Some of my favorite apps

Some of my favorite iPhone apps.

I was a late adopter to the smartphone phenomena. When I finally sprung for the iPhone 4, in the summer of 2011, it took me approximately 2.6 seconds to realize how this baby was going to either help my life enormously or hinder my ability to have any boundaries whatsoever.

I’ve come to learn how to harness this pocket-sized tool for good and not evil, so aside from the occasional time-suck of scrolling through Instagram (though it’s come to be my favorite social media tool), my phone has helped me in ways I never imagined.

I find it ironic to call it a “phone,” because what I do least with this thing is make and answer calls. I hate talking on the phone, and like my friend Myquillyn said in one of our podcast episodes, I wish there was a way to delete the phone-app part of the phone. Alas… there is no such way.

So here are some of my favorite apps that I use on a regular basis. Yep, these are for the iPhone, though many times, they’re also available for other smartphones. I don’t mean to be exclusive here at all—this is just what I know from my own life.

(If you use something else, I’d love you to add your favorite apps in the comments!) Read on after the jump.

Around town (and travel)

Favorite around town apps on Simple Mom

AroundMe: Toggle categories like restaurants, pharmacies, hospitals and more to see what’s closest to you.

GasBuddy: Tap one giant button and you’ve got a list of the closest gas stations and their current prices.

Google Maps: Get directions and find addresses—and often find contact info for places.

Wi-Fi Finder: Find the closest public wifi connections, both free and paid.

Yelp: The Motherload of reviewed and recommended everything—restaurants, doctors, coffee shops, and more.


Favorite travel apps on Simple Mom

Currency Converter: The phone comes with a default one, but I like this one better—more currency choices.

HomeAway: Find an independently-run vacation home. Get rates and book hotels on the go (though I’ll usually call the hotel directly after to see if I can get a better rate).

KAYAK: Awesome source for flights, hotels, and car rentals (though again, I’ll call the airline directly and often find a better deal).

Southwest Airlines: Since my favorite airline isn’t listed on KAYAK, its own app is the next best thing. You can also check in to your flight.


Favorite photography apps on Simple Mom

Camera+: Fancier, faster, and a better-quality camera than the built-in camera app.

Frametastic: Easily create collages of multiple photos.

Snapseed: By far, my favorite photo editing tool. Changed my (photo-taking) life.

Squaready: Make your photos square for Instagram without the pesky black bars.


Favorite reading apps on Simple Mom

Audible: All my audiobooks, accessible on my phone.

BBC News: My favorite source for non-Americanized news.

Bible: Great Bible with many translations.

Kindle: All my Kindle books, right there on my phone, too.


Favorite health apps on Simple Mom

Ease into 5K: The app that’s turned me in to a runner.

MyFitnessPal: In my opinion, the best, most intuitive food journal and calorie counter.

Nike Training Club: Great little videos for workouts.


Favorite music apps on Simple Mom

Pandora Radio: Access to my Pandora account.

Spotify: By far, my preferred music resource. Heavenly.

Shazam: Hear a song but can’t pinpoint it? Tap a button, and it’ll tell you what it is.


Favorite movie apps on Simple Mom

Fandango: Movie times and tickets.

IMDb: Can’t place that obscure person in a movie or TV show? Look it up while you watch.

Redbox: Check what movies your local Redbox has in advance. Reserve it, too.


Favorite shopping apps on Simple Mom

Price Check by Amazon: In a store and want to compare the item’s price on Amazon? Scan the barcode and find out.

Craigslist: I prefer scouring Craigslist on this app over its actual website.

Etsy: Easy to navigate app for the Etsy portal.


Favorite work apps on Simple Mom

Dropbox: Access to all my files right on to my phone.

Evernote: Same here—all my clippings and notes on my phone.

Google Drive: Ditto—all my Google files on my phone.

Skype: Call China from my phone. Or continue my Skype meeting as I move around the house.

Todoist: My current favorite to-do list. I can make multiple lists and share them with Kyle.

Food & Drink

Favorite food & drink apps on Simple Mom

Hello Vino: Find out what type of wine will go best with your meal.

Starbucks: Pay for your latte on your phone and collect rewards for free drinks.

Foodily: A database of favorite celebrity chefs’ and food bloggers’ recipes.


Favorite education apps on Simple Mom

ABC Letter Tracing: Simple letter tracing for preschoolers.

Bob Books: A surprisingly good app for learning to read.

DailyArt: A new famous work of art daily, with its history and links to learn more.

Flashcards+: Make your own (or import) flashcards.

Scout’s ABC Garden: Helpful letter-learning and phonics tool from LeapFrog, and the dog knows your child’s name.


Favorite reference apps on Simple Mom

Google Earth: Fly over the entire world, for fun.

SkyView: Hold your phone up to the sky, and it’ll tell you what stars, constellations, and planets you’re looking at.

TED: My favorite place to learn and be inspired by smart people.

Wikipedia: The open-source encyclopedia in your pocket.


Favorite game apps on Simple Mom

Angry Birds Star Wars: All my kids love this goofy game.

Matching Zoo: My toddler plays this any time he gets time on my phone.

RC Plane 2: Fly a plane all over the world.

I add apps all the time, but I don’t find them useful after a few weeks, out they go. So if you see them in the screenshots here (but they’re not linked to in this post), that probably means I use those, too.

And since one of you asks at least once a week—yes, I’m still hoping to develop an app based on my Daily Docket printable. I’ve been busy with book writing, blog writing, various site running, and oh yes, keeping my family and home running. Hoping to get to in the nearish future, so I’ll let you know how things progress in that department!

Alright, now it’s your turn—which apps can’t you live without? (And if you have a non-iPhone, feel free to add your favorite apps in the comments, so other readers can glean from your knowledge.)

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. I like feeddler for reading all the blogs I’m subscribed to.

  2. i have a hand-me-down galaxy s – and not very many apps. i have two favourite games – einstein logic and flow free (and flow bridges). flow is great for my kids too (7 and nearly 5). spatial regognition and problem solving all in one.
    i also use handcent for messaging.

    • i think this article is very useful.
      these apps was very famous and good.
      bet i think these days we turned to another style of apps because of the changing of the operation system of the iPhone.
      thanks for sharing this article.

  3. I too hate talking on the phone that is one more reason I love my 4th generation i-touch it has all the same apps. as a smart phone but no phone. Of course the only draw back is I can only use it in free wi-fi hot spots but now a days just about any place has that. Although I still have smart phone envy since I have to carry a cell phone with me in addition to my i-pod.

  4. I want to know more about the boundaries you follow so that you can use your phone “for good and not evil” – future post, please!

    • Yes, me too! I LOVE my phone, but find that I am constantly distracted by how easily I can hop on and off my email, facebook, etc. I’m trying to keep my phone “tucked away” and not out on the counter, but I need help to be more disciplined.

  5. My husband Robert is interested in working on Daily Docket apps for you and sent you an email a few weeks ago about it! He’s already started an app version of it for Windows Phone, which we use, because I kept begging him for one I could access one handed while nursing or cuddling our infant son. Hopefully you can look into what he’s done so far & see if it fits your needs. He could work on it for several different smart phone operating systems. My current favorite app is Overdrive, which is connected to my local library system and I can read books one handed! Makes keeping my love of reading still possible when feeding baby. <3

    • Yep, Kyle got his email! We’ve had LOTS of interest in building this app, so we’ll let you all know when we are in a place to move forward. Hopefully soon!

  6. Grocery IQ – My husband and I both buy groceries. This app lets us sync the list between both phones. We don’t duplicate buying or forget to buy the other persons needs.

  7. Tantrum Aps has great games for my kids! There are two Timmy’s adventure games, which my preschooler loves. My toddler loves all the animal sounds games and preschooler practices her letters with the letter trace game.

  8. For foreign language and vocab for my little ones I downloaded lingu pingu. It’s adorable! And was recommended by a Spanish teacher!

  9. My kids love any game apps by Toca Boca and Duck Duck Moose. The open-endedness of Toca Boca’s apps make them essentially on-screen *toys* rather than actual game-games.

  10. Hands down, the app I use most often is Home Routines. You can set up checklists for tasks you do Daily, Weekly, Monthly and even more sporadically throughout the year. There’s a more general To Do list too, for tasks that don’t reoccur. Great way not to forget that once a month I need to change the furnace filter and other things like that which I am not good at remembering!
    P.S. This app is fantastic for anyone who follows the Flylady system!

  11. I use a lot of the same apps as you, but I know there are some you didn’t mention.
    (for fun) Mr Potato Head. Eleanor could play this one for hours if I’d let her.
    (for education) Dora ABC’s and Dora Rhyme. They’re really great letter writing/reading practice.
    Vine. I loooove it.
    Goodreads. I love tracking my books, and the app is pretty great.
    Audiobooks. I have audible too, but also one called “free audiobooks” that has tons of free Librivox recordings. I’ve listened to several classic books free.
    I have for English, and for French. They both have several versions of written text, and dramatized and non-drama recorded options.
    Mint and Chase for my banking stuff, and the Safeway app for shopping. It’s crazy how much my grocery bills have gone down since I started using the Safeway app.
    And I recently got Star Wars Angry Birds too. I downloaded it for Noel, and since I cut myself back to only 15 min a day of non-essential phone usage for Lent, he’s definitely been using my phone more than I have!

    • Thanks for the Potato Head tip! And I just can’t into Vine… yet. I have it on my phone, I have an account, I looked into it a bit, but maybe I just don’t see what the excitement is about. Maybe it’s just that it’s one. more. thing? Not sure. I need to read up on it more…

  12. The Amazon App comment kind of took me by surprise, but I come at it from another perspective. As a small business owner, I remember the anti-small business promotion that Amazon ran when it encouraged people to price check in local stores and rewarded them with a 5% discount for the product online instead ( I have a small business and I urge people to consider the price of good service and strong local economies when they decide who to give their money.

    That’s it, that’s my rant. You have to check out SkyView – it is AMAZING. You point your phone at the night sky and it labels the stars for you and can show outlines of constellations. I can’t wait to go through the few you mentioned that I haven’t tried yet and download them!

    • Yes, of course—I do buy locally whenever I can. Truly. I almost exclusively use the Amazon app for things in bigger-box stores, like Target and Barnes & Noble. I LOVE our local toy store, clothing and shoe stores, paper stores, and other gift shop places, and try to shop there whenever possible. 🙂

  13. LOL – nevermind, I didn’t notice SkyView is already in your list. 😛 So much for my contribution ha ha!

  14. For letter practice, you should check out Letter School. A kinder teacher I work with recommended it. It’s great! Upper and lower case plus number…and you choose the type of letters (zaner bloser, d’nealian…). My three year old loves it and can recognize almost every upper and lower case letter.

  15. I love eVite and fooducate.

  16. Hi- LOVE your posts and this was a great one. The pics of how you organizing your apps were really helpful and loved all the app tips!
    One great app for capturing your children’s art is called ArtKive. You can take pics of their art (so you don’t have to keep and store it all) and can chronologically organize it- even if you don’t capture them in that order when entering. You can also print out a book of their art work or share it with friends/family.
    Would love, love, love a post or a point to how you routinely upload and organize your photos. I am drowning there.
    Thanks again for sharing your life and organization with us!

  17. In no particular order…
    Timer+ — Does what it says. Great for cooking multiple dishes at a time.
    Hipstamatic, Pixlromatic+ & VSCO Cam — Photo apps
    Epicurious & AllRecipes — Recipes on the go.
    Beautypedia — Cosmetics reviews. The best.
    MapMyRun & MapMyWalk — Fitness
    P-Tracker — Track your period, ovulation, and fertility.
    JustWink — Send greeting cards (Real one! With stamps!) right from your phone.
    Cuptakes — Girly wallpapers. Very cute.
    CNN & ABC7 — National and local news alerts.
    Pinterest — Not great for searching (screen size limits pin size), but good for viewing your boards when you’re out and about.
    Voxer — Walkie talkie with other Voxer users. Practical? I dunno. Fun? YUP! Who doesn’t like to say “over and out” and “Roger that!”.

    • My family uses Voxer a ton! It is totally functional… we could message international family through Voxer when we couldn’t text them. And Voxer is so much more fun than texting! My little kids love to leave voice messages for aunts and grandmas through Voxer. It is somuch better than leaving voice mails.

  18. I love Food Educate.. you can scan a barcode and it gives your food a grade, then gives you other options. Great in the grocery store if I want to try new brands

  19. I can’t imaging having that many apps on my phone. I am overwhelmed just reading this article. Why multiples of everything (for reading, music, pictures, etc). Isn’t that a bit overkill? I don’t understand it. Watching movies on phones? Yikes. I don’t even like surfing the internet or doing a quick search on my phone because it is time consuming compared to my laptop or desktop.
    I do have some apps on my phone, but they are simple:
    Spanish-English dictionary
    A couple games to occupy my time standing in lines
    Kindle reader
    QR code reader
    Skype (although I rarely use it as it is cumbersome)
    Hootsuite (for social media)
    Paypal Here (to accept credit cards via my phone).

    That is about it. Other than the multitude of apps that came with my phone that I can’t take off.

    • I work remotely, travel a lot, and am generally on the go quite a bit, so I love all my apps and use every one! 🙂 So no, not overkill for me.

  20. I just got my first iPhone for Christmas so I’m really behind. This is a great list of apps and very helpful to see how you organized everything. Thanks so much for this post.

  21. I had to show my husband your post because your screenshots look like my phone and how I organize everything. We have a lot of the same apps. I would add the following favorites:

    Around Town:
    ParkMobile – in most metropolitan areas you’ll see the shift to this great mobile park app. You park, note the number on the meter and log in and pay to park with your stored credit card. It will send you an alert when your meter is about to run out and you can pay more. ALL without running out to your meter. Love it!

    Hipstamatic is a favorite. The filters and lens/film combos are still the most artistic and creative.
    ACDSee CameraFlash — You can use this camera app when you are in a dark or shadowy and area and control the amount of light. It’s especially great for indoor photos since the iPhoto native camera is terrible for that. You can also load photos already taken to lighten them up (contrast/shadow).
    Hueless — for great Black & White
    Incredibooth – by the makers of Hipstamatic. It’s the superior photobooth app. Gives you the classic black & white 4-strip of film. Has lots of options to share it too.

    This American Life app — listen to podcasts of this amazing radio program. It’s the best of it’s kind in telling stories in a curated theme each week.

    Mom’s Life:
    Already mentioned – Artkive
    Also – CommonSenseMedia app — for a quick check of movie reviews for age or appropriate material. Love the site, love the app.
    AppShopper – lets me know when apps are free or on sale.

    Kids games:
    We love all the Toca Boca apps. Engaging, open ended, creative.
    Stack the States and Stack the Countries — LOVE these apps. We can play as a family together. And my 4-year old can identify more states by shape then ME now. And I’m a geography nut.
    Endless ABC (Callaway) – really cute and clever spelling app with awesome little cartoon monsters.
    Kabaam — this is really a photo app but the kids can make their own comic book panels out of photos they take. Also the Comic Book app too.

  22. There is a a way to delete the phone-app…get an ipod touch 🙂
    My fav coupon app is Check out 51 – take a picture of your receipt, if you purchased something on the list, they will credit your account. Once you reach $20, they mail you a cheque!

  23. Anylist is a great free customizable list app. I use it mainly for groceries; making differently lists for each store I shop in. It has a share feature but the beat feature is a built in recipe finder that allows you to add recipe items to grocery list with one click. Faithlife is a new study bible app. Another is Owl iLibrary which I believe is available for many library systems throughout the country. I can search for and put items on hold. App is free and very user friendly. Saves me so much time.

  24. I’ll be loading up my phone with some new apps today, thank you for all of the suggestions, Tsh! I didn’t read every comment so forgive me if these are duplicated but here are a few of my favorites not on your list:
    Artkive – takes photos of your kid’s arts and organizes them
    BofA and other banking apps – skip trips to the bank and deposit all of my checks with my phone
    Endorse – I get cash back for things I already buy like gas and coffee.

  25. I just downloaded several new apps to try out, thank you for all the suggestions! Here are a few that I use regularly that you didn’t mention:
    ArtKive – take photos of my kid’s art and organize it for future use
    BofA and other bank apps – deposit checks without going to the bank
    Endorse – cash back for things I already buy like gas, coffee and diapers
    Pinterest – I love to peruse it while waiting at the doctor’s office, in the school pickup line, etc.

  26. Thank you for posting such a comprehensive list! I use my iPhone all the time but don’t utilize it like I should and this list will definitely help!

  27. Tsh, thanks so much for this list! There are so many I can’t wait to check out. In particular, I was really interested in the Skyview app. My 3rd grader is starting an astronomy unit and this will be PERFECT!
    As a homeschooler, I love to find really good educational/game apps that supplement the things I’m teaching. It reinforces what we are learning during quiet time or when we’re traveling.
    For example, my oldest (9) has really seen an improvement in her geography by playing “Stack the Countries”. We are just entering American history in our curriculum, so last week I introduced “Presidents vs Aliens”. She is absolutely hooked. First she learns facts about the presidents, then she earns shots to shoot down aliens. So awesome for both of us. 🙂
    My kindergartner enjoys the Bugsy Kindergartner reader and “Math Cakes” where she tries to do addition facts (like flash cards) and then earns cupcakes.
    My little 3 year old loves playing Monkey Drum, where she makes up little rhythms and can try different instruments and earn bananas for new instruments and bonuses. She will giggle over that app all day.
    I love finding these “hidden educational gems” for my kids to play. After a few weeks or so, I delete them and put in new ones, then rotate the old ones around again for “Freshness”.
    It’s been such a great happy medium for us. They get to play on the iPad and have FUN, I get to feel like they’re not just brain-wasting time. 🙂

  28. I recently started using ZipList for groceries and storing recipes…it’s like Pinterest in that it has a button you can put on your computer to clip recipes you look at. So far, I like it.
    Although I rarely go to see movies, I like the Flixster app to look up movie times at different theaters. I like Pinterest, Scoutmob (discounts at local places in some big cities) and Goodreads too.
    I’m going to try your recommendation for Todoist.

  29. Lots more thumbs up for Toca Boca for the kids. That is a big favourite around here with my little boy and middle-sized girls. Some other apps I’m enjoying at the moment are Tune In Radio – to listen to radio all over the world. (I’m enjoying the radio plays on BBC4 recently, especially Cabin Pressure which is hilarious) Pocket, to store up long articles to read later. Tweetbot, for twitter. Snapseed, Over, and PicFrame for various photo editing tasks. And Celsius for having the actual temperature as a badge on its app icon, because sometimes you don’t want a whole weather forecast you just want to say “Boy, it really is hot!” (There is a good weather forecast inside the app, and there’s one called Fahrenheit as well that does the same job)

  30. Kelly Pietrangeli says:

    Loved this post! I’m an App Freak too and we share many of the same fave ones. Like you, I am nuts about Evernote and seem to run my life with this App. I like Evernote Hello and Evernote Food too and recently discovered Dolphin which is an Internet browser that allows me to clip anything from the web straight into my Evernote notebooks.
    WhatsApp is the most popular App here in Spain and allows free texts, so everyone here uses it to avoid expensive text messaging bills. Not sure if it’s used in USA?

    • What’sApp is definitely used by my friends and co-workers here in Canada! I haven’t tried it yet myself, but they usually talk to friends and family overseas in Asia with it.
      I think all my favourite apps were already mentioned. I’ve also started using my local library’s app, so I can renew books and check due dates from my phone =) I should hook up my husband’s account too…he’s the one who gets the most overdue fines!

  31. Very clever post, I like it!!! I have to say that I just love having all my kindle books right there on my phone. Possibly my fave app is a plain old notebook app, like a moleskin… I love mine and it syncs to email!!! And a very handy app: Anylist it is a shopping list and my hubs and I share it… so when we run out of something we just add it to the list – whoever is at the store can shop (usually him!!!)… it works for us!!! And I was using “podcasts” for podcasts… but I just changed to “Downcast” because you can see all the podcast notes while you are listening… ok I’ll stop already!!!

  32. Ok, this might be a silly question (I’m new to Iphone and just got the iphone 5…how on earth do you have folders for your aps? I have 2 folders i’m using, but they came with my phone. so , how do you create new “folders” per say to put your like aps together?
    Thanks for all the aps!

  33. For those looking to memorize bible verses, the app Remember Me allows you to enter the verse you like using any bible version you like. Then, it will quiz you on the ones you want to work on with puzzles and games and flash cards. Once you know them, you move them into the “known” folder for review less often. It’s very simple to use and makes great use of those minutes waiting in line or on hold.

  34. I use my flashlight app all the time!

  35. Artkive is brilliant for storing and sharing your children’s art and craft (and more). You just use your phone camera to take a photo (can be edited) and input the details – child, date, name, comments etc and there’s your digital version. You can also make books of the best ones etc. you can share with friends and family who are interested as well. I love it. I think it would be great for teachers as well.

  36. We use Mint and EEBA (Easy Envelops Budget Aid) to keep track of our family’s budget and finances.
    We really like EEBA allows you to set weekly budget. It makes keeping track of categories like, eating-out, easier. And I like Mint for it syncs my accounts for me. Both we can access on web or on our phones, putting my husband and I on the same page, all the time 🙂

  37. some wonderful suggestions here! also really like the way you organized all your apps, caused me to spend like two hours on my phone downloading new apps and organizing them 😀 One thing is though I currently have evernote and can’t really find a use for it (maybe I’m just not really clear on what it does). I’ve kept it on my phone simply because I have heard so many people sing its virtues but I just can’t figure out what to do with it. I don’t work and I don’t have kids so I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be organizing/keeping track of with it!

    Also, does anyone have a good suggestion for a calendar app? I really don’t like the one that came with my iphone and I have tried Pocketlife but I really don’t like it (and hate that it is stuck importing a lot of non-important calendar stuff from facebook).

  38. Where did you get that snazzy & huge map behind you & your daughter?
    I don’t have an iphone, but some of these apps look really neat. Maybe someday…

  39. I’ve been using your daily docket in Goodreader where I can either type or write on the template. Best of all, I can cross things out in red – my favorite part about lists! 🙂

  40. These are great, Tsh! Can’t wait to use some of them. Love how technology makes travel so much easier.

  41. My favorite one being Dropbox and Google Maps. I make use of them so extensively. There are few of them which I never heard of. I will surely try them out. Thanks for making effort and putting up a great list.

  42. I really appreciate this post! We are getting iPhones next week and I created a note in Evernote with links to apps I would love to have. You have almost all of it in one place for me. Thank you!

  43. Paperless!! I can’t live without it! Make endless lists, check off, email grocery lists to my husband, I can pass code it so I keep Christmas gift ideas running all year long!
    Flipboard, beautiful design for news and RSS feed (though I only use it to check blogs). FighterVerse, put out by desiring god, it’s a memorization system and you can put in your own verses to…read the verse, hear it, sing it (the kids love this!), check off as memorized.
    artDatabase, Classical II, Poetry (by The Poetry Foundation), Chore Pad, Roku Remote, Pages, Downcast, Mint

  44. Wow great ideas on how to utilize my iphone and apps more, for the better of course! 🙂 Here are a few that I use:
    1. Total Baby – great for those first few months of babyhood and for the kind of mom like me who likes to record everything, how long baby nursed, how many diapers today, how many ounces of whatever she ate, haha 🙂 it even has growth charts and a lot of other things
    2. THINGS – I only have the free version that does not include the laptop version where you can sync, but it still helps with task management – by the way I’m surprised you didn’t have task management apps on your list, are there any that you recommend?
    3. ALARMED – I use it a lot for reminders, timers, etc.
    4. Junior Bingo – another preschool type game/app
    5. John Piper Daily Devotional

  45. I would have loved the Amacon price checker, but cannot find it on my iPad/iPhone. Is it not available in the U.K.?
    Love, Nessie

  46. Thanks for these! After recently getting my iphone, my husband had to educate me about apps. (What ARE they exactly? Do I really need any??) But now I couldn’t live without my white noise one (helps me travel with babies sans neurosis), the Weather Channel app, and the dictionary app. The Hobby Lobby and Amazon ones are pretty cool, too.

  47. oh yeah… I love mine too. however I use the itouch (iPhone without the phone app) Its really good about finding service on its own. I have successfully used cricket for maybe 10 years, been a while at least $45 per month unlimited everything, of course they now have the iphone so I am saving for that I think since it is only $60 per month unlimited everything. I am addicted to finding the deal.

  48. My favorite apps are for my toddler because they both can calm him down instantly when we are in the car or in public and a meltdown is on the verge. That is Peek-a-Boo barn and Elmo Calls. He loves them both. Elmo will talk to him and it has a camera that he can see himself in just like “facetime” and the Peek-a-Barn is a great way to start learning noises and animal names and now he can open and close the barn on his own. It seems to soothe him really well. We even used it for about a week before bed instead of a book because he was so into it. Thanks for all of these, I have downloaded several I can’t wait to try! Found you from Dave Ramsey!! 😉

  49. Great post, I was going to read this before I left for library, but I will have to come home and finish. I am pretty sure the teacher will frown if the parent helper is reading her Iphone during class.


  50. I absolutely *love* Zite! You tell it your interests, and it creates a fresh magazine for you every time you launch the app.

  51. We use Cozi to coordinate family schedules. You can color code appointments but everyone sees them so hubby knows when I have a late meeting or what time the kiddo’s soccer game is. They also have an area for shopping lists so that whoever pops by the store can look to see what is on the list (and cross it off). I think there’s a to do list as well but we don’t use that. I will say this app would be far more useful if my husband was as diligent about using it as I am. 😉

  52. I LOVE Stitcher. I am a podcast nerd and I love this app to play my favorite podcasts. It is so much easier than itunes. It lets your organize and keep track of what you listen to.

  53. I use the menu planner. You can down load all your recipes make your menu for the week or month them add to your shopping list. The shopping list then tracks your total for you so you know how much you are spending. It cost $2.99 but is well worth it.

  54. What ia the name of the app in your reading folder that has (in) courage? I tried to find it and could not. Anyone know it?

  55. Thanks for sharing all of your favorite apps Tsh! We have a lot of the same favorites, but there are definitely some off of your list I’ll have to check out soon! I really don’t have that many apps on my phone, but I do really enjoy; DISH Anywhere, Chase, Temple Run, TripIt and a few others. That first app is my most used though with all the traveling I do for my job at DISH. With it I’m able to view all of my shows from home, live or from off my DVR, everywhere I go in the world! I’m a TV junkie, so I use it for entertainment on the go as well as a way to keep up with my shows when I can’t be in front of my actual TV! 🙂

  56. Haha. Those are way too many apps for my 8GB! But I wonder if an iPad would hold them all and – with 3G – would also get all the benefits from the apps without talking on the phone. That may have to be my next purchase. I’ll have to bookmark your fave apps, for sure!

  57. WHITE NOISE! Hours of sleep saved keeping baby asleep (home, car, stroller), and helps the whole family sleep when traveling and all in the same room. 5 & 2 year old love Tozzle.

  58. Just wondering how you were able to put the apps under those “files”?

  59. Absolutely love this post. So helpful. I’m downloading apps like crazy. 😉
    Have you tried the Reading Raven app? It’s fantastic for 3 to 5-year-olds.

  60. Thanks for the resources, Tsh. Excited to download a few of these new apps to my phone today! Some other great apps I use daily are Pinterest (great entertainment if I’m waiting in line somewhere), Goodreads (browse books, genres, read friends’ reviews, etc.), and VSCO Camera (superb photo-editing capabilities).

  61. For the past two years, I have had a pay as you go phone and spend about $100 a year for the number of minutes I use. I have a pretty notebook in my handbag with grocery and to do lists (and a place to jot down thoughts, notes, or directions). I also carry with me a library book in case I have a little downtime. I find that the less I am dependent on technology the happier I am.

  62. Thanks so much for this list! I’ve had an iphone 5 for a couple months, but I’ve had no clue how to find good apps. This helps me out tremendously! And now I have to figure out how to organize my phone like you have – my apps are all jumbled together.

  63. Have you tried ” CheckPlease”, is great when you have tu share the bill with some othres in an restaurant and you don’t know how much have to pay each one, it also calculates the tip…, if you want….
    Another one I like, is Photosynth, great for taking pictures for all around you , so when you see them you can move around it…..

  64. Thx for your apps – I like Dropbox ’cause it lets me stock a huge amount of files on my online server, even if some users prefer Google Drive…

  65. Love Overdrive! It connects me to my state’s digital library (as well as thousands of others) and bridges very easily to the iPhone! I have millions of e-books and audiobooks at my fingertips! I found the other apps much more difficult for downloading. This is a little time-consuming on the front-end (have to load your library card, etc.), but it’s worth it when your child can download a book/audio-book in a flash!

  66. I am also new on smart phones – recently got an android – and love the apps!
    For homeschool I use – WikiTap (like Wikipedia), Translator (for our second language lessons), Oxford dictionary, a calculator, converter and World Maps and I never have to hop up for reference books! Love it!

    I really love to listen to world news – mostly streaming and some special podcasts and use TuneIn.
    Dropbox has been a favourite of mine for some time and it is wonderful to have it on my phone too!

  67. hi, great list for kids and parents. I’ve got one to add – Sticker Charts! A lot of people know what they are but if you don’t they help motivate your child to do what is needed. I use them to get my 7yr old to do homework and clean her room, and my 3 year old to tidy up his room and brush his teeth. Check it out on the app store:


  68. Paprika -recipe storage (Internet and manually input), menu planning, grocery list
    Scripture Typer – excellent way to help memorize Bible passages, incorporating tools for aural and visual learners in addition to the normal flash card system
    Prayer nb – system for keeping track of prayer requests, organized by categories, with ability to set reminders
    Posterity – finally an easy way to catch what kids say! Can include pics, not video, along with date and details. can import and export

  69. Sarah Shade says:

    After reading this article I’m prompted to share one of the apps I use that’s perfect for busy mommies! It’s called Ringya, you can find it by going to and it just helps you communicate with all the other moms about school stuff without actually having to call all the other mothers! You can share recipes, send mass messages to everyone about sports activities and well you get the drift. It’s been a life saver! Thanks for the awesome read and good luck to all the mommies out there! 🙂

  70. I love Paprika for recipes. I can search many recipe sites from within the app and save them all in one place. The menu planner is really simple as well.

  71. Thanks for the list! I’ve got some apps to check out. I especially want to check out the camera ones you mentioned and also the amazon price check.Thanks!

  72. It was neat to read about your favorite apps. I LOVE ToDoist! Dropbox and Evernote are also essential. And I love Instagram for inspiration and beauty. A few other apps I love are my Gospel Library app (scriptures), Dolphin Browser (I disabled Chrome to save memory, Dolphin is better.), and Twilight, which syncs with the clock and blocks blue light after sunset.Twilight is only on Android and I don’t know of a good iVersion, but it has improved my sleep tremendously. I also like Quality Time, which tracks how much time I spend in each app and gives me a report. I am more careful and conservative with my screen time since I started using QT.

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