The apps that should be pre-installed on every smartphone

The lack of widgets, alternate keyboards and the like mean that iOS isn't quite as customisable as Android, but there are still a lot of essential apps available and while Apple has done a reasonable job of covering the basics, we reckon there are a lot of things that should be pre-installed but aren't.



The optimal media apps to have pre-installed on an iPhone are pretty similar to those for Android. YouTube once again is essential, because, well, it's YouTube.

If you want to watch videos that you already have stored on your phone then VLC for iOS is a superb option, with file support that far exceeds most of its competitors.

For music the stock player actually does a pretty good job and there's not much in the way of compelling competition on the App Store, but it could definitely do with Shazam being installed to help you identify unknown songs.


The same two apps rule the social roost on iOS as on Android: Facebook and Twitter. Not only are both of these used by an enormous number of people but their respective apps are a lot slicker and easier to use than their mobile websites.


There aren't really any alternate SMS apps on iOS, so love it or hate it you're stuck with stock. That said, SMS isn't the only messaging option. Skype allows you to make free video and voice calls and send free text messages over 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi, making it pretty invaluable, and Facebook Messenger's Chat Heads are starting to gain traction.

We would recommend BBM - but we're not sure the service will still be active when you're reading this (we jest, of course).

Entertainment / news


There are hundreds of different news sources on the App Store. That's great but it's also a problem if you're interested in more than a few of them, as launching a dozen different apps just to get your news and entertainment fix is far from fun.

That's where Flipboard comes in. It combines all of your favourite news sources and topics into a single feed, making it easy to digest.


While online shopping has become seriously big business in recent years there are still just two shops that really dominate the market: Amazon and eBay.

Between the two of them you can find just about anything, new or old and get it at a competitive price. Most people surely already shop at these places anyway so Apple should save everyone some time and just pre-install their apps on iPhones. If it was allowed to. It's not. Other retail services are available.


Public transport can be a nightmare at times, particularly when things don't go according to plan. Trains are late or cancelled, platforms change and before you know it you're stranded in Littlehampton.

But with the help of thetrainline that can be avoided, or at least if the worst does happen you can easily work out the quickest way home.

It gives you live train information, including times and platforms and its 'next train home' feature will tell you how to get home as fast as humanly possible, so you can get back to watching game shows and taking pictures of your cat.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.