It’s easy to get lost in the sea of apps in Apple’s App store, which makes finding the best free iPhone apps a chore. Don’t worry too much that the App store has over a million apps, a good portion of them with that ideal price tag of zero. Unfortunately, a good number of them are not worth the download. Luckily, we’ve hunted down the top ones for you to download today from music players and health apps to photo and video editors along with many others.
Our picks have been sorted into categories for easy perusing, so you can swiftly jump to the proper section to find a translation app, sat-nav, photo editor, or whatever you’re looking for.
Before you start checking out all the categories to super-charge your phone, take a look first at our free iPhone app of the last month, which we will update every month with a new one to check out. So, make sure to keep this page bookmarked to see our monthly recommendations. If you’re willing to expand into paid apps, take a look at our full guide to the best iPhone apps, which includes both free and paid options.
Free iPhone app of the month
Barcodes (opens in new tab) frees you from having to carry around a small pile of store loyalty cards, access codes, or any other card that has a barcode used to activate something.
Getting started is a cinch: you input barcodes or QR codes by using your camera or a photograph. Each item can have its own name, icon, color and notes to help you more easily spot it in the main list later on. And favorites can be pinned to the top of said list for easy access.
In use, the app maximizes your screen’s brightness, to aid scanners. And your cards conveniently sync between devices and can even be accessed on an Apple Watch. Pay up and you can sync them with Wallet, too, and go beyond the ten-card limit. But even for free, this one’s a must.
The best free iPhone video editors and animation apps
These are our favorite free iPhone apps for quickly editing videos, GIFs and Live Photos, and for creating stop-motion animation.
DoubleTake (opens in new tab) transforms a single iPhone into a multi-cam studio by letting you capture footage from two of your device’s cameras simultaneously. With a supported iPhone (XS/XR or newer), you can shoot two different focal lengths of the same subject, or use front and rear cameras to capture an event and your reaction to it.
By default, the app uses a picture-in-picture set-up called Discreet. This saves two separate videos, so you can later edit each one independently. But you can instead opt to ‘burn’ the PiP shot into the main video, or use a 50/50 split-screen view that’s saved as a single file.
There are limitations, most notably the app outputting to 1080p, presumably because two 4K streams at once would melt your iPhone. But for fun and serious work alike, DoubleTake is well worth a download.
Plays: animation design kit
Plays (opens in new tab) claims it can “elevate your self-expression” and “make your content beautiful”. In reality, it’s a free iPhone app that lets you type in a tiny missive (140 characters or fewer, like old-school Twitter), and then hurl the letters about the place.
This isn’t freeform animation – you don’t need to know anything about keyframes and paths. Instead, you select a font, an animation style, a background pattern (which also animates), and an image to sit underneath everything. By default, you get an Instagram-friendly square composition, but a button lets you cycle through a range of alternatives.
Quite a few of the animation styles result in questionable legibility. But work with some of the subtler options – and the rather nice backgrounds – and you can end up with a visually arresting video to share online.
Splice (opens in new tab) sits in a space between traditional movie-making software and quick-fix video editors.
As with products geared towards quickly fashioning something for social networking, Splice is keen to get you started. Select some videos or stills from your iPhone, drag to arrange the thumbnails, select an aspect ratio, and you essentially have an edit.
However, the app gives you plenty of options for taking things further. You can add titles, effects, text overlays, and audio. Individual clips can be trimmed, cropped, and have filters added to them. Naturally, in-progress projects are saved so you can return to them later.
Throughout, layout and workflow resemble the kind of thing you’ll be familiar with if you’ve ventured into desktop editing – only streamlined for mobile, and without a price-tag attached.
Enlight Pixaloop (opens in new tab) enables you to animate your photos. This is achieved through you manually drawing ‘path’ arrows to define the direction of animation, and setting anchors to keep other areas of your image rooted to the spot. Tap the play button and you get something akin to a cinemagraph – only based on a single still image, rather than dozens of shots or a video.
Whatever you create can be exported to Photos as a video (sadly, there’s no animated GIF option), but there’s plenty more you can add first, including camera wobble, overlay effects and automated moving skies. Some of those features work better than others, but the entire package is a great way to bring your photos to life. Note that there’s subscription IAP lurking, although you don’t need to pay to get a lot out of this app.
Moodelizer (opens in new tab) is a one-trick pony – but it’s quite a trick. It enables you to add custom soundtracks to videos – and all you need is a single finger.
You select a genre, and ‘rehearse’ playback by dragging your finger around the square viewfinder. Move up to increase the music’s intensity increases and move right to adjust variation. You can perform rehearsals using the viewfinder or with an existing video loaded from your Camera Roll.
Just messing about with the audio alone is fun, but it all properly comes together when making a video. Now, when you’re shooting yet another clip of your cat being mildly amusing, Moodelizer can add much-needed excitement by way of rousing club music or head-banging guitar riffs.
Vue (opens in new tab) is a video editor whose initial incarnation was an odd mix of intriguing and ridiculous. In short, it was designed to give you six seconds of fame by snapping an ultra-short video comprising three shots.
Fortunately, Vue is relaxed a bit now – and all the better for it. The app still prefers brevity, but will allow movies of up to three minutes in length and can load existing videos from your iPhone, too. Once your miniature masterpiece is done, it’s possible to add filters and stickers, overlay subtitles, and mess around with zooming and adjustment sliders.
The app still feels a touch rigid compared to the likes of Clips, but Vue’s sense of focus and style – along with the sharing network that underpins everything – makes it worth checking out.
Clips (opens in new tab) is a video-editing app geared towards making content for sharing on social media. To that end, it eschews convention (widescreen, standard titles, typical editing tracks) and attempts to infuse plenty of fun into a streamlined, straightforward editing process.
You can record directly in the app or import existing videos. In either case, you can overlay stickers and live captions that appear as the subject speaks, and apply filters for a different look. Posters serve as a replacement for titles, helping with pacing and context in a way that’s much more interesting, animated and editable.
For iPhone X users, there’s an extra treat: animated 3D selfie scenes. These can transport you into a number of stylized landscapes, including neon cityscapes and ships from Star Wars. The effect is mesmerizing to the point where the app’s worth picking up for selfie scenes alone.
Motion Stills (opens in new tab) aims to help you do more with the Live Photos you shoot on your iPhone. Apple’s own Photos app, of course, provides options for adjusting how these images animate – but this Google offering does far more.
On giving the app permission to view your photos, it will display a scrollable feed of pictures that animate as you browse. This alone makes Motion Stills worth a download, not least because the app applies stabilization technology to your Live Photos, eradicating wobble.
But with a few quick swipes you can quickly select a number of Live Photos, which can then be transformed into a tiny movie. Alternatively, you can turn Live Photos into collages, or add text and emoji to your favorites. In short, Motion Stills feels like the Live Photos editor Apple forgot to make itself.
If you like the idea of editing home movies but are a modern-day being with no time or attention span, try Quik (opens in new tab). The app automates the entire process, enabling you to create beautiful videos with a few taps and show off to your friends without needing talent - surely the epitome of today's #hashtag generation.
All you need do is select some videos and photos, and choose a style. Quik then edits them into a great-looking video you can share with friends and family. But if your inner filmmaker hankers for a little more control, you can adjust the style, music, format and pace, along with trimming clips, reordering items, and adding titles to get the effect you desire.
Cementing its friendly nature, Quik offers a little pairs minigame for you to mess about with while the app renders your masterpiece. And there's even a weekly 'For You' video Quik compiles without you lifting a finger.
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