Utilities

Find the best utility apps for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to help you daily life.

Normal: Battery Analytics

Find out which Apps are Killing your iPhone Battery with Normal

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Sometimes your iPhone battery will drain at what you would consider a normal rate, throughout the day and other times it seems to be draining much faster than usual. After you’ve done the normal things such as lowering the screen brightness, if the excessive drain continues, then more than likely there is an App to blame that’s running in the background and sucking up all your juice. But which one? iOS 8 is supposed to let us know, but iOS 8 isn’t out yet. In the meantime, there’s an App called Normal: Battery Analytics. This app aggregates anonymous (with user permission of course) data from hundreds of thousands of users so that it can accurately pinpoint data hogs running on your device. Once the battery hogging app(s) have been identified it gives you recommended actions to take. In most cases you can simply quit (not just close) the app to resolve the problem. You can also turn off background App refresh in the offending apps.

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I’ve been running this app for about a week now and it has made a difference. If you need to see which Apps are killing your iPhone battery, Normal will help.

iTunes.

Dropcam

Dropcam Adds Scheduling and Location Based Activation

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Dropcam HD has quickly become my new security camera of choice. It streams HD to the cloud and allows me to check in on things when I’m away. They even offer DVR like functionality for motion detected events. However, until their latest update Dropcam always ran continuously, I don’t really need two of my three Dropcams to run when I’m on site. I really just need them to run when I’m away. Since I come and go and different times on different days, the new scheduling feature doesn’t quite work for me either. However, they also added a “location” based feature and this will be great for me. Basically I set all of my Dropcams to turn on and broadcast whenever I leave the building. Since it’s based on the location of my iPhone 5 I can set this up once and never have to think about it again. This will also potentially cut down on bandwidth use and privacy concerns for people that don’t want to be “recorded” while they’re at home. Dropcam was already an excellent solution for offsite or onsite monitoring and now it just got a lot better. You can see my original Dropcam HD review here and you can get a Dropcam here.

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Burner - Disposable Phone Numbers

Burner – Disposable Phone Numbers App

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Burner solves an interesting problem. The idea behind the App is that once you download it to your iPhone and set it up you can create a temporary (burnable) phone number that you can use when you don’t want to give out your real phone number. For example, I’ve never sold anything on Craig’s List because I didn’t want to give out my personal contact information. I didn’t want people coming to my house or having my home/mobile phone numbers. I solved the coming to my house problem a couple of years ago by moving into my own photography studio. Now I have a business address that people can come to. However, the phone number issue still remained. If I put up a classified ad I want people to be able to contact me about the product I’m selling all the way through the sales process. After the deal has concluded I don’t want anyone else calling me about it. This is where a burnable number comes in. The Burner App allows you to create temporary phone numbers that you can use to dial out on and the caller-ID will reflect that number as well as receive calls on that number that ring through to the App on your iPhone with push notifications. While the App is Free, you buy credits via an in-app purchase to setup numbers for 7, 30 and 60 days with various amounts of talk time. 3 credits set you back $1.99, 8 credits for $4.99 and 15 credits for $7.99. The pricing is not bad and the “Standard Burner” for 5 credits and it will last you for 30 days or 50 talk minutes or 150 texts. You can create the number in the area code of your choice.

When you set up the App it will need your real phone number as a point of reference and they promise to keep it secret. Other than that the setup is very straight forward. You even get a test number to play with for 24 hours. You can burn the number at any time and use the number can be used for texting too.

iTunes

Dropcam

Dropcam for iPhone and iPad

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On my techblog I just reviewed the Dropcam HD WiFi Wireless Video Monitor Camera for home security. One of the benefits of this camera is that you can monitor it from an iOS or Android device. After I got the Dropcam HD setup I downloaded the iOS App for both my iPhone and iPad. Once you have the App installed you simply log into your Dropcam.com account (the one you setup when you setup the camera) and you’ll will have the ability to view a live feed from your Dropcam HD(s). The video quality over WiFi was great and I could even hear the sound of what was going on in the room. If you have a DVR plan with Dropcam.com you can even review recorded events. However, if all you have is the free account you can still setup your push notifications to alert you if there is movement going on in front of your Dropcam HD so that you can start viewing.

Watch Live or Watch Recordings

The App lets you tap and watch full screen views of any of your configured Dropcams even if they are in different locations around the world. You can see either live views or clips that recorded due to motion events. You can even share still images directly from the App. The App also allows you to change the settings of your Dropcam HD remotely. You can change the settings for your microphone, status light, or 180° rotation when mounting from the ceiling. If you have multiple Dropcam HD’s you can also rename them so that you can easily pick which one you want to watch.

The Bottom Line

The app works as advertised and you’ll like it even more on iPad. I’d love to see a “mute” button right on the main display, but otherwise the App works well. If you have a Dropcam HD, then you should definitely have this app!
iTunes

Get the Dropcam HD here.

QR Reader for iPhone

QR Reader for iPhone and iPad

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Here at Best App Site we like to pick the BEST Apps for iOS. However, the “best” App today may not be the best App tomorrow. My favorite QR code scanning App has been Scan for quite some time.  It works as advertised. However, yesterday I happened to be browsing Apps on the App Store and saw that QR Reader for iPhone was in the top downloads and had a very high rating (rare since people are quick to give a 1 star rating if they don’t like the icon of an App). I downloaded it and immediately saw why it was getting high praise.

Yes it Scans QR codes, but…

QR Reader for iPhone launches fast and is ready to scan a QR code. That’s key as if didn’t do that then it wouldn’t be much use. Once it scans the code it takes you to the site or content of the code. It also adds it to the history so that you can get back to it later. You can also bring up codes that you’ve photographed with your camera App. That’s nice for those times when you have a code in your camera roll that you photographed perhaps when you were offline or received from someone via email. Where QR Reader excels is that it not only scans QR Codes quickly but it also lets you create your own QR Codes and share them! I was blown away by how well this feature was implemented. You can create QR Codes from URLs, phone numbers, Text, GEO locations, email addresses, VCards, SMS, Events and it even has preconfigured social media ones for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype, Foursqure venues, YouTube, App Store, Android Market, and more. Not to mention PayPal payments. Once you create your code you can share it via email, Messages, Twitter, Facebook, Save to Photos or Print.

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The Bottom Line

QR Reader is AWESOME! They also have an iPad version that I just saw as I was writing this review. Not sure why they didn’t do a Universal App (other than to keep the app small and fast), but they both are free. Speaking of FREE, they have ads in them. However, if you want to remove the Ads you can do a one time in-app purchase for $0.99 and the ads will be history.

QR Reader for iPhone iTunes

QR Reader for iPad iTunes

or get the Premium versions without Ads directly:

QR Reader for iPhone (Premium) QR Reader for iPhone (Premium) - TapMedia Ltd

QR Reader for iPad (Premium)QR Reader for iPad (Premium) - TapMedia Ltd

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