Top 5 utility apps for iOS

Aug 11, 2016

Designed to make life easier for its users, utility applications are commonly utilized for occasions where other tools fail. With processing power increasing in every update, mobile devices are quickly replacing a multitude of tools that once were separate devices altogether.

This is notable for apps including calculators, flashlights, maps, and even GPS systems that provide an easily accessible set of tools that eliminates the burden of carrying around multiple appliances. As the number of utility apps continue to increase in the App Store, this article focuses on listing the top 5 utility apps for everyday use.

Google Authenticator

With the growing security implications and post-court affairs involving Apple and the FBI, people have found it difficult to maintain their confidence in regular User ID and password protocols. This has given Google an advantage in releasing the ‘Authenticator’, an application which offers a 2-step authentication procedure in an effort to promote security, password management, and other safety features. The Authenticator provides a six to eight digit password users must provide in addition to their credentials in order to access Google services and other sites. To log into a site or service that uses two-factor authentication, a username and password to the site must be used in conjunction with the Authenticator app which produces an additional six-digit password.  With these additional protective measures, confidentiality is ensured even in the case of User ID and password breaches and is a must-have for those with confidential accounts.

Dark Sky

Although all Apple devices are preloaded with a default weather application, its lack of features coupled with an overly-simplistic design fails to satisfy the functionality needs of most of its users. Alternatively, Dark Sky offers a highly accurate weather tool which provides minute-by-minute updates to ensure users are adequately prepared for changes in the weather. Beautifully designed with an easy-to-understand layout, the app is highly intuitive in its use of graphs, charts, and even houses a radar to show the direction in which a storm is moving. Push notifications alert Dark Sky users as soon as there are changes in weather conditions, a distinguishing feature which lacks in Apple’s stock weather app. Bolstering the resources of a personal weather station, the app is highly customizable with theme colour options and even has a complimentary Apple Watch version for greater access.



As built-in storage is often limiting to consumers with Apple products as a result of non-expandable storage capacity, Dropbox conveniently offers storage space that is instantly accessible. Given the ability to access, edit, and share files stored on the Dropbox cloud, users are able to retrieve the files from any device, making it highly convenient for those with multiple devices or are sharing files with others. With 15 GB of free storage, users are given ample additional memory to store files in any format and are even given an option to purchase premium features that includes up to 1 TB in cloud space. Emphasizing security, Dropbox has sophisticated protective features that ensure there are no data compromises during the uploading or retrieving process. Enabling greater storage space, Dropbox is a highly attractive solution to the fixed-memory capacity limits of Apple products.

QR Reader

Developed by TapMedia, QR Reader houses a collection of scanning tools designed for applications beyond QR codes. Despite its name, the app is able to scan anything from QR codes, barcodes, business cards, documents, and even puzzles. Being faster than its rival, the auto-detect feature emphasizes ease-of-use as user simply needs to open the app and aim it at a code to make a scan without any input. Automatically detecting the information that the code returns, the scanner prompts the correct application to activate. As an example, if the scanned QR code contains a website URL, the browser will open with the link and similarly with emails, phone numbers, and location information, QR Reader will quickly open the applicable application. As the popularity of QR codes increases in retail stores and other locations, QR Reader is an essential for receiving promotional offers or simply accessing information.

Google Translate

For millions who travel from one country to another, Google Translate has become a necessity to understanding foreign languages. By being able to translate more than 103 languages and even 52 without internet connection, the app hosts various input tools to make translating text, speech, and images extremely simple. Using OCR, Google Translate is able to recognize text from a wide array of sources including images and speech which reduces many barriers between languages. A unique feature that distinguishes this translator from its competitors is the ability to recognize hand-drawn characters on the screen with extreme accuracy despite various handwriting styles and languages as opposed to solely typed characters. With over a billion translations a day, Google Translate has become a strong leader in the foreign languages space and is a highly applicable utility app for travelers.

Alongside core functions that users have access to with smartphones, utility apps add features that turns regular devices into a multitool for any occasion. Whether to help users stay connected, notified, or accomplish tasks in a more efficient way, utility apps are one of the most popular resources in getting things done. While there are many competing utility apps available on the App Store, the ones on this list offer the highest value for completing everyday tasks and hence are indispensable tools for millions around the world.

Are there any utility apps that we missed? Let us know which utility apps you can’t live without in the comments below!

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Kevin Chau

Following my passion in the realm of business and entrepreneurship, I am always eager to develop skills that enable me to learn, build, and grow. My previous projects, both academic and personal, reflect my dedication towards expanding and applying my theoretical knowledge for practical results in these fields.

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