It's hard to believe how integrated the iPhone has become into my life. It's a fantastic tool that really supports me in organizing and making my life easier. However, for every amazing useful app, there are a thousand useless time suckers. Here's my list of free apps that have really changed my life for the better.
FREE IPHONE APPS:
1. Moment Garden (also a website that can be found here): If you love scrapbooking or journaling then moment garden is for you! You can start new gardens for different people in your life. You can upload short stories and photos so that you can remember them down the line. Moment garden makes a timeline for you that you can scroll through (see the screen shot below). You can send people invitations to have administrator rights in your garden so that they can also add stories, and photos. We started our garden when we found out we were having little Michael and everyone added stories and photos to his garden. It's a great way to stay connected with the important people in your life as well as a neat tool that he can look through later.
6. Around Me: Around me is a GPS based app, that lets you search for anything using your current location to find the closest match. For instance, when we moved I wasn't sure where the closest Walmart was since I wasn't familiar with the local roads. Enter “Walmart” into Around Me, and it lists all Walmarts in the area and identifies how close each is. If you're on a road trip and would like to find a Sonic, just enter “Sonic” and it will find you the closest. Around me is free and a great tool when you're in an unfamiliar area. You can also search for broader categories such as fuel, shopping, and restaurants.
7. Overdrive or Kindle: Both apps are free. The kindle is an iPhone app that you can download ebooks onto. You can either pay for current ebooks or download one of their many free ebooks. Overdrive works through your library as a way to borrow ebooks or audio books for free and lets you play them directly through the app. You can read more about overdrive here.
8. Pinterest: Pinterest is an online pin board of creative inspiration. You can find tutorials, cheap projects, life hacks, and pretty much everything you could ever get out of a magazine… and all for free! The pinterest app is pretty glitchy, but I still end up on there often. You can find more info on how I use pinterest to save money here.
9. Daily Feats: Daily Feats is a free app that rewards you for improving your life. You earn points for doing any of their feats, then you can take your points and apply it to rewards that they get through sponsorships. For instance, this months rewards are a $5 Ebay gift certificate for 2,500 points, a $10 Sears Gift card for 5,000 points, a $10 Fandango gift card for 5,000 points, and a $25 Spafinder gift card for 7,000 points. You can earn points for all sorts of accomplishments, like keeping calm on your commute to work, staying within your budget, playing with your pets, doing yoga, going to the doctor, and pretty much everything else that constitutes a “good deed”. It's easy to get bogged down in searching for feats that you did, I recommend picking 10-15 that you would like to make routine and just tracking them. When they become second nature, you can add more or just track a new set of deeds. The app is slower than the website, so I normally just log my feats on my laptop, but the app is still pretty good.
10. Locate your iPhone: This is an app that is automatically added to your phone when you update your software. If two phones are on the same account, you can locate either of the phones through this app. I can't give you a screenshot of this since it would be a personal security issue, but you choose which phone you would like to find, then it shows you an exact location, either on a regular map, a satellite image, or a combined map. It's so accurate that I can see which part of the building my husband is in. You can easily disable this feature if it creeps you out. Unless neither of you are jealous at all, this is pretty much the worst idea ever. But it can be helpful it a lot of ways. If you can't get a hold of your partner and your genuinely worried about their safety, you can check on them. Jon has a high risk job, and it's oddly comforting to know that as long as his little marker moves on the map then he's ok (or a mass murder has left his body in a ditch and just took his cell phone). Since I often get home before him, I like to use it to time his dinner perfectly. I can see how close he is and make it so that dinner is set out just as he walks in. Obviously, Apple wasn't thinking of those benefits when they developed this. It's meant to protect you if your phone is stolen. You can give the info to the police to track the phone, remotely wipe the phone of all of your info, and disable the phone.
11. HuluPlus: (also a website that you can find here): Huluplus is a free app, but you need to pay $7.99 per month for the service (which also lets you watch shows through your xbox, computer, blueray player etc.). You can read here how we saved almost $1,000 in a year by using huluplus. Huluplus lets you watch TV directly from your iPhone. They have most popular shows, and many past shows that had a cult following. They have new episodes that air about 24 hours after the TV air time.
12. The Weather Channel: The iPhone comes with a weather app already installed, but in my opinion, The Weather Channel app blows it out of the water. You can get current, hour by hour, 3 day, and 10 day forecasts. You can also switch it over to the Doppler map to watch specific storms as they come in. It shows you severe weather warnings in an easy to use format. The Weather Channel app is free and an excellent resource.
13. Words with Friends Free: This is technically just a game and can't help you organize your life at all. What it can do though, is give you a rewarding social and gaming experience. I live far away from my parents and sister, but through Words with Friends, I can play scrabble with them every day. It's a turn by turn game where you take a turn and it sends the notification to the other player, Then they can take a turn when they get a chance and it notifies you that it's your turn. It's a fun way to stay connected to the people that you miss.