Five iOS Apps I Can't Live Without

Anna Kim | February 7th 2019

iPhone

Here are five iOS apps you gotta check out!

"There's an app for that!"

As soon as those words were drilled into our collective skulls, we've internalized. Something missing from your life? There's an app for that! You don't feel like you're living efficiently? There's an app for that! You're subsumed by a crushing, unknowable dread every time you leave the house? There's, uh, maybe an app for that?

But trying to live as a writer, a professional writer, means that you try to at least surround yourself with good productivity practices. And on my iPhone, there may be a graveyard of well-intentioned but rarely used apps (mostly in the "Fitness" folder, I'm sad to say), but there are definitely apps that have made a big impact on me and my personal and professional lives. Here we go!

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5. Streaks -- I've always been a little wary about gamifying life. After all, life isn't a game, it's horror and misery just life! But Streaks struck a good balance between "solid to-do-list" app and "gamify your life!" app. It's not cringeworthy, everything feels balanced, and the UI/UX is clean and striking. Well worth trying!

4. Zenify -- I've been a practitioner of mindfulness and transcendental meditation for almost five years now, and even knowing a fair bit about the practices and theory behind these states of being, I don't feel that much closer to fully giving myself to them. Zenify is a remarkable little app in that it doesn't exoticize any of these experiences, but rather takes parts of them and uses them to great, relaxing effect. It's not a full substitute for my meditative practices, but it works. (also available for Android)

3. Plan -- I've worked in newsrooms, in offices, at start-ups, and I've tried the gamut of workflow management software. What a shock it is, then, that Plan is among the best of them. A gorgeously clean interface that's easy to learn with its own secrets to master, Plan has kicked more bloated programs out the window.

2. Donut County -- I'm not really a mobile phone gamer, despite being a pretty huge video game fan. I've got ports of Final Fantasy 6, Another World, and Papers Please (for when I really want to be depressed on the bus, I guess). But with the Switch becoming the world's greatest handheld console, it's pretty unlikely I'm gonna pull out my phone to play a video game of any skill or intensity. This is why Ben Esposito's impossibly charming Donut County excels so well on the medium. Its zany physics-based puzzling is a treat on any platform, but the intimacy of doodling around your phone screen and watching the cutesy mayhem unfurl just seems like what mobile gaming was made for.

1. Noisli -- "Anna", I hear you snear, "are you one of those people who like to have ambient noise playing while they work?" And yes, I am. I am an ASMR-psychotic and I won't apologize for anything. Noisili is what converted me over to that side, actually, with its different modes and styles and carefully curated sound design. There's something vaguely William Gibson-esque about the whole thing, but maybe our cyberpunk dystopia will work out better.


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