We’ve all downloaded Shazam, Pandora, Facebook and Skype, but there are so many iPhone apps worth exploring that can change your life. So take out your iPhone and download every single app on this list.
Venmo (Free): If Foursquare, Facebook and PayPal had a lovechild, it would be Venmo. This is how all the cool kids are paying back friends. Once you link your debit card or bank account to Venmo, you can gather and request money from friends with no fees. Say you’re out to dinner with your friends, and your buddy covers the bill. You can open Venmo and immediately transfer funds from your bank account or credit card to your friend’s.
But this is 2012, so the app is also social: You can check in to a restaurant on Foursquare and post your activity on Facebook and Twitter before your food even comes. Plus, it’s weirdly fun to browse the activity stream of Venmo to see your friends’ weird exchanges.
Swackett/Swackett X (Free/$1.99): You deserve more than the iPhone’s weather app. Swackett approaches weather with the age-old question, “What should I wear today?” The answer is presented with quirky animations and themed outfits. Switch to the undergrad edition of Swackett X for daily picks on age-and-weather appropriate footwear, hair-dos, scarves and — no joke — 42 different kind of pants, all picked based on humidity, precipitation, temperature.
Turbo Scan ($1.99) or Scanner Pro ($6.99) – Use your iPhone’s camera to snap a photo of a document or whiteboard and either of these apps will fix the perspective and apply filters to make the shot look as if it were scanned in a flatbed. Perfect for emailing your rent bill to Daddy Warbucks or saving a friends’ hand-written notes. For a free, no-frills alternative, try Genius Scan.
Mixology/Mixologist (Free/$0.99): When you get to a party and see a makeshift bar of Canadian Mist whiskey, coconut rum, pumpkin spice syrup, ouzo and some weird V8-meets-Jungle-Punch mix, you can throw all the liquids into a cup to guarantee a late-night date with the toilet. Or you can type the ingredients into Mixology for drink recommendations and bartending instructions. The app also includes a highbrow guide to matching your glass to the libation within it (red or blue solo cup).
GroupMe (Free): Having a group conversation is pretty easy via email and among iPhones, but texting between multiple users with different phones can be a mess. (But actually, all of your friends have iPhones so you should probably just skip this one.) GroupMe makes a temporary texting chat room for all of your friends; anyone with a phone receives every message, whether it’s on GroupMe’s iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone app, or via plain ol’ text message.
Songza – It’s 8 pm on a Tuesday and you’ve just gotten home from an after-class dinner. Open Songza‘s free iPhone app and let its virtual music concierge select the perfect playlist to DJ your mood. Songza guesses what you might be doing based on time and day (e.g. unwinding after a long day, barbecuing on the weekend, or digesting an after-class dinner) or occasion (e.g. recently, Fashion Week) and asks a few simple questions to help you select the perfect commercial curated playlist.
Pocket (Free): Instapaper’s sexier and cheaper cousin is Pocket, a universal deposit box for articles, videos, images and other content. Like Instapaper, you can save content from any web browser or integrated apps. When you come across stuff during the day that you’re interested in checking out later, send it to Pocket. When you get a break between classes, on the Subway or while you’re waiting for some BBQ, open Pocket and consume away in a stripped-down article view. (Protip: Tag online reading assignments from class with “NYU” to keep track of coursework via Pocket.)
Mint.com – This beautiful companion app to Mint.com syncs with your personal bank, credit and federal loan accounts to keep you informed about your spending. At a glance, see how much you’ve spent by category (e.g. food, utilities) or time (e.g. this month), and use the app’s automatic and manual budgeting controls to make sure you stick to a plan, whether it’s paying back student loans or keeping Whole Foods from emptying your wallet.
Key Ring (Free): Stop carrying around those annoying supermarket and drugstore loyalty —err, tracking — cards by scanning their barcodes into Key Ring. When you get to the register, just ask the cashier to scan your phone.