Best alternatives to the default iPhone apps

Replace Maps with TomTom / Waze / ForeverMap by skobbler

Whether you want sat-nav directions or an offline map to save on roaming charges, there are better map apps out there

Forever maps

The Maps app will tell you where you are and what's around you, but if you need to drive from A to B, let TomTom (£39.99, Universal) guide you. It feels exactly like a dedicated TomTom unit, but it can easily download HD Traffic reports for £3.99 per month, though it'll probably be the most expensive app you'll ever buy.

At the other end of the scale is Waze (Free, Universal), where you map out the roads by driving. Its popularity means that most major routes are now on the system. It uses people on the ground to provide live traffic information that's shared with everyone.

If you want a map to take abroad and not get lumbered by roaming costs, ForeverMap (£1.49, Universal) lets you download one before you leave.

Replace Weather with Magical Weather / Aelios Weather / Weddar

For the conversation potential alone, additional weather apps are a must


Magical Weather (69p, iPad) lets you create a weather dashboard with multiple locations just a touch away. Drill down into each one and you can see a six day forecast and hour-by-hour breakdown for the next 18 hours.

Aelios (£2.99, iPad) turns weather discovery on its head, with an analogue-looking dial that you place over a map of the world. Once you've settled on a location, twist the dial to switch between 24hr and seven-day forecasts.

If you'd rather have weather reports from the front line, Weddar (Free, iPhone) sources reports from other users. Post when it rains where you are and check what others say it's like where you're going.

Replace Music with AirCassette

AirCassette brings a nice chunk of analogue back to the digital music listening experience


If you want to simply play sounds into your ears, the Music app will more than suffice. But music has always been more than just a purely auditory experience - just think of the limited editions; gatefold sleeves; the smell of vinyl…

Digital music has slowly chipped away at the extras, stripping music back to just the song itself and nothing more.

AirCassette (£1.49, iPhone) brings back that simple analogue joy. It plays your songs from a virtual C90 cassette, complete with spinning reels and hand-scrawled labels. For most retronauts that would be enough, but you can also make mixtapes and share them on Facebook. How cool is that!

Replace iTunes with Spotify

Why buy music when Spotify lets you rent it by the month and provides access to the biggest jukebox in the world?


iTunes lets you buy music to keep, but despite Steve Jobs' best predictions it turns out people do want to rent music as well. In their millions. With Spotify (Free, iPhone), you can tap into a seemingly bottomless jukebox in the cloud.

Not only can you stream straight away for that spontaneous music hit, but you can also save your faves for offline listening when you don't have an internet connection to hand. The amount you can hoard away is limited only by the spare capacity of your iPhone.

You have to pay for this privilege, mind. Spotify may offer freeloaders a complimentary listen on the desktop, but app access is reserved for paying customers willing to hand over a tenner a month. But if you find just one album a month you haven't heard before, you're still quids in.

Replace Videos with AVPlayer

Instead of wasting time transcoding movies into iPhone format, let AVPlayer show them as they are


The standard Videos app is great if all your videos just happen to be encoded in Apple-approved formats. For the rest of us, there's AVPlayer (£1.99, iPhone; £1.99, iPad).

This app can handle pretty much any video format you care to throw at it - from AVI and WMV to MKV and Xvid. Other formats are available, but the main thing you need to know is that if you can watch it on a computer, you can probably watch it on AVPlayer without having to fiddle around.

Just load it up and sit back with the popcorn. You don't even need iTunes to get your videos on there - Wi-Fi transfer lets you send files from a browser.

Replace Calendar with Week Calendar

What do we want? A calendar week view. When do we want it? This week!

Week calendar

Apple likes to keep things simple. Generally this is a good thing, but sometimes it can err a little too far on the minimalist side. The lack of week view in the iPhone Calendar app is a case in point. Day and Month are two extremes, and List does at least show you everything, but there's no middle ground. Even if you turn it on its side, you can only see three days of data.

As if by magic, Week Calendar (£1.49, iPhone) fills this glaring omission by providing a seven-day view of your appointments. It integrates with your existing calendars and even includes day, list, month, mini month and year views as well, leaving you spoilt for choice.

Replace YouTube with Vimeo

YouTube has a web app, but Vimeo offers extra features for the video fan


YouTube feels a little like it's over-stayed its welcome a bit. It was necessary on the original iPhone, since all YouTube videos were Flash back then. Now Google appears to be focussing on the YouTube web app, which offers the all the functionality of the original and more. It's fast and responsive, and you soon forget you're using a web page rather than a native app.

The Vimeo (Free, iPhone) app lets you view videos, but you can also edit and upload your own.

Replace Reminders with Things / The Hit List / Due

Get sorted by adding Things, The Hit List and Due to your to-do list


Things (£6.99, iPhone; £13.99, iPad) and The Hit List (£6.99, iPhone) aren't cheap, but if they mean you get more done then it's a price worth paying.

Things is elegantly simple - you add items and decide if they need doing now or in the future. Future tasks move to today when it's time, and when you tick them off the badge count decreases.

The Hit List offers more customisation, but takes longer to get into. If you want simple reminders to set and forget, then Due (£2.99, Universal) is a great choice. It also has customisable one-touch countdown timers.

Replace Clock with Nightstand Central / Wake N Shake

For a prettier clock screen or an impossible to ignore alarm

Nightstand central

The Clock app does its job and, manages to wake you up in the morning. But it's hardly pretty to look at.

Nightstand Central (£1.49, iPhone; £1.49, iPad) provides a much nicer display to gaze upon when you can't get to sleep. It includes it own alarms, although you do need to leave it running in the foreground to ensure they go off properly.

If your sleeping state is often mistaken for a coma, Wake N Shake (Free, iPhone) provides an alarm you literally can't sleep through - the only way to turn if off is by vigorously shaking your phone until it stops. There's no chance you'll nod back off.

Replace Contacts with LinkedIn / Facebook

LinkedIn and Facebook let your contacts keep themselves up to date


After the ability to make phone calls, a phone book is probably the second most important app for a mobile. The built-in app covers the basics and can even back up your contacts to the cloud, but there's something distinctly old school about its approach.

It's no longer necessary to keep updating contacts' details yourself - you can let your friends do it for you. Both Facebook (Free, Universal) and LinkedIn (Free, iPhone) let you tap into an address book that your friends keep up to date. If one changes their number on LinkedIn or Facebook then you know their details are correct. Both apps will also sync with your contacts, bringing in photos, too.

Replace Notes with Notefile

Notefile is clean, uncluttered and will sync notes with other devices


The built-in Notes app is still pretty basic - write notes, read notes, that's it. Notefile (£2.99, Universal) is a worthy update that takes the core functionality, makes it look nicer, and adds some clever bells and whistles.

Firstly, it has a much cleaner interface, the font is easy to read and the use of plain paper, rather than lined, feels much nicer. As you'd expect, it offers the ability to sync your notes to the cloud and read them on all your other iOS devices.

But it doesn't just stop there - there's also a clean, smart widget for Macs that it will sync to. It is a little pricey, but the cloud syncing is thrown in for free, which makes it more reasonable.

Replace Calculator with Soulver

Spend less time wondering what to ask your calculator with Soulver


Apple has done a wonderful job mimicking a real world calculator in its app, but it's exactly that - a digital replica of an outdated item. Soulver (£2.49, iPhone; £3.99, iPad) turns calculating on its head.

The fact you had to learn how to use a calculator in school tells you something - it's not user-friendly. Soulver's natural language approach, on the other hand, makes maths delightful rather than a chore.

Just type in what you want to work out - £50 + 20% VAT, for example - and it'll tell you the result. It can even do clever things like currency conversions. Each set of calculations is saved as a file, and you can then sync these across devices.

Replace Stocks with Yahoo! Finance / Real-Time Stocks

Whether you need more information or faster prices, there are better alternatives to the stock Stocks app

Yahoo finance

The Stocks app will give you enough information about your long-term investments, but Yahoo! Finance (Free, iPhone) provides more depth. Yahoo! provides the data for both apps, but its own offering is a better research tool for prospective investors.

Yahoo!'s data is delayed, so it's not ideal if your stock is tanking. If you want to save yourself a heart attack, Real-Time Stocks (Free, iPhone) is a free alternative that can keep you plugged into the market all day long, as well as keep an eye on the market indices as well.

Replace Voice Memos with Audioboo

Audioboo brings the concept of voice notes kicking and screaming into the 21st century


The Voice Memos app does mean you don't need to carry a Dictaphone around with you, but that's it. Audioboo (Free, iPhone) is a voice-recording service for the internet generation, allowing you to share your recordings with the wider world.

You can record up to five minutes with a free account, and by default your recordings are made public on your Audioboo profile. You can follow other users - think Twitter, but with speech - and you'll even find the like of Stephen Fry on there, sharing snippets of spoken word.