However, it’s often the case that we become a little “stuck in our ways” when it comes to app usage. Many of us download a bunch of fun new things each time we upgrade a phone or tablet, but then largely stick to what we know.
This is a great shame, as modern smartphones and tablets are essentially rather powerful but tiny computers, with huge potential capabilities. App developers are constantly working on innovative ways to use these devices and bringing out exciting new apps.
This article explores five types of apps everyone should download and try. Perhaps you already use some. Either way, try them all out, and the chances are you’ll find a host of new ways to enjoy your handheld gadgets.
1. A News Aggregator
People no longer need to stick to one news source, and in these days of “fake news,” it’s always good to see a cross-section of different reports and viewpoints!
Thanks to news aggregator apps, there’s no need to download apps for lots of different papers and periodicals. These apps can create curated news feeds tailored to your interests. Apple already do this natively with their own news apps but there are far better third party options.
Flipboard is one of the best known apps of this nature, and creates a compelling way to consume news, but there are plenty of other alternatives such as AP Mobile and Nuzzel.
2. A Virtual Private Network (VPN)
You’re surely aware that you can gain easy internet access on your phone or tablet by connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots? But perhaps you are not aware that it’s incredibly easy for people to hack you on these networks and hijack your information?
Protecting you from these hacks by encrypting your connection is just one of the things that you will accomplish by installing a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your device. You will also gain the ability to assign yourself an IP address from a country of your choice, opening up a whole world (literally) of streaming media choices.
3. A Relaxation App
The current trend for mindfulness and meditation may be seen as a fad by some, but the science backs up the benefits, and there are now a host of apps that should help you relax and live in the moment.
Apps like Headspace and Calm are well reviewed and very popular, so if you have trouble gaining peace in your life, why not at least try to have your smartphone help you with it?
4. A Food Delivery App
If you like to travel, there’s nothing better than arriving in a new city and having a choice of culinary options at your door within 30 minutes or so.
There are several apps available for takeaway food and some are truly global in their reach. The app developers have recognised that people travel from country to country and thus ensured that accounts still work whilst abroad. Deliveroo and JustEat both work in Australia and far beyond, and offer culinary options from proper restaurants as well as takeaway establishments.
5. An Activity Tracker
Not everyone wants a FitBit or similar activity tracker in their life, but it’s still interesting and useful to track levels of activity, even if it’s only in finding out how far you walk in an average day.
If you are an iPhone user, then you may not realise that Apple’s Health app is already tracking your steps – so you might find this quite sufficient. However, it gets rather addictive keeping an eye on your personal exercise statistics, so you may soon decide to graduate to something more in-depth, such as RunKeeper (which is also fine for walking), or Strava, which has social features and the added benefit of GPS tracking for your expeditions.
If you’re a bona fide app addict, you may already use all of these types of apps. If not, give them all a go – the chances are your gadgets are capable of way more than you already use them for.
Technology writer with many years of experience, specialized in cyber security. Educating people to be aware of their security in any circumstances. Moonlighting designer.