My 2013 list of 8 essential iPhone apps.

I've installed and deleted many apps over the year. Some I used for a day, others for months, before deciding they just weren't for me. However, there is a short list of apps that I depend on. Apps that I find so useful on an almost daily basis that they've become essential to my digital life. Here's a list of those apps.

MotionX GPS Drive

It's how I find the fastest route to anywhere. It has everything I want in a GPS app -- turn-by-turn navigation with, live voice guidance, live traffic analysis, location search, and multiple stops. I use it almost everyday to find me the fastest route to work.


I use Pocket to save and download articles for reading later. I can read on web, on my iPad or iPhone and even my iMac. Pocket has browser plug-ins/extension for every major browser making it easy and quick to save links for reading later. A lot of applications have integrated support for Pocket including some of my essential apps, Tweetbot and Reeder.


I've used Tweetbot since version 2 was released and I'm really diggin version two.


Reeder has been my RSS reader for a few years. It supports the social sharing options I want -- Facebook, Twitter, ADN -- and my chosen reading list app, Pocket. When Google Reader shut down I temporarily moved to another app while Reeder was updated to support alternatives -- Feedbin, Feedly, Fever etc. A new rebuilt version -- version 2 -- of the app was recently released as a universal app.


Authy is both an app and a service that provides two-factor authenticaion for some of my online social accounts. I use this app several times a day to get access to my email, Facebook,, Dropbox etc. While it may not protect my accounts from a determined malefactor, it does offer a higher-level of security beyond what just a username and password can offer. Best of all, the app and the service are free for developers.


These days, most of what I do for a living involves advising my clients on best practices in information security or helping them create an information systems security program. I write a lot of documentation. It can get tedious. Spotify streaming music player is how I get through the day.

Umbrella VPN

The security folks of OpenDNS created this Cloud-based security service to improve the network security of mobile devices. I am now less worried when using my iPhone or iPad in café, retail stores, planes, hotels or any network I don't trust (like friends and family networks).

Umbrella protects even over untrusted networks engaged in eavesdropping, credential stealing or other malicious activities.

This isn't a free service but for $20/year1 I have more piece of mind that our communications are better protected.


1Password is another app I use several times a day. A strong complex password, when used in conjunction with two-factor authentication, helps protect my critical online accounts. It is a good security practice to use different username and passwords with each of online account. However, creating strong passwords, and remembering them, can be difficult. 1Password helps me with that. It has an excellent random password generator. I use it to keep track of all my online account information. 1Passwords runs on my iPhone, iPad and iMac and uses iCloud to keep my password information synchronised between all my devices.

  1. This covers up to five mobile devices. We have many iPads and iPhones in the family.