10 best history apps for iPhone and iPad

The app is split into sections, from major public works and the army to globalisation and the fall of the empire; tap one, and then move between pages by swiping your finger. Each page is self-contained, packed with text and imagery giving you plenty of history to work your way through, with the interactive elements dotted around. It's beautifully presented and laid out, although it would be nice to be able to magnify the text on certain pages.

However, if you're looking for an immersive way to re-examine the history of this powerful civilisation, then Virtual History - Roma is a must-have. Other Virtual History guides have also been released, covering Leonardo's Last Supper painting and the Italian city of Florence.

3. Building Titanic

Avoid that sinking feeling with this incredible look back at RMS Titanic's construction

Price: Free
Works with: iPad


Building Titanic concentrates on the ship's construction, and what the engineering feats involved represented at the time. Backed by the National Geographic Channel and James Cameron, the app's success comes as no surprise, superbly capturing the detail of Titanic's genesis from plans to completion.

There's a timeline covering key points during Titanic's construction, from approval of the ship's design and laying of the keel to the completion of the building and fitting-out process. A representative model of the ship as it takes shape appears at each point, and moving backwards and forwards through the timeline sees it rising up or disappearing back depending on the direction of travel.

As you move between each key event, you'll see + symbols appear over various parts of the screen - tap one to learn more about specific parts of the ship's construction, including design choices that would ultimately cost lives. The text doesn't go into any great depth, but provides a good summary of that part of the ship-building process, and is accompanied by images, or in some cases, video footage.

4. NHM: Evolution

Compressing 600 millions years of natural history into one app

Price: £9.99 / $13.99
Works with: iPad

NHM: Evolution

It seems like a daunting task, but when you've got the Natural History Museum behind you, you've every chance of success. This app gives you everything you could want to know about the earth's history, and provides you with a number of different ways of accessing it.

Timeline gives you an overview of the major periods covered - including eons and eras, while Timeglobe lets you view the changing face of the Earth's mass using a 3D globe.

The most impressive section is, however, the Timeband, which stitches together 100 artworks depicting the earth's evolution through species and landscapes. Tap on any part of the screen to reveal pop-up details and access to great swathes of information and illustrations. Throw in an interactive 3D fossil exhibition, tutorial videos and library containing potted biographies of evolutionary pioneers, and you could easily lose yourself in this app for an epoch or two.

5. Pyramids 3D

Take a virtual 3D tour of famous Egyptian pyramids and tombs

Price: £9.99 / $13.99
Works with: iPad


If you're a fan of Egyptian history then this is a must-have, providing an interactive 3D tour of the world-famous Giza Plateau, home to the Great Pyramid, Great Sphinx and numerous tombs. The app allows you to view many of these in interactive 3D, providing an expert's audio introduction to each landmark before allowing you to explore.

You can manually move between chambers, but a number of shortcuts exist to help you quickly jump to the areas of most interest. The app also comes with two additional sections: a gallery of virtual objects you can tilt, rotate and zoom into as you read their descriptions, plus a traditional book outlining a brief history of Egypt before focussing on Giza.