Our Team's Favourite Apps

2 Dec 2015, 09:28 AM Karen Ormiston

In the mobile world where there is an abundance of apps available, there is an app for almost for every imaginable scenario; over 1.5 million apps are on the App store alone, for example. To help you identify the useful from the gimmicky, our team have put together their favourite mobile apps which are guaranteed to enhance your life; from navigating around cities to learning a new language. What’s more, they are all free.

Citymapper (Android and iPhone)

Citymapper utilises real-time route and timetable data to provide advice on trains, trams, buses, ferries, underground services and metrolines. It also accounts for walking, cycling and taxi journey times as part of the route planner. In addition, the all-encompassing app tells users how much it will cost and what connections to make; it even tells travellers which part of the train to board for optimum travel time. It is available in 29 cities including London, Manchester, Birmingham in the UK. Others include Berlin, New York and Tokyo. Users can also tailor the app around their needs; for example, the app can provide information on calories burned and the weather.

Pocket (Android and iPhone)

Formerly ‘read it later’, Pocket allows users to save pretty much anything they find online including articles, videos, recipes and webpages alongside information found on their apps to read later. As users can read anything saved on Pocket when they are offline, it is the perfect distraction for flights, train trips in signal black holes and tube journeys. It automatically syncs across all your devices.

IF (Android and iPhone)

IF (formerly IFTTT – ‘if this then that’) creates simple connections between apps such as Facebook, Dropbox, Instagram as well as with devices like the user’s iPhone, Nest Thermostat, Fitbit and Phillips Hue. The premise has a huge amount of options and allows users, for example, to automatically save Instagram photos to Dropbox; message flatmates when the user is at the supermarket; and, if the user’s location is home, send a text to their partner saying ‘I’m home’.

Hexlock (Android)

Security app, Hexlock allows users to lock selected apps via pattern lock or pin password. Apps include Whatsapp, emails, messages, games, gallery and social networking apps enabling the user to protect their privacy without locking their full phone. Through Hexlock users can create profiles for frequent locations, like work or home, which are activated when the user is in the selected location; the selected apps subsequently require unlocking before use. The app can also act as a parental control preventing kids from making in-app purchases or changing the user’s settings when they are using the device.

Duolingo (Android, iPhone and Windows Mobile)

Duolingo is a free language learning platform offering 40 different gamified courses across 23 languages (including Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian and English). Users take a small placement test and then pick exercises which, on passing, allows them to unlock new levels. Bitesize exercises cover reading, listening, writing and speaking. Duolingo’s language proficiency assessment centre allows language learners to track their progress.

Rock My Run (Android and iPhone)

Rock My Run is a unique running app that matches the runner’s workout music to their body movement through sensing running pace (or if they have a wrist or chest based heart rate monitor, beats per minute). From serene sounds during warm up to pumping music when at full speed, each song goes into the next without missing a beat meaning there are no fade outs and long lead-ins. Whether it’s a 30-minute workout or a four-hour marathon, as the runner lags, the app starts playing more motivational lyrics. The app features a range of genres including pop, rock, hip-hop/ rap, 80s, 90s, house and dub-step.

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