10 Must Have Apps For The iPhone 4 and 4S

Updated 4/11/12

One of my friends is getting his iPhone 4 delivered tomorrow and last night he kept asking me which apps he had to get and how to use his new phone.  He’s had a Motorola Razr for nie on forever and this will be his first smartphone.

He spent a good part of last night playing around with my phone (a Droid, not an iPhone) trying to learn how about everything these phones can do.

So since I know I’ll be getting asked about which iPhone apps are the best, here is a list of 10 must have apps for the iPhone 4S for everyone to see (but no games, you can find people more qualified to give you game advice than me – I don’t do games).

The iPhone has several really great apps like Siri, iCloud, iTunes, and Facetime already built into the device.   I won’t talk about any of the pre-installed apps since they’re already on your phone, but here are 10 I’d recommend downloading from the App Store.

10 Must Have iPhone Apps

Pandora (free)

With iOS 4, Pandora can finally run in the background so you can listen to music on your phone and do other things, like jot down notes, play games, send texts,  read the New York Time, and so on and so forth.  Pandora is a great way to discover new artists that you might not know you like so if you’re sick of the same old 40 songs being played on the radio, this free app should be one of the first you download from the App Store.  I highly recommend upgrading to Pandora One which does cost $36/yr ($3/month) but lets you listen to unlimited amounts of music instead of the 40 hours a month the free listeners get and Pandora One is commercial free – that alone makes it worth the price of admission for me.


The Weather Channel (free)

There is no shortage of weather apps available for the iPhone but the Weather Channel one is largely regarded as the best.    My favorite part – the ability to view and animate the radar so you can track the path of a storm.  I’ll be honest in admitting that before I got my first smartphone I really didn’t understand why so many people thought you needed a weather app but having an hour by hour forecast sitting in your pocket and being able to look at the radar and see if it’s going to rain (and see for how approximately how long), you’ll start to feel bad for people who have to watch the news or read the newspaper to get their weather forecast.   The weather is hard to predict and having access to real time information is awesome.


Camera Awesome (free) 

With as much focus as Apple has put on making the iPhone’s camera the best smartphone camera on the planet, you’d think their built in app would be all you need.  As it turns out the built in app is pretty darn good but when you want the best, you download Camera Awesome.   With tons of built in features, it’d take me a while to describe all the nifty little things it’ll do for your pictures, so just watch this video instead… and then go download the app and your pictures will be awesomeized.


Car Locator ($1.99)

For those who can’t remember where they parked (like me), this app is for you.  Just fire up this app when you park and tag your location.  When you’re ready to find your car later, just tell the app and it’ll guide you right back to it.  I use a similar app on my phone frequently when I park downtown as I often don’t remember exactly where the heck my car is – saves me a lot of time wondering around lookin’ like a fool… and I look like a fool often enough. :)


One of the greatest apps ever created.  If you’ve ever wanted to know what song is playing on the radio, this app will tell you.  You’d be amazed how often you find yourself using this app whenever a song is playing that you like or just can’t remember the name of it.  However, it does ruin the ability to argue about who sings the song playing on the radio so if you enjoy that kind of thing, then don’t download this one.



This is a great app for jotting down notes, ideas, voice recordings, pictures, and videos.  And the great part is that it will instantly sync to your computer so you have all the info is there for you when you’re ready to act on it.  Yeah, Siri has some similar functionality these days, but I still like Evernote.



With this restaurant you can find a restaurant with open tables and make a reservation all from your phone without making a single phone call – just push a couple buttons and you have a reservation… it’s that simple.  If the only restaurant you ever visit is McDonald’s then you don’t need this app but it does come in handy for finding nice local places where you can have a glass of wine and eat your foot with a real metal fork.


Taxi Magic

While this one probably isn’t applicable to people in all parts of the country, this app allows you to hail a cab from your iPhone and if you’re in a supported city, it’s extremely useful.  For those who are looking to rent a car on the cheap, I’d recommend checking out the relatively new app called GetAround.  Right now it’s just in a few cities in California but I think it’s the kind of idea that could take off quickly as it allows regular people like you and me to rent out of vehicles when we’re not using them.


Remember The Milk

This is an online to do list and task manager and a sweet one at that.  It was based off this idea.  Let’s say your wife gives you a call and asks you to pick up milk on the way home.  Of course you might drive past three grocery stores before you even remember and then you have to turn around.  This app is location aware and will remind you that you need milk when you’re driving past the grocery store.    It does a lot more than that but I think that helps you get a pretty good idea how this app works.



Need directions to the nearest airport, police station, or coffee shop?  Then you need AroundMe as that’s exactly what this app does.


Looking for even more great iPhone apps?   Here are some more lists:

The Apple iPhone 4 - Now With Multitasking!

Related posts:

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  2. Lost My iPhone – How To Track A Stolen iPhone
  3. 10 Must Have Android Apps
  4. HTC EVO 4G Vs Apple iPhone 4
About Gary Ruplinger

Often writing at a coffee shop and typically powered by three shots of espresso, Gary Ruplinger loves gadgets, smartphones, apps, and when not writing about these topics, he's typically playing with one of those nifty little devices.

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