The app charts might be dominated by apps you already have installed on your phone like Facebook, Spotify, Twitter, Netflix, Instagram and all the other classics, but there were still plenty of great apps released in 2017 that you should absolutely be using. From games and productivity, to travel and photo editing, these are the 10 best apps of 2017. We recommend you install them immediately.


Outings

Microsoft’s Garage Project team might not explicitly come out and say it, but their release of Outings was clearly designed as a shot across the bow for Lonely Planet, specifically its Trips app. We like Outings because it packs the same feature set you’d expect from any high quality travel story and exploration suite into an app that isn’t limited strictly to one operating system or content source. Whether it’s outdoor adventures, historical sites, city life or kid-friendly activities, Outings has a spot you’ll want to explore that you’ve probably never heard of—along with the ability to let you save and share your experience with your friends and family. iOS Android



Ballz

Ballz is one of the few new games that managed to hit the top of the charts this year despite competition from Super Mario Run, Clash Royale and all those other games you’re already addicted to. Developed by Ketchapp—the same people responsible for mobile hits like The Floor is Lava and a version of 2048—this game is incredibly simple, easy to play and should probably be regulated by the government because it’s addictive as hell. Ballz plays like an evolving version of Breakout or Brick Breaker where you start with a single ball and break blocks before they hit the bottom of the screen. You’ll collect additional balls along the way, but the blocks will also upgrade and have to be hit multiple times before they break. It starts easy enough before turning into a game that’s so infuriatingly fun you won’t be able to put it down. iOS Android



Redacted

At first glance, you’d think that an app purpose built to simply obfuscate your information would never make it on a list of favorite apps that spanned an entire year. And yet, here we are talking about Redacted again because one of our favorite apps for work is also usable on an almost daily basis. If you’re anything like us, you’re sharing screen caps, photos and documents right from your phone on a regular basis. All of those things probably have at least one piece of information that you have no desire to share, and in those situations, Redacted allows you to easily and quickly blur, pixelate or black out those areas much like intelligence agencies do for their briefs in your favorite spy movies. iOS



Boomerang Mail

Two years later, we’re still reeling over the loss of the Mailbox app because it made #inboxzero and email organization something attainable for those of us who live our lives one bit or byte at a time. It might seem like a stretch, but we’re declaring Boomerang Mail the spiritual successor to that app and the best email app on the market right now. Schedule your email sends. Boomerang your emails until a later date/time. Archive/Mark as Unread/Boomerang/Move/Delete with a simple swipe and drag motion. There’s also a pretty responsive voice assistant that will help you stay on task. You can even pause your entire inbox while you tackle time-sensitive issues. If you’re not using Boomerang Mail, you should be. iOS Android



CastBox

We love podcasts. We’ll spend all the time you have available waxing nostalgic about the latest episodes of everything from 99% Invisible and How I Built This to This American Life and Stuff You Should Know because we listen to our favorites more often than we binge shows on Netflix. Recently, though, we found ourselves in the precarious position of having nothing new to listen to, which is where CastBox comes in. CastBox is a podcast player with over 50 million episodes that uses a revolutionary audio search feature to find you your next favorite podcast using a collection of keywords and phrases that are searched through the content of all available episodes on the platform. It’s like Skynet for podcasts, and we love everything about it. iOS Android



Enlight Photofox

Whatever flavor of Enlight it is you like, it’s sure to be a beautifully designed app capable of giving you control of your photos in the same ways you’re used to in Photoshop or Lightroom without having to worry about traveling with a laptop. We love the Enlight classic and Enlight Quickshot options, but Enlight Photofox gets the best app of the year badge among its brethren because it combines all the standard features with the drawing, typing and doodling you’d normally have to export to a separate for. Does it suck that it’s on a subscription model? Absolutely… but it’s also completely worth it if you do any amount of photo editing on your phone. iOS



Into the Dead 2

At this point, we have no problem admitting that we’re officially over The Walking Dead, but we’ll never give up on the zombie genre as a whole. Until someone picks up George A. Romero’s mantle, Into the Dead 2 is part of the reason we’re still interested. Even months after we initially installed it, we’re still addicted to the first-person runner/gunner game because of the fantastic graphics and even better gameplay. The premise is simple enough: run through a zombie horror film while killing/dodging zombies, collecting ammo crates and completing objectives. In practice, it requires a decent amount of skill and attention span because it’s nowhere near as easy as it seems if you actually plan on winning. iOS Android



iTranslate Converse

When you’re traveling, there’s no substitute for knowing the native language… or is there? iTranslate Converse, available exclusively for iOS devices at this point, is a “revolutionary new speech translation app” that aims to make conversing in languages you have no understanding of a mere inconvenience instead of a total headache. The process is relatively simple. Load the app on your phone. Turn your phone upside-down so the mic is at the top. Select the two languages that will be translated. Tap and hold when you speak. Once you do all those things, iTranslate will detect and convert speech in either direction, so you’ll have no problem ordering a decent meal in Italy, a glass of wine in Paris, or a beer in Germany. iOS



Triumph

As you’re probably well aware by now, we’re big fans of keeping track of to-do lists, important notes or notable events here at Cool Material. And while we’re all for pocket notebooks and journaling through the traditional pen and paper experience, there’s something to be said for the convenience of digital record-keeping. That’s where Triumph comes in. The “Journaling, Reimagined” app will ping you with Tria, the virtual human companion built into the app, at whatever time you set in order to get a rundown of everything that happened in your day. You can easily look back, edit and reflect on previous entries, along with being able to listen to get help with guided journaling or narrated inspiration. iOS



Libby

Technically, the app Libby came out in late 2016, but it didn’t get anywhere near the amount of coverage it deserved until it started popping up on people’s radar in early 2017. Why is this app good enough to end up on the list of best apps of 2017? Because it turns your library card into a Kindle Unlimited subscription for free. Whether you’re looking for the great American novel, the latest Game of Thrones or a graphic novel, Libby lets you check out thousands of audiobooks and ebooks from your local library and read or listen on any of your devices with no cost to you. Why deal with Kindle or Audible when Libby will do it for free? iOS Android

Brooklinen-CM-IF2-6-25

With their cozy sheets, blankets and candles, Brooklinen has more than taken care of all your needs in the bedroom–now they want to tackle the bathroom as well with their Super Plush Towels. After two years of testing textiles, Brooklinen has made towels that are strong, absorbent and luxuriously plush. With both traditional bath towel and larger bath sheet options–along with the requisite hand towels, washcloths and bath mat–you can deck out your entire bathroom in Brooklinen luxury without breaking the bank.