Come December, people start to make sweeping statements summarising the last 12 months in a sentence or two. But it’s difficult to wrap up an entire year before it’s even finished. What we can do is wrap up our favourite apps and present them to you as a little gift so we can all leave 2018 in tip-top technological shape.So, here’s a list of 10 apps we loved this year. Enjoy, and happy holidays.
2018 was a year of exploration for augmented reality (or AR, if you like acronyms). Google lens is another step forward. It markets itself as freeing you from the need to “describe what you're looking for”. And though that hardly seems like such an arduous task, it does make for a pretty cool app. Point your camera at something and Google takes over, capable of performing a range of tasks. For instance, it can connect to Wi-Fi if you point it at a network name and password. 2018; the future.
iOS, Android; free
Sweatcoin is a currency generated by your steps. It’s the reward for walking we’ve always wanted but probably don’t deserve. It’s a big incentive to make those 10,000 steps every day and marked 2018 as the year in which our smartphones outright bribed us into getting off the couch.
iOS, Android, Alexa; free
In 2018, podcasts continued their steady rise. As more people yearn for more detailed content than your typical radio broadcast, apps like Scout FM are starting to become huge. Catering to all curiosities and easy to use, it’s worth getting into if you happen to find any holiday downtime.
iOS, Android; Mac, Windows; free with premium options
Notion made our list of productivity apps earlier in the year, and its profile continues to grow as we leave 2018 behind. A multi-functional app with a lot going on, it can help you to centralise different tasks into one program. If a veritable cornucopia of software made your 2018 working life messier than it should have been, it’s time to check out Notion.
A minuscule change in settings can make your internet connection faster, more private, and more secure. 18.104.22.168 is a DNS provider which takes you away from the default and into something better. It only takes a few taps of a thick thumb to download the app for Android or iOS and about a minute to change the relevant settings on your computer. Let 2018 be the year you abandoned default DNS. You won’t regret it.
Data can cost a pretty penny. For many, 2018 was a year of tightening belts and Datally can help you make sure none of your apps are using more of your data than they should be. It monitors your apps and cuts down the mobile data they’re using on the sly. Unless you won the lottery this year, go ahead and grab it.
Ever thought, ‘it would be great if my phone would do this automatically’? That’s the entire point of Automate. Set a certain condition and a matching action and your phone will do it all by itself. It’s a bit like 2018’s incarnation of the brilliant IFTTT, but you might find it more user-friendly.
iOS, Android; free
Online ads and trackers were as annoying in 2018 as they always have been. Thankfully, this year brought us the maturation of Firefox Focus. It’s a great app for cutting the advertisement burden from your mobile browsing experience while speeding it up in the process. Make the quick switch, and make 2019 the year of the ad-free phone.
As we said earlier, 2018 was a good year for AR. As well as Google searches through your phone’s camera, you can now size things up with nifty measuring apps for both iOS and Android. With 2019 approaching, the death of tape-measures inches ever closer. Androiders be warned though, Apple’s app is better than Google’s.
Apps can be sneaky. They like to use your battery when you’re not looking, and perhaps that’s why a lot of us went out and bought external batteries this year. Greenify can help you to revoke battery-sucking privileges from the apps that are gobbling up all your power. Chuck it on your phone and save some battery life these holidays.