What's the best iPhone app you ever bought?

During a recent iMore show, I was asked to name the best iPhone app I ever bought and it really made me stop and think. When you take free apps out of the equation, and you start to consider what gave you the most enjoyment or stress-relief, or provided the greatest value to your education or business, or made the time you spent with your loved ones, traveling or at home, just that much more special -- when you consider what gave you the most value for your money, it really can be hard to choose just one.

But that's what I'm asking you to do!

Whether it was a $0.99 app that distracted you at just the right time and made you smile when you needed it most, or a $1.99 app that helped you find what or where you absolutely had to find, a $2.99 or $3.99 app that keeps track of things so your already busy brain doesn't have to, or launches things in a way that saves you a ton of time, or a $4.99 app that saved you $$$ on your bills or taxes, or even a $19.99 or higher priced app that helps you get things done on a daily and yearly basis, I'm asking you to think back over all the amazing apps you've bought and share with the iMore community the one that's meant the most to you.

I know what my answer is now, and I'll share it on the next show... along with some of the best of yours!

So think about it and tell me -- what's the best -- paid! -- iPhone app you ever bought?

Georgia

Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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What's the best iPhone app you ever bought?

130 Comments

I would have to say Tilt to Live. It's just such a polished app with a great, simple idea for gameplay that I always come back to it, even two years later. I really have to congratulate One Man Left on making such a solid game. Long story as to how I found it, but once I decided to give it a try, I have never once regretted spending that $2.99 (which is a little steep for me). Still my favorite app.

Air Video.

The first app I ever paid for without even giving it a second thought. It's made me never have to put any videos on my iDevice. I can easily stream any video on my computer, no matter the format, in superb quality anywhere in the house. If I'm out and about, it does a great job streaming from the net as well. It's great not having to think about what's on my iPad to watch while I'm in bed, I just need to know I have it digitally somewhere on my PC.

Ohhhh that's a good one.

Tough for me, honestly. Air Video's up there, as is Tweetie 2 when it came out... And there there's djay and GarageBand...

Jeez, I think Ill just go with carcassonne, the most beautiful game on iOS (with the best music!) and by far the best implementation of asynchronous 'with friends' style multiplayer. More strategy than chess, but you don't agonize over moves forever, it's quick.

I've stayed in touch with several friends over long distances via games of Carcassonne on the iPad, it's the only iOS game I still play every day 2.5 years after I bought it.

Kinda weird to pick a game because I don't use my iOS devices primarily for gaming at all, but I think it takes the cake.

My top fave paid app is HD 4cast2 weather for 99¢ I love weather apps, but this one is my fave because the icons in it are great looking:)

Gaia GPS --- I've used it for years to track all my hiking and biking around the world (e.g, Patagonia), document snowmobiling trails and then get a bunch of stats/graphs to analyze after.

I'd have to say Downcast. Hands down the best podcast management I've encountered. On the gaming side, Ascension and its expansion packs have had extremely long legs for me, I've been constantly playing since December last year. So on both accounts money well spent.

The jailbreak app iBlacklist. This should be a non-jailbreak app. Since dumping my landline & porting the number to my cell - this does what the do-not call registry won't: Block political telemarketing calls.

I've owned a handful of Android tablets and an iPad 2. My quick response to "why is the iPad 2 better?" is..."just look at what they are doing with Garageband." That is a truly awesome application.

I second this, Reeder is by far hands-down the best RSS reader app for any mobile device. It's changed the way I use RSS since I bought it.

Of Apps I've paid for:
Reeder is the one I use the most. Daily! (and it's better on the iPhone than the iPad).
Scrabble is pretty great.
Star Walk is AMAZING. Better than a planetarium (in your pocket).
Photosynth is also AMAZING, but it's free so I'm not sure if it counts for this list?

I would say MLB @Bat. I love listening to the local Red Sox broadcast team ("This is Joe Castiglione for Shaw's supermarkets") - complete with local commercials - even though I now live in SC.

There are other apps, but none that I have uses as much through the years as this one!

Best App.
It would be IMAP weather radio, because I live in Tornado Alley and because of work there are times when I don't have access to a TV or Radio.

Dear Georgia,

Flight Track Pro for traveling.
SlingPlayer for watching TV.

Sorry, I couldn't do just one.

csr racing

This is the best app i have its a racing game
upgrade my car and beat all the competition.
I didnt pay for it its free....

Calengoo. It was the only way I could create a functional master family calendar with a family that had one Android phone, two iPhones, one Windows phone, two google calendars and one Outlook Calendar.

Same here!

If I had paid for Jetpack Joyride before it became free I would have said that. Level 920 and still playing it every day!

I would have to say the Plex app. My roommate was irritated that I had my mac mini connected to the tv in the living room for some reason (she's odd). And I wasn't really getting the best use out of my personal computer anyways. So I bought the Apple TV to connect to our tv instead (of course she loves that it works with her music and iphone) and I can now push all my television shows and movies to the tv through Airplay, it works pretty flawlessly and I get to use my computer back in my room for personal stuff. The most I have ever paid for an app, but totally worth it.

I've bought very few apps. I'm still just using my 2nd gen iPod Touch. I mostly have free games/apps. But the best app I've paid for would be 1Password or Bento.

Hey Georgia, I'm surprised to say nobody has mentioned Shazam yet.

Love being out at a bar/nightclub and being able to figure out what's playing.

Traffic View from TrafficLand is the best app I've purchased thus far. The app displays near-real-time traffic video from many of the traffic cameras located along freeways and roadways.

When possible, I prefer to use the I-95 freeway in the Washington Metro area, instead of the back roads, to travel to my destinations. I-95 traffic is perhaps the worst in the nation. And the southbound afternoon traffic is regularly congested due to volume or slowdowns caused by rubberneckers gawking at an accident.

This app has helped me avoid some of the worst traffic congestion events on the MId-Atlantic's longest parking lot.

1Password. Hands down the best money I have ever spent. I feel that my important logins are more secure and have them on all my devices.

Angry Birds. I've bought plenty of other awesome apps, some for a lot more money (Pages, iMovie), but Angry Birds is still my favorite. (And since I still enjoy the original AB so much, there's no need to get Rio or Space.)

I would have to say that of all the apps I have purchased, the best and most used apps would have to be a tie between launch center pro, tweetbot, and pages for iOS. All of these apps help me multitask and keep things synchronized between all my devices.

The app I use everyday is Pocket Informant. It handles my calendars and todo lists by keeping them all the same on all my devices.

The whole reason I went to iphone!!! Was a Palm/ Datebk user for years and the Palm Pre just was unusable for calendering.

Guitar Toolkit by Agile Partners. I lead worship at church and play live several times a week. I use this app almost every day to tune my guitar and bass guitar. It does so much more with metronome, scales, chords, and on and on. The tuner is more accurate than my 100 dollar Boss pedal. Best $9.99 I ever spent.

Pocket Informant is
by far my most used and most useful app! It has replaced my paper planner for good!

Yes!! Best money I've ever spent on an app. It's been getting some bad reviews lately due to some upgrade issues, but it really is a first rate PIM--there's nothing else in the app store that is as polished or as functional as pocket informant.

Speedlist. A little known iPhone app that has been both useful and a pleasure to use, and really well designed and thought out to do just what I want in a list-making/tracking app. Though it was hard not to choose 1password, which is really essential but doesn't give me warm feelings.

iCash Tracker. $.99 to help me keep track of every single expenditure out of my account. Haven't overdrawn my account since I bought it because I know exactly how much I have now!

so far, for me is Tweetbot. it's a very cool app that is worth the money. no issues, no lagging, no freeze ups. All smiles here! :-)

PasteBot, easy. Double functionality in storing/saving clipboard content & sharing it wirelessly with your desktop. There are other apps that have come along since...but i never had any reason to switch.

Square. I can say "yes" when potential or current clients ask me if I take credit cards. As a solo professional without the infrastructure to bill like the big boys, it's a godsend! Just pull out the iPhone, plug in the little Square square, and presto!

Oddly enough Springtomize; from allowing 5 icons/folders per line to changing the user agent. If you won't count jailbreak apps the Documents to Go gets the nod.

Mine is definitely the Tapatalk app because it allows me the opportunity to learn as much as I can about the devices I've owned and currently own as well as share that knowledge with other people. Having said that, if you had asked for a specific platform, I would have easily answered by naming Twitter, but I've used all sorts of Twitter apps from UberTwitter to Tweetbot, but since you're asking for a specific app, I have to go with Tapatalk.

iDOS! There has literally never been a more epic app on the App Store.

Honorable mention to Tweetbot, WriteRoom, Launch Center Pro.

Tweetbot is the best app I have bought for iOS. I use it for hours a day to view my timeline and interact with friends and business partners.

I'm really loving Camera+. I even bought the inApp filter pack and have no buyers remorse. I'm by no means a photographer but I have been getting so many comment on my pics and have even used them with Postagram. Anywho, I have found a new love for photography thanks to the iPhone 4a and Camera+. :-D

"Week Calendar", hands down!!

I use it everyday, several times a day. Actually it is the most frequent great app that I use -- excel my needs in every ways.

I have to say, I bought Camera+ the very first day it was available and have NEVER ONCE regretted that choice. That app is absolutely invaluable for me, and especially now with iCloud Photo Stream, the fact that it doesnt clutter up my camera roll (and thusly my photo stream) with pics, plus the touch exposure/autofocus controls are absolutely a godsend (and it even came in handy for me today when I was taking pics of bonsai trees at an exhibit on bonsai that I went to).

I would definitely say iFiles, hands down. It's the ultimate file management app for iOS devices.
It has iCloud support for sharing files between devices, not to mention being able to add multiple accounts from Dropbox, Box.net, Google Docs, SkyDrive, SugarSync, WebDav, FTP, SFTP (SSH), Picasa, Flickr, etc.. and move files directly between each service.

I tried my best to narrow it down to one. Got to my top three. The loss of any one of these would put a real damper on my lust for my iphone.

Geocaching: I had previously heard of the Geocaching hobby, but it seemed like a lot of work and a lot of learning. Thanks to this app, I have discovered countless natural wonders all over New England. It provides endless free fun, anywhere in the world, anytime you like.

Navigon: I've utilized "alternative means" to thoroughly test every turn-by-turn system the iphone has to offer. I finally settled on Navigon and have purchased all of its in-app purchases. I would happily pay for it again ten times over. Every time a friend gets an iphone, the first thing I do is gift it to them. Oh, and once while Geocaching, it's offline map caching saved my life. Being lost in a New England forest in winter is no fun.

Air Video: This app... THIS APP! I won't ramble on about it, because everybody else already has. What an amazing bit of tech.

ForeFlight is the best app I have ever paied for. $75 a year makes it a little expansive, but worth it if your a pilot.

Wow, this is a great question which will spark some great answers...
For most used and overall best designed app yet, Tweetbot
Best Jailbreak app, Lockinfo
Runner up Navigon (although I see myself switching to iOS maps in iOS 6 since you can't beat great integrated apps).

iReconcile.
I'm a very detailed manager of my personal finances, and it still amazes me how powerful this app is for every question I have about my finances.
Second place would go to SnapSeed. That was the first time I ever thought that photoshop could eventually be possible on a mobile platform.

I have to agree! I bought the case mate case that holds my debit card and drivers license and iReconcile at the same time. The combination is unbeatable to me. Never carry a wallet or checkbook and always know how much money I have on hand. Plus the reports, if you use the app correctly, are great. The budget feature is great as well. Easy to use app, easy to set up, use it multiple times daily.

The Best iOS App ever is "iFiles" - Its one of my first Apps I bought for FileManagement and having access to all my online cloud services like dropbox, box, sftp and more. You can surf the web and download stuff to your device, access it in iTunes or open a small web-server to access the files with a browser while you are in your local network.

Its probably the only app that survived since year one of the iPod Touch.

mfgcb

Most apps I own are free but among the apps that I paid for, Documents To Go is my favorite app. I bought it at $12.99 when there was a sale and it's been very useful. When I don't have my laptop, I use it to write a draft for essays or edit on the go. I also use it to view excel and PDF files which is very nice.

i haven not bought many apps but

Gold: Downcast - use every single day
Silver: Tweetbot
Bronze: Camera+ - i've had buyers remorse cause i honestly use the regular camera more but i should learn to use this. Bronze cause i've only bought 3 apps though and i don't hate it or anything.

Reeder, Pocket Informant, Navigon, Air Video, all great softwares !

If I was to name one only, I would have to say Reeder...

I'm a huge gamer but after truly thinking about it, I'd have to say Tweetbot. It's the only paid app I used every single day

I would have to say an app called White Shark, marine biologist tag and release Great White Sharks with radio satellite beacons so they are able to track these sharks movements using GPS. Each Shark is given a name and we are able to map their comings and goings. The app lacks design style but the owner can see in real time where these sharks travel. I find it fascinating watching these creatures and looking at how they cover their territory.

hands down the best app that I have ever purchases for my iphone 4 and the app that I consider the most important can't live without app had to be purchased on cydia, not the app store. It is called "iblacklist". Android, blackberry and windows all allow call clocking apps in their respective app markets/stores, however, apple does not. This attitude that I have to buy the world's most elegant and elequent phone for quite a bit of money and pay for an expensive plan, I cannot us the phone the way I want to just simply has to stop on Apples part. I jailbroke the phone just for this app which allows me to block any caller from sending me a call or text and it is priceless, well worth twice the $9.95 in which i paid for it. Say I go car shopping at 4 different dealers and I choose one deal at one dealer, well what do you think is going to happen? 3 dealerships are going to be calling my phone wanting to know why I didn't buy a car from them - so I blacklist them - get the picture?

I haven't paid for many apps, but mSecure is one and it was totally worth it! I have all of my passwords in one secure location. This allows me to have more complex, secure passwords since I don't have to remember them myself. :-)

Bought a lot of great apps, but even tho $49.99, Auria for the iPad takes portable music studio to a new level. There are great DAW's in the app store, but this is a whole lot of ability is a small package. To have a 48 track studio mixer that is a high end product with a lot of thought put in, is amazing. Yes you have to have an audio interface, a power USB hub, and the Apple camera connection kit to make it work. But well worth it.

I'm going to have to give the nod to Visible Body, or for iOS in general, Kno. Because Kno has saved me a bundle on texts for school!

I would have said Pocket Informant until recently. Beatiful app. Then work moved to Office 365/Outlook - and now PI is useless unless you want to run 2 calendars that don't sync.
My favourite now (was no2) is NAVV UK sat nav app. As slick as the big names at a bargain price (£7.99). Never let me down, but obviously that's the UK version so I can't comment on others. I would just say give it a try.
Agenda is a nice overlay on the calendar app well worth £0.69.

Firstly, this might not be the best app, but out of I think 343 apps I have, Tech Junkie I use the most....multiple times a day to keep up. I think of myself more as a app tester, because love to check out what people can do. The most impressive app that I get the most of, and that I am always surprised by how high the bar is raised would be GarageBand. It anyone knows others that sound so real, and diverse in instruments, I would love to hear about them!

The best $1.99 I spent for an app was for Week Cal (endar)...love the weekly layout and its perfect to display both my work events and kids' events!!

NotifyMe

I use that app everyday to remind me to pay bills, cancel trial memberships or anything else I might forget. Its the best reminder app I've used mainly because it has a autosnooze feature which will keep reminding you of the task until you check it as completed. Money well spent.

for my first iphone I went and bought Antidote. I am an Anglophone living in Montréal and live and work in French and English. When I was learning French I struggled because I didn't get up and get my dictionary or verb guide, tooo lazy, but once I had Antidote it was so available that improved my French rapidly and easily. Now on the iphone4S and Antidote is still with my, in constant use three years later. Easily the most expensive app I have ever bought, at 20$ but the best purchase ever. Oh by the way I love Montréal.

A bit late to the party here, but my wanted to put my $.02 in. A list of my favorite iphone apps would be:

MLB At.Bat
Spotify (I didn't see it mentioned above, but I kinda skimmed through)
RunKeeper
Tweetbot
Camera+
Reeder
Voxer
Bank of America
Soundhound
Kindle

All in all, I would probably peg spotify as my favorite. I currently have 10GB of extreme quality music saved on my iphone that i listen to when I don't have a strong signal/wifi around or when I'm on a plane. Then another couple thousand tracks saved in various playlists I've created or subscribed to plus maybe a dozen radio stations I've "created" I'm listening to spotify in the car, while I'm working, at the gym or running around my neighborhood, laying in bed to fall asleep, playing with the kids, pretty much all the time.

As far as Jailbreak apps

my must have JB apps would be:
BiteSMS
GV to SMS

Fully integrated and free text messaging via google voice on my iphone with the ability to text from anywhere in the os. <3

For iPad, my favapps would be more towards video

MLB At.bat
HBO go
Netflix
Chrome

Jailbreak iPad apps

iFile
various notification center tweaks

iFile + the camera connection kit is awesome. I have a 32 GB SD card loaded with TV shows and movies, I have to travel a good deal for work, so while I'm on the road I can carry a 16 GB iPad, fully loaded with apps, plus the 32GB SD card and have everythign I need to entertain myself while I'm sitting in a hotel room or a plane. Don't know what I did before it.

As a pediatrician, I have dozens of Apps on my phone to help me care for children. Most are free like Epocrates and the John Hopkins ABX Guide.

The most valuable paid program is one I have been using on my Palm Pilot since 2000ish. The Riley Kidometer (now just Kidometer) is a database of pediatric information searchable by age and sex. It is so indispensable that I've kept my old Palm alive for all these years just to keep using the Kidometer. The App is now available on the AppStore for $5. It is worth every penny and then some if you need the information!
(disclaimer: I have no financial ties to the Kidometer or the developers although I was a beta tester for the iOS App).

would this be a useful app for parents? Or is it overly technical or just inappropriate for that particular audience?

This is really a technical app for medical personnel. To the layperson, it would be mostly just a bunch of numbers. You might try these free apps:
Healthy Children from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Kids Doc from the American Academy of Pediatrics
WebMD Baby

I'd have to say the best iPhone/iPodTouch app I ever bought is Bookmark. It's the only podcast listening app I know of that lets you bookmark as many times in any podcast as you need to. That way, I can concentrate on enjoying the podcast and be able to go back later and look into all of the bookmarks I made. You can even give them titles, if you want. And all of the audio podcasts that you subscribe to in iTunes and have checked off to sync to your iPhone will immediately and automatically show up in Bookmarks. Another huge feature they have is a completely unique "timeline" or way to skip forward or backward. And you can custom set the different increments for this. I use it quite often every day.

I also can't pick just one...

Note-taking:
Notesy
- a simple, but great text editor with dropbox support

Password management:
PasswordWallet
- not the best or prettiest UI of the bunch (on iOS), but I've been using this product for decades (back to pre-OSX days with Palm). It's about as full-featured as anything and available on about every platform imaginable (with sync). Once you've got it down, it is indispensable.

Task management:
Todo by Appigo
- I looked at a LOT of todo apps when I first got my iPod (and now iPad), and this was by far the best. I haven't done a recent comparison again, but it is quite full-featured, has a nice UI, and is easy to use.

Tech tool:
Remoter VNC and/or LogMeIn
- Simply excellent tools for remote control and ssh (in Remoter VNC)

Browser:
iCabMobile
- Has to be the best alternate browser, and WAY more full-featured than Safari.

Mine was WorldCard business card reader. What a time saver it has been for me. Great recognition with little or no editing. Second to this is Documents To Go.... I use it on the iPad most of the time.

Plex...
Great app that allows me to see the latest movies and photos of my Great Grandchild.
I can also share my movies, music and photos with everyone and myself while traveling

Bob B

think my first loves were Midnight Mahjong (took full advantage of the touch screen, pinch and rotate), and i.TV I was in the car programming my Tivo from 200 miles away with a phone... if was awesome not to miss the game I forgot to record.

For me, absolutely is Time Master ( by On-Core Software ) I don't remember how much I paid for 1st Module but well worth every penny. Since than I have purchased 2 other module 1 for sync. from Iphone to Ipad ( $6.99 ) and 1 to invoice my customers ($ 9.99 ) best Time and material tracking program I have ever used. They also have a module you can export you T&M to Quickbooks. there is so much I could say but I'll just say if your looking for a GREAT T&M tracking program that is as customisable as any need out there. Check it out.

I would say SounHound which is really simmilar to Shazam which is free but I love soundhound it has been so many years with me and it help me remeber the cool songs I hear.

The second one would be TextGrabber, that helps me a lot everyday. I just snap a pic of a document and it transofms it into the text that i can share, edit keep. Really cool.