A Few of My Favorite (iOS) Apps

A bit of background: I was asked to recommend some iOS apps for somebody recently, so here’s a list of a few of my favorites and how I use them. I have an iPhone 3GS with no contract, so it’s basically a glorified iPod with a camera. And I’m a cheapskate, so I use the free ad-supported version of many apps when I can, and have loads of free apps to do what I need.



What it is: Dropbox is a free service that syncs your documents on one device to all the other devices on your account. You can get a free 2GB account here. If you sign up using this link, you’ll get an extra 250MB for free!

How I use it: all my school files, a number of books, study notes, work files, and much more are in my Dropbox folder. I can access them all from my iPhone, and can mark them as favorites so I can see them even if I’m offline!

Price: free!


What it is: Evernote is a free service that syncs notes from one device to others. There is a free app for Mac and Windows computers, iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, Blackberry, and much more. All your notes are searchable, and it even recognizes text in pictures that you upload!

How I use it: I keep a devotional journal in Evernote, as well as my collection of articles on many different topics. Info about our car, work projects, phone conversations, and a whole lot more.

Price: free!


What it is: Simplenote is a note-syncing tool. You ask, “Why? Don’t you use Evernote for that?” Yes, I do. Simplenote is faster, lighter, and generally more responsive than Evernote.

How I use it: sermon notes—that’s all. I also have a dashboard widget, and can access them at simple-note.appspot.com as well.

Price: free!



What it is: TweetDeck is a service and app that takes several social media streams and combines them so you can keep up with the social world in one place.

How I use it: I much prefer TweetDeck to the official Twitter app on the iPhone.

Price: free!


What it is: Skype is a communication program that lets you IM chat, call, and videochat with your friends.

How I use it: I honestly don’t use the iPhone app much—it drains my battery life very quickly. But I use the desktop program nearly every day.

Price: free!


Read It Later

What it is: Read It Later is a service that takes a website, removes the ads and keeps just the main content, and saves it in a list for easy reading. It does a great job at making websites more readable on the iPhone’s small screen especially, and gives a nice consistent look to articles you read.

How I use it: if I run across an article I want to read…later…I use my handy ChromeItLater extension to send it right to Read It Later.

Price: on sale for $2.99 on the iTunes app store at the moment; there is a free version also available, limited to 10 articles.

OliveTree Bible+

What it is: a Bible app with loads of add-on modules and books. I just recently began using it, but it quickly became my favorite app for just reading the Bible.

How I use it: reading the Bible—in English. If I want to look up the Greek or Hebrew text, I use Accordance, since I have a decent library there already.

Price: free!


What it is: Stanza is an ebook reader that can open nearly any format of ebook out there, can download them from a URL, or even from an email.

How I use it: reading everything that’s not in Kindle.

Price: free!


What it is: Kindle is the free reading app from Amazon. You can buy paid or free books on Amazon.com and send them to your iPhone to read.

How I use it: I read some textbooks and loads of free books in the Kindle app.

Price: free!


Mocha VNC Lite

What it is: Mocha VNC Lite is a VNC client for iOS, allowing you to see and control a computer that has a VNC server installed.

How I use it: at work, controlling my computer, TV display computer, etc.

Price: free! (There is a paid version as well.)

Hippo Lite

What it is: Hippo Lite is a wireless keyboard and mouse for your computer. (It requires that your Mac computer have screen sharing turned on, or your Windows computer is running a VNC server.)

How I use it: at work, I use it to control a Mac mini running a TV display, other computers running slideshows, and many other places.

Price: free!

A few other ideas

A couple of other random recommendations that work well for me.


My contacts are synced through Google; Address Book on my Mac and my iPhone are in sync, so I can add or modify somebody’s information in one place and have it in the other place. Look here for more information.


I also sync my calendars through Google Calendar so iCal on my Mac and the Calendar app on my iPhone have the same events, due dates, etc. More information is available here.

iPad-specific apps

My wife has an iPad and loves it, but I hardly ever use it. She did have a few apps to recommend, but you’ll have to go and look them up yourself for more information about them. iHome Sleep for tracking how much you sleep, and waking you up on time; BigOven for recipes; Flipboard for keeping up with news feeds in Google Reader or other RSS feeds, Facebook, Twitter, and much more (highly recommended); and The Weather Channel Max for weather.

Can I get away without mentioning Angry Birds??

Let me know if you have any other suggestions to add to this list!