15 Mobile Apps to Make Your Life Easier

It’s pretty hard to function without a smartphone these days. Need directions on where to find that new restaurant? Check. Need help finding an alternate route to avoid that two-car pileup on the way to work? Check. Need help figuring out what the hell foie gras is? Yup. Smartphones can help with that too.

Our smartphones have become more like extensions of ourselves rather than mere mobile phones. Make the most of yours with these totally free, totally amazing apps.

WAZE 1

Waze is a traffic and navigation app with a cute interface and mean functionality. It includes speed trap reports and construction detours. The app has little upgrades littered on the roads which you collect for points to upgrade your avatar, and it’s strangely satisfying to see other Wazers scooting along. Anything that allows us to get home faster, avoid cops, and sings our navigation to us in Elvis’s voice gets a gold star in our book.
Cost: Free ; iOS, Android, Windows Phone

POCKET
2
Pocket is the simplest way to save media for later. It rebranded in 2012 from being called Read-it-Later and now is arguably more functional and clean than Instapaper or Readability. Pocket has crazy integration with other apps, and it also includes offline access to anything you store in it. Articles, videos, and messages can all be “Pocketed” and accessed when you’re not squeezed between strangers on the subway.
Cost: Free ; iOS, Android

SHAZAM

3

 

Shazam has been around for forever, but it’s still the best way to find out the name of the song you just heard on that hipster radio station. It’s incredibly accurate and has an enormous database of recognizable songs. Just shove your phone into the air (it works better if you continue dancing), and let the app work its voodoo.

Cost: Free ; iOS, Android

VENMO
 4

We love Venmo for its ease of use and quick turnaround into your bank account. No need to split the check at the restaurant? Just Venmo cash from your debit card or bank account to a friend’s account while still at the table. It’s an excellent way to split rent and bills, but the best part is using cryptographic emojis to disguise that you’re really paying your roommate back for a drunken Call of Duty bet.
Cost: Free ; iOS, Android

DECLUTTR 5

Sometimes we just want someone to come take our stuff away and hand us money. Decluttr does just that, shelling out cash for used CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, and video games. Simply scan the media through the app, then they send you a box with their return address and payment for the goods.

Cost: Free ; iOS, Android

GOOGLE EXPRESS

6

Grocery shopping is so 2013. Google Express is a recently-released delivery app that makes filling your pantry a breeze. Make purchases using your debit card or Google Wallet, and most deliveries are same-day. One of the best parts about the app is the extensive list of stores that it pulls from. Amazon Prime is a similar service, but we’ve found the prices to be slightly better on Google.
Cost: Free (3-month subscription); iOS, Android

YELP

7

Peer-reviewed business, products, and services are the new norm, and Yelp is the one that started it all. Everything from auto mechanics to psychiatrists is covered in this catch-all review site, with reliable results.  Yelp offers a quick way to find the best takeout nearby and get it delivered, or even the best art museums in town. It’s hard to find a more encompassing site when it comes to determining quality.
Cost: Free ; iOS, Android

EVERNOTE

8

Evernote is a highly integrated remember-everything app, with support for audio notes, images, handwritten reminders and good old-fashioned text notes. It connects to virtually every other note-taking app as well as Gmail, and its versatility is only limited by the time you want to spend personalizing it. If you’re looking for an organization or note-taking app that follows you through all your devices, Evernote is the way to go.
Cost: Free ; iOS, Android, Windows Phone

DROPBOX / GOOGLE DRIVE

9

These days, a reliable backup and retrieval service is totally essential. Both Dropbox and Google Drive are free services that create digital copies of your photos, documents and vital data. They integrate nicely with desktops and provide decent auto-backup from folders you designate.

Cost: Free ; iOS, Android, Windows Phone

SONGZA

 10

Let’s be honest, there’s nothing better than the right playlist at the right time. Songza’s famous concierge-style playlist generator allows you to select the right music for your mood, activity or crowd. While some people may prefer Pandora or Spotify, Songza’s mostly ad-free stations get our vote for setting the mood and improving your commute, workspace or leisure time.
Cost: Free ; iOS, Android, Windows Phone

MINT
11

The Internet age has been good to personal finance, and Mint has one huge slice of that pie. The all-in-one asset calculator tracks your spending habits, assists in budget creation, and compiles records of all your worldly possessions in one spot. Mint helps you track spending habits by month, by category, and lets you set goals or cutoffs for yourself. We’d love an easier way to track cash purchases, but overall the app is an extremely user-friendly and powerful tool to keep your Benjamins from turning into Hamiltons.
Cost: Free ; iOS, Android, Windows Phone

RUNKEEPER
12

There are a slew of fitness apps out there, but Runkeeper has our vote due to its simplicity and ability to track progress and goals. The app follows you through the run and it’s very easy to schedule a training plan and stick to it. Clean maps and simple goals may this one a keeper.
Cost: Free ; iOS, Android

UBER

13

The current king of rideshare and the source of ire for taxi drivers everywhere, Uber is revolutionizing mobility. Uber (as well as the extremely comparable Lyft and Sidecar) works by renting out space in regular folks’ cars. Request an SUV, a black car service, a regular vehicle, or split the fare with a stranger, and you usually arrive to your destination quicker and cheaper than a taxi cab.
Cost: Free ; iOS, Android, Windows Phone

TASKRABBIT

14

For when you need a helping hand, TaskRabbit is where it’s at. Essentially, you are hiring someone that TaskRabbit has vetted to do perform odd (or skilled labor) jobs for you. It’s kind of like hiring someone off of Craigslist, without the hard work of weeding through the creeps. The minimum payment for “Taskers” is $18/hour, so it’s not exactly cheap, but when you need it done quickly and reliably, this app is a great way to do it.
Cost: Free to Download ; iOS, Android

What’s your go-to app? Leave a comment below with your top picks!

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