The Apps I Actually Used In 2013

December 31, the day of a billion lists. Best of. Recaps. Predictions. Resolutions. Rather than subject you to any of those, I thought I’d use the day to answer a question I get asked quite often: what apps do I actually use?

By “apps” here, I mean mobile and tablet apps. There are obviously still a number of web/desktop apps I use regularly, but mobile/tablet has all but taken over my life and basically all the services I use regularly now have apps.

I plan to do such a recap every year going forward. I think it will be interesting to see how my own usage of apps changes over time and whether that mirrors any larger industry trends or whether I’m a strange outlier.

Some of these apps/services I’m an investor in, but many I’m not. My point here isn’t to pimp my own product, but rather to give an honest look into what I actually use. So, sorry in advance for those I piss off by inclusion or exclusion.

I’m going to limit the list to 25. I had thought about listing them in some sort of order, but that seems a bit hard to do without some sort of actual data on my usage so I’ll do them alphabetically. And I’m going to leave out some of the bundled apps (such as Settings) but include others (such as Safari).

It should be obvious from this list that I’m an iPhone user, but I have an Android device (Nexus 5) as well for testing purposes and I use many of the same apps there.

Here we go:

  • Camera
  • Day One
  • Facebook
  • Facebook Messenger 1
  • Fantastical
  • Flipboard
  • Foursquare
  • Google 2
  • Instagram
  • Loom
  • Mail 3
  • Mailbox
  • Maps 4
  • Messages
  • Moves
  • Path
  • Podcasts
  • Pocket
  • Rdio
  • Reminders
  • Safari
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter 5
  • Uber
  • Vine

A few final notes:

  • I didn’t include any games on the list, though there are a lot that I really love — Dots, Oceanhorn, and QuizUp being great examples.
  • There are a number of apps that are not on the list that I’m using quite a bit but they came out towards the end of the year — SportsCenter being a great example — maybe next year!
  • There are a few apps I use only on my iPad — Byword being a great example, where I’m writing this! And there are more on the iPad that I only use for short bursts of time — Hourly News and Yahoo Weather are good examples.
  • You’ll notice the Phone app isn’t here. That’s on purpose!

  1. Yes, both Facebook and Facebook Messenger. I actually use Messenger a lot more — and like it a lot more. 

  2. Mainly for Google Now but also for Search because it’s faster than opening Safari and highlighting the URL box. 

  3. Only for work email since Mailbox doesn’t yet support Exchange. 

  4. Tough call here over Google Maps, which I was using more for a good chunk of the year, post-Apple Maps debacle. But Apple Maps has seemingly gotten much better over time. And I like the turn-by-turn much more. I obviously still have both installed for those times Apple has no idea where I am. 

  5. If I had to rank them, Twitter would be first. I also use Tweetbot a lot to monitor other accounts (such as the @lemonfeed account for this site). 

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    I love this idea of doing an annual recap list. Here’s mine, in no particular order: - Work Stuff: Convo, Reeder...
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