For me, part of staying organized is having the right phone apps for every aspect of my life. Whether it’s business, fitness, shopping, photography, or traveling…there’s pretty much an app for your every need. The other day I was sitting on a seven-hour flight—going bored out of my mind—so, I decided to use that time to organize my phone. I deleted all my unused apps and kept the ones I reach for on a regular basis. Here are my essential iPhone apps separated by category, along with what I use them for and how they make my life just a little bit easier.
When it comes to blogging and I’m not near my laptop, I feel a sense of panic. Because of that, I’ve downloaded apps that help me when I’m away from home. Upwork comes in handy when I need help with a task. I’ll scroll through the list of virtual assistants, read clients reviews, and view their rates. If I like what I see, I’ll hire a freelancer that can assist me.
Google Docs is where I write all my articles and edit them. Having this on my phone helps when I’m on the road and not near my laptop. Trello is a free productivity app where I create lists and calendars and use them to plan A Girl in LA’s blog posts. It’s great for when I’m working with a team of bloggers. They also have “power-ups” available to purchase, which can facilitate business organization. I recommend adding Google Drive and Evernote. For my personal email, I use Gmail and for business, I use Microsoft Outlook. Having both on my phone assures me I’ll reply to my emails in a timely fashion.
Apple Wallet and Apple Pay come preinstalled. The wallet feature keeps all my important stuff in once place (airline tickets, coupons, movie tickets, gift cards, and credit and debit cards). Apple Pay is what I use when I don’t have my wallet on me. Over 75 percent of stores and restaurants now support contactless card payments. When I owe friends or family money, or when I’m getting paid by a company, my go to is Venmo. Mint tracks my spending habits (credit and debit cards, investments, and bills) and breaks it down so I can see where I need to save.
For discovering the best prices on hotels and plane tickets I’ll search Kayak. If I’m planning on staying at a home away from home, Airbnb is my go-to booking app. When I’m flying international, I’ll use Mobile Passport, an app that’s accepted at 29 airports and cruise ports. I fill out the information, scan my passport and use that in place of my paper passport. When I’m in the air, I’ll invest in a day pass on Gogo Entertainment so I can use the internet during my flight. Another must have travel app is WiFi Anywhere - Hotspot Analyzer, which lets me see where the best hotspots are.
Whether I’m planning a vacation or have a serious case of wanderlust, G.Spotting lets me know the best restaurants, shopping boutiques, museums, and hotels all over the world. The app was created by Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop and it has tons of in-depth travel guides.
Even though I’ve lived in Los Angeles for eight years there are many Malibu beaches I haven’t had the chance to visit. The app Our Malibu Beaches gives me precise directions on how to enter the secret access ways. These beaches are open to the public, but for years residents have claimed the beaches in front of their homes are private; which is false. They are owned by state parks. It also tells me which “no trespassing” signs are real or fake.
When I’m ordering delivery from my favorite restaurants, my go-to apps are Uber Eats, Postmates, and Caviar. If I’m considering making a Friday Night dinner reservation, I’ll head to OpenTable to view the menu, read reviews and to book a reservation.
The Infatuation lets me know the trendiest restaurants throughout the world. They create city guides like LA’s New Restaurant Openings, Where to Eat and Drink in Rome, or The Boston Summer Guide. This is ideal if I’m searching for a new spot to try in my area, or if I’m traveling and want recommendations on where I should dine.
Specifically curated for Los Angeles residents (or visitors), there’s the California Farmers’ Market Finder, which lets me identify where and when farmers’ markets are taking place. If I’m in the mood for Tacos, I’ll check out the Taco Locator, which gives me detailed reviews, price ranges, and a map to the closest taco spots.
The OnSwitch app connects to my Philips Hue Bridge and lets me control lighting for each room via my phone. There are so many options to choose from: rainbow, antique, nightlight, flashing, sunset, movie theater, etc. Amazon Alexa is a virtual assistant that hooks up to the Echo I gave Billy a few years ago for Christmas. I use it every day for things like wanting to know the weather, what the traffic looks like, music playback, news updates, sports scores, and more.
After the recent Ridgecrest earthquakes I downloaded the ShakeAlertLA app. It did get some bad reviews when it failed to warn L.A. residents but since then it has been tweaked. Now, if a 4.5 magnitude (or higher) earthquake is approaching, users will get an alert on their phone so they can take cover. It will also let you know about aftershocks, and where to seek help.
MyLA311 is the city of Los Angeles’ official app. Here you can submit service requests, pay your water and electricity bill, and find public parks, pools, parking, libraries, and more. If you live in a big city, another must have app is Citizen. Both a blessing and a curse, the app lets you know in real-time all the police calls happening in your area. If you’re out walking and there’s a robbery or assault going down, you’ll get a notification so you have the choice of heading in a different direction. I love having it, but some of the alerts are a reminder that I no longer live in a small town.
Fitness & Health
My Fitness Pal is a multifunctional fitness app that charges $9.99 per month or $49.99 per year. From tracking what I eat, to recording my fitness info, My Fitness Pal motivates me to live healthier and keep in line with my fitness and weight loss goals. If I’m looking to switch up my cardio from the treadmill to the outdoors, I’ll use All Trails. Los Angeles is full of beautiful hiking paths and this app shows you the well-known touristy ones and also the hidden gems you may not know about.
The Arboleaf app connects to my Body Composition Smart Scale, which is one of my favorite purchases so far this year. It gives me a detailed analysis by measuring my weight, BMI, body water, muscle mass, BMR, body type, body fat percentage, visceral fat, and metabolic age. It also works with Apple Health and Fitbit.
Recently I wrote about my amazing experience with Wlnss | On Demand. This homeopathic app lets me book an appointment on my phone and a registered nurse will come to my home and administer an IV vitamin drip, a booster shot, cupping, or acupuncture. Another on demand wellness app I love is the Soothe app. I’ll use it when I want a massage but I’m too busy to get to the spa.
I do most of my photography editing on my laptop, but when I’m not home and I want to add special effects and filters, my go to is Lightroom. The app is free, or you can sign in with your Adobe account to unlock more features. For special effects, Huji makes photos look like they came out of a disposable camera circa 1998. 1967: Retro Filters & Effects lets you add filters to your pictures; there are free ones, but you can buy additional collections for $2.99 each. Color Story is another photo editing app that has over 300 filters to choose from. You can purchase a yearly membership for $24.99 or buy individual photo packs that range between $1.99 to $3.99.
Music & Entertainment
I’ve tried various music streaming apps (Pandora, Apple, Amazon Music, Tidal), but my two favorites are SoundCloud and Spotify‘s premium version ($9.99 per month). I spend a lot of time on Spotify creating playlists and I’ll download them so if I don’t have WiFi I can still listen to my music. I use SoundCloud to discover new and emerging artists that aren’t on Spotify yet. Years ago I came across Night Terrors of 1927 and they instantly became one of my favorite bands at that time.
For organizing my favorite TV shows and discovering new ones, I use TV Listings by TV24. The app gives me a seven day lineup and I can build a watch list, set reminders, and visit the shows IMDB page and Rotten Tomatoes page.
Aside from the typical social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), I’m obsessed with Pinterest. Creating mood boards has become a hobby of mine and an excellent business practice. I’ll search for things like DIY projects, places to stay, recipes, home decor, beauty, and travel and "pin” my favorite pins to each board. Then I’ll use them to drive traffic to A Girl in LA, or for personal use.
To say that I’m addicted to Amazon Prime ($119 per year or $12.99 per month) would be an understatement. I love having free two-day or same day delivery and I literally buy everything on here. For clothing, shoes, and accessories the Revolve app, and the Urban Outfitters app keep my favorite labels and styles all in one place so it’s easy to spot what I’m looking for. Another favorite is Groupon. I enter my zip code, what type of deal I’m looking for (tourist attractions, beauty treatments, fitness classes, hotel rooms and travel packages, etc.) and the app gives me an array of services that are insanely discounted.
A few years ago I started using a closet organization app (think Cher in Clueless), and then I slacked off on adding new pieces as I purchased them. A few months ago, I was looking to get better organized and came across Finery, a wardrobe app that has better features than the previous one I was using. There are many reasons to why this app is amazing, like outfit inspiration and shopping, but I use it specifically for organizing my closet. It works on both my phone and laptop, and I downloaded the plugin that allows me to add what I’ve bought to my virtual closet. I’ve slowly been taking photos of everything I own, which is a time-consuming and daunting task. However, being able to see what’s in my closet, but on my phone (or computer) helps me plan my outfits and pack for trips more efficiently.
Over the past year I’ve been getting daily spam calls so I decided to download the AT&T Call Protect app. (If you have Verizon or T-Mobile, I’ve heard good things about Hiya: Caller ID & Spam Blocker). For weather apps, I trust AccuWeather to give me the most reliable forecasts. I never thought a phone app could give me an accurate horoscope reading, but Daily Horoscope is so accurate it’s kind of scary.
Honorable mentions: Apple TV remote, Youtube, Hotpoint, Canon Print, and, XE Currency.
What are your essential iPhone apps that you can't live without?