All Things Appy: Top 5 iOS Utilities and Tools
Jun 24, 2014 5:00 AM PT
While Apple's mobile operating system does hold users' hands when it comes to device management more so than competitor Android, there are additional steps you can take to optimize your iOS device.
Free third-party utilities are available in app form to beef up battery management, cloud storage and camera backup, as well as to find lost phones, among other things.
Here's a look at the top five free utilities and tools for iOS.
About Apple's Apps: Apple's apps can be installed from the iTunes store. Browse to the store from your phone or iPad and then search for the app you want to download.
No. 1: Battery Doctor HD
Battery Doctor HD is rated 4-plus stars out of a possible 5 for all versions, based on 2,201 ratings, and four-plus stars out of 5 for the current version based on 93 ratings in the iTunes App Store.
This iPad app, from Beijing Kingsoft, is one of the most popular battery management tools available in the iTunes store, and it looks fabulous with its elegant and sophisticated graphic design.
However, where it really helps in iPad battery management is in its power-saving tips, along with steps as to how to accomplish the power savings.
For example, it suggests limiting of use of location services and shows how to achieve that through Settings changes.
Similar apps are available for iPhones too.
No. 2: Dropbox
Dropbox is rated 3-plus stars out of a possible 5 for all versions based on 42,833 ratings, and 4 stars out of five for the current version based on 97 ratings in the iTunes App Store.
Still our favorite cloud-based file storage and backup option, this service commonly is found on Android devices and Microsoft PCs too, so it's significantly more functional than native Apple offerings.
The killer feature in this app is the automatic camera upload capability, which shunts a device's camera-captured images to a cloud-based Dropbox account folder that can be shared seamlessly among family and colleagues.
No. 3: Find My iPhone
Find My iPhone is rated 3 stars out of a possible 5 for all versions based on 63,694 ratings, and 4 stars out of 5 for the current version based on 2,029 ratings in the iTunes App Store.
Find My iPhone does pretty much what it says it does. Lose your device and all may not be lost, because you can log on to another iOS iPad or iPhone, and see the detected missing smartphone or tablet on a map.
Additional functionality includes the ability to remotely lock the device, play sounds, display messages or wipe it. If you want to play detective, you can see where it's been, too.
No. 4: FileApp
FileApp is rated 3 stars out of a possible 5 for all versions based on 14,589 ratings, and 3 stars out of 5 for the current version based on 7 ratings in the iTunes App Store.
Native file management has never been one of iOS' strong points, particularly if you're used to Windows-based file browsing. However, this app helps fill some holes with a local file browser, sharing of local files via FTP, reading Office documents and more.
This is the free, well-featured come-on version. There's also a paid power edition that includes such things as PDF markup.
No. 5: Flashlight
Flashlight is rated 3-plus stars out of a possible 5 for all versions based on 78,699 ratings, and 4-plus stars out of 5 for the current version based on 377 ratings in the iTunes App Store.
iHandy's Flashlight is a hugely popular add-on, and it includes a bonus compass. If you aren't running the latest version of iOS, which has a flashlight built in, this app lets you read menus in darkened restaurants, among other things.
A strobe mode with different frequencies, a mini-map and an SOS signal might save your life in an emergency too.