The best iOS apps 2021 edition: Must-have apps for your iPhone!

The best iOS apps 2021 edition: Must-have apps for your iPhone!

So, you just upgraded to an iPhone from your creaky old Android. Well, congratulations on your shiny new purchase! We hope you've had fun setting it up and assume you are still getting the hang of iOS (and all the quirks associated with it). Anyway, with the formalities out of the way, let's get to the crux of the matter – and the purpose of this article. What are the absolute must-have apps for your iPhone? And what are the fun things that you can do with iOS apps? Let's find out!

Before we start, if you're an Android user who somehow stumbled upon this article, let us shamelessly plug our Best Android apps for 2021 article, which we recently updated.

Do note that in this article, we have selected one 'best app' from each category. So, no, this is not a listicle where you'll find ten different apps that essentially do the same thing. The goal was simple: We take the effort in finding the best app for you so that you don't have to! We also purposefully avoided adding Apple's own apps (some of which happen to be very good) for obvious reasons.

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Essential iOS apps

As evident from the name, in this section, we start this list with what we think are essential iOS apps that one simply can't do without. These are important apps that you will almost certainly need to install at some point during your time with an iPhone and includes stuff like navigation tools, browsers, and security suites.

Best Navigation app

Google Maps

Google Maps Dark Mode
The best navigation app for the iPhone is still Google Maps! / © Bihlmayer Fotografie /

Apple is making a valiant effort with its own Apple Maps. But everyone knows Apple Maps isn't 'there' yet. So while Apple engineers try and fix Apple Maps, we recommend you install what is arguably the best navigation app across all platforms - Google Maps. It works well even when you are offline. Just make sure you download the offline map data before you set out into the wilderness.

Best personalization app

Color Widgets


Color Widgets
Customization options galore on Color Widgets!  / © Apple


Unlike Android, where you can change your smartphone UI to look nothing like well, Android; customization options on iOS are limited to changing wallpapers and playing around with new widgets. If you really miss customization options from Android, we suggest you install this app called Color Widgets which we really liked. It is rated 4.6 stars on the App Store with well over 216K reviews. So rest assured, it won't completely suck.

Best Browser

Google Chrome

Google Chrome iOS
Tired of using Safari on your iPhone? Why not try Google Chrome? / © Apple

Apple has come a long way from the days where it disallowed third-party browsers on its App Store. Today, you have a plethora of options to choose from apart from Apple's own Safari – which come pre-installed on all iOS devices. You may love it or hate it - but there is no denying that Google Chrome for iOS is a feature-packed, fast browser. And among the rest of the options available on iOS, we feel Google Chrome stands out.

Best Security app

Avast Security & Privacy

Screen Shot 2021 09 24 at 11.31.31 AM
Avast security for iOS / © Avast

Avast is a known name in the cybersecurity space and is known for its excellent products for PCs and Macs. The company, for those unaware, also makes an excellent security app called Avast Security & Privacy for iOS devices. It has been consistently ranked high by both consumers and experts alike to be the best security suite for iOS devices. And, well, there's no reason why it shouldn't top this list. 

Best everyday life apps

As you might have already guessed, this section lists apps that go a long way in making our lives easier, even though you can pretty much survive even if you don't have them installed. This category primarily consists of shopping, weather, messenger, and mapping-related apps. 

Best messaging app



Telegram Update 801
Telegram is a popular messaging app - and comes loaded with features / © Telegram

While most iOS users from the US are hooked to iMessage, an overwhelming majority of the world population (who have access to messaging apps) have chosen WhatsApp as their choice. However, due to WhatsApp's recent privacy-related controversies, we have decided against including it in this list. 

Another app that we had in mind was Signal. However, this app doesn't have a sizable active userbase yet, which is why we have no option but to give this one to Telegram. The Russian-origin app has a huge user base of over 500 million users, which makes it perhaps second only to WhatsApp. What's more? It is packed with features - some of which - even WhatsApp is yet to implement. 

Best weather app


Accuweather iOS
Accuweather works well and is known for its accuracy / © Apple

Accuweather earns the title of the 'best weather app' for iOS for several reasons. Apart from being a well-designed, feature-packed app. Accuweather has consistently received praise for being fairly accurate with its weather forecasts. In fact, this is also the reason we chose this app as the best weather app on the Android version of this article.

Best food delivery app


AndroidPIT food ordering 5
Ordering food? We think Grubhub is the best app for that! / © NextPit

Grubhub has managed to beat competitors like Uber Eats and Doordash to become our choice for the best food delivery app (in the US) for one major reason. It is excellent at what it does, and as we outlined in this article on Android apps, apart from having virtually everything you need from a food delivery app, it is also very easy to use. If that wasn't all, GrubHub also boasts of the largest selection of restaurants across multiple countries.

Best shopping list app

Out of Milk

out of milk ios
Out of Milk also topped our Android list, and we think it works great on iOS too! / © Apple

Like the rest of the apps in this section, Out of Milk was also our choice for the best shopping list apps for Android devices. The reason why it makes it into our iOS list is simply that only the platform has changed; all the essential aspects of the app that helped it win are available for iOS devices as well. This one was a no-brainer, really!

Best dating app


Looking for love? Tinder is your best bet! / © Tinder

The only reason you see Tinder up here in this list is that that's where most of the dating crowd is. Naturally, it makes sense for us to recommend an app where you have the highest possibility of finding a new partner. So, yes - there may be apps that have a better UI and features - but Tinder is where you may have a greater chance of accomplishing what you set out to do by downloading a dating app.

Best Photography apps

Even though iPhones were late to the camera party, we have seen iOS handsets evolve into potent photography tools over the past decade. Needless to say, modern-day iPhones are widely considered to be among the top-performing camera phones money can buy. This has resulted in considerable demand for high-quality photography-centric apps. In this section, we look at some photography-focused apps you should definitely have on your iOS device.

Best camera app


The best camera app for iOS devices. Period. / © ProCamera

ProCamera has been the go-to app for taking great photos and videos for people who take their iPhone photography very seriously. The app is now in its twelfth year of existence and has consistently managed to earn rave reviews from users and reviewers alike. Apart from supporting almost all camera features you need, it has some added extras that pro users would definitely love.

Best photo editing app


Looking to edit images on your iPhone? Snapseed is the tool to do it! / © Apple

Snapseed - which managed to wiggle itself into the top in the Android version of this article - is an unsurprising choice for being the best image editing tool available for iOS. It has received widespread praise for being an app that is easy to be used by a novice - while also being loaded with features that the pros absolutely adore! 

Best photo storage app


Degoo 1
Looking beyond iCloud or Google Photos? Degoo might be a good option! / © Apple

Most iPhone users could be inclined to using either iCloud or Google Photos for backing up their photos. With Google Photos also going paid recently, there was a clear void in the market, which seemed to have been taken advantage of by a small Swedish company called Degoo Backup AG. Enter Degoo - an attractive photo storage service that offers a decent 100GB of free space for its basic users. You can get up to 10 TB of space for a monthly subscription of $9.99. Nice, eh?

Best Fitness & Lifestyle Apps

Apple is betting big on the fitness segment, and the company's smartwatch lineup pretty much dominates the segment in the US - and across the world. The explosion of the fitness segment has led to the proliferation of several fitness-themed apps. We already covered our selections for Android in this article. Let's check out what iOS users have in store for them as far as our list goes?

Best fitness app


strava ios
Strava is a great app, and for the same reason, it was also our choice on Android / © Strava

Strava has just about every conceivable feature you would expect from any self-respecting fitness-oriented app. And it works well with the Apple Watch, too - in case you were worried about that. The core features aside, Strava also has a very active social component to it which makes it stand out from its contemporaries. In short, if you are starting off with a clean slate, it makes sense to go with Strava

Best step-counting app

Pacer for ios
Love taking long walks but hate fitness trackers? Try Pacer Pedometer on your phone! / © Pacer

Pacer Pedometer is our pick for the best step counting app. While it is an excellent app for those who just want to use it as a pedometer, upon using it, you will notice that it has a lot of other valuable features. The developers have more or less designed the app to be a fitness buddy that encourages users to keep on moving. Like Strava, Pacer Pedometer also touts an active community.

Best calorie counting app

YAZIO Fasting & Food Tracker

yazio 1
We found Yazio to be an excellent calorie tracking app / © Yazio

Yazio is one of the most famous calorie counter apps on both the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store. The universal appeal of the app seems to stem from the fact that it is a very well-designed, feature-packed app that is also free to use. Note that it does have a Pro version that does come with extra features. Apart from supporting a huge database of foods along with recipes and meal plans, it boasts automatic activity tracking as well.

Best Multimedia Apps

The sheer versatility of a modern smartphone is unparalleled. Your iPhone, for example, can don several hats - ranging front that of a fitness instructor to that of a multimedia powerhouse. If we concentrate on the latter, you will realize that it can singlehandedly function as an entertainment device without the need for any additional hardware. This is largely possible due to the plethora of apps that are available for the phone. And below, we take a look at some of the important apps that will let you do exactly that.

Best music streaming app


Spotify iOS
Spotify on iOS / © Spotify

By far, Spotify is the best and the most popular music streaming app on the whole wide internet both in terms of features and the size of its library. This was perhaps the easiest pick we made for this article for obvious reasons.

Best movie streaming app


netflix 01
Netflix is our choice for the best movie streaming app. Do you agree? / © NextPit

If you read our Android version of this article (where we talk about the best Android apps), you'd be aware that our editor Antoine chose Netflix as the best movie streaming article in our detailed article on SVOD platforms, and really, we do not have anything more to add here. If you were given the option to install only one movie streaming app on your phone, it has to be Netflix.

Best e-book reader app

Amazon Kindle

Kindle IOS
Love e-books but don't need a separate gadget to read them? Install Kindle for iOS! / © Amazon

Well, this was kind of obvious (like the other two selections in this section), right? Anyway, while talking about e-books and eBook readers in general, it is nigh impossible to ignore Amazon. If you hate the idea of buying a separate gadget just to read books and would rather do it on your phone, the only app you need is Amazon Kindle for iOS. Access millions of books and magazines along with a plethora of free readable content using just the app!

Best productivity apps for iOS

With smartphones being increasingly used at work, it has become an indispensable tool to increase productivity. Listed below is our selection of the best productivity apps for iOS.  

Best calendar app


Fantastical is an iOS/Apple-only app. / © Fantastical

Are you an iOS user whose life depends on appointments, schedules, and meetings? If you said yes, it's about time you started using Fantastical. It is by far the best calendar and tasks app for iOS. Apart from offering a broad range of ways to view your calendars and reminders, Fantastical is highly customizable and even offers support for other devices within the Apple ecosystem - including the Apple Watch. 

Best e-mail app


Spark for ios
Another iOS-only app! And the the best e-mail app for iOS devices / © Spark

Spark is a very good alternative to the default iOS e-mail app and is loaded with features that matter. In its newest avatar, the app supports several new widgets and even comes with a focus mode that ensures you aren't distracted from work. It even incorporates a note-taking tool – making it a very versatile productivity tool - and going far beyond the call of a generic e-mail app.

Best to-do app

Things 3

things for ios
Things is by far the best to-do app currently available for Android / © Things

Things 3 is an award-winning to-do app for iOS devices. It has been liked by users and reviewers alike for excelling at what it claims to do. Things 3 lets you take care of a lot of things – ranging from planning your day to managing your projects, and even helping you make real, tangible progress toward your goals. The app has also been hailed for its delightful UI and for being very simple to use even though it comes loaded with all the features that would make power users happy.

Best note-taking apps


evernote ios
If note-taking is your thing, Evernote should be your app of choice! / © Evernote

The only app in this section to make it to both  - our iOS and Android best list is Evernote. Evernote has been popular among iOS users ever since the early days of the iPhone, and with its recent updates, the app has only gotten better. As in the case of its Android version, Evernote's popularity stems from its simplicity, ease of use, and flexible functionality.

And that is it! This was our comprehensive article about the best iOS apps. What are your favorite iOS apps? Do you think we missed any important ones on this list? Do let us know by letting us know in the comments section!

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