Remember life before smartphones? Way back when your brain had to think for itself? Now, a quick tap on an app brings up all we need to know or see or hear or play or do. These days, we can track everything, everyday, from personal banking to hormones. Yep, there’s actually an app for that. So with over a million cool choices at our fingertips, which ones should we add to our smartphones? Here are some of the latest and greatest FREE iOS and Android compatible apps to consider.
These apps don’t need to be paired with a fitness tracker to see instant results.
The Johnson & Johnson Official 7-Minute Workout
You might be thinking about baby shampoo right now, but there’s nothing wishy-washy about this app. You’ll get a great custom workout in a short amount of time, and less is definitely more, especially if you’re traveling with no time to hit the gym. All you need to get started is a chair, a wall, and some empty floor space. The Johnson & Johnson Official 7-Minute Workout, created by a team of fitness professionals, also offers longer workouts for days when you’re not pressed for time. Simply open the Workout Library on the app to choose from sixteen different workouts of varying difficulty and length. The variety keeps the muscles guessing and the suggested warm-up—take it or leave it—gets the heart pumping. Surely you can spare seven short minutes—the time it takes to make a soft-boiled egg—to take care of yourself.
This app offers bare-bones basic workouts and activity logs, but hey, it’s free and effective. Jefit helps you craft a fabulous weightlifting routine while it keeps track of your sets and reps. So there’s no need to remember how much you lifted the last time. And there’s a handy-dandy calendar that shows you which days to workout and when to take a break. Jefit may not have all the bells and whistles of some of the more expensive apps, but you can definitely customize a great workout routine with ease. However, if you’re a bit of a stats nerd who craves comprehensive analytics and charts, you can buy—yes, this info will cost you—the Jefit Pro app for $4.99. Or spring for the super-duper Jefit Elite app for $19.99/yr., which gives you all the aforementioned PLUS an impressive library of exercises, complete with how-to videos. You’ll definitely want to check these out.
It’s never been easier to keep in touch with friends and family. And as smartphones get smarter, so do the social apps. Newcomers like Periscope and Timehop are great additions to fan favorites like Facebook and Instagram.
Move over Meerkat, Twitter has acquired Periscope, a live-streaming app that’s stealing all the attention these days. In fact, Twitter has cut Meerkat from its social graph, making it pretty difficult for those folks to find others to follow. On the other hand, Periscope automatically helps you get started with the people you follow on Twitter. Simply start a live video stream with your phone’s camera, and your friends on Periscope and Twitter will be notified to go check it out. Viewers can leave comments or virtual hearts to interact with your broadcast within 24 hours before it expires. So Periscope users are privy to a bevy of really cool in-the-moment videos, making Facebook’s after-the-fact posts old news.
This app takes you for a walk down memory lane, allowing you to share special moments from your past with friends and family. Once you’ve connected your social media accounts to Timehop, the app shows what you’ve shared online each day from the previous year, two years ago, three years ago, or more. It’s a snapshot of your posting past that you can share with family and friends on Instagram and Facebook. Eventually, Timehop plans to share more than past social media posts by connecting to apps like Uber and Spotify to provide the ultimate digital archive of your life. C’mon, how cool is that?
Whether you’re home or away, checking in on the latest news at your leisure is a luxury. But with so many apps to choose from, it’s hard to decide which are worthy of your free time. Here are two news apps that won’t disappoint and will definitely keep you in-the-know.
Okay, this news app isn’t new, but it’s definitely a keeper. Flipboard allows you to create a personalized “magazine” of your favorite topics, people, stories, and sources. The final result is an incredible compilation of preferred news, interesting blogs (The Elements of Living for starters), and all the social networks on your favorite topics. It’s ideal. You pick what you like and Flipboard pulls from multiple sources to find it. And you can save anything you like to create your own collection of favorite content that can be shared with others on Flipboard, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. The only hard part is finding enough time to read it.
Like the name implies, this app is all about the latest buzz, the scoop, the silly stuff that’s cool to share with your friends. It’s entertaining for sure, but BuzzFeed is also a reputable news organization with breaking news from around the web, as well as, the hottest trending topics of the moment. Like Flipboard, BuzzFeed pulls from multiple publications, in addition to, newsworthy tweets and posts to share the most current news, original reporting, entertainment, and videos with its over 200 million users. That number alone should be all the proof you need to get in on the latest buzz.
Spending money is way too easy nowadays—just a tap or a swipe and it’s gone. Unfortunately, coming up with a smart budgeting plan isn’t always as simple. But these two hassle-free apps will definitely help you get off to a good start.
This is one of the best budgeting apps out there because it’s a no-brainer to use. Once you connect Mint to your bank, you’re good to go since it pulls all your financial info together in one location to give you the big picture, which might not be pretty—yet. However, you can see all your balances and transactions, what you have, what you owe, spending patterns, investment amounts, and more, to start getting a better grip on the situation. And Mint connects to practically every US financial institution, automatically updating your info in real time. Then once it knows all of your good (and bad) spending habits, it offers valuable tips and savings. Mint analyzes thousands of checking, savings, credit card, CD, and IRA rollover offers, then makes recommendations based on your personal financial goals. What a huge timesaver—and lifesaver.
Sounds like a name you can trust, right? And you should. Wally is a brilliant budgeter, tracking expenses and helping to set savings goals for a more fiscally sound future. And another cool thing about Wally is the InstaScan feature, which allows you to scan your receipts directly onto the app, eliminating the very time-consuming process of entering each individually. Like Mint, Wally gives you a total view of your finances to help you stick with your budgeting goals. Basically, what you put into Wally determines how much you get out of it. So be diligent and you’ll reap the rewards for sure. Wally is reliable and extremely user-friendly, so go check it out.