Apps have dominated our lives for the last decade, and in 2020 they have only become more a part of how we move through the world each day — how we communicate, learn, travel, watch TV and play. The introduction of the iPhone 11 and Apple’s major moves into the world of subscription gaming and TV services in the last year only made the apps that give us access to them more important.
The following iPhone apps were either introduced in the past year, got a major update, thanks to a new service (looking at you, Apple TV) or gained a cultural currency that we hadn’t seen previously (I mean, The Washington Post has a TikTok channel with hundreds of thousands of followers now), and the CNET staff believed they deserved recognition. Without further ado, here are the best iPhone apps of the year.
In December 2019, Apple awarded the AI photography app Spectre Camera its title of iPhone App of the Year. Spectre uses machine learning to take simulated long-exposure photos on your iPhone — an effect that previously required a DSLR or mirrorless camera. The app also includes support for the ultrawide camera on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.
You can download Spectre in the App Store on iOS 11 or later for $2.99 (£2.99, AU$4.49).
TikTok is a social video app where you can watch people lip-syncing or dancing to songs, or create videos of yourself doing the same. While it was released in 2016, last year was when TikTok truly went mainstream: In November 2019, the app surpassed 1.5 billion downloads worldwide on the App Store and Google Play, with more than 600 million downloads in 2019 alone. TikTok was also the third most-downloaded nongaming app of last year, after WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger — putting it ahead of the main Facebook app and Instagram, according to mobile intelligence firm Sensor Tower. It should be noted, however, that TikTok is under investigation from the US government for potential security risks due to its Chinese ownership.
The Apple TV app has been a hub for movies and TV shows for a couple years, but got a big revamp last year and became the home for Apple TV Plus, the company’s $5-a-month TV streaming service, in November. The streaming platform is home to the star-studded drama The Morning Show and a number of other original shows, all accessible through the Apple TV app, which offers a clean, easy-to-navigate interface.
You can subscribe to Apple TV Plus for $4.99 (£4.99, AU$7.99) a month online or in Apple’s TV app in the App Store.
In 2019, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite was the hottest augmented reality, app-based game, from the creators of Pokemon Go. The game pits players against dark wizards and magical beasts to save characters from the Harry Potter books. You play by walking around the real world, following the game’s map through the app on your phone. Though it had some security flaws, Wizards Unite showed us that Pokemon Go wasn’t just a fluke, and AR games are here to stay. It also brought in $1.1 million on its launch weekend, according to Sensor Tower.
Online classified ads site Craigslist has been around since 1995, but crazily enough, it didn’t get an iOS app until December of 2019. The app has a simple, nonfussy interface that’s reminiscent of the website version, where you can search for everything from jobs to furniture to cars to purchase. The app currently has 4 out of 5 stars and more than 150 ratings in the App Store.
Contact People is a mobile application that provides a solution for business caller identification and easy exchange of digital business cards which are transferrable and give more access to business real-time information, events and news updates through mobile business feed.