The Best iOS Apps and Features of All Time.
The iPhone could revolutionize smartphones, but without the iPhone OS, it would be just a piece of junk. This mobile operating system, now known simply as iOS, runs on all Apple hardware except Macs and MacBooks.
Even that could change as traditional Apple computers migrate to the same hardware as iPhones and iPads. This promises to blur the line between macOS and iOS even more blurry.
Apple releases a major iOS update every year, and the system has radically changed since its first launch. Below are the best iOS apps and features to date. We’ll be updating this article periodically as iOS grows, so be sure to check it back.
Best iOS Features Ever
“Function” refers to something built into the operating system, available as part of the system to anyone with compatible hardware. iOS has continually added features for over a decade, making it difficult to pick the best ones.
However, these five additions to iOS have been a game changer and show why it is often superior in quality to its competitors.
File Explorer and External Storage
Initially, Apple was quite cautious about giving users access to the iOS file system. The applications and the operating system itself carefully concealed the inner workings of the data warehouse from users. This could be because Apple was not targeting tech-savvy users who bought their macOS devices, but the general public for which an iOS device was supposed to just work.
However, over time, smartphones and tablets have become the only computer that many people use. Equipment has also become more powerful exponentially. So artificial software constraints make less and less sense. Modern iOS now has suitable custom file viewer apps and supports external storage devices such as flash drives and USB hard drives.
Thus, Apple in one fell swoop has transformed iOS from a mobile OS into one that should be taken seriously as the main operating system of a computer.
This is especially important as iOS devices today do not offer any way to expand external storage, which has always been a big deal compared to the competition.
MFi and Gamepad Support
Do you know there was once an Apple game console? Pippin failed, and at the time, it would be ridiculous to assume that one day Apple would provide one of the best gaming platforms.
However, iOS is arguably the best operating system for mobile gaming today. With superior premium gaming services like Apple Arcade, powerful graphics hardware and developer APIs, iOS games are more than just fun.
A key part of this is how Apple has tackled the mobile gamepad compatibility issue. There are several competing gamepad standards on Android. Games must be written specifically to support them. To get around this, Apple created the MFi (Made for iOS) standard. Any controller built to this standard will work with any game that supports this standard.
The end result is the best gamepad support of any mobile OS. Apple also recently provided OS-level support for PS4 and Xbox One controllers. Virtually turns every iPhone, iPad and Apple TV into a serious gaming console.
Siri AI voice assistant debuted with the Apple 4S and is now built into every modern Apple device. At the time, Siri seemed like pure science fiction. Apple figured out how to make a voice assistant right, and no one else came even close.
Today, companies like Google have surpassed Siri on a technical level, but thanks to Apple’s closed hardware ecosystem and Siri’s low-level iOS integration, there is still nothing that works so well in day-to-day work.
From opening apps or working with Siri-compatible native and third-party apps, you can control your iDevice using just your voice. You can even perform system-level operations such as turning Bluetooth on and off.
Siri is a really useful iOS feature that has revolutionized the human-machine interface industry. So he definitely deserves to be on the greatest list of all time.
Augmented reality (AR) has a great future in the world of computing. While VR provides an amazing discrete experience, AR can replace ALL computer interfaces. Imagine a future in which you do not need any screens, but only digital projections combined with the space of the real world.
ARKit is an OS level API (Application Programming Interface) that allows any iOS developer to build AR apps without having to solve any complex math problems that come up on the ground.
Google has been working on its Project Tango phone for many years when ARKit was released. Google’s solution used numerous special sensors and hardware features to make advanced augmented reality work. ARKit attacked and did essentially the same job using nothing but existing hardware on iOS devices that everyone already had.
This is one of the great features of iOS because it opens the door to an exciting future. After all, Apple is rumored to be working on an AR headset, which is undoubtedly the ultimate goal of ARKit technology. Until then, we can enjoy the next generation of true AR apps on iOS devices, which came in the form of a free software update. Now this is one of the books.
When the first iPhone was released, there really wasn’t much horsepower under the hood. However, in the past few years, Apple’s superior silicon has been delivering the computing power and performance of the desktop.
This meant that the non-existent multitasking feature that iOS was launched with was no longer acceptable. In particular, the iPad, with its large screen, has been hit hard by the one-off approach to displaying apps.
Apple took a big step forward when it introduced split-screen multitasking in iOS 9 in 2015. In iOS 13, this has been enhanced with even more multitasking capabilities. With split-screen applications, picture-in-picture video and floating application windows. With this core set of features, iOS is poised to be a true laptop replacement and heralds a major change in direction from what started out as a glorious operating system for the phone.
Best iOS App Ever
IOS itself has become a fantastic platform, but any operating system is only as useful as the software you can run on it. Fortunately, iOS has garnered the attention of one of the best native and third-party software on all mobile platforms.
Apple’s relatively rigorous approval process means there is not much paddle software on sale, and if you’re willing to pay for it, there are some very high quality premium apps out there. These are some of the best iOS apps ever released.
Best Music Production App: GarageBand
There are tons of great music making apps on iOS. From Auxy to FL Studio Mobile, Apple’s GarageBand is still the best way to create impressive tunes on your iOS device.
Like many third-party Apple apps in the early days of iOS, GarageBand cost a lot of money. However, it’s free for all iOS users these days, and Apple continues to improve the app at breakneck speed.
As it stands, GarageBand is a complete music production solution. You can use it to quickly jot down song ideas for your band to perform or make the next hit. Don’t believe me? There have been a few hits that use GarageBand in one way or another.
Rihanna’s Umbrella uses an in-app drum loop and artist Grimes has created her breakout album with this tool.
Best Productivity Suite: iWork
The boring answer to the question of which productivity apps are the best on iOS is simply Microsoft Office. However, this is an answer to the question of how ubiquitous Office is, not how well to use it.
Like a true digital workspace, MS Office is a breakfast for dogs compared to iWork. What’s more, iWork is completely free for iOS users, while Office requires a monthly subscription.
Since iWork apps like Pages can simply save documents in the more popular Office formats, there’s no reason not to try these sleek and easy-to-use productivity apps. They are a great example of how different Apple’s approach to design and user experience is. When it comes to this set of tools, the work just isn’t as big as the work .
Best Video Editor: Luma Fusion
Apple Mac has always had a reputation for being a serious creative tool. With iOS devices, this reputation has kind of faded, but the processing power and motivation of developers to make it really happen has shown itself over time.
With devices like the iPad Pro and iPhone 11 these days, there is no excuse for the performance of apps that fall short of their desktop counterparts. Luma Fusion is an iOS video app that comes close to something like Adobe Premiere, and it sometimes seems like black magic to have the right non-linear video editor running on your phone or tablet.
From chromekey support to robust basic editing tools, this is a one-off app that pays off quickly. Until Apple ports Final Cut Pro or Adobe introduces Premiere, Luma Fusion won’t be able to compete with the power.
Best Photo Editor: Affinity Photo
The gold standard for photo editing is Adobe Photoshop, but when Adobe ported the “full version of PhotoShop” to iOS, it got a bit of a flop. It lacked important features and had a negotiated subscription fee.
Adobe may not have bothered as iOS users have their own photo editor in the form of Affinity Photo. This is an application that you only need to pay for once, not for the rest of your life.
You’ll find all the same powerful imaging tools you’d expect from a desktop-grade photo editor, as well as impressively smooth performance if you have one of the latest iOS devices.
Best Video Game: Infinity Blade Series
Let’s start with the bad news. If you haven’t bought them yet, you no longer have the option to get Infinity Blade games. Which is a shame, because for many reasons, Infinity Blades I, II, and III are the greatest iOS games of all time.
Sure, iOS had great ports from consoles (like Grid Autosport) and amazing originals (like the exclusive Grindstone Arcade), but Infinity Blade showed the world that iOS is a serious gaming platform.
He used the Unreal Engine, had console-level graphics, and showed that you can create an action game with good touch controls. The cost of the product is top notch, as is the letter. Infinity Blade even spawned other media like romance.
The series deserves GOAT attention because it was a turning point for iOS gaming, if not mobile gaming in general.
The best is yet to come
iOS is becoming an important platform for more than just mobile devices. There is a whole diverse ecosystem of hardware devices running iOS today, and it almost seems certain that Apple will favor iOS for new devices that we can’t even imagine.
Apple is rumored to be working on a new product, from augmented reality headsets to TVs and electric vehicles. Most of them turn out to be nothing more than wishful thinking. However, when it does, you can almost be sure that it will be some form of iOS that will make it work.
From the Apple Watch to the Mac Pro, it looks like the future of Apple computing will include at least a small chunk of iOS, and we’re definitely here for the full journey.