There are more than a million apps (programs for your smartphone and tablet) out there for fun, guidance, distraction, and information.

Here are 10 apps handpicked just for you to enjoy:


TED – TED is food for the brain (without the calories). The app offers access to truly brilliant, inspirational, and educational talks. Each talk is less than 20 minutes.


Find Friends – If you’re meeting up with someone and you want to know where they are, or if you want to check where your family member or friend is on the road without calling or texting, you can see their progress on a map.

Everyone you track or who tracks you must opt-in, so you won’t be able to track your friends or be tracked without explicit consent.


Skype – Skype allows you to video conference, text, or call for free or at a fraction of the price all over the globe. If you’re in a Wi-Fi area, you can connect free of charge or bank money in your Skype account to make calls.


Productive – Productive has a higher goal than other “to-do” apps. You don’t simply tick items off of a list; it encourages you to change routines and habits.

Lists are simple to browse, and the calendar pages make tracking progress a breeze.


Pixify – Pixify transforms photos into tiny works of painted art. Simply select which artwork you’d like your photo to imitate, or use the custom tab to change brush size, style, and image resolution.


Triposo – Triposo elevates itself above most travel guide apps with 50,000 destinations worldwide complete with information on bars, restaurants, hotels, tours, and attractions.

It works offline, which is perfect for when you’re ambling about somewhere new without a data connection.


Citymapper – If you live in or visit one of the cities listed (which include London, Paris, Berlin, and New York), Citymapper is a great tool to easily find your way around.

It zeros in on your location and then provides travel options, routing, and, where possible, live times for transit.


Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock – Sleep Cycle analyzes your sleep and provides detailed statistics when you wake.

It constantly checks out what phase of sleep you’re in and tries to wake you at the best possible time, in a gentle way. It helps you feel refreshed and relaxed on waking up.


Pocket – Save for later what you can’t read or watch now. You store articles, videos, or pretty much anything into Pocket. It works directly with your browser or with apps like Twitter and Flipboard.


Mint – Track, budget, and manage your finances all in one place so you can see where you’re spending and where you can save.

Keep a record of your savings, checking accounts, and credit or debit cards; input transactions; and set reminders for dates, such as bill payments, to avoid late fees.


Ask your friends to recommend apps to add to your smartphone, and be sure to check out the list of 100 free recommended apps under Helpful Guides on

Happy apping!


Abby Stokes, author of “Is This Thing On?” A Friendly Guide to Everything Digital for Newbies, Technophobes, and the Kicking & Screaming and its companion website,, is the Johnny Appleseed of Technology, singlehandedly helping more than 300,000 people cross the digital divide.

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