TiPb Asks: If you could only have 5 apps on your iPhone what would they be?

If you could only have 5 apps on your iPhone what would they be and why? We're talking App Store apps here, not built-in apps like Safari. For example, if I were stranded on a desert island (that just happened to have Wi-Fi and electricity to charge -- you know, thanks to Dharma) these would be my must-have apps:

  • Skype [Free iTunes] so I could call out for pizza or even hail a ship to rescue me.
  • Articles [2.99 iTunes] (Wikipedia app), so I could find out how to cure that sea urchin sting (the solution isn't pretty).
  • Twitter [Free iTunes] so that everyone would know how much I am suffering... or living it up on the island.
  • Instagram [Free iTunes] so that I could quickly post pictures to Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, because being on a deserted island is something you would have to see for yourself.
  • Chess [0.99 iTunes] because they say it takes a lifetime to master and I guess I would have a lot of time on my hands.

What apps would you simply not want to live without?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


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.

More Posts



← Previously

Canalys recognizes iPads as PCs, boosts Apple to #3

Next up →

Google "not happy" with paid app sales, will make Market more like Apple App Store?

Reader comments

TiPb Asks: If you could only have 5 apps on your iPhone what would they be?


I would prefer Facebook, Twitter, ESPN Scorecenter, ESPN radio, and Google. For latest on iPhone,iPod,Ipad,Apple,Android, Games and jailbreak visit www enews plus .com Thanks

2.Fruit Ninja
3.VLC Player
If excluding all the built in apps

You can tell who is jailbroken by the comments, hah.
I would have facebook, rhapsody, slingplayer, angry birds, and twitter (possibly a 6th app Talkbox, nice audio messaging system - free)

  1. Echofon Pro
  2. Mobile RSS
  3. Words with Friends
  4. DB Navigator (German public transport info)
  5. WunderList ToDo

Why do people keep listing the built-in apps? LMAO... Read the criteria for posting.

If I could only have 5, I'd use web based things instead of apps where I could (so long, Beejive), keeping:
1) Skype - to videochat
2) Netflix - to have something to watch
3) Pandora - to have something to hear
4) Words with friends - my current favorite, to have something to play
5) Find my iPhone - so somebody can come get me off this %*&$@ island

assuming you aren't counting the built in un-removeable apps, my most crucial 5 are: Trillian, Consume, MyWi, AirVideo, iBooks. Most everything else I can do in Safari if I had to (twitter, facebook et al.)
in fact, I'm noticing a LARGE majority of the apps on my phone, are app replacements for web services I use frequently, because the apps are just superior. That and games for when I'm bored or utilities to make tasks quicker. But if I'm stranded on an island with only power and wifi, I've got plenty of time to do things the slow way :p
Now, if the question is I can only have 5 apps, period. Mail, Safari, iPod, AirVideo, and iBooks. In that order.

iTeleport, Dropbox, VLC or OPlayer, BeejiveIM, Site-to-Phone (I know thats not an app)
Everything else I´ll do it with my iPad :-)

BeeJive IM for texting Spain
C64 for Commodore 64 games from 1985 like Boulderdash II
Pianist for reference pitches
Sky Mobile TV for watching Man Utd live

Sling Player Mobile, Sirius, Wikipanion, Yellow Pages Canada, and Angry Birds. Just missing the cut: YouTube's web app.

1.words with friends 2. facebook 3. tip star 4. pandora 5. audible (assuming that I still get to have email and calendar and itunes and ipod and photos/camera)

Being primarily a business user, I would say iDispatcher
Log me in
Team Viewer
And iFishing because, let's face it all work and no play...

Is there an option to give up all apps to be stranded on that same island? ;-)
Whatsapp,Slingplayer,Gps Drive,Mint,GoTasks

My first five would be: Beejive, Skype, Rhapsody, Skyfire, CNN.
Honorable mention: Air video, Netflix, Pendora, Scrabble, Google.

Words With Friends, iBooks, The Weather Channel, Planets (might as well learn the names of all those stars) and DirecTV (so I won't miss recording any good shows while I'm exiled).

FB- hopefully a family or friend will rescue me. Amplitube-I always have a guitar with me. How to Cook Everything-there has to be more than one thing to do with coconuts. Newsey-so I can read about the rescue effort, or the lack of rescue, and 2Do-need to keep organized while waiting to get rescued.

Twitter, Reeder, The Weather Channel, iBooks, Navigon.
That would do me.
But I'd miss Infinity Blade, Facebook, and Dungeon Hunter 2.

Mondo points for the LOST reference!

  1. Well this would have been plants vs zombies up until about 30 minutes ago, so fruit ninja.
  2. Starwalk so I can know what I'm looking at.
  3. Facebook because I have a problem.
  4. MLB at bat for whatever year this happens.
  5. Nike + GPS. Maybe not the most useful on a desert island, but I use this app all the time!

In no particular order...
1) Pandora
2) Skype
3) Kindle
4) Geocaching (Hide a cache + post the coords = rescued in NO time!)
5) Weatherbug

My most used 3rd party apps are:
1. Atomic Browser (can do basically everything)
2. PlainText (speedy Dropbox editor...great for GTD lists)
3. LoseIt (trying to get healthy)
4. Instaviz (incredible program for mindmapping and flowcharts)
5. Textfree (gotta love unlimited free texting and crystal clear VOIP)
Twitter? Facebook? Seriously?

MyWi(jailbreak)- the single greatest app ever created. At least, for those with unlimited Data. WoW works just fine. I use about 200 GB's a month and AT&t has never said a word. Probably cause I live in the boonies and everyone else is on Verizon out here.
Evernote- so handy it hurts.
SleepCycle Alarm- cause it's nice to feel great when you wake up.
GeoCaching- this is the best use I have found for having a smartphone. It justifies the $100 a month entirely on it's own. My kingdom for an iPod touch with GPS.
Flashlight(jailbreak): for those of us on a model without a flash, this is a lifesaver.

I guess I would´nt keep the iPhone... Lol
But stranded on an island with Wi-Fi, I think I would go with:
iReal SMS
Bakery Story

Awesome Note
Iris Photo Suite
Instagrammers - why on earth would you choose that over Hipstamatic when you've only got 5 apps? Don't you care about quality at all?

Recorder - It's an okay recording app, but that built-in phone call recording has been a real plus for me.
VoCal Voice Reminder - I use this app all the time.
Fox8 Flash - This is the app for channel 8 news here in Cleveland. It's enabled with live news streaming so I can watch the news while away from a TV.
Netflix - It's getting better with the streaming and selections. Beats having to run out to the video store or trying to find a Redbox.
JotNot Pro - Had to use it a few times already for faxing documents. Works great. Very convenient.

1) Tilt to Live because I have a strange addiction
2) Netflix because its only going to grow selection wise, and because we all need movies, right?
3) Twitter because I can
4) Facebook because it's Facebook
5) Pandora for endless music streams...

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Pandora
  4. FeeddlerRSS
  5. YouTube

I was going to say Yelp & Flixster but if I'm trapped on an island I can't see much use for those. ;)

1) Facebook
2) 8mm (extremly cool videoapp, realtime-editing)
3) Skype (video-calls from everywhere)
4) iOutBank (Online-Banking from everywhere)
5) Inception (my own soundtrack in realtime)

It's a useless question. If I could only have 5 apps on my iPhone, I'd buy a different phone.

Silly. It's just a hypothetical scenario.
Read some of the replies. Some very good app ideas here.

not to rain on anyone's parade... but do we even get signal on this island? how do any of these apps work with no service? that being said, facebook, the weather channel, mail, flashlight, ipod.

5 Apps I cant live without - Netflix, DropBox, Awesome Note, Instagram, 1Password
Honorable Mention - Wunderlist, Twitter, 8mm, Pastebot, Hipstamatic

Mustache groomer
Prison maker
Sbsettings (the one w/icon)
This is all pretend, right?

• Appigo's Todo - task management is essential, without this I couldn't keep track of everything I do.
• Silvio Rizzi's Reeder - keeps me up to date wherever I am.
• Codality's SimpleNote - love the web sync option. Have tons of notes I need to refer to regularly, and generally don't need fancy text formatting or images.
• 1Password - always need to log into various services and networks and such, and with this I have all my access details handy anywhere I go.
• 1Torch4 - having been caught without power in the recent floods in Queensland (whilst on holidays!) this came in handy getting across a flooded field at night. Of course I put the iPhone in a ziplock bag to protect it before venturing out in waist deep water!
Honourable Mentions:
• OzWeather
• CarbonFin Outliner - really useful for basic outlines and mini-project management
• iCollect Movies Pro - I have a nice movie collection and this helps keep track of it all
• AroundMe - saved us a few times getting back to Brisbane, finding petrol stations and detours to avoid flooded roads
• Campos Fix, Melbourne Coffee, Beanhunter - what can I say but COFFEE !
• Various medical and chemistry apps - useful in my area of herbal medicine and teaching herbal medicine and chemistry
• iDisk or DropBox

Well, as I am very social active person, the first two apps would be:
Then, because I am a big fan of photography, the next two in line are:
And finally, 5) ANGRY BIRDS. Cause it's just very fun and cool)

1) Runkeeper
2) Facebook (2nd, cuz its also accessible via safari)
3) Camera+
4) White Noise (cant sleep w/o it)
5) Tilt to live

1) Runkeeper
2) Facebook (2nd, cuz its also accessible via safari)
3) Camera+
4) White Noise (cant sleep w/o it)
5) Tilt to live

This is a fun poll. Can you take iPad instead of iPhone? Even if not, my top 5 apps will be: Wiki, Facebook, Fifa, Fx Photo Studio, Hipstamatic

1) StreamToMe (UI is nicer than Air Video, and it supports audio and photo streaming)
2) iBooks (even on my iPhone, reading on iBooks is OK for me)
3) LogMeIn Ignition
4) AppShopper App (IMO the single best App-finder and -tracker app)
5) Progressive Alarm Clock (I just love how smoothly I wake up with it).

  1. Bible (You Version app is my fav.)
  2. FB (Indispensable)
  3. The Weather Channel
  4. LED light (Flashlight, very handy)
  5. Bass Tuner (Assuming I also have my bass on the island too)

Plenty of great app ideas posted already. Thanks.

Thanks for all the awesome suggestions on here... If it were me stuck on an island these would be my 5... In order of frequent use...
1. Facebook-Cuz I wanna keep in touch with friends.
2. Pandora-Cuz I love music 24/7.
3. Twitter-Cuz I wanna know what people are up to.
4. Dragon Dictation-Cuz I'll get tired of typing with my thumbs.
5. Instagram-Cuz it's free and it loads to Twitter and FB quickly.

Hi, Neat post. There's an issue along with your website in internet explorer, may test this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and a good section of people will leave out your fantastic writing due to this problem.