It’s too dangerous to go alone! Take this!
Your life–whether it be filled with school, work, your commute, managing relationships, or trying to manage yourself–is already difficult as is. Add that in with maintaining your digital identity and you can imagine why stress it at an all-time high. So it’s a breath of fresh air to have something you can rely on to make the connection between your digital and physical experiences that much easier. To help, check out our list of the essential apps you should definitely have on your smartphone in 2019!
Documents by Readdle (iOS)
Until the institution of the File Manager app in iOS 11, I have long been irritated with the way iPhone made it next to impossible to directly manage files and folders. Being an O.G. Android user, I had always been used to having direct access to folder structures, sideloading apps, and hands-on management of the items I downloaded to my phone. Still, I found the native File Manager app to be lacking and sometimes painful to use.
Enter Documents by Readdle which is by far the most comprehensive File Manager app for iPhone. Not only can you use it to directly manage the files in areas like your photo albums and iTunes files; there’s a built-in browser that allows you download files like mp3s directly from websites to a download folder in the app, then move those files accordingly to access them in the appropriate locations. Documents by Readdle also allows you to sign directly into File Storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive for greater usability, initiate Wi-Fi or USB transfers of files between devices, view and manage PDFs/Word/Excel documents, use file encryption and more. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this app as you can also install a litany of add-ons to further facilitate your file management needs. If you’re a power user, this is the king of all file management apps for your mobile Apple device.
Like many families, mine is all over the place when it comes to who’s-on-what-device. An incongruent number of people are split between Samsung phones and iPhones so wanting to do things like video chat with family becomes a nuisance. Google Duo is a great cross-platform app to bridge this gap. Downloading the app if you’re on an iPhone will easily get you “Facetiming” (in this case, “Duo’ing”?) with the Android fam without delay. Interestingly, it also works for some people on Android who haven’t installed or registered with Duo in the past.
Of course there are other apps that have this integrated functionality like WhatsApp; but if you’re already part of the Google ecosystem in some form, then this isn’t much of a jump.
For your IG, Twitter, and overall on-the-go video editing needs, I swear by Videoshop. For a while, it’s been the most comprehensive and granular video editing app, while still being easy enough to use that you don’t need to have any specialized understanding or background to use most of its features.
With Videoshop, you can either records directly into the app, or import both video and photos already present on your device. Everything you would think a good editing app should have is pretty much in there—Trim, Speed controls, Filters, Transition effects, Split, Resize, Voiceover, and more. What is very helpful is that you can turn on markers that will show you the cutoff lengths for videos on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook—both story and standard modes.
If you go for the Pro version (it’s worth it) you get even more features such as their new Lip Sync which, similar to TikTok, allows you to import a song (that you have to actually own) and record a video of you singing along.
Ever take what you think is the perfect picture but a wild trash can randomly appears in the background, ruining your elegant shot? Ever want to Diddy-crop someone out of a photo where you look particularly good but can’t without cropping out your arm, head, lest it just looks obvious and awkward? Have a blemish on your cheek that you want to zap away without fuss? Then Retouch is a simple tool that actually allows you to remove whole objects, people, and more from your pics.
The app is straightforward as there are only four main tools: Object Removal, Quick Repair, Line Removal, and Clone Stamp. However, don’t let its simplicity fool you as this powerful app allows some real photo magic to be performed. Under each tool includes another level of refinement that allows sharpshooter accuracy and helps you apply the tool only to the exact areas you want it. The app allows you to easily drag and zoom in on an area of a pic, paint over the object you want to remove, and in one tap—it’s gone. For those who have used Photoshop, Retouch’s Quick Repair tool is a similar content-aware tool where you can add back in texture or background or better hide edits. There’s also Undo/Redo feature just in case you change your mind. Probably the most convenient is the way Retouch allows you to export the edited image—you can Save As a Copy or overwrite the original, upload straight to your favorite social media account, as well as change the format, size, and jpeg quality.
In another integration of Google tools into iOS, GBoard soups up the regular iOS keyboard to something a lot more useful. The app allows you to basically wrap several convenient and fun Google services right into your keyboard such as Google Search, GIF/Emoji/Sticker search, and a Boomerang-esque camera.
After downloading the app you can set the language and keyboard settings such as enabling or disabling Glide typing, auto-correct, voice-input, and more. You can also customize the keyboard theme if the typical white and grey motif isn’t jazzy enough for you. In order to actually use the keyboard across the device, you’ll need to head over to the Settings, go to the General area, then open the Keyboards section. Within this area, you’ll be able to view all of the currently installed keyboards. Choose “Add New Keyboard…” to enable Gboard.
My favorite part of Gboard is the built in Google Search—hit the round “G” button and you get a minified version of google.com, complete with the usual auto-fill UI and Google Doodle you’re used to. The results are presented in Google Card format, and allows you to copy a result to the clipboard for easy sharing with one tap. With Gboard you can even search through YouTube, Google Maps, and your own Contacts so you can find and provide all the info you need, to whoever you’re talking to without leaving the app you’re in. Whether you’re texting, chatting on social media, or elsewhere—anywhere you use your keyboard, you’ll be able to use Gboard.
The Built-In “Apps” on your Android and iPhone
Funny enough, many people either don’t know or completely ignore the built-in apps and secondary features that are already installed on your phone. Many of them offer essential methods to assist in mental and physical health management
iOS ScreenTime and Android Digital Wellbeing
Needless to say, you probably could use something to help you peel away from the screen you’ve been staring at for the last hour and change. According to Nielsen, U.S. adults spend almost 4 hours a day or computers and mobile devices. To help you track your screentime (and to help you step away from it), you can use iOS’s Screentime which is a subsection of the Settings app or Android’s Digital Wellbeing. Both allow you to set app timers which will temporarily shut down your access to an app (either app categories or specific apps) and turn off any subsequent notifications. You can also get interesting detail about the length and frequency per day or week as well as give you an understanding of what apps you use the most.
Bedtime App for iOS
I remember accidently discovering this tool which is found within the iOS Clock app. With it you can set your target bedtime and wake times to figure out how much sleep you will yield. You can set the applicable days of the week and trigger Do Not Disturb mode whenever you’re in the bedtime is enabled. It works great as a set it and forget it app within an app; you get a reminder to go to sleep (if you have reminders enabled) as well as a note to go to sleep when it’s time. When it’s time to wake up, your alarm with customized tone will go off.
To be able to use most of these tool’s you’ll need to at least be on Android 9 Pie or iOS 12.