2016 hasn’t been the greatest of the year – in general. And we’re all really looking forward to saying goodbye. But there have been some good things – apps for instance. 2016 was the year of gadgets. Basically, the most interesting technologies in the year weren’t inside your smartphone, but around it. That doesn’t mean that apps are dead. In fact, we saw multiple organically viral apps this year. So here’s the countdown to the best iPhone apps of 2016.
Just when we thought organically viral apps where a thing of the past, Prisma comes it to tell us there’s still some juice left in the iOS software ecosystem. Pirsma helps you turn your photos into a works or art and it’s a yet another great/cool way to enhance your photos.
This is a big of a trend in 2016 – leave it to Google to solve real world issues with the iOS ecosystem and do it well. Google’s Motion Stills app takes your live photos and stabilizes them, lets you stitch videos using them. This was one of the biggest problems with Live Photos and it looks like Apple isn’t going to do anything about it.
Download: Google Motion Stills
Third party keyboards are still unstable on the iPhone. But Gboard makes it worth the trouble. The third party keyboard brings Google search, GIF search, emojis gestures, gesture typing and more to the iPhone. From dozens of third party keyboard, Gboard stands out for just how well it’s been implemented – in spite of iOS’s limitation.
Digit is a godsend for lazy people who don’t know anything about saving money. Just connect your account with the Digit app, set up some parameters and let Digit do the rest. Digit will start building your savings account for you. It also uses intelligent algorithms to withdraw for your account at the right time.
Meerkat is dead but its creators are back with this new video focused app. It’s UI is just as oblivious as Snapchat but all that’s fine because it handles group video calls on the iPhone like a charm – a feat not many apps can pull off.
Quartz’s news app on the iPhone is truly unique. It’s also one of the few instances where conversational UI succeeds. You get a chat like interface where the app gives you news stories on bite-sized updates. You tap to know more and you get some options but that’s it. It’s a really good way to catch up on the top news of the day quickly – without distracting web pages.
Marsbot is similar to Quartz, in that it uses the conversational UI but the purpose is different. Marsbot uses your check-ins and history in Foursquare and uses all that to recommend you where you should go next.
MSQRD was one of the first apps that ignited the trend of the live face filters – now common in Snapchat. MSQRD was so good, Facebook acquired it. The app is still functioning on its own and it keeps adding more interesting stuff. There’s never been a better way to pretend to be the Joker.
Another Google app solving a real problem. With PhotoScan you can scan your old photos using the iPhone’s camera. The app makes you tap in three different areas of the photo so as to better capture the details. The photos captured are much better than if you were just using the Camera app but they’re not as good as dedicated scanners. But for a free app, it’s really good. And don’t worry, all the photos don’t end up with Google. While there’s an option to automatically upload the photos to Google Photos, you can skip the feature to directly save the photos to the Camera Roll.
Of course, the biggest app/game sensation of the year made out list. Pokémon Go is more than just a game. It bakes aspects of real world exploring with classic game design to create a wonderful experience.
Download: Pokémon Go
It’s not easy to find a trustworthy, unlimited VPN service for free. Which is why many of us were surprised to see Opera bust into the scene, offering just that. Given that Opera is a reputable company, we don’t have a problem trusting them. While we won’t recommend running the app all the time, it’s really useful when you really need to use a US proxy. One of the apps you won’t use all the time but when you need it, you’ll be glad you had it installed.
Download: Opera VPN
A lot of people have tried developing video apps but no one did it as well as Hyper. Hyper has a beautiful, polished UI. But more than that, it’s laser focused. The app features a selection of awesome videos every day and that’s it. The videos play in the app’s own player. There are no YouTube comments or on screen ads/annotations to worry about. It’s just such a pleasant experience (the Apple TV app is also pretty good).