It’s that time of year again. That time where I look back at 2014 and the iPhone and iPad in my hand and I come up with my picks for the BEST APPS of 2014. These are my favorite apps and more importantly the ones that either came out in 2014 or got significant updates. There are hundreds of thousands of apps on the App Store and no one list can cover them all. When I sat down to put this list together I asked myself of the 551 apps I have on my iPhone and the 508 apps on my iPad, which are the Top 100 Apps that I couldn’t live without? You put all those things together and you come up with a list of Apps that I have no problem recommending to you. So here they are:
1Password – App of the Year!
Not only is this one of the best apps of 2014 but it’s also my pick for BEST APP OF 2014. I couldn’t imagine life without it. In this world of daily hacks with big name retailers and banks it’s more important than ever to have different passwords with each of your online accounts as well as passwords that are more secure with random letters, numbers and symbols. However, it would be impossible to remember them all. That’s where 1Password comes in. I use it to manage all of my logins as well as to generate more secure passwords with new accounts. In 2014 this app reached a whole new level of usability by implementing Touch ID and Safari browser extensions in iOS 8.
Get it here from the .
I have been using GPS turn-by-turn with voice navigation apps for years, but in 2014 I found myself using Waze more often than the others. Waze has the same basic features of all the others, but it also has a “community” aspect where other Wazers are reporting traffic situations and hazzards in real-time. This is by far the best one I’ve seen for up to the second traffic info and automatic re-routing around situations before you get caught in them. in 2014 Waze also added a nice widget that lets you easily tap to navigate to home, work or another location.
Get it here from the .
Avairy became my favorite photo editor in 2014 by offering a straightforward user interface with the tools exposed in just the right way as well as dizzing array of effects and filters.
Get it here from the .
When I post my photography online I usually watermark them with my logo right in Lightroom. However, If I’m posting a shot from my iPhone or iPad then I need a way to watermark them right on those devices. iWaterMark+ is simply the best watermarking app for iOS that I’ve seen to date. Nicely integrated with iOS 8 as a filter in the native photos app.
Get it here from the .
The format for Instagram is a square 1:1 aspect ratio. If you take pictures with the Instagram app you’re all set. However, sometimes I want to post a portrait or landscape image that if I crop it square just won’t do it justice. That’s where Squaready Pro comes in with not only the ability recompose your shot onto a square frame and make it all fit, but also some very cool framing features too.
Get it here from the .
When it comes to social photography sites, 500px comes to mind as being one of the best and definitely one of the most inspirational. I go there when I want to be blown away by photographic images. With that said, I rarely used their iOS App for more than just browsing. I upload to 500px from Lightroom using their Publishing Plug-in. However, with the latest update their App just became a whole lot more useful.
Integrated Camera with Manual Controls
On iPhone the update adds not only a built-in camera, but also the ability to take pictures with iOS 8 aided manual controls. This is probably one of the best implementations I’ve seen in terms of ease of use. You have a simple button that toggles from automatic to manual. Once in manual you can adjust focus and exposure. Snap your shot and it’s sent to the Camera Roll.
Adobe Creative Cloud Editing
Once you snap your shot with the built-in camera or any other camera app you can bring it up for editing. The editing features are powered by Adobe Creative Cloud in that you have the same editing features found in apps like Photoshop Mix. The same “Looks” and same ease of editing that people love in Mix.
Import from Lightroom Mobile
If you’ve used Lightroom Mobile to sync certain collections with the cloud, those same collections appear in the 500px App for you to import from. This gives me another hook into Lightroom and best of all it’s wireless/cloud based.
I stay logged in, but if for whatever reason I log out it’s that much easier to log back in since the app now integrates 1Password support right into the login screen.
The Bottom Line
This is now by far the most feature rich Social Photography app that I know of. 500px just raised the bar.
You can get it here from the .
Over the weekend I decided to do a little ariel photography and video with the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+. After I shot my video, I wanted to edit down to a short clip that I could share on Instagram. Of course one of the biggest limitations with Instagram video is that it can only be a maximum of 15 seconds in length. I figured the NEW Adobe Premiere Clip App would be up to the task. This App would give me the flexibility of starting the process on the iPad and if I could get the edit that I wanted great, and if not I could send the project to the desktop and finish it in Premiere Pro CC. I was able to get the edit I wanted in Premiere Clip.
The editing process
I had one long 7 minute video. The idea was to cut up the video to the 2-3 scenes that I wanted. I also wanted to add a title at the beginning as well as some stock audio. Premiere Clip allowed me to do the edits I needed and I really liked the royalty free soundtrack that I was able to pick right in the app. Once I was done I published the video to the Premiere Clip gallery (optional, you can keep your videos private) and from there I could save it back to my Camera Roll. Now in order to go to Instagram I needed the video to be in a 1:1 square aspect ratio. For this last step I used the Crop Video Square App.
Here’s the video:
OMG You flew near an airport???
The last few seconds show a plane landing at the ATL airport and as soon as I posted the video I had friends and fans freaking out about FAA regulations. Before you lose it and become unglued, note that I’m well aware of the regulations and more importantly so is DJI. In the latest firmware for the Phantom 2 Vision+ DJI built-in “no-fly zones”. The Phantom 2 Vision+ has a GPS that once it detects that you’re near or within a no-fly zone it will AUTOMATICALLY limit the height in which you can fly OR not even allow it to lift-off. I was close, but not that close. My flying height was AUTOMATICALLY restricted and it was fine to make the video that I made. Breathe, breathe… For more info see DJI’s video on their safety features here.
You can get Adobe Premiere Clip for FREE on the .
There are several AMAZING image editing apps for iOS. I have several of them on my iPhone and iPad. However, what I’ve come to realize is that I rarely open most of them. It’s not that they aren’t great. It probably has more to do with the fact that I just don’t need to do a ton of detailed image editing on my mobile devices. If I capture an image with my iPhone it’s usually to share right then and there or shortly thereafter. At this point I may want to do some global adjustments such as exposure, shadows and highlights and perhaps a crop. Well iOS 8 pretty much has that covered now built-in. So when would I need more? When I want to do a few more things to the image such as add a border, add text and perhaps a couple of local adjustments such as spot removal. That’s when I need an App and like I said there are lots of great apps out there. However, I’ve found that Photo Editor by Aviary has the most straight forward and easy UI. Launch the app, open your photo and simply slide to the desired edit that you wish to perform. The edits are fast and good.
There are more filters than I can count. This App does what I want to do 90% of the time. I especially like the Meme Text feature! It took me a minute to find it, but Undo is a gesture. Swipe left under the pic to undo and right to redo and yes it has multiple undos and redos.
Once you’re done with your photo you can share it in all the usual places and even upload to Walgreens to Print it.
What doesn’t it do?
There are no layers. If you’re looking to do compositing and removing backgrounds, then this is NOT your app. You’re better served by Adobe Photoshop Mix or Photoshop Touch.
The Bottom Line
Yes there are Apps that do more. However, for my day to day image editing needs on my iPhone and iPad this one hits the sweet spot of offering just what I need and doing it in a clean fast way.
You can get Photo Editor by Aviary here from the
BONUS: If you have an Adobe ID you can unlock Aviary’s complete collection of photo editing supplies (a $200 value) for a limited time. Once unlocked they’re yours to keep forever!
For many of you at this point you’re holiday shopping is probably well underway. However, for many more of you you’re probably procrastinating as usual I’ve used my favorite gift list app for the last few years and it’s really good because it’s not really focused just on Christmas. However, the app also hasn’t been updated in a while and “The Christmas List” app came across my desk. I decided to check it out and it instantly became my favorite. It’s really hard to explain other than it simply has an easier workflow. What I expect from the “Best Christmas List App” is that it will allow me to easily add people from my contacts along with their photos. It will easily allow me to create a budget for each person and the ability to add a list of gifts for each person. I also expect it to have a passcode feature and the ability to easily check off the gifts as I get them. As a matter of fact without these basic features the App will likely get deleted from my iPhone. The Christmas List App has all of these basics and more. First off even with the basics it’s really well thought out and quick and fast to make the entries. You can easily add people from your Contacts or create them manually. You can then assign each person a budget.
After that you can easily add one or more gifts to each person including the ability to add a photo of the gift as well as the price and even a priority rating. Lastly you can even choose the store or add it if it’s not in the list. This will help with shopping lists by store. If you’re giving the same gift to multiple people you only have to enter it once and then assign it to everyone that you’re giving that gift to.
It’s gets better. You can not only assign a passcode, but you can even use Touch ID on iPhone 5s or iPhone 6/6 Plus. You get a countdown in the App for Shopping Days til Christmas and in iOS 8 you can even add it as a widget to your Notification Center. While this is called “The Christmas List” app, it’s not actually limited to Christmas. You can add additional “Groups” for any other holidays that you want to celebrate and buy gifts for. You can share your lists via iMessage/SMS, AirDrop as well as Email and Print. While checking things off as you buy them is a must have, it certainly not the only thing to consider. Did you wrap the gift? Does it require shipping? You can not only mark a gift as Purchased, but also Wrapped, Shipping or Received.
While The Christmas List app is GREAT and my new favorite, it’s not quite perfect. There are a couple of things I would like to see. First and foremost I’d love to see an iPad version. Not sure why so many of these type of apps leave out the iPad? I’d also like to see cloud syncing of lists to iCloud or Dropbox between devices. It’s great that you can add photos of the gifts, but you can only do so with the built-in camera or from the Camera Roll. I’d also like to see an integrated Google search for pics of gifts. It would be so much faster to search for say an Xbox One, find the pic online and insert it rather than having to leave the app to do all that manually. It would also be nice to be able to add countdown dates for the other groups that you create. With a few additions like these I could easily use this app for ALL occasions. Outside of these wishes, it’s still the Best Christmas List App that I’ve seen to date. I also appreciate the fact that it has a “clean” look without too much “Christmas” decoration (ie. tacky clipart).
You can get The Christmas List App here from the .
Be sure to check out 2014 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide for ideas: