Our 10 Favorite Apps of the Past Year

Our 10 Favorite Apps of the Past Year

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As Silicon Valley and betas have already told you, everyone thinks they’re developing the next Google, Facebook, Instagram, or Pintrest. But the sad part of the Silicon Valley gold rush is the simple truth that, while most of those attempts are released, only a few actually end up making it. To help you not get bogged down in all those time wasting applications, we sorted through our best new apps lists of 2016 to find some of our favorites. Even if you didn’t take any of our downloading advice then, that’s okay. These are the apps you should really be caring about.


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Outlook

We hate the desktop version of Outlook as much as everyone else, but the mobile version has gotten so many updates this year that it was tweaked into one of our favorite apps of 2016. Outlook launched after Microsoft acquired Acompli for their email app. Then they picked up the Sunrise team for calendar. Then they introduced multi-platform features like a unified inbox, calendar and cloud storage options that let you use Gmail, Facebook events and Dropbox attachments without leaving the app. They accomplished the seamless organization that other apps say they’re going to give us, and they did it without a ton of fanfare or advertising, which we have to respect. iOS | Android



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Prisma

Android and iOS users, or the companies that make their favorite gadgets, don’t agree on things all the time. But it turns out morphing your photos into classical works of art is something everyone can get behind. Prisma got awards from both Apple and Google for app of the year, making it one of the few things to bridge the almost entirely imaginary divide between the two user bases. Most importantly though, Prisma is fun, easy and a truly innovative way to alter your photos because it adds a whole new “classical dynamic” that you’re not going to find in filter selections in any other app. iOS | Android



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David Attenborough’s Story of Life

Sir David Attenborough has been covering the natural world for as more years than there were days since this app released. His first program was released in 1954, and this app only came out last November. And even though the app is only about a month and a half old, we’ve invested at least a hundred hours in the coverage that’s been archived in this app. Whether you’re watching polar bear cubs emerge from hibernation or searching out the new, hidden gems that Attenborough buried in the app, Story of Life will educate, amuse and occupy you for as long as you have a signal. iOS | Android



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Super Mario Run

Yes, there’s a hefty paywall. Yes, it’s essentially just an endless runner with Mario at the helm. Yes, you can’t run backwards. But as soon as Mario bursts on the scene and you hear that first “Oh yeah, Mario time!” none of that matters because you’re transported to a place of nostalgia and fun that, if we’re being completely honestly, is absolutely worth ten bucks. For less than a couple good beers, you get a game that looks like Mario, moves like Mario and feels like Mario. It’s worth it in our books. iOS



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Pokemon Go

Prior to Super Mario Run, Pokemon Go was the must-have app of 2016. You could identify people battling you for gyms on the street. You got to collect power-ups that would help you hatch eggs, level your Pokemon, and lure other Pokemon to you. For the people that played it, it was one of the greatest games of 2016. No “Apps of the Year” list would be complete without it. The only way it could have been better was if we had Super Mario Run at the same time. We probably wouldn’t have done anything else for a month straight. iOS | Android



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Reddit

It might have taken the Internet equivalent of forever, but Reddit finally got an official app in 2016. Easily access the frontpage of the Internet, your favorite subreddits and individual threads within with swipes and double-clicks as you upvote, downvote or ignore everything going on. It’s got cat photos. It’s got trending news stories. It’s got themes and memes and gifs and comments and everything else you could possibly need to enjoy Reddit when you’re at the office, on the go, or on the can. iOS | Android



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Hardbound

Hardbound “Stories for Curious Minds” quietly won a bunch of awards this past year for their unique way of making important news, topics and ideas easily digestible with a series of flashcard stories that are fun and take, on average, a whopping five minutes to consume. There’s no easier way to be a more educated member of society while simultaneously picking up some usable bar trivia. You’re going to learn so much cool stuff in the same amount of time it took you to read this list that you’ll wonder why you didn’t have something like Hardbound before. iOS



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Google Trips

Want to simplify your entire trip planning process? If you’re using Gmail, the answer is Google Trips. With almost no effort on your part, Google Trips automatically organizes your flight, hotel, rental car and restaurant bookings in one place without you having to swipe, tap or search. You’ll also get recommendations for nearby attractions, interests, and day plans organized into categories and based on your availability and preferences. Oh yeah, and the entire thing works offline so you don’t have to worry about international SIM cards or pricey data plans. iOS | Android



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Quik Video Editor

With a good percentage of the best live-action video out there being captured on GoPros, it should come as no surprise that their dedicated video editing app, Quik, is on our list of favorite apps. Between the different editing styles, text, music, filters, graphics and other options, Quik guides you through the process of creating a beautiful video that people will actually want to watch with nothing more than a few taps on your part. You select the important parts and Quik takes care of everything from transitions to effects to music syncing without you having to worry about any of it. All you have to do is share it. iOS | Android



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HopPlotter

If you haven’t spent any time stalking us on Instagram, we really like a good beer. It doesn’t matter if it’s an IPA, porter, stout, brown or red ale, barrel-aged whale, imperial, infused, or out of the can, bottle or tap. We love beer. When we’re traveling, there’s no better app than HopPlotter to find the good beer around you. Skip brewery lookups on Facebook, Yelp and Untappd because HopPlotter aggregates all that information and delivers it right to the palm of your hand. Drink up. iOS | Android

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