Photography and media apps
Adobe Photoshop Fix (free)
Photoshop has long been the mainstay of designers, photographers and internet meme makers. This free iOS app is in no way a replacement for the in-depth editing tools that come with the full Photoshop release, but it’s one hell of a starting point for beginners.
Angled towards patching up photos, the app has tools that give you the ability to warp faces, “heal” pictures by removing imperfections (or unwanted people in the shot), as well as tweak a range of colour, focus and tone options. You can export layers to Photoshop CC, making it both a great ancillary tool and quickfire editor. The fact that all of these features are free is mind-blowing.
VSCO Cam (free)
VSCO Cam upgrades the standard phone camera app to give photography enthusiasts full control over the shutter speed, ISO and white balance – as well as letting you choose focus and exposure values from separate areas of your frame.
Once you've captured the perfect image, you can apply a range of filters with adjustable strength. Manual post-processing tools let you apply exposure correction, deskew images, adjust colour temperature and more. What makes VSCO stand out is that these edits are non-destructive, so you have full freedom to experiment and perfect your image. When you're done, you can share your creations on an online gallery.
Note the iPad app doesn't offer the full range of manual camera controls, but images can be synced between multiple devices, so you can shoot on your iPhone then edit on the big screen.
By Instagram, Layout is a useful collage-making app that lets you combine your photos into creative composites.
There are similar apps out there but none are as polished as this, and the connection to Instagram offers easy integration between the two.
VLC Media Player (Free)
VLC Media Player has long been a staple download for PCs and it’s fast becoming the same for mobile devices.
The open source player can manage most audio and video files, including FLAC, MKV, MOV, TS and ogg, and there’s also a media library complete with snazzy orange and black interface.
The Wikipedia app provides a convenient way to browse the people’s encyclopedia, particularly on tablet devices.
The app’s homescreen highlights featured images and articles of the day, allowing you to dip into completely random topics.
Feedly (free, with in-app purchases)
Want to know what’s going on in the news or over at your favourite site? Feedly has you covered, pulling in the RSS feeds of the sites you opt to subscribe to.
Feedly makes it incredibly easy to find new websites, save and share content or read articles online.
Pocket Casts ($3.99 for Android, $5.99 for iOS)
While we’re big fans of Doggcatcher for organising and listening to podcosts, it’s only available on Android. Pocket Casts is just as powerful, but a lot more user friendly and available on iOS too.
Pocket Casts allows you to download podcasts at a set time and your progress is synced to the cloud, so you can carry on where you left off on another device or in a web browser.