my phone or on my desktop. In the case of the latter, DicePlayer lets me access them using WiFi over a local network through the SMB protocol, same as I already have set up for streaming video to my television. Gesture control works well enough, and I really appreciate the lock mode to keep wayward taps from interrupting the action once you’ve got everything set up the way you like it.
Beyond that, I’m a big fan of Weather Underground, Spotify, and Android File Manager.
“Uh, you may want to sit down first”
Frankly, I could fill a 1,000-word Pocketnow Insider piece with details on all the applications I use regularly, and I’d probably have to paraphrase. Unlike Anton and Jaime, I install a ton of applications and use them regularly; that’s what makes the setup process so difficult each time I get a new device to review or otherwise.
In fact, I received the Z Ultra earlier this week and spent upwards of two hours just getting all the apps installed, my home screens setup, and logging into all the different accounts. The last I counted, there are at least 50 applications I use often, not including the typical apps that come pre-installed. So the best I can do is list some of the most vital that I use every day.
Logging into services is a great place to start. An absolute must-have of mine is LastPass. With the floating fill window, logging into everything is a breeze. Since I generate all my passwords and don’t actually know any of them, the ability to have LastPass login to everything for me is an irreplaceable feature.
Home screens: Like Michael, I use Muzei as my wallpaper with the reddit plugin. I also revert to the Google Now launcher whenever possible, or Action Launcher.
Media and News: Rdio is my go-to streaming service, and I listen to podcasts through Pocket Casts. A newly discovered video news aggregator is Watchup, and it’s quickly becoming one of my staple apps. Of course, I use Feedly for my feed reader and Reeder 2 on iOS, Pocket for saving web pages, Kindle for reading ebooks, and VSCO Cam for editing pictures.
Productivity: For my productivity suite, I rely on Sunrise, Todoist, Evernote, Timely, JotterPad X, and Bright Weater (though it, sadly, doesn’t support the Z Ultra). For iOS, I use Boxer for Gmail.
Utilities: My must-have utilities are Link Bubble for opening links in a floating bubble, URL Shortener, IFTTT, TimePIN, Lux, Dropbox, and Package Buddy for tracking packages.
Social: For Twitter, I use Tweetbot 3 on iOS and Talon or Plume on Android. I use Buffer to schedule and space out the posting of links on Facebook, Twitter, and to manage social media for a coffee shop. Timehop gives me a daily blast from the past. And I browse reddit using reddit sync on Android and Alien Blue on iOS.
Games: Finally, I’ve been hooked on several mobile games of late. Monument Valley is may latest addiction, but I also recently purchased Modern Combat 5 and Canabalt HD. I regularly plat Threes and 2048, Roid Rage, spelltower, and Two Dots.
“I have a set of apps that I turn to, religiously”
Since I use both Android and iOS on a daily basis, I have a set of apps that I turn to, religiously, when I switch to either one. On both platforms, I heavily use Hangouts, Mailbox, Chrome, Pushbullet, and Sunrise, but my other apps are all platform-specific. On the iOS side of things, Day One and Overcast get the most use, and while I have over 100 other apps, not many apps other than those listed above (and Messages) get touched too often.
On Android, I have a couple favorites that aren’t exactly possible to have on iOS – namely, those are Muzei (with too many plugins to list, including the wonderful Facets and nowPaper), SkipLock, and Tasker. I also really enjoy using Pocket Casts, Press, Google Keyboard (with a Material Design-flavored makeover), Talon, Google Now Launcher, and Timely.
“That’s nothing, here are my apps!”
Readers, we know, many of you are app hoarders, too. So go ahead and tell us what we missed, what apps you use, and what you feel are the most vital apps! Tell us about them in the comments below!