My Current Favorite iPhone Apps

If you have seen me recently, you have probably also seen my iPhone 6+. It's a pretty big piece of equipment considering the 5.5″ screen, but I love it. It takes super clear and crisp photos and has lots of storage for the audio and video files I need to have at my fingertips so much of the time.

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I used to download every new app I thought would be fun and interesting, even if I was not sure I was likely to use it. While I still download the occasional probably-useless-but-fun app, I recently deleted dozens of apps from my phone because I got tired of seeing so many things I neither need nor use. Now that I've reduced things to a manageable number of apps that actually enhance my productivity, I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you. Except for the native Apple products, most are available as Android downloads too.

My Current Favorite iPhone Apps

Dropbox

Dropbox is my first choice for graphic and MP3 storage. My team and I can upload and exchange files. I can download any graphic onto my phone's camera roll and upload it to any site or blog. It's also super useful to store raw and edited audio files so our archives are organized and easy to find.

HootSuite

I have tried Buffer, Edgar and Tweetdeck, and HootSuite is still my favorite. The mobile and Web versions syncs easily. I store the same columns and lists on both, so it's easy for me t keep up with all of the conversations. My current columns and lists are: IBN members, replies to Indie Business, home feed, Tweets from Indie Business, scheduled Tweets from Indie Business and replies to Donna Maria (my personal Twitter account).

Success Magazine

This is my favorite magazine, and as a subscriber, I can use the app for free to read and listen to the each issue on my iPhone or iPad! I love the entrepreneurial stories and the free CD that comes with every issue. No matter where I am, inspiring like-minded people are a tap away with this magazine and it's convenient app.

Wall Street Journal

I like to read, and I was trained as a journalist in college, so when I need a news fix, instead of turning to the mini updates on social media, I read in-depth reports and stories prepred by actual journalists. The app is free, but you need to subscribe to WSJ to use it. I love getting my national and international news here.

NPR

NPR does a fantastic job of synthesizing news stories in audio format. My local NPR station carries lots of my favorite shows, including Diane Rehm, Marketplace, This American Life and so many more. I can stream the station live or catch up on favorite shows I miss with the app's easy to navigate archives.

Facebook

I love using Facebook with my phone because the interface is cleaner and less cluttered than the Web interface. I use it a lot with Dropbox to download and post graphics to the Indie Business Network member private Facebook group. I love not having to be on my laptop to interact with my members on Facebook.

Flipboard

Flipboard is a great way to find new stories that interest you. Once you set up an account, you can choose from hundreds of “magazines” or topics that interest you: life, meditation, yoga, small business, cupcakes, marketing, hair, cars, space travel … You name it, you'll find stories about it, curated by people all over the world. You can even create your own magazines to share your passions with like-minded people. I turn to this app a lot while waiting in line at place like the department of motor vehicles or when I just feel like I want to learn a little bit about something new.

Pomodoro Timer

The Pomodoro Timer app helps me boost productivity by allowing me to set the timer to 25 minutes and work on a single task for that amount of time. When the timer goes off, I take a short break, and then repeat the process until the task (or the part of the task I am doing at that time) has been completed. It's totally customizable so you can set the timer to less than 25 minutes if you'd like. You can also program multiple time sequences throughout the day. I am slowly discovering that when I set a timer, I am more focused on the task at hand.

This app has helped me get better at predicting how much time a specific task should take me. With the timer, I often stick to that exact time frame, thus shaving hours off my week.

There are lots of other Pomodoro-themed apps out there. You can Google to find your favorite. I like this one for simplicity. I don't need a lot of fancy bells and whistles to stay on track.

FitBit

This app tracks my steps daily and automatically shares them to my personal Twitter account. I also use it to track my sleep patterns. The iPhone app syncs with my laptop, but I don't really use the laptop version. I follow a few friends and we “cheer” each other one from time to time. I mainly use this app as a daily conviction that I need to walk more daily.

Instagram

While I only post once or twice a day at most, I love this app for the beautiful pictures and graphics I can share and for all the fun stuff I can look at. I use it to post my short video business tips, pictures of member products, quotes, blog posts and, or course, Maker Biz Chat every Wednesday evening at 8pm ET. Follow me on Instagram.

Face Time

I use Facetime to keep up with my daughter. No matter where she is, we can Face Time each other and not only can I see and talk to her, but I can see exactly where she is in real time. My brother and I also use this app to chat with my mom.

Pandora

Pandora is a music streaming service that allows you to set up “stations” according to your taste in music. You can stream music for free with ads, but I upgraded to the ad-free version and I love it. I pair it with my Jawbone Jambox to play music I like all over the house.

Coffitivy

When I want to get some serious work done at my laptop (like pumping out all of these blog posts for the Blog Your Brand 30-Day Challenge!), I turn on the “white noise” provided by the Coffitivity app. It recreates the ambient sounds of a coffee house to boost creativity and help me work better and more efficiently. I'm not sure how it works, but I do get into a good writing and planning zone when I use it. It's free, give it a try!

Question

What are your favorite iPhone apps? Or maybe you use a different smart phone? Which apps do you like most? Can you recommend any I need to check out or avoid completely? Please share your favorite apps in the comments below, or share on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.