3 Free iOS Tools You'll Want To Use

Today's mobile devices are some kind of handy. Many folks, yours truly among them, would have serious issues if our mobile device of choice were to stop working. In fact, it's become a concern for me.

Think about how many phone numbers and addresses you remember, how often you pull out your phone for directions even if you've been to your destination more than once, and let's not even talk about birthdays or other scheduled events.

Free on iTunes

Our brains, and more to the point, our memory requires exercise in order to stay fit. Remembering your phone's password just isn't enough. So, one of my resolutions is to remember 5 important phone numbers and addresses and be able to spit them out like a prisoner of war might his name, rank, and serial number. It's not as easy as you'd think it should be.

I have come to rely so much on my phone for such info that I'm having to rebuild or clean out those long neglected neural pathways that used to point to that data. Like any wooded trail, the more I use it the easier it becomes, and I'm proud to say that I can regurgitate those five numbers and addresses without a single mistake. Next stop, the names of people I've just met.

Don't get me wrong, I throughly enjoy my iPhone and iPad and use them a lot. But instead of replacing a function better suited for my grey matter I want to use these mobile tools as...well, tools. Use them to get stuff done that I'd find hard, if not impossible to otherwise. That's the gist of this week's Free on iTunes, tools that help your mobile device work better for you, often in unexpected ways.

I've got three such apps to share with you so let's get to it.

Simbol [321 KB, all iOS devices iOS 7.0 or later, Maker: Amit Jain]

SimbolFind the character you need with Simbol

During the course of writing a typical letter, email, text message or other social correspondence one normally does not need to use the following characters: ⎋∀¤¿∉

On the other hand, when you do need to use those characters while writing on your iDevice, for many of them, you are out of luck, unless you have Simbol.

SimbolCopy/paste where you need it

This is one of those app that makes you wonder why someone hadn't created it before. Open it and get presented with a clean interface that lets you scroll through categories of special characters, or find what you need via search. When you find the weird squiggle that you're after just copy then paste it in your missive.

That's not all. You math mavens may marvel at Simbol's ability to create math statements via its built in editor. Once created you can copy/paste your sentence intact into whatever text or social media you choose.

You never know when you'll need a lamda (λ), isin (∈), nobla (∇), or section symbol (§). Get Simbol and you'll never go wanting.

Real Simple: No Time To Cook [22.2 MB, all iOS devices iOS 5.0 or later, Maker: TI Media Solutions Inc]

real simple

We are busy people, but even the busiest among us must eat. Oh sure, any properly trained monkey can crack a can of beans and boil a few hot dogs to quickly make a meal, but the palate of a trained chimp prefers a ripe banana, berries, leaves, and the occasional meat of another chimp. We humans aspire to a more cultured culinary fair. Thus the quandary: how does one prepare good food quickly.

Well, as long as you're willing to be generous with your definition of "good food" then you could do worse than trying the recipes found in Real Simple: No Time To Cook.

The free version of Real Simple offers over 50 recipes organizes by the time it takes to cook and the major ingredients involved. We're talking food you'll want to eat too like barbecue turkey burger with cucumber salad done in 20 minutes, grilled steak with caper sauce finished in 40 minutes, cold sesame noodles ready for chopsticks in 30 minutes.

real simpleFree fast recipes for the busy human

There are six major ingredient categories to pick from including pasta, seafood, and veggie dishes. And there are new recipes added monthly. Save the ones you like for later dish making.

If that's enough you can opt to pay for the full version which offers over 850 recipes, updated monthly.

If fruits and nuts have become boring, make use of your superior brain and try some quick and easy recipes from Real Simple.

Symple [7.6 MB, all iOS devices iOS 6.0 or later, Maker: Symple Health, LLC]


Even the healthiest among us can find something odd about our bodies that could use a considered medical review. Maybe it's a persistent, but short lived headache that appears almost every morning. Perhaps it's a weird pain in your side that makes itself known whenever you eat stir fry. Problems like these need to be tracked so that your physician can offer a better diagnosis. You could just write your symptoms down in a note, which you may misplace, or you could use Symple.

As the name and my preamble implies, Symple is a simple symptom tracker. The key word is simple. You set it up by entering a symptom of a problem you may be having, like that headache that appears every morning. You add what factors you think may contribute to the symptom, like allergies or alcohol consumption. Then set a time to be reminded when to record you observation for the day. Note that it's best to set a time close to when you believe the symptom appears.

sympleTracks your aches and pains for better diagnosis

You can record or update any of the variables at any time. Once you get going the app will let you rate the severity of the symptom and select which of the factors may be involved.

What you get is a nice chart showing the variations for each problem you're tracking. You can share your records with your doctor or export the info to a spreadsheet.

Symple is a clean, easy, straight forward way to track problems to help you get to the cause.

That's a wrap for this week.

Make sure you grab this week's Free App of the Week, Where's My Mickey. It's a Disney Mouse branded version of the popular game, Where's My Water.

This week's free Single of the week is Cardiac Arrest by Bad Suns.