There’s an app for just about everything now, and new ones come out all the time. Many of us have all the essentials, like Venmo, Google Maps and Instagram, but there are plenty of lesser-known apps that are useful and can make us more productive, but also add a little fun to our lives.
We gathered six cool apps that you will actually use, as opposed to trendy ones that you download just for the heck of it and never touch again. All but one are available for both iPhone and Android, but each is worthy enough to live on your phone forever.
If you’re a plant parent (or plant murderer — no judgment here), this app is for you. It provides individual care schedules and reminders for each of your plants, along with recommendations, treatment plans and step-by-step guides on how best to care for them. If you’re not sure when to water them, don’t worry: Planta will send you a notification and even nudge you when it’s time to fertilize, mist, clean and repot your plants. The app also has a plant identification feature (in case you don’t know what type of plant you have) and a light meter, so you can assess the different light conditions of your home and understand which plants can thrive in different locations. Whether you’re trying to make some orchids bloom or start an herb garden in your kitchen window, Planta has your back.
This self-proclaimed “planetarium in your pocket” will make you feel small in the best way. Night Sky for iPhone lets you carry all the mysteries of space wherever you go, no matter the time of day. All you have to do is point your device to the sky, and you’ll be met with a dazzling live 3D map with illustrations of constellations, stars, planets and satellites. The app will even show you integrated weather reports that reveal the best times for stargazing. And if you’re really dedicated to learning everything you can about astronomical happenings, the app can notify you about future events.
For all you art enthusiasts, Daily Art blesses your phone with one piece of fine art and a corresponding short story about its history and meaning every day. The app also has an archive full of all kinds of art, from classic to modern to contemporary masterpieces from museums and galleries around the world. You can even create a gallery of your favorite pieces. If you’re well-versed in the fine art world or just want to start your day off with some nice aesthetics and history, this app is a fun download.
This app is great for all sorts of readers, whether you’re just getting out of a reading slump or are already moving on to the next book on your shelf! If you’re trying to keep track of the books you’ve read or simply make a habit out of reading, Bookly will help you do so. The app can track your reading sessions, hold you accountable and carve out a reading routine that works for you. Bookly also creates a personalized report with your reading stats, if you want to keep up with your progress in real time.
If you’re haunted by the “what’s for dinner” question or just want to spice up — both literally and figuratively — your meals, Jow is the app for you. After you plug in your household size, dietary restrictions, likes and dislikes, and cooking appliances, the app will allow you to sift through a personalized recipe rolodex. Once you select a recipe, the ingredients to make it will automatically be added to your cart. Then, you can choose the nearest grocery store to get either home delivery or in-store pickup, so you can get your groceries and start cooking. (And don’t worry, you can add other items to your grocery cart as well.)
6. The Metronome by Soundbrenner
This app will help you keep steady time as you practice your music. Complete with the ability to customize the sound of each beat and the time signature, Metronome is a necessity for every musician, regardless of your instrument or skill level. You can also save rhythm presets and create your own set list.