My Essential iPhone Apps

Last week, it finally happened–I broke my phone screen. I’ve had an iPhone for 8 years and have failed to do this before, but that streak has unfortunately ended.

RIP: iPhone 5S

Another thing I’ve failed to do in eightyears is delete much of anything at all. The pack rat that I am has text messages dating back to 07/2008. But in the interim, I’m using an old phone of ours which is much smaller in disk space, and leveraging this as an opportunity to attempt to lighten the load on what I carry storage wise given that I’m bound to always be required to upgrade to the largest size phone if I don’t cure this storage addiction immediately.

In doing so, I’ve decided to see what apps I could get away with not needing and try to trim back to the essentials. So, as listicle as this one looks, it’s really more of a reference for myself, if anything, to remember that there once was a point in your life where you decided you didn’t really need apps :-). As of today, here’s the 30-or-so “essential” apps that are installed:

Social Media

  • Tweetbot 4 – This has been my go to Twitter client ever since it was released. It has an excellent UI. Bonus points for not having Twitter ads.
  • Instagram – My go-to for sharing photos (mostly of my kids).
  • Twitter – This is only installed because not all of Twitter’s latest features are exposed in the API, meaning that the Twitter app is usually a bit more up-to-date on new features (hearts, quoting full tweets, etc.)
  • VSCO – Where I process and share non-kid photos.


  • Spark – My go-to email client ever since Dropbox killed Mailbox.
  • Slack – For Slacking.
  • Yahoo! Mail – I only use this app to isolate my personal email from everything else.
  • Facebook Messenger – Notice I don’t have Facebook installed. I actually haven’t had that one for probably six months. But this one seems a bit more necessary so I still keep it around.

Productivity / Work

  • Dropbox – For the bulk of my storage. I keep most of my files here. One big mobile moment for me was the first time I was on vacation and could pull up exactly what my boss needed directly on my phone and send it to the them. That felt so future-y.
  • Google Drive – More storage.
  • WordPress – I very rarely write posts from the WordPress mobile app. BUT I almost always fix typos from the WordPress mobile app after I publish a post and then see all of my mistakes. Job opening for a proofreader.
  • LastPass – For password management.
  • Sunrise Calendar – For calendaring. Unfortunately, this has been killed and removed from the iTunes store.
  • Canvas by Instructure – For teaching.
  • Concur – For travel reimbursements.
  • Clear – For To-Do lists. This is one of my favorite app UIs potentially ever. Unfortunately, according to this cryptic tweet from a couple days ago, my guess is Clear’s days are numbered.
  • Evernote – Which, at this point, is more for reference than anything since the latest announcement of the trimming of Evernote free.


  • Spotify – For music streaming. I’ve been a Spotify Premium member for roughly three years. I have yet to venture into any other services.
  • Discogs – For record collecting.


  • Nike+ Running – For running. I enjoy the social aspect of this particular app. Training programs aren’t bad either.
  • LoseIt! – For calorie counting. I’ve been a LoseIt! user since 2009. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to track their food intake or exercises.


  • RadarScope – As any good Oklahoman, you have to have a proper radar app. This one is MIGHTY powerful. This is the most I’ve ever paid for an app if that says something about my thoughts on it or my Oklahomie-ness.
  • WeatherRadio by WDT – I use this for more basic day-to-day weather information. Also a fun fact: this app was developed by a company that is headquartered on OU’s research campus.


  • Google Maps – I’ve been misguided by Apple Maps too many times to think of ever using anything else.
  • Uber – For Ubering.


  • SmartNews – This is my main news application. It pulls news from several different sources and only updates three times a day. It’s like my mini newspaper.


  • Cash – I’ve really gotten into sending friends money recently like when I split checks and the like. Cash is by Square and is nice and easy and deposits to your bank account immediately.
  • Venmo – Similar to Cash. This one seems to be a little more popular and has a more social aspect to it. Doesn’t deposit immediately though.
  • Paypal – Really I just like people to pay me back.
  • Arvest Bank – For personal banking.
  • Mint – For money management.


Disclosure: I really don’t play games really at all. I just have these installed for when I’m on planes and need to find a way to occupy my thumbs.

  • 2048 – A tile game
  • aa – cals its the “hello world” app for the iPhone
  • Two Dots – puzzle game
  • Solitaire – Wife makes fun of me for playing Solitaire.


And that’s it… Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it trim. DO NOT send me app recommendations. I don’t want em! 🙂