Before the iPhone came along, no-one really thought much about applications – especially on a phone.
But Apple created its own ecosystem and before long the “app store” was thriving.
Now there are millions of them all clamouring for space on your iPhone or iPad.
Some of them are de-facto downloads, like WhatsApp, Facebook and maybe even LinkedIn. But others are rare gems that maybe fulfil only one specific purpose.
The thing is, there are new apps being produced all the time – and it can get confusing if you don’t know where to start.
Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 iOS apps that you should download right now. We’ll keep this list updated as new apps emerge, so be sure to check back regularly.
Trying to organise a game of 5-a-side football can sometimes feel like herding cats, but MyLocalPitch promises to take the hassle out of booking a venue.
Billed as the ‘Airbnb of sports’, the app lets you search for and instantly book sports facilities, based on your current location or a specific postcode.
There are listings for 17 different sports – including football, tennis, netball, badminton and squash – and each can be paid for securely through the app.
An interactive map lets you explore pitches and courts in your desired location and view professional photographs before placing an online booking.
The app is well laid out and simple to use, with helpful information such as parking, opening hours and facilities – including changing rooms and floodlights.
MyLocalPitch currently only covers sports venues in London, Dublin and Manchester, but the company behind the app hopes to expand to more cities soon.
It has become trendy for couples to use hashtags on social media to gather together all the photos taken by family and friends on their wedding day.
But one slip of the hand and #MegAndTomGotHitched becomes #MegAndTimGotHitched, leaving your precious pictures at the bottom of an internet black hole.
Now photo-sharing app Shoto has launched a new Weddings and Events feature, designed to make it easier for newlyweds to collect photos into one shareable album.
Guests can download Shoto before the big day, and the app’s “Album Match” feature will use artificial intelligence to automatically detect who has taken photos, and prompt them to begin sharing.
The app is also capable of pulling in photos guests have shared on social media using custom hashtags – with the user’s permission.
Shoto isn’t the only app to offer a shared wedding album feature, but its uncluttered user interface and clever AI technology make it one of the most intuitive around.
If you’re single and have a beard – or a penchant for stroking beards – then Bristlr is the dating app for you.
Bristlr allows you to find local people near you, and filter by distance, age, whether or not they have a beard.
It even has a built-in “Lothario detector”, which alerts you if an incoming message has been copied and sent to other people, to help you avoid bad matches.
Although beards may sound like a niche interest, the app has proved popular, claiming to have created more than half a million connections worldwide.
Developer John Kershaw turned heads Dragon’s Den, with all five dragons offering to invest in his business.
Bristlr has been described as “feminist-friendly”, with women reporting to have received fewer “creepy” messages than on other dating apps like Tinder.
Whether that speaks in favour of the app itself, or simply the bearded men that use it, is hard to say.
Having a newborn baby can be very lonely, with 60% of new mums often going through a full day without adult interaction – a situation that can sometimes lead to post-natal depression.
Described as “Tinder meets NCT group”, Mush is an app that lets mothers see other mums in a nearby radius, along with their interests, age, how many children they have, and any shared connections.
If they find someone on the app they like the look of, they can ask them to meet up immediately or organise a play date in the future.
Mums can also use the app to find and recommend child-friendly activities in their local area, and access guides on everything from potty training to non-alcoholic cocktails.
It’s still early days for Mush, having only launched in April 2016, but it already has over 40,000 users, the majority of whom are in the UK.
It’s available on iOS and Android, and has received rave reviews from mothers who have used it to build a support network for themselves.
The astronomical success of Niantic’s Pokemon Go has kickstarted a trend for mobile games that project video game mechanics onto the real world.
The latest is Snatch, an augmented reality treasure hunting game that has you running around town collecting parcels that contain prizes.
Players must hold onto each parcel for six hours without it being snatched by another player before they can open it and reveal the prize.
Most of the parcels contain coins, which can be used to buy tools to defend against snatchers, but some contain real-world prizes like pizza for a year, flights to Europe, free clothing from TopShop and two-month passes to Now TV. Some “Golden Parcels” even contain cash prizes.
The game itself is a lot less slick than Pokemon Go, and of course it has nowhere near the number of players, but it’s entertaining enough and, for many, the chance to win prizes will be enough of a draw in itself.
Whether you’re gay or straight, there’s no shortage of apps offering to help you find a date.
But for gay men in particular, wading through the sea of naked torsos and pornographic images on apps like Tinder and Grindr can be an intimidatinga dating app called Chappy has launched, claiming to offer more choice for gay men looking for relationships.
Founded by Made in Chelsea star Ollie Locke, who famously came out as gay on the reality TV show, Chappy users are required to show their faces in their profile pictures, and all accounts are verified through Facebook.
The app also features a sliding scale, allowing users to specify whether they are looking for “Mr Right” or “Mr Right Now”, so they are only matched with compatible men.
With the Christmas holidays looming, many parents will be racking their brains for fun activities to keep their kids entertained over the festive break.
Hoop is a free app which lists over 35,000 events and activities for kids nationwide each month – from baby raves and coding camps to art workshops and dance classes.
Just enter your postcode and the age of your child to bring up a list of suitable events in your area. You can browse by category, or use the app’s filters to home in on the things that matter most to you – from free activities to events that are within walking distance.
Listings are full of useful information, such as age suitability, pricing and travel times, and if tickets are required, you can book them through the app.
There’s even a forward planning feature, so you can get their whole schedule filled up in advance, with just a few taps.
If you have a chronic illness that requires repeat prescriptions, you probably find yourself visiting the GP and the pharmacy more often than you’d like.
But whether you suffer from Asthma or Diabetes, a new app called Echo aims to make managing your medication a whole lot easier.
Founded by former LloydsPharmacy and Apple execs, Echo lets you order repeat prescriptions and get them delivered directly to your door.
All you have to do is enter the details of your GP surgery, along with the name of the medication you need (you can do this by scanning the barcode), and Echo will set you up with one of its partner pharmacies.
The app features smart reminders, which tell users when to take their meds, and warns them when they are about to run out.
All medications are dispatched via Royal Mail. Postage is free, with the exception of scheduled medication, which must be sent recorded delivery.
The world’s biggest dating app has launched a new feature that lets you search for partners based on their resemblance to your favourite celebrity crush.
Whether you dream of dating David Gandy, Kendall Jenner or Justin Bieber, Badoo uses facial recognition technology to find the best matches. The only catch is they have to like you back before you can start chatting.
While the chances of finding a Nicole Scherzinger lookalike may seem slim, Badoo says it has over 350 million users on its platform, so there’s a big pool to choose from.
The app also has a strict identity verification process, which requires users to send in a selfie that is compared to their profile pictures before their profile are approved.
Badoo is less well known in the UK than dating apps like Tinder, Happn and Bumble, but it shares many of the same features – such as swipe to match, in-app chat, and the ability to see who you’ve crossed paths with in real life.
Download Badoo free here
Dice has already made a name for itself as one of the best ticketing apps around, allowing users to browse and buy tickets for gigs, concerts and festivals based on their location and musical tastes.
Now it has become the first to allow fans who can no longer make an event to return their tickets in exchange for a full refund.
The idea is to stop people selling their tickets on secondary ticketing websites, where they are often snapped up by speculators and sold at insane prices. Returned tickets will be offered to other music fans on the waiting list at the original price.