When you’re looking for new apps for your iPhone, searching “best of” lists can be a good place to start, but don’t be afraid to look beyond the apps that are getting all the hype. While only a few of the millions of available apps can realistically feature on these kinds of lists, the App Store is full of hidden gems—apps that may not make headlines or get a lot of attention but nevertheless deliver interesting new features, beautiful design, or great utility. Here are eight overlooked iOS apps that are definitely worth a download.
Many popular note-taking and list-making apps have far more bells and whistles than the average user is ever likely to take advantage of. Jot eschews the clutter in favor of the bare essentials. Billing itself as the “no-fuss way to take notes,” Jot lets you easily create notes and to-do lists and view them in a simple feed style with swipe options for pinning, archiving, or sharing. Say goodbye to stickers, sketches, and elaborate tags, and hello to quick, distraction-free note taking.
If you’re looking for a great place to go to for dinner, it’s helpful to have a professional opinion. That’s where ChefsFeed comes in. The app offers curated guides and restaurant reviews courtesy of professional and celebrity chefs in more than 50 locations. You can even get recommendations about the best dish to order at your chosen restaurant. On the practical side, you can use ChefsFeed to reserve a table and to check out restaurant details like location and hours.
If you do a lot of online shopping, you’ll love the efficient, all-in-one package tracking experience that the Deliveries app offers. Use the app’s simple system to enter package information—either through tracking numbers or through iCloud syncing that gathers delivery information from your e-mails and receipts—and then check out the timeline summary of incoming and delivered packages, including the location of currently available packages. A handy “Today” widget lets you know which deliveries you can expect that day so that you can plan your schedule accordingly.
Popular with kids and adults alike, the Lake coloring book app is a great way to relax and unwind after a stressful day or to keep kids occupied on a flight or road trip without having to carry pencils and crayons around. With Lake, users can unlock and color a new illustration daily using a variety of coloring tools, including an acrylic or watercolor brush, spray paint, and a fill tool. The gradient color wheel lets you create custom palettes so that you can color according to your mood, and you can unlock new content and features through in-app purchases.
Just Press Record
This one-tap recording app is a game-changer for anyone whose work involves a lot of interviewing or who prefers to dictate notes-to-self rather than write them down. The app is easy to launch, even from a lock screen, but its most impressive feature is its built-in transcription capability. The app can transcribe speech from a number of different languages, including spoken punctuation commands, and you can also use the transcribed text to search recordings for specific terms.
RunGo is an excellent app for joggers who like to keep up with their exercise routine even when they’re traveling. A run tracker and navigation aid in one, the app is a great tool for discovering new routes. Don’t worry about getting lost; voice navigation can help guide you through unfamiliar territory, and you can even download routes for offline use. And if you choose to become a premium subscriber, you’ll have access to “guided tours,” which are verified routes created and shared by local runners that take you through safe and scenic areas, complete with additional information on points of interest along the way.
If you don’t yet know about Carrot Weather, you’re in for a treat. Billing itself as “the weather robot with a personality,” Carrot Weather makes the basic details of your weather forecast come alive with hilariously twisted comments along the lines of “Hope you’re enjoying allergy season,” and “Someone’s getting frostbite tonight!” Don’t worry, the app isn’t all style and no substance—Carrot Weather is well-rated for accuracy and essential features.
Even though you know it’s best to avoid unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, you may sometimes find yourself in situations where you have no choice but to use public Wi-Fi, particularly when you’re traveling. Fortunately, you can limit your exposure to hackers and other security risks by using Encrypt.me. Formerly known as Cloak VPN, the Encrypt.me service helps protect your data and your online activities whenever you’re using unsecured or untrustworthy open networks. Overall, it’s a great tool to help boost your digital security.