I love apps that make my life easier. And when they’re really useful, I don’t mind paying a little for them. The 5 apps I will mention in this list are not jailbreak apps, so everyone can use them.
Each of these apps is either designed to increase your productivity or make some aspect of your technology life better. They all aren’t necessarily cheap, but there are free/lite versions of some. These 5 apps are utilities I use on a daily basis, so they’re near and dear to my heart…
1. Air Video
Air Video allows you to view your entire video library from any Windows or OS X machine through your iPhone (minus iTunes DRM content). You simply install the server software on your computer, and as long as your iPhone and server are on the same network, you can view all of the video media that you’ve added to Air Video’s viewable directory.
This app does a great job of finding and adding a server (your computer) automatically when you first open the app. And while I haven’t tried, you can set a specific IP address for your server. If your established server and router supports Air Video’s requirements, you can access your content when you’re not on your network. (That’s global access to all of the video on your hardrive over 3G)
File format recognition is not really an issue with Air Video, and if it can’t play your video from the get-go, Air Video will play with “live conversion” and convert the file to a compatible format as you watch.
With a few more interesting features to offer, such as media folder management and file deletion on the iPhone, Air Video is a great buy. You can pick up the limited, but free version in the App Store. Or, you can buy the full version for $2.99.
MyPhoneDesktop is an app that I feel has gone relatively unnoticed, but deserves attention. The developers summarize it best,
“It provides an easy and effective way to work with your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch directly from your desktop. Whether you need to make a phone call, send a long SMS, copy a large amount of text, send a long and complicated to retype URL, open route in mobile Google Map, or store an image on your iPad or iPhone, myPhoneDesktop greatly streamlines your workflow.”
MyPhoneDesktop combines a multi-platform desktop client with a relatively simple iPhone app. Instead of using the iPhone to send data to the computer, it’s the other way around. Personally, the biggest help that myPhoneDesktop has been to me is the ability it has given me to write text messages on my laptop and send them through my phone with a keyboard shortcut.
Figuring out exactly the way myPhoneDesktop works can be a little tricky, but it’s very rewarding when you discover the right keyboard shortcuts and methods for you. If you are having problems understanding the service, the developers have a very extensive support page to answer your questions.
MyPhoneDesktop is definitely set at an “investment” price. I would recommend looking at the complete list of features before making your decision. You can download the desktop client for free on all platforms, but the app itself is going to cost you a pretty $4.99 in the App Store.
“Command copy and paste.” That’s Pastebot’s motto. This amazing utility (designed by the awesome team at Tapbots) is definitely the most powerful and robust clipboard manager you will find on the iPhone.
Everything about Pastebot is flawless. I honestly don’t have any qualms with it. Importing, managing, sending and syncing copied data on your iPhone couldn’t be managed better. With working with text, links and photos as much as I do, Pastebot works as a great hub for the things I copy to my clipboard throughout the day.
There are tons of great editing features that Pastebot offers for working with chunks of text and photos. You can export out your content to its appropriate app, or in an email.
Pastebot reverses the functionality of myPhoneDesktop by allowing you to paste things you save in Pastebot to your Mac. All you need running is the free Pastebot Sync preference pane in OS X. Whenever your iPhone is on the same network, you can use Pastebot to send content from your iPhone to your Mac. (Sorry, OS X is the only platform supported for syncing at the moment.)
I don’t know how I lived before I had Pastebot, and I have a feeling you’ll feel the same way once you start using the app. Pick it up in the App Store for $3.99.
I won’t spend too long on this one, since I wrote a full review about a month ago. I’ve listed TouchPad again because I honestly like it that much. I’ve used a lot of remote/mouse/keyboard apps, and TouchPad is definitely the best in my opinion. Read my full review of this little gem if you’re more interested.
Again, it’s not cheap. But if you want the best quality all-in-one remote app, pick up TouchPad for $4.99 in the App Store.
Let’s be frank, managing tons of passwords sucks. Especially if you’re a geek, remembering all of your logins online can be a huge pain. There are quite a few password managers out there, but 1Password is widely recognized as the best multi-platform password manager available.
1Password for iPhone can be used to be the single manager for your passwords, but it works best with the desktop client as the base station (since most of your logins are probably created on the desktop anyway). Syncing with the desktop counterpart makes the iPhone an awesome way to view your passwords and private credentials on the go.
1Password handles everything from your social security number to your Twitter login. And of course, everything is highly protected with advanced encryption and master passwords that you set.
If you buy into the 1Password ecosystem, you will never be without access to saving your passwords in your 1Password database. There are plugins for just about evert browser and a client for Mac and Windows.
Download 1Password for $9.99 in the App Store (the universal version is $14.99). The price sounds steep, but when something happens to your computer and you lose your browser login cookies, 1Password will be there to rescue you.
I hope you enjoyed my little list. Do you use any of these apps? Will you be downloading any of them?