Help Me Enter the World of iPhones

After years of just saying no, I have finally entered the world of iPhone users. 

I had a phone that technically could have been a smart phone, but I didn’t want to pay the extra whatever it was just for e-mail access. I enjoyed being cut off from my e-mail whenever I was away from my computer, and was happy to not be one of those people that was always glued to their phone, either playing with one of their apps or searching the web. Considering I still mail in most of my bills, you can see that sometimes I like being old school.

However, my phone ““ which lasted almost four years ““ has decided to start acting wonky. I couldn’t hear people unless it was on speaker, which doesn’t work too well when you’re in public, and the buttons were sticking when I tried to send text messages. It was all very annoying. I need a smart phone now for work (I needed one for work when I was a freelancer, but refused to take the plunge), and I finally decided to go with the iPhone 5. No Verizon store in California had them in stock when I went in almost two weeks ago, so I had to wait. Finally, it arrived today.

Almost all of my friends and family members have iPhones, so I’m used to them. I know how they work and what some of the most popular apps are. However, I want to know about the hidden gems”¦what is the app you can’t live without? Which ones are worth the money? What’s the best free app? What do you use your iPhone for most of all (e-mail, GPS, games, etc.)? Let me into your world and give me a crash course in how I can best optimize my experience!

By Catherine

Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

7 replies on “Help Me Enter the World of iPhones”

AppAdvice is a cool one because they review a ton of new apps and have daily lists of apps that are free for a limited time.

If you use Goodreads, their app is great because it has a barcode scanner to add books with. Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks are all free.

Key Ring is a good free app to save your store loyalty cards so you don’t have to carry them around.

Amazon has a few different apps to compare prices or shop from your phone.

Photography apps:
-Instagram, of course.
-Aviary, a great free app for minor editing and some fun filters. Can do some silly things too.

-Forkly. Like a combo of instagram, twitter, and yelp, but just for food/drink. Love it.
-Yelp. I mostly just use it for restaurants/bars, but it’s a useful resource for just about anything.

-MyFitnessPal. Good way to keep track of eating and exercise.

-Evernote. Syncs with an app for the Mac, and holds your notes in The Cloud. convenient.
-Transit Maps. Comes included with a Philly SEPTA map (handy for me) but can also be used as a PDF reader (Thus allowing me to keep SEPTA rail schedules in there as well).
-Bump. Transfer things between iphones with a fistbump. Silly but useful.

Hmm, as a former Apple Specialist, I can definitively say ‘it depends.’ Some people like games, some people like music, TV, etc. so there’s no good ‘one size’ answer to any of your questions.

That being said, I can certainly run down some stuff I love, and some stuff I should use more but don’t.

You’ll want to get all of your data set up first; contacts, email, calendars, Find My iPhone, and so on, which isn’t too hard, just a bit time-consuming the first go-round. My internet/cable provider makes an app, which is very cool as it lets me set up recordings and such whenever/wherever and look at the guide. I recommend finding apps for any services or accounts that you have; I use services like Mint, so having their app is handy. I use a WordPress app to manage my sites (in theory), and have some neat apps for photos, music, and video. I have the app for my bank which lets you take pics of checks and deposit them; this is really useful for the rare occasions I get checks (i.e., the holiday season). If you do social media, get apps for facebook, foursquare, twitter, or whatever else you use often, and try out stuff like Flipboard or Zite to aggregate them.

If you travel, Layar is really cool (it’s an augmented reality app that puts a layer of info over your location). If you shop regularly, you may want to set up apps that store your frequent buyer cards (CardStar, KeyRing) and/or ones that search for deals for you. Really, as time goes on you’ll start figuring out what you want to use the phone for and then the app searching will be a lot easier. You can track exercise, manage finances, find recipes, or most anything you set your mind to. My current fave ‘ooh ahh’ app is called Magic Plan; it automatically creates a floor plan of the room you’re in. There’s also stuff like Viggle that lets you earn points for checking in to TV shows. And of course there’s the gotta-have UfYH app!!!

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