The Free Press, Mankato, MN

January 24, 2014

An unofficial guide to finding the best phone apps

An unofficial guide to finding the best phone apps

By Gillian Needham
Special to The Free Press

---- — In the technology world, the opportunities to help improve the lives of busy smart phone users are endless. A plethora of diverse applications to add to smart phones can be both helpful and addicting.

From popular innovative modes of social networking to helpful lifestyle tools, apps are becoming more and more popular and very difficult to avoid.

Popular social networking apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become so embedded in the daily lives of users that few even consider them applications. In an informal survey of 15 people, only one participant noted Facebook as one of their most used applications. Applications that promote health were also very popular among participants.

21-year-old Morgan Anderson said that MyFitnessPal has been an extremely helpful addition in her pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.

“It’s great for logging calorie intake and exercise output,” Anderson said. “It gives you target calorie goals every day to gain or lose weight depending on the information you choose to give.”

Cell phones have undoubtedly become a staple in modern society. But attempting to stay up to date with all of the new features is nearly impossible. So, to give you a few ideas, we compiled some of our participants' favorites:

Popular picks ■ Twitter Mobile App Twitter is a popular social networking site where users can post updates in 140 characters or less. The application allows the same functions as the website, such as searching for users, updating biography information and changing profile photos, but with faster access from anywhere a user brings their smart phone. ■ SnapChat SnapChat is a photo sharing application that allows users to take pictures and choose an amount of time the receiver is permitted to view it. The application also allows users to edit videos and snapshots before sending. ■ Instagram Instagram is also another photo sharing applications that allows users to intricately edit their photos using color filters, borders and gradient. It also gives users the ability to send their photos and videos directly to a single recipient. ■ MyFitnessPal MyFitnessPal is a helpful app that gives the user the tools to search for food that they have eaten, log it and gives calorie goals in order to assist in weight loss or weight gain. It also has a feature that helps calculate calories burned during workouts. ■ Imgur Mobile App Imgur lets users like or dislike photos and sorts them according to popularity. Imgur also has an option to let users share photos to other social media sites. Users may also upload their own photos to the site. ■ Pandora Mobile App Pandora is a popular website that gives users the ability to create "stations" by choosing a specific artist or genre. The site creates a playlist of similar music. The mobile app allows users to bring their personalized stations with them wherever they go. ■ BuzzFeed Mobile App BuzzFeed is a popular news website providing information about national and worldwide news, entertainment news and lifestyle news. The app gives users easy accessibility to the day's happenings, as well as easy ways to share the news with friends. ■ Wells Fargo Mobile App Staying connected with bank accounts is easy with the Wells Fargo Mobile App. The app allows Wells Fargo customers the convenience of easily accessing their finances, finding ATMs and more. ■ Cartwheel Cartwheel is an app the offers mobile coupons for Target. Offering coupons for everything from toilet paper to clothing, users will find this app very helpful for saving money. The app is connected through Facebook and it will show what you have used; however, the app keeps coupons used for "personal items" private. ■ Shazam When you hear a song on the radio that you haven't heard before or don't remember the name or artist, just Shazam it! Users can open Shazam and place it near a speaker and hit the "Shazam" button and the application will find the name of the song, the artist that sings it and the album cover. The app saves song previously searched as "tags" so users can reference what they have searched any time. Editor's picks ■ Ibotta Ibotta is a free couponing app that allows users to accrue real money by watching videos, taking surveys and buying certain products. Once actions or purchases are verified (the latter by uploading an image of your receipt), funds are deposited into an Ibotta account. Users can cash out with PayPal once they hit $5. ■ Clean Master A free utility app that serves as an all-in-one cleaning tool, boosting productivity and speed by clearing cache and junk files, preserving privacy and battery life, and maximizing storage. ■ TuneIn A free iOS and android app that allows users to access more than 100,000 radio stations around the globe as well as a trove of podcasts, concerts and interviews.