14 Apps to Make Life Easier, Prettier and More Fun

Despite our better intentions, we all get a little sucked in by the unblemished promise of a new year. But whatever goals you might set for yourself—whether it’s to learn a new language, run ten miles a week or just upgrade your Insta game—try these apps to make life easier. (Or at the very least, give you something new to do on your phone.)

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1. Kirakira+

Like sparkly things? Then you need to download this app, stat: It basically supercharges the gleam of any reflective surface in your photos and videos (we can practically hear the accompanying twinkly chimes). Available on iOS

2. Lazy Jar

Another year, another set of resolutions waiting to be abandoned. Or maybe not: This aptly named app, which syncs with your Fitbit, has you choose weekly goals and attach a monetary penalty if you don’t follow through. But even if you don’t, you can still feel (sorta) good: 80 percent of the money then goes to charity. Available on iOS and Android

3. Empower

Oh, then there’s the resolution to finally get our finances in order. Empower helps you track your spending, pay down debt and improve your credit score—it even analyzes patterns and makes customized recommendations. Best of all, it’s super easy to use. Available on iOS

hq trivia apps apps to make life easier

4. Hq

If you’re a regular at your local quiz night (and/or enjoy shouting the answers while watching Jeopardy!), this mega-popular trivia app is right up your alley: Join live games against other players for the opportunity to win real cash (aka not just a bar tab). Available on iOS

5. Hitlist

Yes, there are a million travel apps out there, but this one (which recently launched on Android) is one of our favorites for finding cheap deals. In a nutshell, you add destinations to a travel wish list and the app gives you live updates if those prices drop. Available on iOS and Android

6. Salt

You have plenty of ways to get restaurant recommendations (friends, Yelp, food-obsessed editors), but keeping those recs handily organized is trickier. Enter SALT, which bookmarks places you want to try, lets you follow friends and tastemakers, shows you all your picks on a map and even lets you import your lists from elsewhere (like, say, that never-ending iPhone Note). Available on iOS

7. Fluent Forever

OK, this one’s not even available yet, but it was the most-funded app on Kickstarter, ever, if that tells you anything. The premise is an unconventional (but actually very intuitive) way of learning languages that claims to have you fluent in as little as six months. Release is slated for fall 2018. Find out more

apps to make life easier tasty app


You’re always promising yourself you’re going to start cooking more. But what if it was actually fun? Download Tasty for more than 3,000 step-by-step recipes along with personalized recommendations for your next meal. Think of it as a cooking coach, offering all types of dishes based on ingredients, difficulty, speed and cuisine type. And get this: The app even keeps your phone “awake,” so you don’t have to constantly touch it as you’re cooking (because no one likes a greasy screen). Available on iOS and Android


Constantly picking up your phone to google something? (Same.) That’s why this might be the coolest app ever. With a few swipes, find out what plant is in your friend’s apartment, what kind of dog you saw at happy hour or even what building you’re standing in front of. You’ll also be able to take a photo of just about anything—from clothes to furniture—and have Google Lens show you similar-looking items. It’s basically a search engine for your camera. The downside?It’s only available on Android.

apps to make life easier hello vino app


Hello Vino is like having a sommelier at your fingertips. It tells you how to pronounce virtually every type of wine (so you don’t feel clueless at restaurants), and the review function gives you immediate input on any bottle you choose. Plus, it uses your unique taste preferences to offer personalized wine recommendations for your next dinner party or solo Netflix sesh. Available on iOS and Android

11. CALM

You’ve heard your friends and family rave about the benefits of meditation (it’s worth noting they have a point), but you have no idea where to start. Download Calm, a convenient app that’ll give you access to more than a hundred guided meditations to help you manage anxiety, lower stress and sleep better. Plus, the app includes Calm Body, guided video lessons focused on mindful movement and gentle stretching. Available on iOS and Android

google translate app

12. Google Translate

Don’t have time to brush up before your next trip? The wizards at Google (of course) have a pretty amazing solution: The app will actually translate any printed text instantly via your camera. We’re living in the future, basically. Available on iOS and Android

13. Mobile Passport

Speaking of travel, if you’re a frequent overseas flyer, this app is a time-saving godsend for those from the U.S. and Canada: Just scan your passport and submit some key info through your device, then skip the regular line upon arrival. (It’s currently in use at 24 airports, including JFK and Newark.) Available on iOS and Android

14. 5 Calls

You want to be a more active citizen, but you don’t know where to begin. This app boils down five major issues at stake—with concise, researched descriptions on why you should care—then connects you directly with the offices of your representatives (even providing a handy script, in case you get tongue-tied). Available on iOS and Android