Free apps 2017: Power in your palm

We all have that drawer. The junk drawer. Tucked away in some corner. The one that has not been opened in over a decade.

Published: 04th February 2017 10:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th February 2017 12:55 PM   |  A+A-

We all have that drawer. The junk drawer. Tucked away in some corner. The one that has not been opened in over a decade. The one where we threw all our electronic junk over the decades. You’ll find all kinds of stuff there. Old floppy disks, CDs, charging cables and ethernet wires.

Chances are you’ll also find an old feature phone in there, most probably a Nokia. The one that you once dropped out of a moving bus. The one you used to play Snake on. Switch it on. It will make that jiggling noise and come to life. Hand it over to a five-year-old and watch the eyes narrow suspiciously. “What is this?” he’ll ask. Then he’ll understand. “Ah, a phone.”

He’ll touch the screen and realise it doesn’t work like that. Within five seconds he will figure out that you need to use the buttons. Then he’ll start looking for YouTube Kids, Minecraft, anything remotely familiar. Then it dawns on him. “Where’s the App Store?”

There’s no app store, nor are there any apps. Tell him he can’t check out the latest trailer for Cars 3. Or that he can’t play music on Apple Music. “This is stupid,” he’ll say before throwing your beloved Nokia out of a window. He’ll look at you as if you’re a pre-historic dinosaur. “Yes, son,” you think. “We lived like barbarians without apps.” 


(iOS, Android, web)  

Ask experts why the US Presidential race turned out the way it did and they’ll say because of one silly mistake—not securing email accounts by turning on two-factor authentication. Authy is the best authenticator app. Supporting almost all major multi-factor authentication accounts such as Gmail, Facebook, Amazon and Dropbox, it uses secure cloud backups and multi-device synchronisation to keep you safe from hackers. 

(iOS, Android)  

BHIM should have happened long before the country pulled most of its currency from the streets. While there are many digital wallets, the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) is your best bet if you don’t want to trust private companies with your money. Using the government’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI), BHIM lets users send, receive and request money using an interface that is simple enough to use while being secure and fast.

(iOS, Android) 

Houseparty is the first great group video-
calling app. It allows up to eight people to chat simultaneously. Initiating the call is as simple as opening the app, and it will start broadcasting while notifying your friends that you are “in the house for the party”. Described by its developers as a “synchronous social network”, Houseparty will let you have the most chaotic group video chats from wherever you are.


(iOS, Android) 
1Weather does all the things that a normal weather app does, such as  hourly and weekly forecasts. It also does other things such as showing radar maps and supports up to 25 languages. If you are willing to pay a little, you can get rid of the ads too. 

Weather Underground
(iOS, Android)

Weather Underground tries to give you the most accurate data by using a WunderMap that uses crowdsourced reports to verify the weather data, and the app does it in a aesthetically appealing fashion.


With three themes to choose from—fire, earth and rain—Fire+Rain is one of the most aesthetically pleasing weather apps powered by The Weather Network. With detailed hourly, two-day and 14-day forecasts, the app is a must-have. 

Health & Fitness

Zova Smart Personal Trainer
(iOS, Apple TV)  

The main feature of Zova is Zara, your smart personal trailer that tracks your daily activity so it can evaluate and design a custom fitness programme that involves activities like walks, runs and full body workouts. For the premium tier, you can get uniquely tailored workouts that help you get fitter.

(iOS, Android)  
Obino, one of the few diet trackers capable of tracking Indian foods, will help you lose weight and stay fit using recommendations from expert dieticians. Once you tell the app about yourself and your goals, Obino will come up with personalised fitness regimens along with diet plans.

My Swim Pro
(iOS, Apple Watch, Android)  

MySwimPro gives access to eight swimming workouts and helps you log all your swimming exercises. With hundreds of workouts with videos and the ability to track and share progress, My Swim Pro is a must-have app for anyone who wants to make swimming an integral part of their workout regimen. 


Google Trips
(iOS, Android)  

Google Trips, the search giant’s newest app, is a neat blend of a trip planner and travel guide. Trips not only organises your plane tickets and hotel reservations just like a good planner app would do, but will also give you detailed guides to more than 200 cities around the world along with personalised recommendations depending on your tastes. And all of those can be accessed offline. 

Trusted Contacts
Trusted Contacts is Google’s answer to Apple’s Find My Friends. It lets you share your contact information with anyone you trust and lets your friends and family request your status in an emergency. Failure to reply to the request within five minutes will automatically broadcast your location to your trusted contacts so they can come to your rescue.

(iOS, Android)
Polarsteps is an automatic travel logger that uses GPS to track your route and make an interactive world map of your travels. It also automatically collects all the photos you clicked on your trips and makes beautiful, shareable albums.


Google Photoscan
(iOS, Android) 

Google’s PhotoScan helps you scan old print photos using just your phone to make digital photos, which are easier to store. Using techniques such as automatic cropping based on edge detection, removal of glare and smart rotation, PhotoScan scans old photos in seconds. 

Motion Stills

Motion Stills uses advanced machine learning to bring stabilisation and rendering to your Live Photos on newer iPhones and gives you options to turn them into GIFs that loop forever, and add motion text and the ability to edit the photos to make beautiful cinematographs.

(iOS, Android)  

Apple’s iPhone app of the year Prisma brings your photos to life by turning them into beautiful works of art. One of the first apps to use a combination of advanced neural networks and artificial intelligence to convert pictures, Prisma comes with a number of filters modelled on the styles of famous artists such as Munk, Picasso and even Thota Vaikuntam, along with some famous patterns and ornaments.


(iOS, Android)  

Cookpad is the Facebook of amateur home chefs around the world. By providing a unique social network for millions of cooks to search for, save and create recipes, Cookpad ensures you find the perfect recipe for the kind of cuisine you want and also contribute and make someone somewhere in the world happy. 

(iOS, Android)  

UberEATS, finally coming to India is, well, Uber for food. Just like you would order an Uber cab, UberEATS lets you order food from the restaurant you want, which will be delivered as quickly as an Uber cab arrives. Available in all the cities where Uber operates, UberEATS offers daily dishes at the fastest delivery in any area. 

(iOS, Android)  

While there are thousands of apps for all kinds of recipes, what sets Yummly apart is its excellent, customisable search engine. Allowing for every type of allergy and food tastes, Yummly’s search engine will find you the perfect recipe within seconds. And thanks to its beautiful design, it is all neatly laid out with eye-catching photos. 


True Balance

True Balance is India’s one-stop shop to manage all your repaid mobile balances. True Balance sends you reminders when your balances are about to expire and lets you recharge any mobile number from within the app. 
(iOS, Android)  

MySmartPrice, a price comparison app, aims to get rid of the confusion of searching for the same product on many websites. Whenever you search for a product, MySmartPrice searches across 40 online shopping sites such as Amazon, eBay and Flipkart to get you the best deal.
Shopping Assistant

Voodoo is a digital shopping assistant that links to all shopping apps in your phone. So whenever you search for a product on an app, Voodoo pops up with better offers and similar better products. Working with Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal, it also lets you book cheap cabs. 


Super Mario Run
(iOS, Android in March/free with in-app purchase)  

The world’s most popular runner finally comes to a smartphone with Super Mario Run’s debut on the iPhone and coming to Android phones in March. Nintendo finally cracked the game play by making Super Mario Run playable with a single hand, making it attractive to both older, nostalgic fans and also for the younger generation. 

Does Not Commute
(iOS, Android)  

Does Not Commute, a winner of Apple Design Awards, is a temporal paradox game that quickly devolves in a complex mashup of strategy and path management. While commuting in small-town America of the 70s sounds simple enough, it is anything but that.

Mars: Mars
(iOS, Apple TV, Android) 

As part of the ‘Put a Human on Mars no Matter What’ mission, MarsCorp takes you to Mars as a volunteer. All you have to get around is a jetpack with a few controls, with which you have to traverse the Red Planet.


(iOS, Android)
Wattpad gives you access to thousands of free books and stories by some of the world’s popular writers. It also lets you connect with other readers and post your own story for millions of others to read. 

(iOS, Android)  

OverDrive lets you borrow ebooks, audio books and streaming videos from your local library without having to worry about late fees and with automatic returns. With over 30,000 libraries around the world, Overdrive lets you access your local library 24x7. 

Audio books from Audible
(iOS, Android)  

Audio books are not everyone’s cup of IT. But if you like spoken word content, there is no better way to pass a long commute than to listen to a good book narrated beautifully. With millions of books of every category, there is something for everyone on Audible. 


(iOS, Android)  

With millions of people getting their news from Facebook, which is filled with fake news, there has never been a more urgent time for a smart news aggregator. SmartNews aggregates news from reputable sources   in a customisable, easy to read offline format. 


Longform is the best app available for accessing in-depth reporting from around the world with a wonderful selection handpicked by the staff and writers, which can be read offline. Longform turns 
into a mini book in your phone, and what can be better than a narrative of a book when you don’t feel like straining your eyes.

(iOS, Android) 

Unlike typical news aggregators, Inoreader comes with extra features such as monitoring news about specific keywords and a full archive of all the sources that you subscribe to. A powerful search function lets you search the web and the archive for any piece of news you want.  


Yahoo Sports
(iOS, Android) 
Whether you follow cricket, NFL or cycling, Yahoo Sports has some of the most comprehensive coverage on the web and its beautifully designed app makes it easier to find whatever information you are looking for.

(iOS, Android) 
Whatever other sport they may be following, cricket is what most Indians cannot live without. 
Whether it is live scores, live coverage or just getting the latest news, Cricbuzz is the one-stop 
shop for everything cricket. 

Sportskeeda is one of India’s most popular sports apps. With a collection of 30 sports, it gives you live scores and news updates. Its best feature is to customise your notifications to get notified just about the 
sports you care about and nothing else. 


(iOS, Android)  

One of the best email clients for the iPhone is made by one of the oldest companies on the Internet, AOL. Alto organises your email into cards and stacks so that you can get all the information you want without ever opening a single email. Using cards displayed on the dashboard in iOS and as a widget in Android, Alto pulls out important information such as flight timings and displays them on your home screen without you even accessing the app.

Atlas Recall
(Mac, iOS)  

Atlas Recall wants to be the Google for everything that you do on a Mac. Created by a Napster co-founder and described as a “searchable index of everything you see across all your devices and apps”, Atlas Recall stays true to its name and recalls all your activity. From web pages, apps, and emails to chats and video calls,  Atlas Recall keeps a neat searchable log and lets you search it even from your iPhone. 

(Mac, iOS)  

Making new year’s resolutions is easy, but keeping them is the difficult part. For that there is Habitify, a habit tracker app that makes keeping habits simple and keeps motivating you. The app will help you with organising your day, will help you with tracking multiple habits and will remind you 
to keep up.


(iOS, Android) 

Happn prides itself on being an app that saves you from missed connections. By letting you discover people that you have crossed paths with and by connecting you with people in you local area with similar interests, Happn ensures that you can always find the right people to hook up with.

(iOS, Android)  

Tinder is the grandfather of dating apps. The premise is simple. You browse through profiles of people in your area, swipe right to like them and left to dislike. If they also swipe right, you get a match and can start a conversation. If all goes well, love might be in the app.

(iOS, Android)  

Pink takes the creep factor out of dating apps by being designed exclusively for women by putting them in charge. If you are a woman looking for a relationship, you get to go through profiles, choose and decide when and how you can be contacted. 


Paper by FiftyThree

Paper by FiftyThree is the best sketching app for iOS, particularly on the larger iPad Pro. By giving you a number of tools to draw, sketch, outline, colour and write, Paper is a blank canvas that can be used as you please, particularly with Apple Pencil. 

Canva lets anyone create beautiful designs and professional graphics using hundreds of templates. You can tweak those templates using text, stickers, borders, frames and custom-designed elements to create anything from greeting cards to posters and invitations. 

If the smartphone is the post-PC computer, then Concepts is the future of professional design. With precision tools and advanced transformations, Concepts let you sketch out the most complex designs on your phone on the fly.


(iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation)  

Plex is your personal media server that lets you get all your content on all your devices. With it, you can push all your films, music or even photos onto all your devices. Apart from streaming them, Plex also organises media libraries, giving artwork, background score and even Rotten Tomatoes score for all the movies that you own. 

(iOS, Apple TV, Android) 

With a good collection of new movies in Hindi, Punjabi and Tamil, Spuul offers streams and downloads for offline viewing. If you are streaming the movie, it will intelligently adjust video quality according to the speed of your Internet connection. Can be used on Apple TV or Chromecast.


Doggcatcher is the best podcast manager available for Android. With auto download, auto clean-up, light/dark mode, compatibility with Android Auto and a built-in variable speed playback, Doggcatcher is a highly customisable podcast player. 



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