These are the best iPhone apps and games of 2024 so far, according to Apple

Apple Design Award 2024 logo
The Design Awards are given out each year (Image credit: Apple)

Every year Apple hands out Design Awards to the apps and games that it thinks really stand out (the 2023 winners are here): it's a prestigious accolade, and the shortlist for the 2024 batch of awards has now been announced.

The full list (via Neowin) is split into seven categories, covering Delight and Fun, Inclusivity, Innovation, Interaction, Social Impact, Visuals and Graphics, and Spatial Computing. The winners are set to be named at WWDC 2024, which gets underway on June 10.

There are some top-tier apps here. In Delight and Fun we've got Dudel Draw for drawing, Bears Gratitude for journaling, and Rooms for playing around with 3D spaces. The games in this category are the chaotic racer What The Car?, the more slow-paced NYT Games, and the "sweet adventure" Hello Kitty Island Adventure.

For Inclusivity we have Oko to help pedestrians, Complete Anatomy 2024 to reveal the wonders of the human body, and Tiimo, a calendar app for neurodivergent people. In this category the games are the meditative Unpacking, the puzzler Quadline, and the brilliantly colorful Crayola Adventures.

Heading into the Innovation category, the apps list features Copilot for helping you with your finances, SmartGym for helping you with your fitness, and Procreate Dreams for digital art. Games-wise, there's the actioner Call of Duty: Warzone, the graphic novel-esque Lost in Play, and the board game adaptation Wavelength.

Interaction and impact

A laptop on a red and pink background showing the Apple Design Awards 2024 shortlist

Apple's WWDC 2024 invite (Image credit: Apple)

As for Interaction, Procreate Dreams appears again, and we've got the Arc Search app that's taking on Google (which we're fans of) and the Crouton app for managing recipes. The games here are the "engagingly eerie" Little Nightmares, music rhythm game Rytmos, and Finity, which is a thoughtful matching game.

When it comes to the Social Impact finalists, the picks are How We Feel, Ahead: Emotions Coach, and Gentler Streak Fitness Tracker (as previously featured on TechRadar), all designed to improve your well-being. The games in this category are visual novel The Wreck, city sim Cityscapes: Sim Builder, and bedtime experience The Bear.

For Visuals and Graphics, the finalists are Sunlitt for tracking the sun, Meditate for tracking your meditations, and Rooms again. The games shortlisted for this category are Death Stranding Director's Cut – which looks fantastic, even on mobile – then the imaginative and immersive Lies of P and turn-based combat game Honkai: Star Rail.

The final category (with a nod to the Apple Vision Pro) is Spatial Computing. Here we've got the apps Sky Guide (for stargazing), NBA (for basketball), and Djay (for music making). The games shortlisted here are "effervescent rhythm game" Synth Riders, and the peaceful puzzlers Blackbox and Loóna.

We haven't been able to test out all these apps and games, but they all seem to be of a very high quality – as you would expect, if they've been shortlisted by Apple. Maybe give some of them a try while we wait for WWDC 2024 to roll round next month.

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.