February 2, 2012

15 top iPhone apps for work, play & creativity

Posting to Facebook Groups from HootSuite

Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, social enterprises, cause organizations, NGOs, business professionals, educators, students, journalists, general public.

Shonali BurkeThe other day, my brother sent me a message asking me what apps I was currently using on my iPhone. As I went down the list of my frequently used apps, I realized there are a lot that some of you may not know about.

So I put together a list of my 15 top iPhone apps for you, in case you have been evaluating your own use of apps. Some of these might be new to you, some not, but either way, I hope you find the list helpful.

While these apply only to the iPhone, several reside on my iPad as well, and some of these can be used on Androids and BlackBerrys. Most of them are free; I’ll tell you when they’re not. The apps generally fall into the categories of communications, productivity, social networks, photography and video.


Viber: Call and text for free

1This might be a new one for some of you. Viber is a terrific app — both for iPhone and Android — that lets you call other Viber users free. It’s really easy to set up, and once it syncs with your Contacts, it creates a separate list of people who have Viber installed as well. So when you want to contact them, you can IM them, just as you would ordinarily, or call them. Viber uses your data plan, so if you don’t have unlimited texts that come with your plan, it’s a terrific option. It uses wi-fi or a 3G network to connect — there may be charges if you use the latter — and the sound quality is incredible.

Path: Share life with your loved ones

2I joined Path quite recently, and have been enjoying it. It bills itself as “the smart journal that helps you share life with the ones you love.” I don’t post very frequently, probably once or twice every few days, but since I’m keeping my network over there relatively small, I find it provides a more intimate feeling than blogging out to the whole world. And I still get a kick out of Path’s visualization if you tell it you’re going to sleep, or have woken up. It’s also cool that you can post to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr, or any combination of them, if you want to.

Beejive for GoogleTalk: Gtalk on the go

3I learned of this app from Ray Richman, and I love it. It’s free. Beejive for GoogleTalk basically lets you G-chat — as you would from your Gmail interface — on your phone. Beejive has a bunch of other apps as well that I haven’t tested, but I do like this one a lot.

HootSuite: Cross-post to your networks

4HootSuite has great apps for both the iPhone and iPad, so I have it set up on both. I like that I can use my multiple profiles even when I’m not at my computer, and most of its “regular” functionality is contained in its apps, such as scheduling tweets, posts and so on. Hot tip: In HootSuite’s desktop version, specifically with Facebook, in addition to setting up profiles for your personal and business page (or pages you manage), you can also set up profiles for specific Facebook groups you participate in regularly. I saw this a few weeks ago and it is a boon! However, you can’t do this from the apps. I don’t think that’s such a big deal, and you’ve probably already seen that if you reset some profiles in your “main” HootSuite account, the apps won’t automatically sync them, you’ll have to do so manually.

Tungle: Easy scheduling from the road

5I’ve long been a fan of Tungle, and it finally introduced an app for the iPhone last year. It’s as easy to use Tungle’s iPhone app as it is to use the desktop version, and that’s not something you can say about all apps.

Skype: The ultimate communication tool

6Skype has become the de facto way I communicate with my family and quite a few of my friends, and I suspect you do as well. It’s also how I’ve done interviews. The call quality is great most of the time, and you can’t beat the price of free.

Tumblr: Post photos to a blog

7I set this up recently after embarking on Project 366. I did so because the photos I take are almost always from my iPhone, so I wanted to see if I could post directly to Tumblr from my phone. And, of course, you already know you can. When I was reading the app reviews, I saw a number of complaints, but so far at least, it’s been pretty easy to post to Tumblr from my iPhone, and that includes the caption, tags, short URL, etc.

Facebook: Carry your friends in your pocket

8It wasn’t that long ago that Facebook introduced its own app, and it works pretty well as you post comments, post status updates or photos, like brands and all the rest. Crashes at times, but what app doesn’t? If you have the new Timeline, you’ll notice that it appears on your mobile device as well, which is pretty nifty.

Camera+: Edit and share your photos

9I learned about this from my trainer, Grant Hill. It is absolutely terrific! There’s a free version, but I bought the 99 cent Camera+ app, and it works beautifully. There are a ton of editing options, and you can also share your photos to social networks or via email directly from Camera+ if you want. I highly recommend it. Continue reading