50 Best Free iPhone Apps for 2012
ESPN Score Center
ESPN's free app lets you check the game quickly, and discreetly when necessary (that is, with your phone under the dinner table), for your favorite teams in more sports than most other apps. It can pull game data from baseball, basketball, American football, the sport the rest of the world calls football (soccer, in the U.S.), ice hockey, cricket, rugby, and more.
Without the Evernote app for iPhone, I'd be a lot less productive while I'm away from my desk. This free, straightforward note-making app outrivals most competing apps thanks to its strong search capabilities and effortless organization. But the real key to its success and popularity is that Evernote synchronizes all your files by saving them to a cloud service, meaning anything you create or alter from your iPhone will be there waiting for you when you log into any other version of Evernote. I use Evernote to write, take notes, and even snap pictures of whiteboards and PowerPoint slides in meetings, so I can remember details later.
Social networks thrive with a reliable app—you've got to be social on the go—and Facebook for iPhone is solid. Despite occasional crashes, Facebook loads pretty fast and has a decent interface for viewing photos. The design is intuitive to navigate, too.
Find My iPhone
New as of iOS 5 (October 2011), the Find My iPhone from Apple helps you locate a lost or stolen iPhone. It also works on other Apple devices, like iMacs and iPads. You can use your Apple login to find the geo-location of any of your devices, as long as they are connected to Wi-Fi or 3G. You can also remotely make your phone blare a loud noise, even if it's turned to silent mode, if you think you've lost it within earshot. And you can remotely send a message to your phone's screen if you think someone trustworthy has it in their position and you want them to be able to contact you.
Flipboard, an app initially designed for the iPad that curates content from your social networks and Web partners (think periodicals, blogs, etc.) based on your interests and turns them into stunning magazine-like digital pages, is now available on the iPhone. The app is free to download and requires a free user account. Flipboard absolutely shines on the iPad, taking advantage of swiping gestures with both visual and interactive grace. On the smaller iPhone, it's elegant, if a little cramped.
No matter what app you use to book your travel arrangements or manage your frequent flier miles, you'll still want to pack GateGuru on your next trip to the airport. The free app is chockfull of suggestions and reviews pertaining to airports: food, retail, services, and even the amount of time needed to travel between gates and terminals. The next time you're stuck with a long layover and no idea if you can make it to the cleaner bathrooms by Gate B7, just consult GateGuru for some advice.
Speed, better search functions, and color-coded threading make the standalone Gmail iPhone app preferable to the built-in Mail app (where you can access Gmail). The Gmail app for iOS 4 and later, made by Google, gives users another choice for managing email. It allows iPhone users to decide what they value in an email app. Do you value search capability over text displayed at readable sizes? Is it more important for your various email accounts to be managed in one app, as Mail arranges them, or would you rather have a dedicated app just for Gmail that looks more like Gmail on the web, with color-coded threading? The Gmail app searches your entire email so much easier and faster than the pre-installed Mail app.
Search giant Google has many excellent free apps (as evidenced by the fact that more than one is on this very list), but its namesake search app is the one closest to its founding business, and thus, bursting with some pretty intense features. You can search by typing keywords, or by speaking, or by snapping a photo, as there's a toggle for Google Goggles (in the settings), which lets you take photos of books, landmarks, logos, artwork, barcodes, and more, to find out more about them. You can also save pictures you take, and the app will scan and read any text that appears on them as well. The Google Search app does a lot more than just search the Internet, making it well worth the free download.
With more than 30 languages supported and delivering impressively accurate results most of the time, the Google Translate app is one of the most remarkable programs you can load onto your iPhone. Most people probably won’t need it too often, except when traveling or studying a language, but it can be amazingly useful in unexpected circumstances.
HootSuite a social-media aggregation app, meaning it lets you manage up to five profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, all from one central interface. If you use the app in conjunction with HootSuite's desktop version (free, 4 stars), you may want to upgrade to the premium version of the tool ($5.99 per month), which gives you an unlimited number of profiles to manage, as well as more data about the effects of your social- networking outreach. —Next: Apps 21-30 >
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