Smartphones have become so important to our daily lives that most people cannot get through breakfast without checking what they missed while they were sleeping. They can be lifelines to important, world changing events and help us reach those we love at any time. They can also host a wide array of apps that help you plan, help you get organized, and even, since you have the time now thanks to the organization and planning apps, let you have a little fun. If you’ve ever done a search of the app store on your phone you know the results are murky and confusing at best. Fear not! Read on for a sampling of the best that the new and updated apps that 2015 has to offer!
Carrot (iOS, starting at $2.99) – Let’s start with a fun one. Carrot is actually a suite of apps available for iOS that offer assistance in the categories of to-do, alarms, fitness, hunger (i.e. calorie tracking) and weather. The fun part starts when you fire up any of the apps and are greeted by a wise-cracking voice who interacts with your every input. Their newest addition is the weather app. There are fun animations and the voice dictates the current and future conditions in a way that can only be described as snarky. Is it raining? Hot? Or just “fracking” cold? Carrot will tell you!
Last Message (Android, Free with ads) – We’ve all been there: playing that one addictive game for so long you forget to eat, sleep and sometimes breathe. You also forget to plug in your phone. Then the unavoidable happens: your battery runs out and you are left holding a paperweight. Wouldn’t it be nice to let a loved one know that you aren’t ignoring them or put someone’s mind at ease if they are trying to reach you to no avail? Last Message sends a text message to a person or group of your family and friends when your phone’s battery reaches a certain level. It’s a simple premise but one that can come in handy for just about everyone.
Stow 2 (iOS, Free, or $1.99 for all features) – Do you like to travel but always seem to forget to pack something? Or maybe you just don’t pack enough? Stow 2 is the app for you! You simply choose from a list of default templates of common trips one would pack for, or you can create your own. Then you enter the length of the journey and whether or not you will be able to do laundry (it really does think of everything!). The app then walks you through what you will need for your trip. All of this is free but if you spend the extra $1.99 you can be informed of things like the local weather of your destination and have syncing across devices should you want to install this on multiple phones.
Evernote (iOS and Android, also PC/Mac, Free, but with paid tiers if needed) – If you visit a lot of different sites on the web or are constantly jotting down notes (and promptly losing them) then you may want to give Evernote a try. Basically, Evernote is a storage locker for all your important digital content. You can save whole emails, web pages, handwritten notes, pictures – anything from your phone or computer. Once in Evernote you can organize the content however you see fit. And with the PC/Mac program the versatility has no limit!
Sunrise Calendar (iOS and Android, also Mac) – Your phone and computer came with a perfectly serviceable calendar, right? Wrong! The app that comes on your phone is simple and stripped down to the point of uselessness. Sunrise can help! More than just a calendar, Sunrise lets you invite people to events, connect it to other apps to make scheduling things like tasks and business meetings as easy as a tap, and it even offers several views of your day, week and month so you can see your free time at a glance. As of this writing the app integrates more though the iOS version but full parity is said to be coming in a future update.
With the amount of apps released on a daily basis there is no way to cover them all here but these five will give you a great start. Our phones and the apps on them keep getting smarter every day. Do yourself a favor and check your app store often (and back here at the 50 Plus Report!)- your next time saving wonder can be just a tap away.
(Pro tip: when you are in the app store downloading these gems, pay attention to the section called “similar apps” or “customers who bought this app also bought” – you can find some really great and lesser known applications without leaving the one screen!)
Written by: Bob Skrezyna