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.

2. myPhoneDesktop

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.

3. Pastebot

“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.

4. TouchPad

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.

5. 1Password

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?

  • rizo g

    much appreciated , excellent list , will buy all of them , u should do this more often

  • minifender

    Really nice… thanks a lot alex.. great review

  • Hi,
    Storing password is one thing but creating secure and good ones is another.

    One site which creates true random passwords with techniques to remember them is goodpassword.com . Check out the two online password generators: a Positional Password Generator where you can set position by character type and the Leet Password Generator where you can create an acronym password on a phrase only you can easily remember.
    The password generators have many other features, is completely customizable and can fit on a smartphone like the iPhone.
    Its an inexpensive subscribing service with a free trial.
    David J.

  • MALdito

    Nice list, I will try them soon!

  • Martin

    Touchpad sounds great, but i can get similiar apps for free…

  • Loving the Air Video app.

  • Z

    Nice list, dude. Will bookmark it for later. Already using Pastebot =)

  • I would add “ZumoCast” to that list. Streams audio and video from Mac to iOS device.
    Cost: Free
    Universal App for iPad and iTunes
    App store link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/zumocast-stream-videos-music/id386461020?mt=8

    Website: http://www.zumocast.com

  • I’ll probably buy all but Air Video and iPassword. I currently use Orb and mSecure for those functions. Thanks for the list.

  • James Costosi

    Great List. Love myPhoneDesktop – this is must have 100 per day tool. 1Password – can not leave without it 😉

  • Thanks for the list. I think I will give the myPhoneDesktop app a go 😉

  • Ch@olin

    Love the tips,i should agree on Orb because also work on my ps3 and for password management lasstpas.com, love it and help you store and generate!!!

  • thanks, you should do this everyweek
    btw instead using airvideo
    i recomended streamtome
    the apps is very usefull + play itunes library and many more
    just check it out http://ax.itunes.apple.com/app/id325327899?mt=8

    – Video replay up to HD quality 720p on the iPad and iPhone 4
    – Continuous, single and random play modes
    – Play all your music, display album art
    – Play through folders or use your iTunes playlists
    – TV out via the Apple Component, Composite and VGA cables
    – SRT and SSA subtitles
    – Background audio on iOS 4

  • Z

    I would add System Manager to the list. Very useful: full processes list with termination option, battery management and charging utilities, disk space, memory info, and general system info.

  • Ling

    Hiya, saw that you wrote that the biggest help that myPhoneDesktop has been to you is the ability it has given you to write text messages on you laptop and send them through your phone with a keyboard shortcut. Can you let me know what’s the keyboard short cut that you are talking about? I can’t seems to find it at their support page. Bought this app in hope of doing what you describe … Advice would be appreciated!

  • Sure thing Ling,
    In the myPhoneDesktop OS X app, navigate to settings, system options, shortcut, and there are several system-wide shortcuts available for you to test out.
    Hope that helps.

  • Jon Lion

    Great list, I would like to add “SYSTEM Manager” to that list.

    How about Memory, Processes, Battery and System, Network & CPU stats in a single app with a beautiful authentic design?

    Well… meet SYSTEM Manager for iPhone & iPod Touch and SYSTEM Manager for iPad apps! They provide all this stats data and will live quite naturally on your iPhone or iPad, just like one of its preinstalled apps developed by Apple 🙂 You’re gonna feel like it was on your iPhone or iPad from the day one.

    Check out at:
    SYSTEM Manager for iPhone & iPod Touch for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store


  • Awesome Alex thank you.

    I found a great alarm app. My friends and I record eachother audio messages which then stream as our alarm tones. At first I wasn’t sold but once my college friends started, I was waking up hysterically laughing. Check it out


  • Superb and best collection i can say, it really made my day…

  • the password app is really a big hand of help for me :p

  • actually the thing is that this article guides us to the real utility collection but the thing is that some times some apps are not like the way they seems…

  • John Forte

    This is a very nice list. The app I do not want to miss anymore if AttachmentMailer, which lets you email any given file from the iPhone (such as videos, PDFs, etc.): http://bit.ly/qjsV0f

  • maws

    Good list of Utility Apps. I also have a data security app more like a utility that hides my sensual photos. File Locker Pro Suite. You might wanna have it too. Check it on the App store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/file-locker-pro-suite/id553705400?mt=8