Sleep Cycle is one of my greatest download this year. It is free in the app store, but adds more value that its sticker price. When you are ready to go to club Bed and meet DJ Pillow, set your alarm within the app, turn your phone face down, and rest up. In the morning you are woken up over a 30, 20,15, or 10 minute period, that slowly pulls you out of your REM cycle at your most awake point, leaving you feeling rested and ready for the day. You can also check your sleep pattern for the night, how many hours you got, how well you slept, and link it with the iPhone Health app. The app has amazing reviews from multiple magazines and accredited publishers, so if you don’t take my word for it, check out those reviews and you are sure to be downloading this in minutes.
Have you ever tried taking a picture with your phones camera, and you want it to focus on one thing, but it keeps focusing on something else? So you end up with a picture focused on a speck of dust rather than your friends face or that flower? Manual to the rescue! Manual is a recent download of mine so I am still finding my way around this app, but it essentially turns your phone into a professional camera. You are able to change the ISO, focus, shutter delay and so much more. Since I downloaded it, I have noticed my pictures becoming more rich in color and focus. Free in the app store.
Most of you have already heard of this app. Music lovers, you hear a song you really like, but can’t figure out who it is? Hit Shazam. Shazam works offline as well, saving your shazam so when you do have internet it can find what song you were looking for earlier. FYI, it also works with audiobooks, movies, and commercials. And now you are able to explore similar music from your shazammed song, or even songs being shazammed by your favorite artists. Free in the app store.
This is the number one fitness app on the market today. Living in a country, with new foods you have never eaten, nor heard of before, can provide a problem in the health department. With this app you can put in the ingredients of each meal and know just how much that amazing street food measures on the health scale. There is also a barcode scanner feature, perfect for grocery store finds. I am not great at reading/understanding labels so this is my savior when I buy something illegible. This is another one that can be linked to your Health app and is free in the app store.
Ladies, this is the best app on my phone. No longer do you have to worry about when your last period was or when your next one will start. I have tried a few menstrual tracking apps and this is my favorite. It has a user friendly interface and lets you not only track your period, but your PMS, mood, energy, fertile window, pain, sleep, cravings, medication and so much more. Free in the app store and also links to your Health app.
Ever hear a topic being discussed and realize, you don’t know about it as much as you thought you did? Then download this app. It is not the official app of Wikipedia, but much more user friendly and appealing. You can save different topics, so if you are heading to a temple on vacation, or checking out a monument in the capital, you can read about it from Wikiwand while you are there. The app allows click through to other topics highlighted in articles within the app. Free in the app store.
I’ve always been interested in multiple topics and preferred a taught course, rather than buying a text book and teaching myself. I love this app because I can sign up for a course or two (depending on how much time you have), then add the due dates for assignments to my phones calendar, and download the videos for offline use. When I finish the video, I un-save it for offline use, and download the next set. The app is free, however, if you want a certificate for the course when you have completed, you will have to pay for the course. There is a huge range of courses, for example, I am currently taking Buddhism in Modern Psychology, a lecture from the University of Princeton, and Entrepreneurship 1: Developing the Opportunity, a 4 course program. The service is also offered online if you don’t like the idea of taking a course through your phone. An amazing way to continue learning without breaking the non-existent funds in my bank account.
Because we all need to know like we look like we know where we are going, even if we don’t.
9. Yoga Studio
I am someone who used to hate yoga. I loved the idea of it, but my competitive nature made it impossible to be in a class where I was constantly looking at the instructor and person next to me to see if I was doing in correctly/the best. When I moved to abroad, I downloaded this app by GAIAM, and have loved yoga since. I can schedule my own classes and be reminded by my calendar; and because I am alone while doing my practice, I have only myself to compete with. Classes can be from 15 minutes to 1 hour and range from beginner to master, focusing on balance, flexibility, strength or combination. $2.99 in the app store, but well worth it (no in-app purchases), links with Health app and MyFitnessPal.
10. Mobile Banking App
No matter what bank you have, I suggest everyone has their bank’s mobile app accessible. I have my two American accounts’ apps, but I personally love banking with Charles Shwab. Living abroad, you get charged up the a** for atm fees from most banks. Shwab reimburses for any ATM fees you are charged and there’s no international fee charge. Also, they give you your own personal broker when you have the funds to start investing! Sign up online or at your local Charles Shwab office then download the app, free in the app store.
11. CNN & NPR
Both of these are free in the app store. Turn on your notifications for constant updates on what is going on in the world and the US while you are thousands of miles away. If you don’t want the constant update of what Trump said or did, I suggest Need2Know. It is a once a day, weekday email, which informs little bits of news from multiple topics, with articles linking to each topic if you wish to read further.
I left the most important for last. You know how they tell you to ‘call your rep’. Well that can be really tedious and annoying to keep picking up the phone and calling. Have you asked yourself, if this was automated in an app, that would make so much more sense. Well, lucky for you, it is. With Countable you can put in your residence and instantly be linked with your representatives. Put in your interests and stances on policies and you will see a list of bills and issues that are being introduced to congress, curated for you. From here, you can vote on it, send your feedback to your rep, educate yourself (or others) on the bill, read the pros and cons, and find out what it means if it’s passed. The app allows you to follow certain politicians, reading about their policies and updating you on their opinions, as well as your how your rep voted on certain bills. Stay woke with this one. Free in the app store.