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Top 7 free iOS Apps to boost your quality of life

oshell profile image oshell Updated on ・6 min read

Many developers jump into iOS developing because it promises up to 85% more roi than android apps. Apple user are just willing to pay more. So for most of iOS users it is more normal and natural to pay for apps upfront or for in-app purchases.

Nevertheless iOS has some pretty damn good free apps (or apps with fair free tiers) too. Here is a list of 7 apps I am using on a day to day basis, which make my life easier and which do not even cost me a penny.

1#: Note Taking with Bear

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Your quality of life improves as soon as you have your thoughts, ideas and plans organised and made them searchable. I have tested quite some note taking apps and the simplicity and elegance of Bear is what I was looking for, for quite some time.

The Editor

You basically have a Markdown Editor, which transforms your text while writing. Dev.to should seriously implement that.

The Structure

You can then use hashtags in your notes and each hash tag becomes its own category. This way your notes are easily organised and it is not that linear. You do not have to set up folders and then on each note, think about which folder your note belongs to or if this might change in the future. It is much more related to our way of thinking.

The Search

It also has a good global full text search feature. So if you are looking for a beautifully and clever designed note taking app, which makes it easy to make your notes organised and searchable: Bear is the way to go.

2#: Cloud Storage with Mega

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Bear is good for organising your thoughts, but where to put all the photos, documents and sensible data? You just feel better, if you know your data is safe and accessible from anywhere.

Our boy Kim Dotcom got your back. He published a cloud storage provider called Mega.nz. If you do not trust Google, Apple and Microsoft to hold your data, Mega is your best bet. Not only that - the user interface is the best I have come across. Moreover apple blocks out services like Google Drive for some features like multi upload, likely to promote their own storage service. Mega however does not seem to be affected by this. If you haven't already, you should definitely give it a try.

3#: Money Management with Spendee

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Quality of life also means you have your finances under control. I like to have an app, where I simply deduct all my fixed cost at the first of the month, even if this cost might only come up at the end of the month or even only once a year. This way there are no bad surprises.

I don't want to connect my bank account with any of my apps for security and privacy reasons. So I just made it a habit of mine to manually enter all my spendings after the fixed costs are taken from my main balance in Spendee. This also makes me more mindful of what I am spending money on. Plus Spendee gives you an good overview of what you spend your money for. It works completely offline and the free version works just fine for me. The Total Number I have in Spendee is the only source of truth, of how much money I have available.

4#: Track your Habit(s)

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Simplicity is key. Habit is a really simple habit tracking app. Add your habits and how often you want to perform them and simply check them every time you performed them. The underlying bar will get filled, the more often you performed the task. Getting it to 100% is quite challenging tho. After reading Atomic Habits, which I highly recommend anybody, I have the belief that your success and overall quality of life mainly depends on your set of habits. Things that improve your mental health, physical health or influence your longterm success should be somewhat automated things that you do each and every day without thinking about it. Start as small as possible (make it easy) and increase the difficulty of the task a bit every time. Just so it still feels like a no brainer. But most importantly: Do it! And track it with this app.

5#: Track your Workouts with Gymbook

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As I just mentioned your physical health also plays a big role in your overall quality of life. It is most important that you do any sports in the first place. But if you hit the gym on a regular basis it makes a lot of sense to keep track of at least your biggest exercises to see where you stand. If you reach a plateau, you probably have to change your training routine, change number of reps or weight, the angle or even whole exercises. Using a app like Gymbook helps you to have more analytical approach to your workouts.

You can build your own workout plan with this app and set a timer for how long you have between sets. Many people do not even take the lengths of their pauses into consideration, but it plays a big role in your workout.

Another important aspect, which most people do not recognise, is the overall volume of your training (how much weight lifted in whole workout).
Gymbook gives you a summary at the end of each workout with all this information and statistics on how much you improved compared to your last workout.

6#: Meditate with Smiling Mind

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People go to the gym and train their physical health, but still most people do not do anything to improve their mental health. But it is just as important. Mediation is probably the most common way to improve your mental health. Many people play it down and say it does not work for them, but you have to stick to it for a while to notice the results. After listening to Tim Ferris for some time it feels like 90% of all his very successful guests describe meditation as one of the most important skills, if not THE most important skill, to learn. So it is time to put the prejudices aside and start practicing meditation.

There are some really famous meditation apps like Calm, headspace and waking up. But they all have quite expensive premium plans, which probably stops many people from using it. While these apps are good and have some special strengths, especially when it comes to different voices and updates, meditation does not have to cost you anything. Smiling Mind is non-profit and 100% free. They have lessons for body scan, better sleep, general mindfulness and even lessons which you could listen to while on you way to work. So there is basically no excuse anymore to at least give it a try. I am not saying you will have immediate improvements in your quality of life, but if you stick to it for a while, you will notice you will become more calm, more rational, more grateful and it will be easier for you to set your mind into the state you currently desire.

7#: Stay Up to Date with Feedly

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Last but not least: Quality of life also means that I have an easy and comfortable way of staying up to date. I do not want to browse 20 different news pages, blogs and other media to get the information I want.

Feedly is basically like our good old friend RSS feeds, but with a more modern approach. Good bye information overload: Just follow the topics and publishers you are interested in and display the latest news in the format you prefer: Text only, Cards, Magazine, compact or with more space - you name it.

Anything missing in my list? Let me know in the comments.

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oshell

@oshell

Full-Stack Software Developer with expertise in javascript and php based frameworks. I like to build stuff from scratch.

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