What are the best free iPhone apps?
Looking for the best free iPhone apps? We’re here to help, with our guide to the best free apps for iPhone, covering the best news, photography, entertainment, work and social apps.
Nobody likes spending money if they can avoid it – even those who’ve just spent a fortune on an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. In fact, you’ve probably got less cash to spare than the rest of us after settling up with Apple. Luckily there are masses of free apps on the App Store, many of which are just as good as the paid-for alternatives, enabling you to expand your device’s capabilities in a myriad of exciting ways.
In this feature we’re focusing on non-gaming apps, but if you’re interested in gaming, take a look at our dedicated roundup of the best free iPhone games. (We also have an article listing the best free iPad games.) On the other hand, if you’re interested in the dark side of the free app business model, check out Freemium is the worst thing in the history of gaming: a rant and Why apps need to be more expensive.
Read next: Best free iPad apps | Best free iPad games | Best free iPhone games
Our first category is:
Best free iPhone apps: Social apps
But now, Reddit has used what it learned from Alien Blue to come up with its own app built from the ground up. You’ll see the latest news, trends and memes available to browse, search and discover within the app’s clean, easy-to-use interface.
You’ll also be able to access your inbox to stay up to date with messages, comment replies, post replies and mentions.
If you’re using an iPad, you’ll need to continue using AlienBlue there until Reddit creates a dedicated iPad app, though.
Buffer is a neat tool that lets you easily post – or share pages you’ve found – to multiple social media accounts (although only a single account per social network, unless you upgrade to the paid-for version) at scheduled times.
It’s fantastic for media and business types who’ve used analytics to find out the optimal time to send out tweets and Facebook updates; you can set up a series of strong posting times, and updates will automatically be queued up for the next window.
If you’re on Facebook – and if we’re honest, most of us are – then this is probably the first app to download on a new iPhone. It’s free, it looks good (and fits in with the design aesthetic of iOS 10) and does a good job of getting out of the way and letting you find out where your ex-girlfriend has been on holiday.
Find My Friends had a pleasant make-over following the release of iOS 7, and those still interested in stalking their friends, checking up on their wife’s whereabouts and making sure they don’t end up in the same pub as their dad will find it as useful as ever. For those that haven’t tried it, it’s free to download and well worth exploring.
FREE | Read our full Find My Friends review | Download Find My Friends for iPhone
If you’re reliant on Google’s mail service, then the Gmail app is an obvious one to try. It’s free, it looks good, and it’s tightly integrated with other Google services.
FREE | Read our full Gmail for iPhone review | Download Gmail for iPhone
Facebook introduced Messenger to the world in 2011, when they enabled the functionality of sending and receiving messages by an app, rather than via a browser. In order to use the app, you are required to sign into your Facebook account. Read next: Best iPhone Keyboards.
This is one of those super-hot ideas that threatens to upend an entire industry. It remains to be seen whether 2016 will see all news reports delivered via live Periscope broadcast, but either way, this app has made waves.
It’s a little like Snapchat, but for live video: you start a broadcast, which any of your followers can view as it happens, and the video remains viewable for 24 hours after you finish – and then is erased from existence. Thrillingly immediate, utterly nerve-wracking for journalists who used to have the best part of a month between filing an article and seeing it on the shelves, and lots of fun to try out.
FREE | Download Periscope for iPhone
Superb and versatile alternative to FaceTime for when you want to video-call friends and relatives who aren’t on Apple devices. Features a slick, user-friendly interface and the ability to make calls over 3G, although call-quality issues and data limits mean we’d recommend this as an occasional indulgence only.
FREE | Read our full Skype for iPhone review | Download Skype for iPhone
Like Facebook, Twitter’s free native iOS app is simple and effective. It’s intuitive to use and ideal for the more basic aspects of using the service – which is what you want from the iPhone app.
FREE | Download Twitter for iPhone
Read next: iOS 10 tips
WhatsApp is one of those apps that divides people into camps: the ones who haven’t heard of it, and the ones who won’t shut up about it. (See also: The best apps for messaging on iPhone)
It’s superb for keeping in touch with groups of friends without spending a groat, allowing you to send text messages, videos, pictures and audio to your friends or family at no cost. The app is easy to use and in our experience totally habit-altering.
FREE | Read our full WhatsApp Messenger review | Download WhatsApp Messenger for iPhone