The 23 Best Free iPhone Apps of 2021

Get the best of what the App Store has to offer for free

There are over 2.2 million apps in the Apple App Store. Still, only a small fraction of them are worth downloading.

Below are some of the most unique and useful iPhone apps you didn't even know you needed. All of these apps have stellar user reviews, are updated frequently, and many are award winners. And perhaps best of all, they're all free.

01
of 23

Manage Email on the Go: Edison Mail

Edison Mail for iOS
What We Like
  • Design custom swipe functions.

  • Subscriptions folder lists all newsletters you're subscribe to; unsubscribe with a tap.

  • Optional thread view for email messages.

What We Don't Like
  • Usage terms include permission to read user emails; default is set to opt-in.

  • Data gathered via the app can be shared with third parties.

Edison Mail is a smart email app with a built-in assistant feature designed to help you manage messages faster and more effectively while you're on the go. You can build custom swipes for the functions you use the most, set up smart notifications, quickly undo sends, and unsubscribe with a single tap.

You can use it with any IMAP mail account plus most major email providers, including Gmail, Hotmail, iCloud, Yahoo, Outlook, Exchange, and AOL.

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02
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Unsubscribe Easily: Unroll.Me

Unroll.Me for iOS
What We Like
  • Allows you to see newsletters you're subscribed to in one place.

  • Daily reminder to check subscriptions you're enrolled in.

What We Don't Like
  • Using it grants access to emails, which can be read.

  • Unsubscribe doesn't work for some newsletters.

Nobody likes having to deal with unwanted or unimportant subscriptions messages in their inbox. Instead of doing it yourself, let Unroll.Me help.

Unroll.Me lets you unsubscribe from email subscriptions with one swipe or optionally add the ones you want to keep to your "rollup." You can get a daily rollup email as a reminder to check out your subscriptions for the day or simply open the app to read them right there.

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03
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Keep Your Files in a Central Hub: Documents

Documents for iOS
What We Like
  • Handles all types of file formats, including audio and video.

  • Works well with other Readdle apps, such as Scanner Pro and Spark.

  • Connects to cloud services OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box.

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't link directly to an iCloud account.

  • No real downsides or problems with this useful app.

Wouldn't it be great to have a central hub on your iPhone for your important files? Documents makes it possible.

You can import files from your computer, cloud storage provider, or nearby devices and manage them with folders and color-coded tags. Quickly zip or unzip files, share files with others, and integrate everything with your iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, or another cloud account. You can read, listen, view, or annotate files from one convenient place.

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04
of 23

Automate More Functions: IFTTT

IFTTT for iOS
What We Like
  • User-generated applets save you from having to create your own.

  • Works with voice assistants like Siri and Alexa.

  • Easy to use and create applets.

What We Don't Like
  • May take playing with the app a bit to grasp all the ways you can use it.

  • Can only create a single step applet.

IFTTT is a task automation tool you can take advantage of if you use a lot of apps and spend a lot of time doing repetitive functions manually.

It works with over 600 popular apps, so you never have to worry about forgetting to do something or wasting time trying to get it done all by yourself.

With IFTTT, you create "applets" that trigger one app to cause an action on another app. For example, an applet could trigger an email of the weather forecast in the morning, or it could save favorited Twitter tweets to your Instapaper account.

There are also hundreds of existing applets created by others that you can use for yourself. Use the Discover and Search tabs to see what's available.

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05
of 23

Make Notetaking Easier: Bear

Bear for iOS
What We Like
  • Makes markdown formatting simple, even for those new to it.

  • Connect notes using links.

  • Simple tagging system; create new tags in text using hashtags.

What We Don't Like
  • Only available for Mac and iOS.

  • Some features like syncing between devices requires a paid subscription.

For a note-taking app that balances simplicity with powerful functionality, Bear really takes the cake. This app lets you do everything from jotting down quick notes and drawing sketches to writing in-depth essays and creating image-based notes.

Easily organize and search your notes using the app's unique search triggers feature and quickly cross-note your notes to link the ones you want together. There's even an advanced markup editor plus options to export your notes to PDF or Word documents.

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06
of 23

Save Web Links Fast: Instapaper

Instapaper for iOS
What We Like
  • Organize your bookmarked articles with folders.

  • Captures the text of your articles without web clutter.

  • Add notes and highlighting to articles.

  • Adjust fonts and themes to customize your experience.

What We Don't Like
  • Not optimized for handling other media like video.

  • Cannot tag articles.

What do you do when you come across an interesting link while browsing on your phone that you don't have time to look at? Instapaper helps you solve that problem by letting you save web links for later with a few quick taps.

Instapaper also optimizes your saved links for mobile reading and viewing, making it easier to read on your iPhone. Web page clutter is stripped away, so you only get the important content in a clean, newspaper-like tab. You can also organize and sort your links to keep the important ones you think are worth revisiting again and again.

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07
of 23

Record Daily Habits: Cara

Cara for iOS
What We Like
  • Track a range of gut-related factors, including food, mood, sleep, and workouts.

  • Connect with Apple Health app to further track and analyze data.

  • In-app chat with experts available.

What We Don't Like
  • No credentials provided for chat experts.

  • Food diary database is not as complete as some other nutrition apps.

There are countless food tracker apps out there, but perhaps none like Cara. Developed by doctors, it specializes in digestive information by helping you understand the connection between food and the gut.

The app lets you record your daily habits through your personal diary (such as meals, snacks, digestive symptoms, mood, stress level, exercise, sleep, pain, and medication).

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08
of 23

Get Leaner, Fitter, and Stronger: Sworkit

Sworkit for iOS
What We Like
  • Offers a 30-day trial.

  • Video guided workouts.

  • Pre-made and custom designed workouts.

  • Choose curated music playlists on Apple Music and Spotify.

What We Don't Like
  • Requires a subscription to use, which is on the pricier side.

  • Time between exercises is very short, and can be too fast for some.

​Whether you're at the gym, on the road, or at home, Sworkit can be your free personal trainer for almost any type of workout. Select whether you want to get leaner, fitter, or stronger, and then set your fitness level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) to find a program.

Workouts include strength, cardio, yoga, and stretching, with special focus options such as upper body for strength or full intensity for cardio. Once you select a workout, you can take advantage of the customizable timing and interval options before following the video instructions.

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09
of 23

Give Back to the World: Charity Miles

Charity Miles for iOS
What We Like
  • Motivate your cardio workout with charity donations.

  • More than 40 charities available.

  • Easy to start using.

  • Track the total donations you generated for your charities.

What We Don't Like
  • Charity donation caps each year; once reached, efforts don't generate further donations.

  • Charities are generally large ones; smaller and local options would be great.

  • Doesn't offer workout app features such as music or other data monitoring.

Giving back to charities that are important to you doesn't have to take a lot of time or money when you use Charity Miles. The more you run, walk, or cycle with the app tracking your activity in the background, the more money you earn for the charity of your choice.

Charity Miles is sponsored by organizations that donate money on your behalf, so it's free on your part and acts as a great incentive to get moving. You can also select a different charity any time you want to start a new walk, run, or bike ride.

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10
of 23

Restore Your Mind/Body Balance: MyLife Meditation

Stop, Breathe & Think for iOS
What We Like
  • Customizable timers.

  • Initial check-in emotion choices are plentiful so you can fine tune your state.

  • Don't need to register to explore and try the app.

What We Don't Like
  • Subscription is a bit pricey.

  • Some formerly free meditations have been moved behind the paywall.

  • Most meditations tend to be shorter than 20 mins.

Meditation and mindfulness don't have to be complicated or overwhelming. Tell the MyLife Meditation: Mindfulness app how you're feeling and receive suggested guided meditations to help you restore balance to your mind and body.

The app tries to match you with what's best for what you're feeling by using your check-in data on mood and physical sensations. Alternatively, if you know a guided meditation you want to do already without checking in first, you can skip it and choose the one you want. A few yoga and acupressure videos are also available for free.

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11
of 23

Stick to Your Budget: Debit & Credit

Debit & Credit for iOS
What We Like
  • Makes recording expenses easy.

  • Use geotagging to speed up adding transactions at frequented locations.

  • Data is saved in iCloud account.

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't connect directly to your financial accounts.

  • Sharing accounts requires two purchased premium licenses.

When it comes to sticking to a budget, simplicity is best. Debit & Credit is a clean and simple budgeting app built to track your account activity in one convenient place. It can switch between accounts easily, too.

Use it to create a new transaction within seconds, save locations at regular venues for fast recording, schedule transactions for the future, receive reports, and share your account data with other app users. Unlike other popular apps such as Mint.com, this one doesn't connect to your online bank accounts, so you have full control over your transactions as you use it.

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12
of 23

Find Great Deals: Flipp

Flipp for iOS
What We Like
  • Find savings on groceries and manage your list in one app.

  • Printable coupons and interactive circulars for major retailers.

  • Search items to locate stores in your area where they're on sale.

  • Huge number of retailers to choose from.

What We Don't Like
  • Lack of a barcode scanner seems like a big missing feature.

  • Some large retailers don't offer coupons on Flipp.

If you're an avid deal hunter, Flipp is for you. This app tracks and updates deals and coupons based on item, brand, or category so you can save money every time you shop at your favorite stores.

Search for deals and coupons at popular retailers in your area and use the handy shopping list feature to keep track of what you need. Clip items to your list, and you'll be prepared to save when you checkout.

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13
of 23

Shop in One Stop: Gumtree

Gumtree for iOS
What We Like
  • Posting ads is generally a simple process.

  • Transactions work with PayPal.

What We Don't Like
  • Significant complaints about customer service quality.

  • Problems with scammers and fraud make using the system risky if you're not on guard.

  • Not for use in the U.S.

You could download a separate app for finding a local job, buying a car, and renting an apartment, or you could use Gumtree. It's your one-stop shop for everything local.

The app uses your location to show you local ads in categories that are easy to browse. Save ads to your favorites and visit them later, post one yourself within seconds from your phone, and use the messages feature to chat with other users you're interested in doing business with.

If you want to change your location (or broaden its reach) to see more ads, all you have to do is tell the app the location and distance you want to include in your search.

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14
of 23

Declutter Your Life: BUNZ

BUNZ for iOS
What We Like
  • Focuses on trading items rather than buying and selling with currency.

  • Item trading encourages reuse and environmental sustainability.

What We Don't Like
  • May have limited or no trades available outside of urban areas.

  • Issues with racists, misogynists, homophobes, trolls, and the usual dregs of the internet.

Decluttering your home or workspace is easier and more fun than ever with BUNZ—particularly if you're open to trading stuff you want to give away for other people's used items. The app is similar to other local advertising apps, except it strictly involves trading items as opposed to buying or selling them.

All you do is post what you want to get rid of and let others know what you're looking for. You can use the app to chat about your trade plans with others in your area who're interested and arrange to meet up.

To ensure that your safety is a top priority, check out the reviews of the people you're meeting with and use the official trade zones in your area to schedule your meet-up.

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15
of 23

Plan Home Renovations: Magicplan

Magicplan for iOS
What We Like
  • Easy to layout your own floor plans.

  • Customize with images, notes, and more.

What We Don't Like
  • It may lack precision some professionals need.

  • Doesn't integrate with other design software.

Whether you're looking to renovate or simply refurnish a room in your home, Magicplan can help you plot the entire process before you even start.

Create your own floor plan in as little as a few minutes and customize it with your photos, objects, annotations, product prices, tasks, and taxes so that you can generate a complete project estimate.

The app is free to use for creating custom floor plans but costs $4 if you want to download them as PDF, JPG, PNG, DXF, SVG, and CSV files.

Download For:

16
of 23

Publicly Share Photos: VSCO

VSCO for iOS
What We Like
  • Sharing to social networks.

  • Great photo filters.

  • Select different points for focus and exposure.

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't have a lot of social features like Instagram.

  • Requires a full subscription to access its full features, though it's reasonably priced.

Instagram might be the most popular photo-sharing app at the moment. Still, VSCO is another worth trying if picture-perfect social sharing is something you really dig. It's designed to help creators reach their fullest creative potential.

Take advantage of the app's unique set of editing and journaling features to share your art with the community. Connect with other creatives as you build your portfolio of work and get inspired by VSCO's complete preset library, enhanced creative tools, and educational features. For mobile photographers who want to take their art above and beyond, VSCO can help them get there.

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17
of 23

Backup Photos: Google Photos

Google Photos for iOS
What We Like
  • Free backup storage for unlimited photos (up to 16 megapixels in size).

  • Powerful and fast visual searches.

What We Don't Like
  • Face recognition in photos is sometimes inaccurate.

  • No advanced editing features.

  • To get unlimited storage, large images are downgraded in quality.

As an iPhone user, you already have the convenience of Apple iCloud for backing up your photos. However, Google Photos still blows iCloud out of the water in terms of overall feature offerings (including photo backups).

You can set automatic backups for unlimited photos (up to 16 megapixels) and videos (1080p HD) for free. The app's visual search feature also makes finding photos and videos faster and easier than you thought possible, so you'll never waste time scrolling through hundreds or thousands of files.

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18
of 23

Discover New Dining Experiences: OpenTable

OpenTable for iOS
What We Like
  • Find restaurants and get recommendations.

  • Restaurant reviews.

  • Easy to see available reservation times.

  • Easy to reserve without calling the restaurant.

What We Don't Like
  • Points rewards system has become less rewarding recently.

  • Popular restaurants may purposefully not list availability during peak times.

Looking for somewhere great to eat? OpenTable helps you discover thousands of restaurants around the world and lets you make reservations through the app.

Catch a glimpse of which restaurants are near you, see what's new and hot, get personal recommendations based on your activity, use search filters to find what you're looking for, and earn points to redeem at participating OpenTable restaurants.

Don't forget to read the reviews, browse the photos, and read the menu to make sure you've picked a great one.

Download For:

19
of 23

Travel the World: Citymapper

Citymapper for iOS
What We Like
  • Compare multiple travel methods, such as walking, bus, rideshare, and others to find the best for you.

  • Travel times, cost, and "rain safe" details.

  • Offline functionality so that you can use it in areas without service.

What We Don't Like
  • Cities can vary in how comprehensive and effective the app is.

  • Arrival times, outages, and delays can be inaccurate at times.

Citymapper is the ultimate travel app for getting around major cities across the globe. It rivals Google Maps for its complete integration of all major transportation methods, including bus, streetcar, bike, subway, rail, ferry, and popular ride-share services like Uber and Carshare.

You can compare transit options in real time to see which one is the fastest and save places for future trips. Set up service alerts that notify you of interruptions, find alternative routes, and see your options on the map when you select a transit method.

Download For:

20
of 23

Find Your Way in the World: Waze

Waze for iOS
What We Like
  • Alerts for speed traps and road hazards.

  • Maps are clear and easy to understand.

  • Traffic tracking, alerts, and alternate routes.

What We Don't Like
  • Traffic avoidance can be hit-or-miss sometimes.

  • Reporting can be a distraction if driving.

Citymapper is ideal for route planning, but Waze is the app you need to avoid the unpredictable obstacles that come with driving to any destination. It helps you avoid traffic jams, accidents, police traps, and more in real time.

It uses your iPhone's GPS to guide you from your starting point to your destination, automatically rerouting you if it detects poor driving conditions. You can even get parking suggestions to help you look for a good parking spot.

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21
of 23

Watch Great Shows: Tubi TV

Tubi TV for iOS
What We Like
  • Lots of genres and categories for browsing to find the right movie or show.

  • The "Not on Netflix" category.

  • Free to watch.

What We Don't Like
  • Ads at the start and during videos.

  • Ad interruptions can be at awkward places.

  • No filtering options within categories, such as by popularity, date added, or ratings.

If you don't have a Netflix subscription and want to watch great shows and flicks on your iPhone, Tubi TV is worth trying out. There are no subscription fees to pay with this one. Plus, you get access to thousands of hours of content from renowned studios like Paramount, Lionsgate, MGM, and others.

Search for a specific title, browse the categories, and check out the reviews pulled from Rotten Tomatoes. You can find everything from award-winning classics to kid-friendly shows—all available for you to add to your personal video queue, sync across your account to watch on other devices, and pick up where you left off on whatever device you were watching on.

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22
of 23

Listen to Great Music: SoundCloud

SoundCloud for iOS
What We Like
  • Curated playlists based on activities.

  • Discover new music and artists.

  • Simple-to-use interface.

What We Don't Like
  • Ads and subscription fees.

  • Have to listen to an ad after a couple of song skips.

  • Some features, like offline listening, are only available with a paid subscription.

Whether you're looking for a free alternative to a premium Spotify account or you want to see which other music apps are out there, SoundCloud is among the best. It has over 120 million tracks from both new and well-known artists.

As you listen, SoundCloud learns about your music taste and makes suggestions based on your listening habits. Follow and listen to pre-curated playlists for activities (like studying, sleeping, or working out) or search for something specific to listen to.

You never have to worry about pesky ads. With a subscription, you can take your music collection offline, so you always have music to enjoy when you're not connected to the internet.

Download For:

23
of 23

Color Out Stress: Chroma

Chroma for iOS
What We Like
  • Use colors, textures, and gradients to color images.

  • Import your own images.

  • Social media sharing of images.

  • Connect with artists.

What We Don't Like
  • Small amount of free content.

  • Hasn't been updated in a year or more.

  • Subscriptions may be a bit pricey for some for coloring book content.

Adult coloring books are a trend in stress relief, but you don't necessarily need a physical book and colored pencils to enjoy some of the benefits. Chroma is an adult coloring book app that uses the power of technology to let you color stroke by stroke with a convenient option to help you stay within the lines.

Use natural coloring tools like pencils, brushes, and markers with your own customizable color palette by mixing the colors, textures, and gradients you want. New hand-drawn pages are added daily, so you always have something fresh and creative to work on as you sit back and relax.

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