There are literally millions of apps that can help you do just about anything. If you own a smartphone or tablet, chances are you’re probably already using at least one – whether it’s an app to check the weather forecast, message a friend or take a picture on your smart device.
In this article we look at some apps that can be fun, informative and even make daily life a little easier.
But first, if you’re new to the world of apps, take a look at our course, All about apps, for information on what is an app, how to find apps, free versus paid apps, in-app purchases, as well as app notifications.
Remember to only download apps from the official app ‘stores’ on your device: App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android devices. These official stores are apps themselves and come pre-installed on your device.
You can turn your smartphone or tablet into your very own portable library with the help of an app. BorrowBox and Libby are popular apps that let you search for and borrow books in audio and digital (ebook) format without having to physically visit the library. If your local library has an account with BorrowBox or Libby, you can enter your library card number in the app to begin borrowing audio books and ebooks to read and listen to on your smart device. If you can’t find your library in either app, have a chat to your local library to see if they offer any other options for you to borrow their audio or ebooks.
Name that plant
Ever come across a plant and wondered what its name is? There’s an app that can help with that. PlantSnap is just one of many apps that can identify plants and trees. All you need to do is take a picture of the plant or tree and a few seconds later you have all the information you need about said plant. PlantSnap is free so you can expect to see a lot of ads when using the app, but there’s also a premium (paid-for) version with no ads and extra features.
Name that tune
Shazam is a free app that comes in handy for those times when you hear a song you like and wish you could find out the name of the track and the artist. All you need to do is open the Shazam app when you hear a song you like and tap on the Shazam button. A few seconds later you have the name of the track, the artist, the lyrics and a bunch of other information that may be of interest.
Stargazing the night sky
Stargazing the night sky in your backyard just got even better with the help of stargazing apps. And all you need to do is point your smart phone or tablet at the sky to identify stars, constellations, satellites, planets and galaxies. Try it for yourself or with the grandkids with popular apps like SkyView (the Lite version is free) and Night Sky (only available on Apple devices).
Getting from A to B
Whether in your hometown or in a foreign city, sometimes you need help getting from point A to B. Citymapper helps you do just that. It’s a free, easy to use app and it covers over 70 local and international cities including Sydney and Melbourne. Enter your destination and it gives you a list of options on how to get there via public transport, on foot or by bike.
There’s also the popular Google Maps that comes pre-installed on Android devices, but it’s also available to Apple iPad and iPhone users via the Apple App Store.
Find cheap petrol
Petrol price apps can help you save money by comparing fuel prices from petrol stations around your area. Petrol Spy is a popular example. It lists petrol stations and fuel prices near you (when you enter your postcode or suburb). The app covers all the big names like Caltex, Coles Express, Woolworths, BP, 7 Eleven, Shell and the independent petrol stations too.
If you live in NSW, another option is the government developed Fuel Check. It’s a free app that offers real-time petrol prices near you and is rated highly for its accurate information.
Find reliable health information
Healthdirect is a free government funded service that provides a wealth of information and advice on health. If you’re not feeling well, you can check your symptoms and get advice on what to do next, as well as find a GP, pharmacy or emergency service near you. You can also read up on medication you may be taking and a range of health topics. You can access all this information via the Healthdirect app or website.
Better visits with a loved one living with dementia
A better visit is an app designed to help encourage conversation and build interaction when visiting a loved one living with dementia. The free app includes games you can play together online like lawn bowls, and games that include questions that may bring to mind memories or experiences from when they were younger.
For more amazing apps and safety tips on how to add and manage apps, take a look at our Quick Reads article, The smartphone and the app. Or you can join our free online presentation to hear all about apps: what they are, how to find and download them and examples of more useful apps.