The best entertainment apps for iPhone
Our favorite iPhone apps for having fun with your iPhone, whether stargazing, reading, watching TV or checking out Twitter.
MusicBox (opens in new tab) is a bookmarking system for music. Songs and albums can be sent to the app from Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer or Bandcamp. Metadata is extracted, and stashed songs can be viewed and reordered in various ways.
Tap on a song and you can delve into – and edit – its details, including notes, ratings and tags. The last of those provides another way to filter your collection – useful if it grows large. You can also from these pages access the source and in some cases start playback of a track.
MusicBox is a must for anyone passionate about music. It’s a useful place to stash music you might like but don’t yet want to add to a library. But with all the tagging and sorting options, it could conceivably be a place where you manage all playback from – especially if you use multiple music services.
Chantlings (opens in new tab) is described by its creators as a harmony playground. What you get on firing up the app is four strange little creatures peering at you from within a smallish forest clearing. When tapped, they become ‘active’ and you can play a game of ‘call and response’ with your voice.
Their interpretations are amusing, but the disjointed nature of the interaction feels off. Plug in headphones, though, and the experience is transformed. At that point, the cartoon critters harmonize live as you sing – or provide some other kind of vocal utterance.
It’s enchanting stuff. And although the app’s somewhat gimmicky nature means it’s not something you’ll be using at all hours of the day, it’ll bring a smile to your face every time you do.
Book Track - Library Manager
- Free + $4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99 IAP
Book Track - Library Manager (opens in new tab) has a name that gives you a pretty big hint regarding what it’s all about. It’s for tracking books. More specifically, it’s about keeping tabs on your collection, which of your books you’ve actually got around to reading, and anything currently available on store shelves (virtual or otherwise) you fancy buying.
The interface is sleek and very Apple-like – as is the app in terms of its broader usability. Getting books into the app is straightforward – you can search online, scan a barcode, or manually tap in information. There are varied views, from big cover thumbnails to more space-friendly lists, and the stats section deftly provides an overview of how much reading you’re doing – assuming you don’t cheat and actually fill in the details properly.
- $0.99/79p/AU$1.49 per month
Infuse 7 (opens in new tab) provides a solution for fans of films and TV who have a collection of videos, but feel constricted by limited storage on their iPhones. Rather than having to squeeze said files onto your device, with Infuse 7 you can stream from cloud services and local network drives.
Its home screen can be customized to put what you want front and center. Cover art is automatically applied, and when watching a show, you can download soft subtitles with a couple of taps. Almost all major video and audio formats are supported, meaning you needn’t convert existing files.
The free version doesn’t allow access to cloud storage, nor does it sync playback; however, you can download individual files for when you’re away from home. It’s a solid free player, but go pro and you’ll unlock the best available on the platform.
Television Time (opens in new tab) gives you a fighting chance of tracking all the great shows you’d like to see – regardless of where or when they happen to be airing.
You kick things off by outlining the shows you watch. If you’re already part-way through a series, you can indicate the most recent episode you’ve seen. The Shows tab then lets you know when traditional broadcasts are airing, while To Watch helpfully indicates when you’ve still got 37 episodes of Supernatural to wade through.
There are of course free apps that do this kind of thing, but not with Television Time’s level of polish, smart design, and handy features (including show calendars for the US, and iCloud sync for all). If you enjoy watching TV but not wasting your time, this app’s a superb investment.
EōN by Jean-Michel Jarre
EōN by Jean-Michel Jarre (opens in new tab) more or less inserts the French synth wizard into your iPhone and commands him to play forever. But unlike, say, putting Oxygène on repeat, no two EōN sessions are quite alike.
This isn’t a meditative and ambient river of audio such as you get from Brian Eno’s Reflection, though. EōN clearly has distinct tracks (of sorts), some of which can be quite invigorating and head-bobbing fare, but each play is like a new remix – sounds and riffs will be familiar, but always presented in a slightly different manner.
With offline play, EōN is a must-have for the Jarre fan, but also anyone with an interest in generative electronic audio. It functions well for relaxation, screening distractions, or giving your eyes something to do by way of eye-popping synchronized visuals that dance across the screen during each session.
Reeder 5 (opens in new tab) is a sleek RSS reader. Through RSS, you can subscribe to your favorite websites, safe in the knowledge you’ll never miss an article. Reeder then lets you browse headlines by individual feed, or a combined one that displays all articles in chronological order.
When reading an article, you get plenty of options. There are light and dark modes, and you can adjust the typography and contrast – the latter being a good thing, given that the default setting isn’t terribly readable.
Further handy features are a button that loads entire articles for feeds that initially just supply synopses, and Bionic Reading. The latter aims to encourage in-depth rather than skim-reading, through guiding the eyes via artificial fixation points. Surprisingly, it works. And overall, it adds to what – in its fourth incarnation – remains the best RSS reader on iPhone.
David Bowie is…
David Bowie is… (opens in new tab) reimagines a famous touring exhibition about a music industry icon as an augmented reality experience. You work your way through Bowie’s life story, exploring videos, costumes, handwritten lyrics, and other objects, which sit before you in a pseudo-3D desk-bound view.
Although less directly immersive than Shepard Fairey – Damaged, it’s arguably more accessible, simply due to Bowie’s infusion into popular culture. And although there are limitations on the smaller screen – the slight awkwardness of a letterbox view; costumes looking a bit like videogame character clothing – this is a fascinating glimpse into one of pop music’s most famous and influential artists.
Given the content lurking within, and its price tag being far less than a ticket to the original exhibition, it’s a must-buy for fans and the merely curious alike.
Bloom: 10 Worlds
Bloom: 10 Worlds (opens in new tab) is the follow-up to 2008’s Bloom, in which you tapped the screen to play notes while dots of color emanated from your fingers like ripples in a pond. A decade later, 10 Worlds takes that app’s premise and expands out what was effectively a single into a full album.
You get 10 distinct playgrounds to experiment with. Their sounds are varied, as are their visual effects. Some slash lines horizontally and vertically across the screen, while others soak the canvas in watercolor curtains.
Whether you want to interact or just let 10 Worlds play itself (which it starts doing when left alone for a short while), this is an enchanting ambient audio experience that breathes new life into what was already an iOS classic.