Top 10 iPhone apps you can’t live without (for Verizon and AT&T)

After years of rumors and theories, the wait is over! The iPhone 4 launches on the Verizon network today and is available in stores and on the Verizon website. Last week’s pre-orders sold out in less than two hours.

As the new iPhones arrive, the big question on everyone’s mind is: What apps should I get? With over 300,000 apps to choose from, the options can seem intimidating.

I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 apps you absolutely must have on your phone. Whether you’re on Verizon or AT&T, this list will come in handy.

#1. Facebook (Free)

Update your status whenever you want. Are you traveling? Create an album and upload pictures of your trip as they happen. When you have time to kill, when you’re in the elevator or simply procrastinating, you will find yourself on the Facebook app. I guarantee it.

#2. Yelp (Free)

I must admit, before I got an iPhone I was not a Yelp user. Now I use the app at least 5 times a day. It’s the Yellow Pages for your smartphone. Find yourself in a new town and don’t know where to eat? Type “restaurant” and a list of places will pop up. Not sure about the dry cleaner down the street? Read the reviews. You can call a restaurant’s phone number or get driving directions directly through this app.

#3. Hipstamatic ($1.99)

Modeled after old-school toy cameras, the future never looked as retro as it does with this photo app. Choose from several lenses, flashes, and films to give your pictures character. Once you have the money shot, you can instantly upload it to Facebook, Flickr or Tumblr. A recent update even lets you order prints of your pictures. It doesn’t get any more retro than that!

#4. SoundHound (Free or $5.99)

Soundhound blows Shazam out of the water when it comes to identifying songs. You’re at a bar, rocking out to an awesome song but don’t know the artist. Load the app, point it at the speaker and let the app do its magic. In seconds, you’ll not only have the name of the song, artist and album, but you’ll also get the lyrics, be able to buy the song on iTunes, or watch the artist’s YouTube videos. I’ve tested both apps and Soundhound is more effective in loud bars. Plus, if you get the free version, you’re not limited to a certain number of tags a month like you are with Shazam.

#5. Netflix (Free)

I became a Netflix member because of this app. You can stream movies and manage your Watch Instant Queue right from your phone. All you need is a Netflix membership and a Wi-Fi network and in seconds you’ll be watching the entire first season of Weeds or “Sentimental Tearjerkers from the 1980s.” (Who knew there was a such a category?) You don’t even have to open your computer or deal with a DVD mailing envelope.

#6. Pandora Radio (Free)

This app lets you stream internet radio directly from your phone. Like the Pandora website, you can personalize your stations on the app by simply typing in the name of an artist or song. The best part is you can keep the app running in the background while you navigate other apps (it even works while you text). I use the Pandora app frequently when I’m in the car and need a break from top 40 radio.

#7. Words with Friends (Free or $0.99)

This is the “unofficial” Scrabble game and lets you challenge your friends to word games, chat within the app, and see who has the better vocabulary. Apparently I don’t, based on all the games I’ve lost. (See the screenshot below for proof).

#8. Groupon/Living Social (Free)

Are you addicted to Groupon and Living Social? I am! Every morning I look forward to checking out the latest deals with these modern day coupons. Whether you’re on the go or just waking up, check out the Groupon and Living Social apps to find deals in your city. You can even see your purchased deals, including their expiration dates. With these apps, you’ll never miss the opportunity to get a $15 Brazilian wax again. Phew.

#9. Skype (Free)

With Skype for the iPhone, you can make calls, instant message, and video chat with your friends and family around the world. No computer is needed. Calls are crystal clear and so is the video! Verizon users: this app will come in handy when you’re traveling abroad. Verizon runs on the CMDA network, so while you may not be able to use your phone, you can use this app on a Wi-Fi network. The best part is you won’t have to pay those hefty international rates to talk to family back home.

#10. Emoji Emoticons ($0.99)

Give your text messages character with these emoticons. When you install the app, it loads right onto your keyboard. Every time you type a text message, choose from hundreds of emoticons to help express what you want to say. From a happy face to a cactus, adding in emoticons is no longer cheesy, it’s fun!

Your favorite apps

Verizon users: Welcome to the iPhone family! Feel free to share your favorite apps, hopes and dreams for the iPhone by leaving a comment below.


Today’s post was written by West Coast Correspondent (and proud AT&T iPhone user) Martha Rivera. Stay tuned to Downtown Traveler for Martha’s reports on social media, food and travel. Follow Martha on Twitter at @babymarfy.

About Martha Rivera

Secret technophile in love with food, coffee, music, film, culture, biking, random acts of spontaneity and not getting lost in LA.


  1. Juno

    Oh super! Nerflix seems real good. Can I use the service overseas? Will try. I’m using facebook, skype of course 🙂 groupon is Cool! Wonder Koreans have that.

    • I’m not sure if you can use these apps in Korea, but Netflix is awesome! I mainly stream the movies and TV shows online but have tried the iPhone app too. They have almost every classic TV show you can think of. Perfect for sci fi nerds 🙂

  2. cool applications, i like groupon, they have great deal

  3. Alyson Smith

    Wow! I have verizon but still have a “piece of you know” what 5 year old flip phone, I can’t wait to get the Iphone knowing there are all these great apps out there. I didn’t know about half of them! Thanks for the post!

  4. Great list of apps. Someday I might buy an Iphone and become part of the current century.

    • Yeah, it’s about time Ted! There are probably some cool ski apps you can use, and Yelp will be a big help on your Utah trip 🙂

  5. Cam

    I’m so lame I don’t even have a smartphone! Contract up in T-minus 3 weeks and counting though… time to catch up to 2008! 😉

  6. If I can live without an iPhone- I think I can live without the apps-lol. Some day I may break down and start texting, Tweeting and the rest, but hasn’t happened yet.

  7. Great range of iphone app here. Believe it or not we haven’t tries Yelp yet!

  8. I suppose I’m going to break down my resistance and invest in one of these things…your article here provides some motivation for me to depart the Ice Age. Thanks..great piece..


  9. Be careful about streaming films in foreign countries and the crazy roaming charges! We often read of people coming back home to $10 000 cell phone invoices because they didn’t read the terms and conditions! Caveat Emptor!

    • Wow, that’s insane! Thanks for the tip, Ken. Very useful info

  10. Maria A

    With so many apps out there, this article was great for narrowing what we should get. Thanks!

  11. I’m not an app junkie, but I have almost every one of the apps you listed. Well done!

  12. Wow, I already had every single one of these apps before I read this article, they are all awesome some other amazing apps are:

    Vlingo for voice recognition, find a map of sushi joints in literally 5 seconds

    tripit: for automatically compiling all your travel details in one place seamlessly

    Sirius XM: if you want to pay for more premium content

    Fonolo: lets you put companies on hold instead of the other way around

    check them out and tell me what you think

  13. brand

    thanks for the post, i am not really into apps ‘thing’ but it’s sure nice to know about these stuff… i enjoyed reading and i am planning on adding some apps from your list.

  14. Helen Chris

    I love iPhone apps and I think this is very exciting…Thanks!!

  15. Peter

    Thanks for this great list of apps. Most of them I use already but some of them might be very useful. Like NetFlix or Yelp. Thanks.

  16. mystica03

    Great blog, I enjoy reading your article.

  17. mystica03

    Your article here provides some motivation for me to depart the Ice Age. Thanks a lot.

  18. hunterX0506

    Thanks for the post, i am not really into apps ‘thing’ but it’s sure nice to know about these stuff… i enjoyed reading and i am planning on adding some apps from your list.

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