Essential apps for my smartphone (Part 1)
Apps have become essential parts of every smartphone. As a power user I have more than 100 apps installed on my phone. Some of them are used on a daily basis, some with less frequency and others are just taking space. Now I am going to talk about the ones, which I consider useful and essential.
Of course I use daily social networks apps like Facebook or Instagram, watching videos in YouTube app, browsing the web in Safari or searching for a place on Google Maps. In this article I am not going to focus on these apps, but rather on the ones that are more useful than a time consuming social network.
Track your finances
I’ve been using Spendee for years, installed it first when I was still attending University. It’s the best spending tracker I was able to find on the App Store or Google Play. This app offers a complete overview of your spending, so you can be more reasonable with your money. Every day I buy or pay for something I immediately write it to the app. Every transaction can be saved under one of the many different categories or you can create your own. Set up a monthly budget for these categories and you are more in control. Spendee will even show you how much you can spend daily until the end of the month, so you won’t go over budget.
And when the month is over, I can easily check how much I spend in the last 30 days and where exactly my money went. In the end, thanks to apps like Spendee you can save more money. People tend to buy unnecessary things and they don’t realize how much it costs in the long term. But once you can go back and see how much you paid in the last month for things like alcohol, subscriptions, clothes or eating out, then you can change your spending habits and save more money in the process.
Universal bank for everything
Let’s stay in the finance category for a bit. If you travel a lot, there is a good chance you are already a Revolut user. If you don’t know Revolut, it’s basically a bank of 21st century. You can set up your account online in a few minutes and in a few weeks you’ll receive a debit card. With Revolut you can spend abroad in over 150 currencies, so you’ll get the best exchange rate and without any hidden fees. It can be a huge saver if you are going to a country which uses different currency.
There is also a free ATM withdrawal up to a certain limit. So whenever I travel, I always have my Revolut card with me. It’s also useful when paying for things online, because there is a possibility to create a virtual debit card, so if your card data becomes compromised by any chance, you can easily discard this virtual card and create a new one. And Revolut keeps coming with new features like buying stocks, cryptocurrencies or even commodities like gold or silver. Starting to invest into your favourite companies is easier than ever. Buying travel insurance or supporting charity is also available in the app. And for the basic account you won’t pay anything. It’s a perfect companion on the roads and with features it offers it’s sometimes even more useful than my primary bank app.
Living in the cloud
I can’t imagine my life without using any cloud app. I’ve tried many of them, but Dropbox has been my personal favourite for years. I like the design, features and how it works. It’s my go to place for storing docs and files I don’t want to lose. Your storage on the computer may malfunction and your phone can be stolen, but once you have your files in the cloud, you won’t lose them with your device.
Another positive is having these files always with me thanks to apps on my computer, tablet and smartphone, or I can even access them from different computers via browser. I also use Dropbox for sharing things with my friends and family. It’s simple, I create a folder, upload things I want to share and then choose an option to create a link which I send to recipients.
Never forget your password again
Using easily memorable passwords like the still widely used “Password” isn’t a good idea. The same goes for phrases which are somehow connected to you. Another not very safest method is using one password for more services or websites. But how to remember dozens of strong passwords? Answer is easy, just use the app.
You can find many password manager apps on the App Store or Google Play. I ended up with Dashlane. You can store all your passwords here and sync them with your other devices or even use an autofill feature to have them filled for you when logging to a website. I like the feature of generating passwords, so I don’t need to come up with my own. Just choose length and tick the boxes if you want to have mixed case letters, digits or symbols. Dashlane will also inform you how strong the generated password is. With apps like this you never forget your password again.
Where to eat?
I like to travel and to eat, of course. “Where to eat?” is a frequent question, wherever I am or going. For this purpose I’ve been using Foursquare and it never disappoints. Just write what you looking for e.g. Food, Drinks, Pizza or whatever and choose a city or search by your location. App will show you the list of establishments which you can filter by distance, price or rating. Rating is given by people, watch for the local tips and when you see a rating above 9.0, then it should be definitely worth your visit.
I prefer Foursquare to Tripadvisor, I like the design of the app and the simplicity. It’s great when you travel, but you may also find some hidden gems in your city as well.
These are five apps I use frequently and have always installed on my phone. If you want to know about other essential apps I use, head to Part 2.