50 Best Free iPhone Apps for 2012
One of our favorite file-syncing services, SugarSync added an iPhone app to its offering in 2011. SugarSync gives you access to your files from a multitude of devices, no matter if you store them on your laptop at home, desktop computer at the office, tablet, and so on. You can use SugarSync to stream music, back-up photos, collaborate on projects, and more.
TED by TED Conferences
TED's tagline is "Ideas worth spreading," and what better way to spread the ideas from this series of education, explorative, and motivational talks than by carrying them with you wherever you go. TED once was a highly exclusive conference, closed off even to most press, and the organization's greatest accomplishment to date has been to open up the knowledge that comes from its speakers by making videos of their presentations and performances available online to the public. This official TED app works for both iPhone and iPad. If you're unfamiliar with TED, give Jill Bolte Taylor's stroke of insight presentation a try. You'll be hooked.
The Weather Channel
In putting together this list of free iPhone apps, I thought long and hard about the ones I actually use most day in and day out. The Weather Channel's free app is one that I open at least once a day. Sometimes it's a little embarrassing (really? I can't just look out the window?), but other times, like when I'm leaving the house for a full day and want to know how to dress for the weather conditions five hours from now, The Weather Channel has more time-based information than the built-in Weather app from Apple. The Weather Channel's free app does contain some advertisements, but they're tolerable.
In this captivating iPhone game from indie developer Matt Rix, players lay down tracks to guide trains from their starting points to the stations, sometimes merging with other trains along the way. Trains, starting points, and stations are color-coded. Red trains must end up in red goal stations. A blue train can merge with a red train to become a purple one before it reaches a purple station. As the difficulty increases, the number of trains also increases, as well as the number of objectives in each level. Trainyard Express is an absolutely addictive and fun puzzle game for players of all ages.
TripIt tops the list of travel apps. It automatically syncs your emailed itineraries to a TripIt organizer, putting all your travel plans right on your iPhone no matter which booking agent you use. It's hands down the most recommended app for frequent jet-setters… but watch out for the ads.
For a long time, Twitter Inc., the company that owns the 140-character social network, didn't make its own app. Dozens of third parties did, however, but not all the resulting apps were worth using. So when Twitter released its official Twitter app—and it worked well and loaded quickly!—users folded the new tool into their iPhones happily. If you tweet, it's a no-brainer to have this app. If you don't tweet and have been on the fence about joining the masses, the iPhone app makes it easy and convenient to get on board. With iOS 5 (available for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S) has a lot of Twitter functionality directly integrated into other apps, so you can tweet out things you want to share with greater ease. You still need the Twitter app (or another Twitter client) to read tweets, though.
WebMD is much more than a diagnosis app, although you certainly can use it to input symptoms you are experiencing and find some clues as to what's ailing you. It also contains listings for healthcare professionals and pharmacies in your area, as well as first-aid guides—simple instructions for dealing with an emergency that everyone should have accessible to them at any time. This free reference app is one you hope you don't need, but the moment you do, you'll be glad you downloaded it.
Half the fun of having a smartphone is looking things up when you're in the middle of a bar bet—and hopefully proving yourself right. Wikipedia is the go-to source for fact-checking in the mobile age, and the Wikipedia app usually returns results faster than a mobile search engine.
Yahoo! Axis brings a refreshing and desirable new take on Web search, getting rid of the middle man, those pesky link-filled result pages. The implementation of this new idea still needs more sanding and buffing, but Pinterest users will find it's better for pinning than the social site's own mobile app. Yahoo! Axis includes a Pin It button bookmarklet directly in the browser for all your mobile pinning needs.
The most comprehensive review app, Yelp turns out to be an invaluable tool for finding businesses nearby, especially when you're in a town you don't know well. Yelp's mobile app has helped me find a hairdresser when I was in a pinch in Washington DC, and a suitable lunch while driving through Ohio (shout-out to Moreland Hills!). Need to find an acupuncturist in Austin? Or the most popular coffee shop in Charlotte (emphasis on "popular" and not necessarily "best," by the way)? Yelp's the app to do it.