Did You Get an iPhone for Christmas? Here Are 23 Must-have Apps

Were you one of the thousands of people who received an iPhone for Christmas — or bought one the day after with a gift card? If you have a new iPhone, there are over 500,000 apps in the iTunes App Store to choose from, which can help you plan your day, be more productive, waste time, or help you manage your finances and business. Here, we’ve narrowed down that list to 23 apps we think you must have as a new iPhone owner. Browse through this list and feel free to pick your favorites — or download them all. Most of them are free, and we promise that the apps with a price tag are well worth their value.


Dropbox: Dropbox is an app that allows you to sync files between all of your computers and devices — so you always have what you need, wherever you are. You can also share files with other Dropbox users by inviting other friends, family, or teammates to a folder, which allows you to see other people’s changes instantly or create photo galleries viewable by anyone you choose. We especially love Dropbox on the iPhone because you can bring your files with you when you’re on the go and edit files in your Dropbox from your phone. Dropbox is free for the first 2 GB (Or $99.99/year for 50 GB).

Evernote: We’ve raved about Evernote before, but if you thrive on being productive, Evernote is a must for you as an iPhone user. Evernote allows you to manage notes organized by notebook and sub-notebooks that are synced to the cloud and accessible from any device on which you use Evernote. Evernote features the ability to clip Web pages, add images, audio notes, and even use basic formatting. Need to go shopping but don’t want to forget all the ingredients needed for a recipe? Use Evernote at home to make a notebook of recipes, and then pull up Evernote next time you go grocery shopping. Evernote is free (or $4.99/month for Premium, which offers bigger upload capacity, greater sharing options, and access to note history, PDF searching, faster image recognition, and no ads).

Wunderlist: Everyone loves to get things done, and Wunderlist is a great free app that allows you to do just that. Wunderlist syncs with all of your devices to help you check off tasks from multiple lists. Need to clean the bathroom and schedule a lunch meeting with a future business partner? Wunderlist features the (free!) function to create different lists for different areas of your life, while allowing you to indicate which tasks are more important than others. There are some tasks managers that offer many more comprehensive features, but Wunderlist is exceptional for its price: free.


Words with Friends: Think Scrabble, and then think of 30 of your most competitive friends with nothing else to do during their day at the office but check their iPhone. Words with Friends allows you to play dozens of Scrabble-type games simultaneously in real time. Be prepared to not only develop a fierce addiction, but also a knack for creating words you didn’t know even existed. Be aware: Apps do exist to help your “friends” cheat, but should you desire to truly own your bragging rights for winning, we suggest you stop looking for them before you start. Words with Friends is free (or $0.99 for the ad-free version).

Bejeweled Blitz: This puzzle app has been a favorite for desktop users for years — especially via Facebook — and ranks almost as high on the addictive level as Words with Friends. Users must match similar gems in groups of three or four to keep the game moving, similar to Tetris. And, just like Words with Friends, users compete against friends. Bejeweled Blitz is free (with in-app purchases available).

Angry Birds: You’ve heard all about it, seen all the press, and perhaps even bought an Angry Birds plush doll for your nephew. If you have a new iPhone, Angry Birds is a must-have app that will keep you entertained for hours. Angry Birds is free (with in-app purchase options).

Did You Get an iPhone for Christmas? Here Are 23 Must-have AppsScience

The Weather Channel: The iPhone has a built-in weather app great for checking the short-range forecast, but if you’re looking for comprehensive reports on up-to-the-minute weather conditions, forecasts, and severe weather alerts for your neighborhood and thousands of locations worldwide, this is a must-have app. The Weather Channel app also features pollen conditions, sporting event forecasts, and airport delays. The Weather Channel app is free.

Star Walk: Star Walk allows iPhone (and iPad) users to easily locate and identify 20,000+ objects in the night sky — even during the day. The 360-degree, touch control star map displays constellations, stars, planets, satellites, and galaxies currently overhead from anywhere on Earth. Starwalk uses augmented reality to allow users to “see” what they really can’t — especially in bright city lights. Star Walk is $1.99.


Tango Video Calls: Apple paved the way for the face-to-face video call; though the iPhone is now on a multitude of networks, FaceTime is still only available to iPhone owners. Tango is a great app that allows non-iPhone owners to make video calls to any other smartphone owner who also has Tango installed on their phone. If you want to video chat using your 3G connection (or Wi-Fi) from your phone with your loved ones who may or may not also have an iPhone, Tango is a must-have — and it’s free.

Beejive IM: Instant messenger is a primary method of communication, and many of you likely communicate over a combination of Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger, Facebook Chat, and MSN/Windows Live. Just because you walk away from your computer doesn’t mean the conversation has to stop. There are dozens of apps to choose from that allow you to IM from the iPhone, but the best app is Beejive IM, which supports AIM/MobileMe, Facebook IM, Google Talk, Jabber, MSN/Windows Live, MySpace IM, and Yahoo! Messenger. Beejive IM is $4.99.

Skype: If you’re stuck in an office or at home all day armed with Wi-Fi, there’s no reason to use your precious mobile minutes on calls — but also no reason to be glued to your desk chair, either. Skype for your iPhone allows you to harness the power of Wi-Fi to make unlimited calls throughout the US for just $2.99 a month using your phone. Skype is free.

Social Networking

Google+: If you’re one of the early adopter and power user types that uses Google+, be sure you have the app to keep up with your circles on the go. As an iPhone user, you can upload photos and receive notifications, just as if you were on your desktop. Google+ is free.

Twitter: Dozens of third-party Twitter apps exist, but with with iOS 5, Twitter’s official app is actually now the best Twitter app for the management of your own Twitter account. You can manage the type of notifications you would like to receive — such as @mentions or DMs — as well as how to receive them via the notification center on your iPhone. Twitter is free.

Facebook: Do you use Facebook? Download the Facebook app. You can upload photos, view photos, update your status, and keep in touch with all of your friends and family all within this app. If you’re a power Facebook user and are part of groups or use lists, these are incredibly easy to access and update from the Facebook app for the iPhone, too. Facebook is free.

Food and Entertainment

Yelp: Not sure where to eat dinner? Can’t find a nearby coffee shop on a business trip? Yelp is the app for that. You might know Yelp as the place to check out reviews for the best place to get your hair cut in your hometown or leave a raving review for your favorite Thai take-out. The Yelp app, however, can help you find the best place to go when you just don’t know where to go. You can find types of restaurants, bars, coffee, drugstores, or more nearby, or search more specifically with what you are looking for. If you use Yelp regularly, you can check in to help remember to leave a comprehensive review when you get home. Yelp is free.

Foodspotting: Foodies, this one’s for you. This app is designed to help you find whatever you’re craving, see what’s good at a particular restaurant, and discover must-try dishes nearby. iPhone can browse photos of nearby dishes and see what looks good, as well as read recommendations. If you love food, it’s a great way to discover something new — and keep track of your favorites (and perhaps, your not-so-favorites). Foodspotting is free.

ESPN ScoreCenter: Can’t make it back home or to the bar for the big game? ESPN ScoreCenter is a must-have app to keep up with all your favorite teams — especially during playoff or tournament season. ESPN ScoreCenter offers iPhone users notifications with the fastest and most reliable game details like plays, key stats, leaderboards, boxscores, and scoring summaries. You can choose what notifications you get and how by using the app and the notification settings in your iPhone’s notification center. ESPN ScoreCenter is free.


Instagram: This is another app you’ve likely already heard about, and for good reason: It’s a great addition to the iPhone’s native camera. Instagram allows you to take a photo and filter it from dozens of options, and then share it with friends on other social networks like Facebook or Twitter. Users who also have Foursquare can geo-tag it to completely capture the essence of the moment. Instagram is free.

Camera+: Not a professional photographer? That’s okay. Camera+ will make your iPhone photos look like you’re a pro with its plethora of features. The app includes touch exposure and focus, a variety of shooting modes (including a stabilizer, timer, and bursts), photo flashlight, a grid to help prevent crooked pictures, and a digital zoom. The app doesn’t stop there, with scene modes, filter effects, in-app cropping, and so much more. If you plan on taking pictures, this is a must-have app. Camera+ is $0.99.

Justin.tv: Yes! You, too, can be just like Chris Pirillo and broadcast your life, live, for everyone to see. The Justin.tv app is a great way to share moments of your life, live, with friends and family, which can be accessed with a special URL or from your personal Justin.tv channel. For those of you who want to share your niece’s birthday party at the park with family across the country — or just need a little more attention — Justin.tv is one of the best live streaming apps, and it’s $4.99.

Business and Finance

FlightTrack: If you travel often for business (or even pleasure), FlightTrack is a must-have app to help you plan and prepare for your next flight. This app covers more than 1,400 airlines and more than 4,000 airports, and offers features such as a weather overlay (so you’ll be ready for that turbulence), and it will let you know what gate to expect on your layover. FlightTrack can also show you what aircraft type your flight (or potential flight) will be, as well as flight delay forecast chart and seating info from SeatGuru for most flights. And, of course, you can track other flights using the app as well. FlightTrack is $4.99 (with in-app purchase options).

Your Bank’s App: Whether you use Bank of America, Chase, USAA, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, or other popular banking institutions, be sure to have the app for your bank on your phone. These apps can show you your checking balance, available credit, recent transactions, and some offer additional features such as the ability to deposit a check by simply taking a picture of it. If you’re considering switching a bank, check out the features of other mobile apps to see if these apps could make your financial life easier. It should be free!

Mint.com Personal Finance App: Most financial advisers agree: It is critical to have a budget to maintain (or achieve) financial security. Mint is an essential app (and not only for your iPhone) that can track your spending habits and help you stay within budget. If you haven’t started using Mint yet, consider setting up your budget at Mint.com first, as this may take a few minutes. Then, download the Mint app on your phone to stick with your budget wherever you are. The Mint.com Personal Finance App is free.

What are your must-have apps for the iPhone? Let us know your favorites in the comments.

CC licensed photo above of gentleman with the stunning mustache shared by Incase.