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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The 35 Best Free Apple iPhone Apps

If 'free' is the magic word when you're shopping for iPhone apps, this essential set of 35 should be on your list.

Apple iPhone 4S

I've paid for precisely two Apple iPhone apps out of my own pocket… and one was a fat-finger mistake (my pudgy paws slipped on the "buy" button, and I entered my password without realizing what I was doing). "Free" is the magic word for me. When I hear about a fantastic app for the iPhone, I always check to see if I can find a free alternative that's just as good. Every so often, I'll even find a free one that beats the tar out of the paid app.

Apps are what transform the iPhone from mobile phone to pocket PC. Without them, you might as well be carrying around that old flip phone you had in 2004 that could play an 8-bit knock off version of Tetris. Okay, it would still be better in many ways, but you get the point. We at PCMag spend thousands of hours each year scouring iTunes, speaking with developers, reviewing the best apps we find, and hunting for hidden gems. If there's an app that makes owning the iPhone more worthwhile, we find out about it. And if they're free—hey, even better.

The 35 apps that made the cut for this list are the ones that have shown outstanding performance, have been well received by a variety of technology users, and are free. And "free" means free. No gimmicks, no "membership required." Free. Period.

Missing from this list are apps and features (like Siri) that come pre-installed on the iPhone, although they are certainly not to be overlooked. The YouTube, Maps, and Clocks apps in particular should not be ignored, while the iTunes, Music (formerly called iPod app), and App Store apps typically see a fair share of well-deserved usage, but I suppose you technically paid for them because you bought the phone, so they're not really free. In any case, you don't need to choose to download them, so we're not listing them here.

If you have more recommendations for more free apps that we at PCMag need to check out, post your suggestions in the comments.—Next: Apps 1-10 >