9 great apps for brand new iPhone owners

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One of the first things you’re going to do when you get a brand new iPhone in your hands—right after you learn a little bit more about the new smartphone you now possess, of course—is set a course for the App Store. Apps, after all, are what set iOS devices apart from other, lesser mobile platforms. They make an already impressive iPhone 5c or 5s all the more powerful.

There is one problem, though. At last count, the App Store featured more than 1 million apps, and if you try to browse through those on your own, this process of trial-and-error is going to skew heavily toward the “error” side of the ledger. Why not let someone else do the work for you? I’ve polled some of my colleagues for their thoughts on what apps they’d put on a brand new iPhone, and I’ve added some picks of my own. Below, you’ll find nine recommendations that cover a broad spectrum of the things you can do with your new phone.

Protecting your passwords

iphone 1password

1Password helps secure all sorts of sensitive information including credit cards.

I’m not going to pretend that password security is the kind of thing that should set your pulse racing. Of course, if that password you use over and over again ever gets compromised, that’ll cause some excitement, though not the welcome kind. That’s why I think one of your very first iPhone downloads should be 1Password. Yes, at a regular price of $18, this app stands out in a world of 99-cent downloads. But consider what it offers—the ability to create strong, unique passwords that keep the bad guys out of your business. All you have to remember with 1Password is a single Master Password that enables you to access your information while keeping thieves at bay. Besides website logins, you can also secure banking information, credit cards, notes—anything you want to keep secure. The app automatically syncs data across multiple iOS devices and, if you spring for the desktop version, you can keep data synced there, too.

$18; AgileBits

iphone american hustle

IMDB’s mobile app has a new look for iOS 7, but the same great data about movies and TV shows.

Watching movies

I enjoy watching old movies; what I enjoy doing even more, though, is watching old movies while I descend into a second-screen wormhole of looking up which actors appeared in what other films. The mobile version of IMDB Movies & TV aids and abets me in this behavior, putting the movie reference site’s extensive database into the palm of my hand. Mobile users will also appreciate the ability to look up showtimes at nearby theaters. iOS 7 has brought along a new look for IMDB, as well as some navigation improvements, but this is the same great app as ever and a must-have for movie fans.

Free; IMDB

Keeping active

iphone moves

Use Moves and your iPhone’s tracking capabilities to see just how far you’ve traveled—and how you got there.

Wearable tech is all the rage these days, with assorted doodads that promise to track your every movement. But you, brand new iPhone owner, have just become the proud owner of a device that’s capable of doing precisely that, provided you augment the phone’s location tracking ability with an app like Moves. The app tracks your steps and distance traveled, tapping into your iPhone’s location and directional sensors to tell when you’re sitting, walking, running, biking, or traveling via some other form of transport. It also provides you with a full map of where you’ve been, how long you were there, and what you were doing, making it not only a useful fitness tracker, but also a log of your commute or your daily comings and goings. All that monitoring can put a hit on your battery life, but the latest version of Moves offers iOS 7 users a Battery Saving mode that consumes less juice.

Free; Moves

iphone terminology

You get more than a definition when you look up a word in Terminology 3.

Looking things up

You could call Terminology 3 a dictionary app, just as you could call your iPhone a phone. The descriptions are accurate enough, but really undersell what those things are truly capable of. Yes, you can look up words in Terminology 3 and get their definition, along with synonyms, related terms, and other details. (Look up “President of the United States,” for example, and Terminology not only gives you a definition but also notes that the presidency is part of the executive branch and lists many of the U.S. presidents under “Examples.”) But you can also used custom actions to extend your searches to other resources—Wikipedia, say—or even other apps that offer integration with Terminology. It’s the kind of reference tool with something to offer novices as well as power users.

$2; Agile Tortoise

iphone weather line

Weather Line's graph display gives an at-a-glance view of changing temperatures.

Checking the weather

I will be honest: I find iOS 7’s built-in Weather app and its current temperature, 12-hour outlook, and five-day forecast to meet my weather tracking needs. Others want a bit more detail in a more pleasing format. If you’re among that crowd, try Weather Line, which offers temperature, conditions, and precipitation data in 36-hour, 7-day, and 12-month outlooks. More significantly, Weather Line displays its temperature data in graph form, which is certainly a more visually compelling way of knowing whether you better take along a sweater. Throw in a severe weather warning feature, and details like humidity, wind, and the “feels like” temperature, and you’ve got an app that packs in a lot more weather data than what your phone comes with out of the box.

$3; Off Coast

iphone vsco cam

It’s easy to apply filters—or presets as they’re known in this app—with VSCO Cam.

Taking pictures

Thinking about heading to Instagram? That photo-editing and -sharing service is all right, I suppose, though Facebook’s tentacles are beginning to wrap a little too tightly around that particular offering for my tastes. Why not turn to VSCO Cam, a mobile image editor with its own take on photo filters (known as “presets” in VSCO Cam’s lingo)? The free app comes with 10 presets, and you can augment those by purchasing additional filters through an in-app store. Apply VSCO Cam’s presets to your image, make adjustments, and then compare your edit to the original with a helpful before-and-after view by tapping down on the image. Editing tools for adjusting an image’s temperature, contrast, exposure, and rotation are similarly easy to apply. The app displays your photos in a lovely looking grid view, and if you want to share your images with the wider world, you’ve got built-in links to a number of social media sites—Instagram included.

Free; Visual Supply Company

iphone local eats

Local Eats can tell you which nearby restaurants are worth a visit.

Finding a bite to eat

Getting search results for nearby restaurants isn’t a terribly difficult thing to do with an iPhone. Finding out whether those restaurants cook up anything you want to eat? That’s another matter altogether. That’s why when I’m in an unfamiliar area and the hunger pangs hit, I turn to LocalEats, which offers curated search results for local eateries. The app has a handy Nearby Search button on its launch screen to help you find top-rated places to eat in a nearby radius; you can then filter those results or jump directly to your phone’s Maps app for directions. A directory of states and cities and an ability to save favorites also makes LocalEats a good download for road warriors who travel on their stomachs.

$1; Magellan Press

Saving the date

Fantastical 2 map view

If your appointment has a location, Fantastical 2 will include an inline map.

Before you launch the built-in Calendar app on your iPhone, a word of advice: Don’t. Just head directly to the App Store and grab Fantastical 2, a calendaring app that’s miles ahead of Apple’s offering. Fantastical has a very helpful five-day calendar view with a scrolling list of upcoming events so you can see your schedule at a glance. Natural language support in the app lets you type or speak something as simple as “Meet with Tim at noon Tuesday in Cupertino for iPhone 6 meeting” to create a calendar event. (It works for reminders, too.) Include a location with your event, and Fantastical includes a map. Macworld gave Fantastical 2 an Editors’ Choice Award; you’ll be happy just to give it some space on your iPhone.

$5; Flexibits

Blowing off steam

iphone ridiculous fishing

Lure fish to the surface in Ridiculous Fishing, and then start blasting to earn the big bucks.

One thing you’ll discover as you peruse the App Store’s virtual aisles: You’ll never have a hard time finding games. Puzzlers, shoot ‘em ups, word games—there’s something for every taste. Me, I like a game you can pick up and play when you have a spare moment waiting in line or riding on a subway. Ridiculous Fishing certainly fits that casual gaming bill, as you try to reel in as many mystical deep-sea creatures as possible, blasting them to kingdom come with whatever weapon you happen to have on hand when they reach the surface. Yes, that’s likely to raise the ire of local fish and wildlife officials in real life, but in the retro-graphic world of Ridiculous Fishing, it strangely makes sense. You earn money for the fish you catch and blast to bits, which you can then use to build up your arsenal. It’s fun way to pass the time, though maybe not from a fish’s perspective.

$3; Vlambeer

This story, "9 great apps for brand new iPhone owners" was originally published by TechHive.

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