top 5: my favorite iPhone apps

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My phone has long been an extension of my arm – I use it for everything, whether I’m checking my email in the morning, running through Timehop for some laughs, or cataloging ideas in Notes or Evernote. Over the years, I’ve found some apps on my phone just can’t be removed – no matter what, I just can’t quit them. Here are my favorites!

Hoopla: I’ve talked about Hoopla before, and the love hasn’t left yet. Hoopla offers not only audiobooks, but also eBooks, albums, and movies as well. I haven’t checked out the music or movie options yet, but Hoopla is 100% the reason I hit my book goal last year – in December, I was frantically flipping pages through books in the app to hit my goal. I also really love Hoopla as compared to some other similar services because it seems to offer a wider variety of books. It syncs across devices so you can move from desktop to phone and back and never lose your place!

Duolingo: I started using Duolingo a few years ago when it first launched to brush up on my German and learn some Spanish basics, but I fell off the wagon pretty quickly. A few weeks ago I wanted something that felt productive and remembered Duolingo, and I dove back in. I want to go back to Europe in the next two or three years, so I’m committing to sticking with it this time. There’s also a web-based version now, if you prefer a bigger keyboard and screen when studying. They have plenty of different languages, so check it out and add me as a friend!

Stop. Breathe. Think.: Meditation has been something I’ve worked to focus on a lot this year, and this app has really helped out to achieve that. My therapist even suggested it recently. When you open the app, you’re prompted to check in with yourself – scan your mind and body to see how you’re feeling, and based on your input, the app will suggest a few different meditations of varying lengths. The app is available for iOS and Android, and it also has a web-based option and even a Slack integration.

Pocket: Dani and I were talking about Pocket the other day. She’s a new user and likes that she can bookmark things to access later between devices – I like this option too, but I’m not quite such a new user. I’ve been using Pocket on different devices since I left my job in Virginia three years ago. It’s great that you have the option to download articles for offline reading (like on a plane,) or categorize your bookmarks more easily than a browser might allow. That said… I almost never go back and read the things I’ve pocketed. But it’s nice to have the option, at least!

Patronus: Patronus is an app I haven’t had to use yet, and for that I’m glad – it’s a safety app that lets you set emergency contacts, and easily contacts 911 with your location in case of danger. It also automatically sends texts to your emergency contacts with your location, and lets you reach out to them when you leave somewhere and arrive at a destination, if you want. Having this level of safety is really important to me, especially now living in what might be considered a “violent” city (though I’ve always felt super safe there.) The built-in GPS is remarkably exact as well, ensuring you get help as fast as possible.

What are your favorite apps?