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148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up - Documenting Your Year With iOS Photography Apps

Posted by Jennifer Allen on December 26th, 2013

For the past two years I've been recording my life with photographs. Every day, I've taken a photograph with my iPhone before sharing it via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For the most part it's fun to do, for a multitude of reasons.

It enables me to share my life with friends and family that I don't get to see as often as I'd like. It sparks conversations about whatever happened that day. More importantly, it means that at the end of the year I can look back at what I did and savour those memories. It's pretty much a photo diary in that case. Of course, some days it can be tricky. Not every day of the year can be fascinating, meaning that sometimes I have to get creative. And yes, sometimes I succumb to the ease in which I can snap a photo of my pets or my freshly cooked meal. It's a cliche, but it's surprising how many people enjoy looking at food even despite all the cynicism.

I use many different apps for such a purpose. While few (excluding Instagram) are used every day, they're a handy arsenal of tools just waiting for me to improve a photo in some way. I've made myself a rule that I only use iOS apps to adjust photos and it's working out for me well.

Fragment Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Angela LaFollette on December 26th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: STUNNING
Transform photographs into beautiful fragmented pieces of artwork with this handy photography app.
Read The Full Review »

Instagram Adds New Direct Feature in Latest Update That Allows Users to Send Images/Videos to Specific Friends

Posted by Andrew Stevens on December 13th, 2013
iPhone & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone and Apple Watch, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: POPULAR FOR A REASON :: Read Review »

Instagram received a new update that allows users to send photos or videos directly to another user rather than posting them publicly for everyone to see. After snapping and editing the perfect shot, users are able to select Direct instead of Followers, which allows them to choose the friends they want to send the image or video to. All users need to do is tap the new icon in the upper right corner to view the direct content, and the sender is notified when their content has been viewed by friends.

PictoRealm Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jennifer Allen on October 30th, 2013
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: LACKING
A little too similar to Instagram for comfort, PictoRealm might offer one great addition but it's not enough to make this app a must-have.
Read The Full Review »

Instagram Gets New Design Update and Performance Enhancements for iOS 7

Posted by Andrew Stevens on September 26th, 2013
iPhone & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone and Apple Watch, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: POPULAR FOR A REASON :: Read Review »

It's time to take some more photographs! Well, it's always time to take a good photo. Anyway, Instagram updated its app with a new design and performance enhancements for iOS 7. So head on over to the app store and give it an updatin'!

Five of the Most Recommended Apps This Week: September 9-13, 2013

Posted by Chris Kirby on September 17th, 2013

Ready to get a little social? Powerslyde is here to help you in your quest. Just take a look at these five top recommended apps this week:

Kik Messsenger

Remember when it was just Facebook and Twitter? No, me either. Anyway, if you don't know what Instagram is, I'm amazed you're reading this article. As for Ban.jo and AroundMe, I'll forgive you for not knowing about these social networks that incorporate happenings, events, and locations nearby a-la Yelp or FourSquare.

An interesting inclusion this week is AppGrooves which, like Powerslyde, recommends other apps to its users. And then there's Kik Messenger, which claims to be the fastest messaging app out there. Is it? I don't know, as there's a glut of messaging apps out there, including Apple's own iMessage.

Ok...deep breath...do you feel properly socialized now? Good. Join us next week for another installment of the ongoing app popularity saga. Thanks to Powerslyde, the app that leverages your friends' app recommendations, for this week's list. What apps do you recommend? Drop us a comment below, or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter. See you next week!

Instagram Hits 4.1, Adds Even More Features

Posted by Rob Rich on August 12th, 2013
iPhone & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone and Apple Watch, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: POPULAR FOR A REASON :: Read Review »

Instagram has turned pretty much every iOS user into a budding photographer. Now with the new 4.1 update, it's about to do the same for video.

Okay so maybe video functionality was actually added already in a previous update, but it's been tweaked significantly. Users can now import video from their device's library, cut it up so that only the coolest (or goofiest) bits are on display, and set the square-crop to keep the desired subjects framed. The photo side has gotten a little love, too. Now iOS users can automatically straighten horizon lines in their pictures when they use the in-app camera. Or they can mess around with the rotation tool to dial it in personally.

Now get out there are start taking pictures/video taping stuff!

Slim Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Lee Hamlet on August 8th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: EFFICIENT NETWORKING
Slim is an intuitive, customisable app that makes sure users get more of what they want from their social networking experience.
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Narrato Journal Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on August 5th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CONSOLIDATED MEMORIES
Write about life's precious memories while importing content from some convenient social networking sources.
Read The Full Review »

5 Years and Counting - The App Store Then and Now

Posted by Rob Rich on July 12th, 2013

Over one million apps have made their way onto the App Store during its five years of existence. A million. That's a pretty miraculous number when you think about it. However it's not the amount of apps we have to pick from that I find so fascinating, but rather just how much things have changed since 2008. Pickings were comparatively slim at first, and many developers were just starting to dip a toe in the waters of Apple's new smartphone.

On top of that, the technology itself has changed tremendously in a relatively small amount of time. It makes me wonder if anyone from 2008 would even recognize current iOS devices, and by extension the App Store. Would a newer Apple initiate have any idea what they were looking at if they somehow managed to take a trip to five years ago? I think it warrants a look at how the hardware, the App Store, and the apps contained within it have evolved.

2008 - The Beginning of the Beginning

The App Store's first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.

Handy apps like Pandora Radio, Last.FM, Facebook, and Yelp were to be expected, but that didn't make them any less impressive to have on a handheld platform. Others such as the intuitive personal organizer Evernote, the eerily accurate song-identifying app Shazam, eWallet’s convenient and secure account password management, and MLB At Bat with its extensive baseball coverage further capitalized on the particulars of the hardware and its general portability. Of course there were also some pretty unnecessary options out there, too. Flashlight kind of served a purpose but was also fairly pointless. It wasn't as bad as stuff like More Cowbell!, though.

At the same time, the games available on the App Store were beginning to show people that "mobile" didn't have to equal "mediocre." Sure there were a few simple ports of the odd classic such as Ms. PAC-MAN, Vay, and Scrabble, but there were also some impressive iOS renditions of popular console games like Super Monkey Ball coming out. Potential mobile gamers also had a few really special titles such as Galcon and Fieldrunners to tide them over. When all was said and done there were over 7,500 apps on the App Store by the end of the year, with more being added every day.

2009 - Moving Right Along

The following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple's digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.

Many of the basic smartphone necessities were covered, but there was room for so much more. Especially while the technology was improving. Plenty of people used their iPhones as phones, sure, but with the addition of Skype they were able to enjoy the added functionality of instant messaging and voice chat without cutting into their data plans (so long as a wifi connection was present). Big companies were really starting to take notice as well. That same year Starbucks and many other big businesses threw their virtual hats into the ring with their own apps designed to make life a little bit easier for their iOS-using customers. Practicality was also becoming an even bigger focus. The Kindle app gave iOS users a practical e-reading option, and Dropbox was there being Dropbox. By which I mean "an awesome and super-convenient way to transfer files between multiple platforms." And this same level of refinement could be seen creeping into the games as well.

So many of the App Store's most notable games and franchises came out around this time. It was almost a mobile rennaisence of a sort. This was the year Real Racing first blew mobile gamers' minds, even causing some of them to question the legitimacy of in-game video footage until they were able to see the finished product for themselves. Zenonia was just a fledgling action RPG at the time, and while a lot of people liked it I doubt they knew just how many sequels it would spawn. The same goes for Pocket God, although with updates rather than multiple releases. Flight Control began to eat away at peoples' free time, Angry Birds and Doodle Jump hit it big (like, super big), and Myst and The Sims 3 further displayed the potential for major releases on mobile platforms. Oh, and Canabalt almost single-handedly invented and popularized a genre.

Five Years Of The App Store: Jen's Favorites & Highlights

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 9th, 2013

Being asked to sum up the past five years of the App Store, on a personal level, is tough. Partly, because I have the memory of a goldfish, but also because so much has happened in those few years. How do you highlight what's so great about a device and service that you can't imagine being without? My iPhone and the App Store, by proxy, has been immensely important to me in this time. It's given me so much information, enjoyment and even been a great outlet in times of need. Here's a feeble attempt at trying to sum up how vital it's all been for me.


Launch day: Despite the goldfish analogy, I do remember when the App Store first launched. I'd had an iPhone for a couple of months previously and had dabbled in jailbreaking, but didn't feel too comfortable with it. The day the App Store started was genuinely exciting stuff. It's hard to believe, for those newer to the Store, but it was possible to browse from start to finish, thanks to there being a mere 500 apps available. I did that, regularly, until it got to a point where there were just too many titles to look at. Like with any launch day event, these apps didn't show off everything the technology could do, but they did offer a glimpse of a thrilling future.

Flight Control: Excluding a dabble with the no longer with us, Bejeweled 2, Flight Control was my first great iOS love. It showed me how great the touch controls of the iPhone could be, and how quickly one could gain satisfaction from a phone game. My past experiences with mobile gaming had been fun, but lacking that certain something that made me think it could rival handheld consoles. Flight Control changed that, for me, and I loved spending ages battling to improve my high score. Not that I was any good at it, though!

Exploration: I like apps that enhance my life, and I've used many in the past. Star Chart sticks in my mind, however, thanks to it enabling me to learn more about an area. While at the summit of an ancient ridge, Cefn Bryn, I could load up Star Chart and work out exactly what stars were above me and where. It was pretty magical.


A career path: It's a pretty significant one, but if it wasn't for the App Store, I wouldn't be writing this. In fact, I'm not entirely sure what I'd be doing, given throughout my freelance career thus far, the App Store and iOS have played a very big role. It's changed my life for the better. It's been nearly three years since I wrote my first review for 148apps, Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter, and I'm immensely grateful for how far I, and the site, have come.

The indie uprising: I always passively appreciated the efforts of indie developers, before the advent of the App Store, but my love for them has definitely grown. Perhaps more excitingly, I feel enabled to give it a go myself at some point. While I haven't yet found the time spare to really pursue it, Xcode, Stencyl and Gamesalad are waiting for me, reminding me that the era of the bedroom coder has returned. That's got to be a good thing for creativity, right?

Beloved Apps and Missed Titles

Favorites: I've struggled to narrow the list down. Really struggled. The memories of one Saturday morning avidly playing Game Dev Story in bed, before realising it's practically lunchtime are particularly strong. Much the same as my hundreds of hours spent with Fairway Solitaire are fond, if tarnished by the time it inexplicably lost all my data and progress. Or how about the time I demonstrated the power of the iPad to my mother with the double whammy of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and XCOM: Enemy Unknown? The former being one of my favorite games of all time.

Out of them all, though, a select bunch are used nearly every day. I take photos each day to track my life and have some fond memories to look back on, so Instagram is a must have for me. I like to back up such things, as well as my social networking sharing, so Momento is always at the forefront of my recently used apps. As a writer, iA Writer completes the selection, thanks to its cloud syncing ensuring I can always write up a quick idea, no matter where I am. New Star Soccer remains the key game that I regularly find myself returning to, living my fantasy as a world class soccer player.

Apps I miss: There are a couple of apps I miss, though. Puzzle Quest being one such title, given my love of the Match-3 genre and the fact I've played it to death on all other formats. Similarly, I adored Big Blue Bubble's use of the Fighting Fantasy license, although at least Tin Man Games is doing a brilliant job of taking over that mantle.

It's been a fun five years, and given how far the App Store has come in that time, I'm excited to see what the next five years will bring. It's looking like a pretty rosy future to me!

App Store Fifth Anniversary: Ten Fantastic, Landmark Apps for iOS

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on July 8th, 2013

The App Store turns five this week, and we'll be taking a long look back at this disruptive force in the way we use our mobile devices. Back in 2008, when the App Store launched, we had no idea how far it would come in such a short time, but hindsight is a good thing.

During that time, there have been a ton of apps that changed and improved the state of the art. Here, then, are ten that we think really matter, apps that had an effect on our lives, even now. Apps that changed the landscape of what we expected from a mobile device, and gave us new ways of interacting, sharing, and understanding our world.


The grandaddy of social image sharing, Instagram created, with an ease of use and pretty image filters, a whole new social network based on images. In an era of Facebook (who eventually bought the service) and Twitter, that was no small feat.


While derided as a possible porn-chat app, Snapchat took a single idea and refined it to a razor's edge: take a picture, caption it, and share with your friends. Then, zen-like, that picture disappears. The hidden potential in this app caught on with young and old alike, changing the way we communicated with pictures. Without an archive, Snapchat lets users freely share what they might not otherwise.


Here's an app that allows anyone on any platform to exchange messages with anyone else on any other platform. In a world where you're just as likely to have friends using Android or Blackberry as iOS, this was a revelation. Many other apps tried something similar, but Whatsapp has the userbase and an easy to use, intuitive app that brought it to the forefront. Now we can stay in touch with all our friends and family, regardless of platform, for free.


The photographer's photography app, Camera+ fairly invented iPhoneography, letting iPhone users capture and edit better photos than the built in app with ease. Since its launch, the app has kept pace with upgrades in technology and the camera lenses in each iteration of iPhone, empowering real photographers and talented amateurs alike. Heck, they even pioneered using the volume button as a shutter release, until Apple shut that down, only to use it in the built-in Camera app.


Before Google Drive, before iCloud, there was Dropbox, a service that mirrors your documents across computers with a simple, unified login. The Dropbox app on the iPhone took the same, intuitive simplicity and allowed us all to access and edit the same documents on the go as easily as doing so on our Macs and PCs.


Take notes, save pictures, record audio, bookmark websites. Do this on any device you own: Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android. Evernote has become the de facto standard for network-connected note taking, and much more. You can use this app to write a shopping list on your computer, and then pull it up on your iPhone while at the store. You can collaborate with others on documents, sharing notes and notebooks with ease.


Ever been in the car when a song comes up on the radio and you just can't remember the artist that performed it? Hold your iPhone up, launch Shazam, and let the app magically recognize the music, returning the artist name, album, and easy-purchase buttons for the iTunes store. Newer features include movie preview recognition with links to more information, and television ads that, when recognized, provide links to vendor websites. It's magical technology at its best.


Marco Arment created Instapaper as a basic web app, single handedly creating the "read it later" market that many other apps now compete for. Arment started the service in 2008, built the iPhone app himself, and saw the service grow far beyond his initial vision. He's subsequently sold the app to another company, who promise to maintain and improve it as we continue forward.


Waze was one of the first social mapping and traffic app, allowing users to share road conditions with each other while on the go. It may be one of the most unappreciated apps on this list, but it continues to serve a loyal and vocal user base, providing real-time help from users to help us all plan the best route possible.


The check-in craze started here, with Foursquare. Becoming the mayor of a location, along with various gamification features, provided a stickiness not seen before the apps release. Even with privacy concerns dogging its every step, Foursquare has managed to remain in the public imagination as the way to let our friends know where we are at any given time.


RSS is great, as are Twitter and Facebook feeds. But what we really want is a place to see all of those things at once, published in a slick, easy to use layout. Enter Flipboard, still the best darn social news reader around. It makes the various web sites and social feeds we all rely on much prettier and interesting to look at, letting us keep up to date without having to dip into several different apps to do so.


Founded as a streaming internet radio service on the web, Pandora made the transition to iOS brilliantly, becoming a force to reckon with in the competitive streaming music market, as well as a household name known by one and all. While other services continue to chip away at the venerable service, offering on-demand music access, Pandora continues to be the music access app of choice on iOS devices everywhere.


Can't decide where to eat? Shake your iPhone and Urbanspoon will randomly choose a restaurant nearby that matches your criteria of price, cuisine, and distance. Released in August of 2008, Urbanspoon was the first app on the App Store to combine GPS location data with a database of local dining and drinking establishments, creating a loyal community that reviewed meals, restaurants, and service for other users.

Video On Instagram - 15 Second Clips, Filters, Custom Frames, New 'Cinema' Mode

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on June 20th, 2013
iPhone & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone and Apple Watch, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: POPULAR FOR A REASON :: Read Review »

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom took to the stage today in a livestream, announcing a new video update for the popular photo sharing service, which is now owned by Facebook.

The new video feature, poised to compete with Twitter's own Vine video sharing app, will give users 15 seconds of video, along with Instagram-style filters and a new image stabilization feature, called Cinema.

Systrom showed a video clip of a barista at Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco. Users simply touch the screen to start recording, and lift their finger to stop, in a Vine-like fashion. The succession of clips, up to 15 seconds total, can then have one of thirteen filters applied to it in real time, just like Instagram photos. The rest of the process looks and feels just like the photo app.

Finally, Systrom previewed Cinema, a stabilization feature for the video taken with Instagram, and it looks stunning. Gone are the days of bouncy footage, though only in 15 second chunks.

Here's a video for a closer look.

Instagram with video is available as a free update to owners of the app, on both iPhone and Android, right now.

How To: Free Up Space by Deleting Apps' Cache Files

Posted by Carter Dotson on June 10th, 2013

Ever notice that you’re running out of free space, and apps like Instagram, Spotify, and Vine are taking up a lot more space than they should be? Some apps like these take up over 500 MB of space for cached data, which can be a killer given the limited amount of storage space on most devices. As well, they don't engage in a best practice of making it possible in the app itself to delete cached space. When trying to install a large app, this can be a real problem.

It's time to take the power back, and your device's free space. I’m going to show you two ways to clear up this cached space: the brute force way, and the way that’s a bit more clever.

Method number one: Just delete and reinstall the app

This will delete all the data for the app. It’s easy enough. The downside? You have to redownload and reinstall the app, not to mention needing to login again. Any special preferences will be gone too. This is a solution. It's just not a very good one.

Method number two: delete the cache files using i-FunBox

The cache files stored by apps can be accessed by users with a little bit of savvy. Download an app like i-FunBox to access your device. Plug it in to your computer. Launch i-FunBox. Go to the “Applications” section of your device, and find the app whose cache data you want to delete.

Find the folder called Caches in the Library folder. Right-click on it and delete it.

This should work for most apps. See the results in the Usage section of Settings -> General:

See, with Spotify, deleting the Caches folder cleared up much of my recent cache usage, with the tracks that I saved for offline listening still in the app. You will notice that after using the app again, the Caches folder will be recreated, so this is non-destructive.

Some apps may use multiple or non-standard folders. The best way to discover where this cached data is hiding is to select all the files, copy them to your computer, and then poke through folders’ file sizes to see where large chunks of data are hiding. Then you can delete those folders safely.

In general, just deleting cached data is safe, because by definition it’s just temporary. As long as you don’t delete anything in the Preferences folder, you shouldn’t lose anything important. Feel free to back it up to be safe.

Not that you may need to do this whenever you need to free up some space as the cached data will add back up as you use the apps. Still, if you’re trying to install a large app, this can free up space without needing to delete apps themselves. So go ahead, install Infinity Blade II and keep it there!

Spottlife Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Lee Hamlet on May 24th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CATEGORIZE YOUR SOCIAL LIFE
Spottlife is a new way to view and interact with the world's most popular social networks.
Read The Full Review »