When I was approached to write about my favorite apps, I got a bit nervous. With over 100 apps on my phone, it’s very difficult to choose favorites. I went through my most useful apps to find the ones that I think will provide the most value for you and compiled them here. There are some of the more obvious apps, but they have some pretty cool new features you may not have known about. So leave a comment with your favorite apps or let me know if any of the apps below are going to make your home screen.


One of my favorite apps for reading is Medium, a blogging platform, that has great content from such a variety of people. I’ve read app releases, company changes, presidential bids, and breaking news on the platform. The biggest draw for Medium is the minimalism and attention to detail. You can compose and consume from any device without sacrificing quality, and the quality of both are very clear. It also uses 3D Touch; when pressing firmly on the icon you’ll be greeted with options for New Post, Explore Medium, and Notifications. Aside from this, they have the coolest update notes you’ll ever see!


Flipboard is another great app for reading news; it aggregates from your social sources and the topics you’re interested in to deliver a constant stream of good news. It’s habitual: if I look at my phone, I open Flipboard. They also have 3D touch advantages; pressing firmly on the icon will yield options to see Cover Stories, Following, Search, and Notifications. I definitely recommend searching a subject on Flipboard if you’re working on a project that requires current information. You can even follow a company or topic as a convenient alternative to Google Alerts.


As far as social apps go, it’s your usual run of the mill Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Yeti, and my own app, QuickQuestion, that’s currently undergoing some maintenance. The first three feature 3D Touch actions on the icons. Instagram offers New Post, View Activity, Search, and Direct for messaging. I can’t say that I use any of the quick actions, but 3D Touch within the app allows you to quickly preview another user’s profile or view images full screen in the grid view on a friend’s profile. Snapchat features just two options Add Friends and Chat With, recent additions to the app, and I’ve been finding both quite useful! Twitter, since I use it primarily as a source for news, has less effective quick actions that feature Search, New Tweet, and New Message. I look forward to seeing how more apps bring this in app to add more value and utility.

Paper by FiftyThree is my go to notes app; I initially used it exclusively on iPad, despite the launch of an iPhone version earlier this Fall, but after about a month with it, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the concept. Essentially you can add text, images, or (more in line with the original version of the app) drawings. The ability to quickly sketch a note and add text or import an image and annotate is extremely convenient; and the screen size of the Plus makes it simple. They also have a stylus, the Pencil, that features pressure sensitivity via Bluetooth, an eraser mode, and has a pretty smooth writing stroke. I’m still looking forward to testing the app out on the iPad Pro when it launches next week, but I’ll save my opinion on that until I get a hands on.

Tunity let’s you scan a television in a bar, restaurant, or airport and play the audio through your device. This is perfect for those football games or news segments that you just can’t miss a minute of while you’re out. I predict more apps catering to common space situations will appear as iPhone users start using their phones to interact with the surrounding environment, rather than as an escape.

Skitch, for annotating screenshots (which is largely useful because of the companion desktop app)

Letterspace, for general note taking, a sort of barebones version of Word or Pages.

Knock is another great find! The app pairs with your MacBook via bluetooth and you can knock on the screen to unlock the MacBook. This is extremely useful when you have a lengthy, secure password like my own.

Those are a few of my favorite apps. Out of the 100+ apps on my phone, these are the ones that I find most unique, underrated, or just consistently useful. Leave a message below or tweet @TaylorInst with your favorite apps!

Notable mentions: Read, an app that pulls .epub files from your Dropbox and syncs your reading experience across devices; Hacker News, Y-Combinator’s news on tech related stuff; Alien Blue, if you use Reddit, you know; if you don’t…Yea so ProductHunt, great place to find new apps, services, products, or books. Definitely something to check every morning. Digits is a calculator that keeps a running tab of inputed data. Pretty useful. Sip Color is useful for grabbing colors from an image or live scenery to use in design; it grabs the hexadecimal or RGB value from the most common colors in the image.

By: Marlon Stevenson