The Most Useful Phone Apps You Never Knew You Needed

There is little that can’t be done with a smartphone these days. Thanks to apps, nearly any task you can think of can be completed (or at least made a little easier) on your phone.

But with more than 2 million apps available, finding the most valuable ones for your daily life is a challenge. We’ve gathered the most useful smartphone apps available right now for every area of your life. From a running app for only the most adventurous amateur athletes to an app that helps you learn a new language, you’ll want to download these ASAP.

The Walking Dead fans who want to get in shape…we have the app for you!


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CamScanner uses your phone camera to scan and capture documents and then convert them into PDFs. The graphics always look clear and sharp and you can easily keep electronic records of receipts, notes, invoices, and certificates.

There’s really no reason to buy a bulky scanner when you can download this app for free on your handheld device.

Google Translate

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The Google Translate app takes the Google Translate you know and love from your computer to the next level.

Its text translate feature holds 103 languages, but where this app really shines is in its ability to use a phone camera to instantly translate text in images. It also has a conversation mode for instant two-way speech translation. This is extremely valuable for those planning a trip abroad!


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Running is far more bearable (enjoyable, even) if you have an efficient way of tracking your progress. Runkeeper tracks your route, speed, pace, calories burned, and distance via GPS.

You can sync the app with your Fitbit or Apple Watch and connect with friends with the running group chat feature. Read ahead for another running app that turns jogging into a thrilling adventure.

Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

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The Sleep Cycle app is an intelligent alarm clock that analyzes your sleep and always wakes you up on the right side of the bed. It uses sound to track movement and snoring.

You give the app a 30-minute window, and it will wake you up when you are in the lightest phase of sleep.

Our Groceries Shopping List

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Our Groceries lets you share shopping lists with your partner, family, or household. Any items you add to the list will automatically show up on your partner’s device.

You can easily check off items as you shop with a single tap, and watch your partner check off items in real time.

Zombies, Run!

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What better way to motivate yourself to run farther and faster than to run away from a horde of the undead? Zombies, Run! is an ultra-immersive running game and audio adventure.

Collect vital supplies on your route to grow your base back home, avoid zombies who’d like to eat your flesh, and do it all to the tune of your favorite pump-up playlist. Read on for an app that makes self-improvement easier than ever.


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Move over Maps, Waze is the new way to navigate the world around you. This app will immediately notify you of accidents, police, construction, and traffic on your route.

It tells you the exact time you’ll arrive at your destination, shows you where to find the cheapest gas prices, and always puts you on the fastest path to wherever you want to go.


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IFTT stands for “if this, then that.” It allows you to bring your favorite apps together for a more streamlined, automated experience.

Have your phone remind you to bring an umbrella to work if your weather app says there’s rain, or share all of your Facebook posts to Twitter, or automatically message your roommates when you’re near a grocery store.


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Trying to quit smoking? Exercise more? Learn a new skill? Streaks’ easy-to-use, streamlined interface lets you keep track of your progress.

You can track up to twelve daily tasks at a time. Your goal is to build up a streak of consecutive days. Miss a day, and your counter goes back to zero. Read on for an app that is actually saving lives.


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Shazam lets you quickly identify any song you hear. Save songs so you remember what to download later, and see what top artists like Drake, Ed Sheeran, and Bruno Mars are Shazaming.

Before this app existed, people would just hear a new, cool song, and then never know how to find it again. Our only hope was to awkwardly try to sing it to our friends in hopes that they knew which song it was.

Grammarly Keyboard

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Grammarly Keyboard checks your Facebook posts, emails, LinkedIn messages, or whatever you’re typing for grammar and spelling errors. The keyboard smoothly integrates with all apps and actually helps you improve your writing.

Never send an email with the wrong “there” again, and spot autocorrect disasters before they happen.


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This app uses GPS technology to notify people with CPR training about cardiac emergencies in their area. PulsePoint also directs citizen rescuers to the exact location of the closest Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

It can take official rescue services a while to get to people in need. This app allows nearby average Joes who know CPR to step in and save lives. Read on for an all-in-one fitness tracker to keep you healthy.


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Your local library has thousands of e-books available to loan, and you can access them all from your own handheld device. Just find your local library on the app, enter your library card information, and get reading.

The app also has an audiobook player and zoomable graphic novels and picture books.


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Duolingo’s friendly, bright interface makes learning another language fun and easy. It includes engaging mini-games that test your reading, writing, and speaking skills.

The app lets you know your fluency percentage and it lets you compare your progress with your friends’. It offers free lessons in over 30 languages.


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MyFItnessPal is an app that lets you monitor your food intake and exercise. It sets a daily calorie budget for you based on your personal fitness goals and then allows you to see if you’re staying within that budget.

Scan barcodes on food wrappers for quick and easy logging, and keep track of all your macro and micro-nutrients. Keep reading for an app that will make sure you never overpay for gas again.


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If you’d like to spend less time playing with your phone, and more time being productive, you need this app. Plant a seed in the forest. As time goes by, your seed will gradually grow into a seedling, and then into a tree. If you leave the app, your tree will wither and die.

Before you know it, you’ll have a whole forest of productivity.


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Clue is a period tracker app that helps you discover unique patterns in your menstrual cycle. You can use Clue to track and monitor your mood, PMS, ovulation, and fertility.

Keep all of your data on hand for doctor’s appointments and sync data from other health apps on your device.


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GasBuddy can help you save hundreds of dollars per year by telling you exactly when and where to buy gas. The app also uses your phone’s motion sensor to teach you how to drive in a more economical and eco-friendly way.

Enter GasBuddy’s daily draw for a chance to win $100 towards your next fill-up.


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Venmo is the quick and easy way to send and receive money on the go. Venmo is a PayPal app that lets you transfer money to your friends with no fees.

You can also use Venmo for safe and secure online shopping. Easily split a lunch bill, keep track of what you owe, and what your friends owe you.


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Never struggle to remember your mother-in-law’s maiden name again with 1Password. This app stores all your passwords in one place, and keeps them safe and secure behind a single password that only you know.

This app lets you create stronger passwords, and it locks automatically to protect you if your device is ever lost or stolen.