Skip to content

Top 10 apps every iOS user should download

Check out a developer’s picks of 10 essential iOS apps, which focus on security, productivity, and more.

Over the past 13 years, as iPhones and iPads have become fixtures in more users’ lives, the number of apps and the Apple App Store ecosystem have expanded to offer services and apps that iOS users rely on each day. If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, chances are, you have pages of apps installed, but which ones are really must-haves?

This is my list of essential iOS apps that I use every single day. Some of these apps manage device security, some hold memories, and even more keep me organized, productive, and able to move throughout my day with ease. 


1Password app

Image: 1Password

The iCloud Keychain is great for most users to manage passwords and website logins; however, 1Password handles multiple logins, two-factor authentication (2FA), and multiple shared vaults with ease, making it my go-to password management software. The multiple vaults that can be shared with business partners or others is a no-brainer feature that makes the software worth its weight in… well, passwords. This software supports multiple languages and is a 96.8MB download.

A free trial is available, with different pricing plans for personal and families. Plans start at $2.99 per month. 



Day One app

Image: Day One

The Apple Notes app on iOS is great, but what if you want to have multiple journals, the ability to map out entries, everything sorted by date added, and to top it all off, Markdown support? Well, the Day One app has been one of my must-haves for years because of these features and many more. I love that it now has the ability to add videos and unlimited photos, as well as recording audio, to posts. Plus, you can have your favorite journals printed in a real book, and all entries added to a journal can be encrypted. There’s even API access available through IFTTT that can automatically add entries to your journals (I have one set up to automatically log every tweet I post to Twitter as backup). This software supports multiple languages, iPad, iPhone, and Mac, and is a 95.1MB download for the iOS version.

The software is $34.99 per year for unlimited online storage and syncing. A free trial is available.



DEVONthink To Go app

Image: DEVONthink

I love having a paperless office, and DEVONthink is the tool that I use on my Mac and iOS devices to make that happen. I use the Mac version to scan documents and have them automatically transcribed into searchable PDF documents and synced to iCloud; then, I use this iOS version of the app to be able to search, sort, view, and look up information while I’m on the go. You can also add documents and files directly into the iOS version, but only the Mac version supports scanning and OCR-ing documents into searchable PDFs. I love the fact that no matter how much I seem to put into this app, a decade’s worth of PDFs containing mail, emails, and more is searchable within seconds on iOS, making it an app that I cannot live without.

The software supports multiple languages and iPad and iPhone. It’s a 103.8MB app and costs $14.99 with an optional $7.99 Pro Package that supplements the base set of features with even more.



Deliveries app

Image: JuneCloud

In today’s world, receiving shipments is an everyday occurrence, and managing those deliveries can be a headache–that’s where the Deliveries app comes in. What started as a handy OS X Tiger Widget back in the day on the Mac has grown into a must-have app on iOS and macOS. It can sync with either iCloud or “JuneCloud” (the app’s own syncing service) to get shipment information between all of your devices. It gives push notifications for up-to-the-minute package tracking, and includes the ability to search all of your past deliveries as well as see current deliveries on a map and scheduled delivery dates without ever having to leave the app.

The software supports multiple languages and shipment carriers around the world, as well as iPad and iPhone. The app is a 17.2MB download and costs $4.99 one time.



Google Photos app

Image: Google

I use and love iCloud Photo Library, but at the end of the day, I don’t trust my photos and precious memories to just a single cloud photo provider–that’s why I also use the Google Photos app to automatically back up photos to my Google account as well. I set the app to automatically back up all of my photos from my device whenever new photos are added to the Apple Photos library. As long as you don’t force quit the app from your device, it will keep backing up without any intervention.

The software supports multiple languages, and iPhone and iPad. The app is a 161.8MB download. Google Photos prices may vary depending on additional storage requirements beyond the free storage from Google.



Unread app

Image: Golden Hill Software

RSS readers are still a thing, and have made a comeback in recent years as many users’ default way to read websites. Unread is a minimalist RSS reading client that can sync with multiple service providers, including Feed Wrangler, Feedly, and more. It downloads the full content of the articles so you don’t have to navigate out of the app to another website to read the full text, and it features keyboard and gestures that give prominence to the content over the app’s UI. Swiping left will bring up menus that let you share articles, add to Pinboard or Raindrop, or other services that can be configured in the app.

The app costs $19.99 per year (after trial) and is a 15.1 MB download from the App Store. 



Carrot Weather app

Image: Carrot

The iOS weather app isn’t the most reliable for every user, leaving many to rush to third-party apps like Dark Sky; but, with the recent acquisition of Dark Sky by Apple, its future is unknown at this point. One of my favorite weather apps, Carrot, uses the Dark Sky API to get weather data, but is infinitely configurable to use many other services, or even your own personal weather stations (like those from Netatmo and WeatherFlow). The app also has a very interesting “personality” that makes me smile every time you check the weather. This, coupled with the ability to use Siri Shortcuts, the Apple Watch app, and customization, makes it well worth the price.

Carrot Weather is $4.99 on the App Store, and includes in-app purchase for yearly subscriptions for additional features and services. The app is a 74.8MB download. 



Stocard app

Image: Stocard

If you’re like me, then you hate carrying around loyalty and membership cards. While some stores and memberships have gone digital, some still rely on plastic cards that you have to remember to tote around with you. Enter Stocard, an app that can scan in the barcodes of your cards and organize them digitally. When you go to a store, simply pull out your phone and let the barcode get scanned. You can even store a photo of the front and back of the card if the digitized barcode refuses to work or you need additional proof of your card.

This app is a free 102.3 MB download from the App Store. 



Screens app

Image: Endova

Sometimes it can be important to connect back to your desktop computer to perform a simple task while on the go. With Screens, you can easily start a screen-sharing session from anywhere as long as your Mac or Windows computer is connected to the network and turned on. With the keyboard and mouse support in iPadOS, you can perform even more complex tasks while on the go, thanks to this app. With keyboard shortcuts, curtain mode, and gesture support, this app is a help when you’re in a pinch and need to access your desktop computer.

The app costs $19.99 one time, and is a 23MB download on iPad and iPhone. 



Notability app

Image: Notability

Being able to take useful notes is important for business meetings and classroom instruction. The Notability app lets you take hand-written notes or typed notes with drawing abilities while recording the audio of the room with your iPad or iPhone. With the ability to sync recorded audio to the typed notes, share notes with a presentation mode or in various other ways, including PDF, and sync to multiple cloud services including iCloud Drive, this app is a must-have whenever I need to take notes in person and don’t want to miss anything that was said.

Notability costs $8.99 one time and is a 215.4MB download for iPhone and iPad.