Business Insider | 18 Apps We Couldn’t Live Without in 2013

18 Apps We Couldn’t Live Without In 2013

December 25, 2013
Maybe you woke up this morning with a shiny new smartphone under the tree.Maybe you love the phone you’ve got, but are looking for a few new good apps.Maybe you’re just curious as to what other people have on their phones.The editors at Business Insider are here to help. We’ve got our annual lists of the first apps to download for your new iPhone, and your new Android.

But we’re also sharing the apps we couldn’t live without in 2013.

OpenTable for easy reservations

OpenTable for easy reservations

Julie Zeveloff, Lifestyle Deputy Editor

App I can’t live without: OpenTable

Why I love it: It’s an oldie but one I use all the time – makes it so easy to make and find (and cancel) restaurant reservations. The locator is great for finding availability in any neighborhood at any time. Plus you earn points that go towards gift certificates to OT restaurants.

Free. iPhone, Android, Windows, BlackBerry

Fantastical for a great calendar

Fantastical for a great calendar

Screenshot

Paul Szoldra, West Coast Editor

App I can’t live without: Fantastical

Why I love it: Great calendar app, super intuitive, and works seamlessly with Google calendar.

For iPhone/iOS. $1.99 on iTunes.

Venmo to manage money and split checks

Venmo to manage money and split checks

Steve Kovach, BI Tech Senior Editor

App I can’t live without: Venmo

Why I love it: It makes it easy to send money to friends. I like using it when I need to split a check at dinners.

Free. iPhone and Android.

Easy Voice Recorder to turn your phone into a recorder

Jillian D’Onfro, BI Tech Writer

App I can’t live without: Easy Voice Recorder for Android

Why I love it: Makes it easy for me to record interviews and send them directly to my Dropbox. I no longer have to carry around a traditional recorder when going on interviews.

Free. Android.

YPlan for last minute fun in the city

YPlan for last minute fun in the city

Screenshot / YPlan

Jillian D’Onfro, BI Tech Writer

App I can’t live without: YPlan

Why I love it: An app that lets you see a curated list of events going on each night in New York and lets you book tickets super easily (often with discounts or deals!).

I love it because I’m able to plan fun nights for visiting friends last minute. Great way to diversify from my usual bars.

Free for iPhone and Android.

Duolingo to give you another language in a hurry

Duolingo to give you another language in a hurry

Duolingo

Melissa Stanger, Associate Editor

App I can’t live without: Duolingo

Why I love it: It helps you learn a language through interactive exercises and response memory so that it can work with you to strengthen in the areas you struggle with.

I downloaded it three months before my trip to Europe in December, and I learned enough French to get around Paris and Brussels. I was amazed at how quickly and efficiently I was able to learn a language just with an app.

It was particularly helpful in Paris. I was even complimented by a Parisian (in French) on speaking “pretty good French for an American.”

Free. iOS and Android

CheckPlease to calculate the tip

CheckPlease to calculate the tip

Catamount Software

Melissa Stanger, Associate Editor

App I can’t live without: CheckPlease

Why I love it: It’s a tip calculator. You can adjust the percentage of the tip, and how many people are splitting the check.

For iPhone/iOS. 99 cents.

Pic Stitch to organize those Instagrams

Pic Stitch to organize those Instagrams

Big Blue Clip

Melissa Stanger, Associate Editor

App I can’t live without: Pic Stitch

Why I love it: It lets you choose layouts to design a collage of your iPhone pictures. I love it because, rather than seeing five Instagrams documenting my best friend’s dinner, I can get the synopsis in a PicStitch. I think it was a pretty big year for the app — it was just overshadowed by Instagram.

Free. iPhone/iOS

Candy Crush Saga to make the commute more fun

Candy Crush Saga to make the commute more fun

Screenshot

Jim Edwards, BI Tech Deputy Editor

App I can’t live without: Candy Crush Saga

Why I love it:  This “dumb” phone game is incredibly clever, much more clever than people give it credit for. It’s almost made my commute a pleasure.

One example of its wit and fiendishness: The way it locks you out for 30 mins – 24 hours if you fail too often. What other game maker would dare do that?

Free. iPhone/iOS and Android.

Canary for never missing appointments

Megan Rose Dickey, BI Tech Reporter

App I can’t live without: Canary

Why I love it: It’s the only calendar app that seamlessly syncs my personal, work, and shared calendars. Canary is also great for scheduling meetings without excessive back-and-forth emails.

Free: iOS

Pandora the best at finding great new music

Pandora the best at finding great new music

Kevin Smith/Business Insider

Jim Edwards, BI Tech Deputy Editor

App I can’t live without: Pandora

Why I love it: It was a big year for Pandora, with challenges from Spotify and iTunes Radio.

I basically put iTunes Radio and Pandora head-to-head on my iPhone when I work out or go running. So far Pandora is winning. There is something about its algorithm that makes it choose music more appropriately.

For instance, I have a fairly elaborate punk channel on both apps, built originally from the song “Godless” by Nausea. Pandora has fed me dozens of similar bands that I now love and never knew existed, who are within the same vein.

But iTunes obsessively feeds me Slayer songs all the time, and as any punk or metalhead knows they are so NOT the same thing.

Free. iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry.

Dark Sky to keep you from getting caught in the rain

Dark Sky to keep you from getting caught in the rain

Josh Barro, BI Politics editor

App I can’t live without: Dark Sky

Why I love it: Dark Sky gives hyper-local short-term weather forecasts and allows you to learn things like that it will start raining in 7 minutes and stop 32 minutes after that.

$3.99. iPhone/iOS.

QuizUp to feed a new addiction

QuizUp to feed a new addiction

Ryan Bushey/Business Insider

Jenna Goudreau, BI Strategy and Careers editor

App I can’t live without: QuizUp

Why I love it: It’s a trivia game with a bunch of different categories and you can test your knowledge against random people or challenge your friends. Totally addictive. Only downside is you have to be connected.

Free. iPhone/iOS.

Trillian to always stay in touch

Jennifer Welsh, BI Science editor

App I can’t live without: Trillian

Why I love it: I use Trillian for everything. Have used it on my iPhone, Android, Mac and PCs. It’s a chat program with every service on it.

It syncs between every machine — literally you can be chatting on the computer and pick up your phone and walk away without having any overlap or missed messages between the two.

Free. iPhone/iOS, Android, Mac and PC.

Slice to watch for packages and bargains

Jennifer Welsh, BI Science editor

App I can’t live without: Slice

Why I love it: Slice scans your email for notifications and tracks packages as they make their way through ordering and sending and arriving.

It will say “arriving today” or “4 days away.” It’s not perfect but it’s an awesome concept. It also tracks everything you’ve ever bought and lets you know if things are recalled or the price drops.

Free. iPhone/iOS and Android.

Ultimate Guitar for access to a huge number of songs

Ultimate Guitar for access to a huge number of songs

Ultimate Guitar

Rob Wile, BI energy and economics reporter

App I can’t live without: Ultimate Guitar Tabs

Why I love it: To my astonishment, UltimateGuitar.com, the Web 1.0 site I milked as a teenager to learn songs, has survived and become a phenomenal app for iOS.

It is totally intuitive, has an autocomplete function to search for songs, and lets you catalogue the songs you’re currently using.

Free. iPad/iOS.

Yahoo! Weather because it makes even ugly weather pretty

Yahoo! Weather because it makes even ugly weather pretty

iTunes

Mike Nudelman, BI editorial graphic designer

App I can’t live without: Yahoo! Weather

Why I love it: With so many (bad) weather apps vying for attention, this one immediately rose to the top, providing me the perfect amt of information in a beautiful package.

As a designer, I know how hard it is to create something so seemingly simple and intuitive.

Free. iPhone/iOS and Android.

Lift.do to change your life

Lift.do to change your life

Lift

Lift.do challenges you to change your life

Julie Bort, BI Enterprise Tech editor

App I can’t live without: Lift.do

Why I love it: Lift.do has given me the motivation to create life-changing habits and take on other accomplishments. You join a challenge with other people also creating the habit (or doing the thing. It might be, say, training for a half marathon, or daily meditation or flossing or journal writing). You check in daily.

Instead of just promising myself I’m going to do something, this gives me just enough support and accountability to actually do it. No excuses.

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