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iPhone apps that make my life easier

by Karen on April 14, 2010

My friend Kacie is thinking about getting a smart phone. She’s been asking me lots of questions about my iPhone, and she requested that I share some of my favorite apps here. Okay!

As someone who doesn’t talk on the phone a lot, I use it more for browsing the Internet and applications than I do for talking. If you’re like me and you’re not a big cell phone user, you might consider getting an iPod Touch instead. Having instant access to the Internet without wi-fi is a really convenient perk, but it’s not necessary if you don’t want to spend the extra money on your cell phone bill.

Here are the ways that the iPhone has made my life easier:

Maps

I am perpetually lost. I have a terrible sense of direction, and even when someone gives me explicit directions, it’s easy for me to get turned around anyway. Now that I have GPS on my iPhone, even if I take a wrong turn, I can map a new course to help me find my way back. The maps aren’t also completely accurate, but they’re usually accurate enough to help me find my way.

Scheduling

I’ve never been able to get it together enough to use a day planner. I always forget to enter appointments or lose the thing entirely. My iPhone calendar is the closest I’ve come to organizing various dates and appointments. I love that I can choose multiple times to alert myself, and because it’s my phone, I check it frequently enough to see when things are coming up.

Comparison shopping

Have you ever bought something for what you thought was a great price, and then kicked yourself later when you found it on sale for cheaper somewhere else? It seems that no matter how much comparison shopping you do beforehand, it’s easy to end up in this positive. I always do a quick search on my iPhone before I buy to make sure that no one else is selling it for cheaper right now.

Road trips

The iPhone has absolutely changed long car trips for us. We invested $30 in an FM transmitter that allows us to broadcast the iPhone through a radio station. In addition to letting us play music from my iPod library, it allows us to listen to episodes of This American Life on its incredible iPhone app and catch up on the news with the NPR News app. We used to burn a ton of CDs with music and podcasts before hitting the road, but now all we need is my tiny little iPhone.

Skype

I haven’t actually tested this yet, so I’ll have to follow when we get back from Europe, but I’m planning on using Skype to help us stay in touch with family while we’re out of the country. Roaming phone and data charges are incredibly expensive overseas. I plan to keep my phone on Airplane Mode while we’re out of the country. This basically turns it into an iPod Touch. I’ll still be able to connect to wi-fi where ever it’s available, which means we can use the Skype app to make phone calls at much cheaper rates. If we connect with other Skype users, it’s even free.

Online banking

Because we keep the bulk of our money in savings accounts, our checking account balance is typically pretty low. It’s really important that we keep up with transactions to make sure we’re not overspending. I often log into our checking account to make sure all of the bills are withdrawing as they should. I also use the Mint.com app occasionally to check our budget and see how we’re doing.

Fitness

The Couch to 5K app made training for my 5K a lot easier and more.

Social Networking

While it’s not the most productive use for a smart phone, connecting to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks where ever you are is a definite perk for smart phones. It makes waiting in a long line much more bearable, and it’s definitely fun to snap a picture and immediately upload it to Facebook or Flickr when I see something interesting.

Do you have a smart phone? What are your favorite ways to use it?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post in any way by AT&T or Apple. But it sure would be nice if they sent me a new iMac. :)

Photo by chanc

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