Blog Archives

Textie for iPhone Sends Free Text Messages [IPhone Apps]

Textie is a free iPhone application that sends free text messages to email addresses, most cellphones, and other Textie users. Textie doesn’t dip into your monthly messaging plan, so it’s basically unlimited texting. More »







MapQuest 4 Mobile Brings Free Turn-by-Turn, Voice-Guided GPS to iPhone [Downloads]

iPhone: If you’re an iPhone user who’s jealous of Android’s awesome free, turn-by-turn, voice-guided Google Maps Navigation GPS app, here’s some good news: MapQuest just released its own free voice navigation app for the iPhone. More »






Photo Tutor Teaches Basic Camera Exposure on the Go from Your iPhone [Downloads]

iPhone/iPod touch: If you’re interested in getting beyond automatic mode on your camera but don’t have a lot of time, the free versions of Photo Tutor Module Lite 1 and 2 explain the finer points of aperture and shutter speed on-the-go. More »






Ben Color Capture Finds the Perfect Paint Color Match with iPhone Pics [Downloads]

iPhone only: How do you know if the color you want so much for your kitchen renovation is sea foam green or surf green? Let the Ben Color Capture App for iPhone help you figure it out.

Inspiration strikes at the strangest times. You’ll search for the perfect paint color for weeks, only to stumble across it splashed on the side of a city bus advertisement as you’re heading to lunch. Whip out your iPhone, snap a pic, then fire up the Ben app. Open up the picture you just took, tap anywhere on the image that displays the color you like, and the app will name the closest match available in a Benjamin Moore paint color. Alternatively, you can use a picture you’ve already got stored in your camera roll.

A store locator feature lets you know the nearest place that stocks Benjamin Moore paint, so you can run right over and grab some. Once you’ve settled on a paint color you like, the app also clues you in on what other colors will compliment your selection and keep you from making eye-burning choices like purple walls with fuchsia trim.

If you’re planning on doing some repainting, there’s really no reason not to grab this handy and free little app.






Gorillacam Brings Timers, Burst, and More Extra Features to Your iPhone’s Camera [Downloads]

iPhone only: The iPhone’s built-in camera is capable, but its features (or lack thereof) aren’t exactly electrifying. Gorillacam adds all the tools you wish the default Camera app had and then some, including timed shots, time-lapse, burst mode, and more.

If you've ever watched the perfect shot pass you by because you're stuck waiting for the last photo you took to save to the Camera Roll, then you'll love Gorillacam's Auto-Save—it works in the background to save pictures while you keep taking more. If you want to take your pics at set intervals anywhere from one second to two minutes apart, then fire up the Time-Lapse feature. Alternatively, you could use 3-Shot Burst to take three rapid-fire pics in succession.

Gorillacam’s got enough features right there to make this free app well worth the download, but Gorillacam does even more. A countdown timer lets you take self-portraits, and Grid Overlay helps you line up and compose shots like a pro. Add to that a shot-leveler and a toggle that turns the whole screen into a shutter button and you’ve got yourself a must-have app to enhance your iPhone’s camera.

Gorillacam comes from the same company that brought you this awesome mobile phone tripod and the classic Gorillapod, and the app really goes to the heart of several missing features in the iPhone’s camera app. What dream feature would make your phone’s camera perfect? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Gorillacam [Joby]






Most Popular Free iPhone Apps (and Posts) of 2009 [Best Of 2009]

The iPhone is the most popular cellphone in the country, and with good reason. Despite occasionally awful choices by Apple, it still has the most—and best—applications around. Here are the most popular free iPhone apps (and posts) of 2009.

As with our most popular Windows downloads and Mac downloads of 2009, this collection of applications is based solely on the popularity of the associated post here on Lifehacker. We always prefer free applications that offer a little productivity boosting, so this is by no means a complete look at the most popular apps of the 80 billion in the App Store.

First, the downloads

GV Mobile Makes Google Voice the Default for Your iPhone

In April, an industrious iPhone developer released GV Mobile to the iTunes App Store. It was followed by other Google Voice apps, and then Apple went brain dead and removed every Google Voice application from the App Store (along with rejecting Google’s official Voice app). Annoying, to be sure, but users still willing to jailbreak can still get GV Mobile for free on Cydia.

Stanza Turns Your iPhone into a Kindle, Kindle App Counters

At the beginning of the year, the beautiful Stanza (iTunes link) iPhone app came along and wowed us with how good ebook reading on the iPhone could be. Then, when Kindle for iPhone (iTunes link) was released a few months later, it gave iPhone users a pretty good reason not to buy a Kindle. In the end, Amazon liked Stanza so much they ended up buying it, so that’s probably the app we’d choose.

RunKeeper is Like Nike+ for Your iPhone—Only Better

RunKeeper (available in free and pro versions) uses your iPhone’s GPS to do some seriously cool tracking for your running, walking, or biking routine. Apple was extremely slow in bringing Nike+ to the iPhone (once they did, it only supported 3GS), and even then it doesn’t take advantage of the fact that the iPhone has a built in GPS and excellent mapping capabilities. RunKeeper is an excellent alternative to people who don’t want to pay for the Nike+ dongle, want advanced GPS and mapping capabilities, or don’t have an iPhone 3GS. Still, if we could marry these two apps, we happily would.

Email ‘n Walk Lets You Multitask Without Getting Hit By a Car

We get it. You are seriously busy, and you don’t have time to make sure you don’t walk into traffic while you’re composing that email. Email n’ Walk overlays an email composition window on top of the view from your iPhone’s camera, so you can type out an email and watch where you’re going. It was free when we first covered it; now it’ll set you back a buck.

Dropbox Comes to the iPhone and iPod touch

Dropbox is far and away our favorite file syncing tool, so we were thrilled this September when Dropbox for iPhone (iTunes link) finally made its way to the iPhone. Users can access any of their synced files, view files supported by the iPhone (including documents, photos, music, and video), upload photos and video to Dropbox, and save files for offline viewing. Handy.

CardStar Creates Scanner-Friendly Bonus Cards on iPhones

Lifehacker readers hate a bulging wallet, which is presumably why CardStar (iTunes link) resonated. The free app replaces keychain tags and wallet-cluttering bonus/discount/rewards/”shopper’s club” cards with scanner-friendly barcodes that live on your iPhone. Users report mixed results in the App Store, but if it does the trick in place of your rewards card, it could be worth the download.

Skype for iPhone Brings Reliable VoIP to Your Pocket

Skype is far and away the most popular VoIP service, so it’s understandable that people were pretty excited when it finally made its official plunge onto the iPhone with Skype for iPhone (iTunes link).

Dragon Dictation Does Voice-to-Text Transcription on Your iPhone

You spend plenty of time typing at the computer all day, so we forgive you if you’re not eager to continue pecking away at the software keyboard on your iPhone. Dragon Dictation (iTunes link) does voice-to-text transcription you can copy to your clipboard and use anywhere.

Epicurious App Puts an Entire Cookbook in the Palm of Your Hand

Epicurious for iPhone (iTunes link) puts access to over 25,000 recipes from the likes of Gourmet and Bon Appetit at your fingertips. When you find something you like (I seriously love this app and would strongly recommend the simple-yet-delicious Mario Batali Basic Tomato Sauce), you can add it to your favorites, generate a shopping list, and get cooking. The entirety of The Gourmet Cookbook is inside this killer kitchen supplement.

Put Google Calendar and Notes on Your iPhone Wallpaper

By default, the iPhone lock screen shows you the time, date, and possibly a pretty picture. With gCalWall Lite, your home screen also displays your upcoming Google calendar appointments. Handy.


And now, the popular iPhone-specific posts/how-tos:

Set Up “Push” Alerts for Anything from Your Computer to Your Phone

When push notifications finally rolled out to iPhone 3.0 this year, lots of applications started using them—but not everything we wanted. In this guide, we demonstrate how to use Growl (for Mac and Windows) in conjunction with Prowl (iTunes link), a $3 iPhone app, to set up push notifications for virtually anything. Our guide focused on Gmail push (which wasn’t available at the time, and still isn’t available with message previews), but anything that sends an alert with Growl can also work with Prowl, so your options are only limited by your creativity.

Enable Tethering on Your iPhone 3G or 3GS Running 3.1.2

It's been a feature of the iPhone forever now, but AT&T is still dragging its feet on iPhone tethering—that is, allowing users to enjoy their iPhone's data connection on their laptops. We've shown you how to enable tethering on your iPhone 3G or 3GS running 3.1.2 (the latest iPhone OS), and before that we helped you pull it off with the 3.0 OS. You may not want to tempt the AT&T billing gods with flagrant use of this one (wild fees may apply if AT&T decides they do), but it's a godsend in a pinch.


Got a favorite iPhone app we covered (or didn’t) in 2009 that you love? Let’s hear more about it in the comments.




Dragon Dictation Does Voice-to-Text Transcription on Your iPhone [Downloads]

iPhone: If you’ve ever looked into text-to-speech transcription for your computer, you’ve certainly come across Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Now the folks at Dragon have developed their own iPhone app that lets you dictate to your iPhone—and it works really well.

The app is a breeze to use. Just fire it up and press the Record button to start dictating. When you’re finished, Dragon will put together its best estimation of what you said (I was surprised at its accuracy). If it’s not quite right, you can edit the text with a keyboard or tap on individual words for alternate suggestions. When the text is just how you want it, Dragon can copy the text to your clipboard and optionally launch a new email or text message. If you’re not a fan of the iPhone’s soft keyboard, Dragon Dictation might be right up your alley.

Dragon Dictation is currently a free download, requires iPhone 3.1 OS or later.

Dragon Dictation [iTunes App Store]






Mark the Spot Lets You Tell AT&T Exactly Where Your iPhone Crapped Out [Downloads]

iPhone: Say what you will about the iPhone as a device, but if there's one consistent weak spot for U.S. users (particularly in cities like New York), it's AT&T's service—specifically frequent dropped calls. Mark the Spot quickly reports your problems.

The app is a breeze to use. Whenever you experience a dropped call, failed call, lack of coverage, data failure, or poor voice quality, just fire up the app, select the problem and frequency with which you experience it, and submit your report. The app uses your phone's location awareness to let AT&T know where their service went afoul. You can also attach a note if you're feeling really generous. In a perfect world you'd never need to worry about reporting problems, but it's nice to know it's an option.

Mark the Spot is a free download, iPhone only.

AT&T Mark the Spot [iTunes App Store via Gizmodo]






Fring Puts Video Calls on Your iPhone [Downloads]

iPhone only: Previously mentioned mobile VoIP and chat application Fring has updated their iPhone app with support for streaming video calls. It’s a great feature, but it does have a catch.

If you’re unfamiliar with Fring, it’s a messaging application that integrates with everything from Skype and Google Talk to Facebook and AIM. For most, the VoIP feature comes via Skype. With the new update, iPhone and iPod touch users with a Wi-Fi connection can make and receive video calls via Fring or Skype and watch your contact from your phone. Unfortunately the video chat is only a one-way video thing for now, meaning either you can watch your friend talk or your friend can watch you talk. This is, of course, a limitation of the iPhone and its non-front-facing camera. The folks at Fring assure us that two-way video calls will be available as soon as the iPhone gets a front-facing camera.

Two-way video or not, it’s great to see a first step in this direction for the iPhone. Video calling may not be an everyday sort of event (I do plenty of things while I’m on the phone that the person I’m talking to doesn’t need or want to see), but it’s certainly got its place, and it’ll be nice to take video chat out of our computer monitors.

Fring is a free download.

Fring [iTunes App Store via Fring Blog]






MapQuest Navigator Brings Cheap Turn-by-Turn GPS to the iPhone [Downloads]

iPhone only: Mapquest Navigator is a new turn-by-turn application for the iPhone that brings GPS to your phone on a budget. The question is: When will Google Maps do the same?

The application costs $1 in the App Store, which buys you a 14-day trial. If you decide you like the app and want to continue using it once those 14 days are up, MapQuest Navigator requires you pay subscription pricing: $4/month, $10/quarter, or $30/year—which makes it a good deal less expensive than AT&T's $10/month subscription GPS app.

MapQuest Navigator is far from the first turn-by-turn GPS in the App Store, but it is one of the least expensive for the feature set it offers (though you can’t get any cheaper than previously mentioned Waze‘s free offering). All the maps and directions come over your data connection, which means it’s a light download and generally will have up-to-date points of interest, but if you’ve got a bad data connection you may be better off opting for one of the offline GPS apps like Navigon or TomTom.

Still, the most interesting thing about MapQuest releasing a GPS app: It makes one wonder just how long it’ll be before Google offers their own (presumably free) turn-by-turn GPS app. We know Google can do text-to-speech (hell, they’re even great at speech-to-text), and now that they’re tracking traffic conditions for freeways, highways, and major streets, it seems like a natural progression. On top of that, I’ve tested a lot of turn-by-turn GPS apps, and Google Maps is still the app that does the best job of locating me quickly and accurately on a map.

MapQuest Navigator is currently available for the iPhone only.

MapQuest Navigator [iTunes App Store via MapQuest Blog via Gizmodo]






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