The Best Apps For Your New iPad, iPod, or iPhone


You are delirious with joy because you got a new Apple device for Christmas! Congratulations! You have been born again a third time. But then you enter the App Store, and you are confronted by hundreds of thousands of apps. You go into shock. You curl up in the fetal position and begin to weep. Curse you Apple developers, curses upon you and a thousand generations!?So many apps, so little time! Where to start?

That’s where I come in. Consider me your Apple optimal experience consultant. I’ve been using Apple products for some time now, and have experimented with hundreds of apps. Let me tell you where to get started. Here is a list of my favorite apps…

ESV Bible – The ESV Bible app is hands down, the most user friendly Bible app out there. Don’t mess around with YouVersion, or any of the other Bible apps. Simple, elegant, fast, no need for Wi-Fi. This one is your ticket to ride.

Desiring God – This app gives you free access to the enormous amount of material on the Desiring God website. Sermons, blog posts, books, it’s all there, and it’s all free.

Kindle – I do almost all my reading on the Kindle app for iPad. Why? Because Kindle versions are so much cheaper than physical books!Plus, I have all my books in one place, with all of my highlights instantly available. It’s really pretty incredible.

Facebook / Twitter – If you use Facebook or Twitter you should get the official apps.

Overdrive – This handy little app lets you borrow Kindle books from your local library.

Goodreads – If you are a prolific reader you should probably use the Goodreads website. If you use the Goodreads website, you should probably have the app.

ESPN ScoreCenter – You need to keep up on your teams. The ScoreCenter app makes that possible.

The Weather Channel – This is a dream come true for all you weather nerds. Instant access to 10 day forecasts, detailed maps, and extreme weather alerts.

Feedly – If you read more than three blogs, you need to use Google Reader. If you use Google Reader, you need to use Feedly. It allows you to quickly fly through hundreds of blog posts, picking out the ones that look interesting, and skipping over the rest. I’ve used the highly toted Reeder app, and I like Feedly much better. It syncs with Instapaper, which makes it even better.

30/30 – If you’re looking for a simple, elegant timer, this is your app.

iA Writer – If you’re planning on doing any serious writing on your iPad, this is a great, distraction free writing app. I use it a lot, both on my Mac and on my iPad. I sync between them by using Dropbox.

iAnnotatePDF – If you want to mark up a PDF file for potential changes, this is the perfect app.

Guitar Toolkit – This app is an absolute must have for any guitar player. It’s a tuner, it shows chord formations, it demonstrates various scales. I use this app all the time.

This American Life – “This American Life” is one of my favorite podcasts. The producers of the podcast weave together multiple true stories every week, the end result being a fascinating, intriguing podcast, that explores the depths of humanity. This app gives you access to every episode they’ve ever done.

Stitcher – Don’t mess around with downloading podcasts every week, then transferring them to your device. Stitcher lets you select your favorite podcasts, then listen to them on demand. Much simpler, much less downloading and transferring.

Dropbox – This service is the best way to share files with others, and the best way to sync files between multiple devices, such as an iPad and a computer.

Snapseed – A great photo editor that is relatively simple to learn. Useful for bloggers as well.

Spelltower – A great game for all you word game nerds. Scrabble and Boggle fans will especially like this one.

Reckless 2 – I don’t play many games on my iPad, but this one is a favorite.

Okay, those are my favorites. What about you?

Never Miss Any Goodness

* indicates required


  • JackW says:

    OliveTree Bible Study App, formerly BibleReader is hands down the best Bible app

    ESV is free for it and they have package deals on sale now. It’s simple use, yet has powerful resource and word study guides. Many free.

  • Mike K says:

    My daughter just loaded the Furby app on my ipad today. It translates into English what your Furby speakes in Furbish. You can also feed your Furby via your ipad. Just thought I would add this since it didn't make your list, LOL!!!

  • jason says:

    Tweetbot, Flipboard, Pocket, Evernote, Gmail app, Chrome, Google Maps, Accuweather, Pandora, Songza, AnyList (great for sharing grocery lists between you and your spouse), Any.Do (excellent to-do list app), PicsPlay Pro (my favorite photo-editing app by far).

  • finkelde says:

    Discovered Overdrive recently – it's brilliant. Also I've been using Tweetings for my twittering & am very impressed. Plus Logos Bible is the best bible app if you use the program. Flipboard for android just got an excellent update for tablets so is now exceptional.

  • LoriD says:

    Stephen — Just helping my Dad set his iPad up & I'm wondering about the Kindle app vs. iBook. Is there a reason you like Kindle better?

  • Radiolab app. If you like This American Life, you must must must started listening to Radiolab. The best episodes are "Games" and "Escape". Just do it. You'll thank me. :)

  • Cindy says:

    Well, I'm not Stephen, but here's what my mac nazi told me. :). Kindle titles cost less, there are more of them, and you can use your Kindle acct for up to 8 devices. I have all my books in one place. Never regretted choosing Kindle over ibooks.

  • Twitterriffic is my favorite Twitter client currently.

    Letterpress is a very well made iOS game – made by the guy who wrote Tweetie, if you remember that app. In its day, Tweetie was the best Twitter client – so good that Twitter bought it, and then eventually ruined it. Now, the guy is free to write new things, like top notch word games.

    I use Instacast for podcasts. The most recent version seems to be working well now.

    Live somewhere other than family members? Want an App that lets them know when you leave on your drive, and when you arrive back home? Twist is an app for you!

    Amazon Cloud Player is worth a look. You can upload your songs to the Amazon Cloud Player, and play them all from there. Alsoo, anything you buy on Amazon's mp3 store can automatically be added to your Cloud Player. Be aware of usage on the cell network, though.

    GET. FANTASTICAL. A much better view of your calendar then the default calendar app.

  • Joy Sensenig says:

    Bible Gateway is by far one of my favorite apps. It has the whole bible in audio! And you can pick any version. The audio for the ESV is read by Max McLean, so yeah it's really good. I love it because I can be listening to scripture as I do other things around the house. It's especially great for listening to the Old Testament.

  • Daryl McDonald says:

    Look at the PocketSword app. This app offers a wealth of biblical tools at perhaps the best cost known to man, Free! Bibles, Commentaries, Lexicons, and Dictionaries.

  • Jacob Hantla says:

    Wow can’t believe you don’t have the Logos app on here. beautiful Bible and boom reader in one that syncs to your logos desktop app

  • LoriD says:

    Thanks Cindy, this was very helpful! You & your mac nazi were a good stand in for Stephen =)

  • Hailey says:

    You’ve pretty much covered all of my favorite apps Stephen, except for a couple. Those include: Chase, DISH Remote Access and Pinterest. That second app is my most used though because of all the traveling I do. One of the girls I work with at DISH got me a Sling Adapter some time ago, so I’ve been using that app to watch all of my shows from home, live or from off my DVR, everywhere I go in the world. I’m a TV junkie really, so it’s especially great to have when I’m half way across the country and want to catch up with my shows I’d otherwise miss. :)

  • Lorenzo says:

    Take a look at Evernote as well. They have various apps that work on multiple platforms. Additionally you can access it through I also use Dropbox to keep files in-sync across my devices. Also works well with 1Password (a password manager).

  • Ken says:

    I would add Evernote to the list as well…very useful app.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>