I was sick of reading useless app lists of “top 100 must have apps” of apps I really didn’t need to have. So here are the apps that I actually use. Most of them on a daily basis. Leave a comment if you have a better suggestion for an app in any of the categories I mention.

Productivity Apps

Find iPhone - This is a Free feature of mobile-me/iCloud, this app has instructions on how to set it up, but ultimately is just a ‘radar’ app. Set this up and hope you never have to use it.

Plain Text - Note taking app with dead simple interface and Dropbox sync. The Dropbox sync seals the deal for me.

Instapaper - For reading stuff later. Partners with a bookmarklet on your computer. Click to save the page to the app in a stripped down version (no formatting or ads, like news print).

RedLaser - Scan ALL the barcodes! Also does internet lookups when the barcode is identified as a product. Oh QR Codes too.


Alien Blue - For your Reddit.com fix. Hands down the best mobile reddit browser. Disappointing that its not a unified iPhone/iPad app.

Beluga - Group messaging, but it requires a Facebook account. That being said, its my favorite way to do groups on the go.

Twitter or TweetDeck - Two excellent twitter clients, currently I’m using the official Twitter client, but depending on how you use it TweetDeck may be better for you.

Foursquare - So you know where I am!

Photo and Video

Instagram - Dead simple photo sharing. Pro Tip: if you add a location to the photo it will check you in on foursquare too.

DerManDar - Panoramas made easy and most importantly doesn’t require a plugin like flash or silverlight to view the result (e.g. microsoft’s photosynth)

Postage - Turn pictures into digital postcards for email/twitter/fb. I use this to share moments with my family who don’t use twitter or instagram.

Eye-Fi - Uploads pictures straight to iPhoto like its magic. (May be replaced with iCloud)


RunKeeper or Nike+ GPS - I use RunKeeper because it also tracks lots of other sports (I bike), Nike+ is geared only at running. Both give great maps and have cool social features.

Vivino - Wine catalog made easy. Snap a picture of a wine label and some image recognition will id the wine. Love it for trips to Napa/Sonoma.


Spotify, TuneIn Radio or TuneIn Radio Pro - Music on the go. Just started with Spotify, before that TuneIn Radio was great, but Spotify is better on the “music discovery” side of things.

NYTimes or

NYTimes for iPad - I prefer the iPad app for my news fix, all but the Front Page and Videos sections are behind a paywall.

Netflix - Watch ALL the movies!

CrunchyRoll - Netflix for anime.

HBO GO - If you get HBO you can use this app to get unlimited access to all their past premium offerings.

Google Tv - Way better for every day use than the Logitech keyboard.


FlightTrack Pro - Flight updates and notifications. Hands down the best tool to have while flying.

iCaltrain 2011 - Schedule for the SF bay-area train schedule.

iBART Live - Schedule for the SF subway.


Google - Quick access to google’s mobile products and, of course, search.

Amazon.com - Since I bike everywhere I tend to use Amazon.com for purchases if I don’t need it now. Amazon has a great mobile product and that helps make the next day shipping deadline in emergencies.

WootWatch - Need to check woot.com on the go. I’m a graphic-t addict!

The best games

Carcassonne - My go-to multiplayer game, way classier than words with friends official website +video.

Swords and Sworcery - New-age 8-bit RPG. video for a better explanation.

Fruit Ninja - Super fun when you have some time to kill. official website +video.

More games

(I’m not going to go into detail for each one, just go check them out)

Red Alert - RTS

Critter Crunch - puzzle: Stop the slowly lowering wall of bugs by eating them.

Bubble Bust! - puzzle: Bubble Bobble clone

World of Goo or World of Goo HD - puzzle: build structures to get your goo from point A to B

Harbor Master or HarborMaster HD - RTS: dock ALL the boats!

Rolando and Rolando 2 puzzle/arcade

Topple and Topple 2 - arcade: Stack blocks, don’t let them fall.

Tiny Wings - arcade: happy birds!

Sounddrop - music game

de Blob - arcade: paint the world!

Aki Mahjong - puzzle: mahjong

Apps I use less frequently

Numbers, Keynote, & Pages - Apple’s trifecta of productivity apps to compliment their desktop offerings. Much more useful on the iPad than the iPhone.

Prompt - SSH for the masses. Not uses frequently, but has saved my butt a few times when the server was down.

Remote - iTunes remote. As I switch to my AppleTv for music this app has less use for me

Qik - Live video streaming to YouTube or Facebook. I use this to share my meetup that I host.

Wordpress - For quick blogging on the go.

This American Life - Once a week, the best hour of the week. I started doing this via podcasts+AppleTv. The app is still great for road trips.

TripIt or TripDeck - Trip itinerary visualization. For when you are Flying, then renting a car, then going to a hotel, then a different hotel, then on a boat, then renting another car, then flying back. These apps will make your life easier.