5 Free iOS Apps That Should Survive A Purge

Hello. My name is Vern, and I’m an appaholic.

My sickness, and that’s what it is, really, a sickness, started with my iPod. Apple started selling games for the third generation nano music maker. They were simple games, easy to master, mostly puzzle types, but they were fun and great time wasters.

Then I bought an iPhone 3G. The games became more elaborate, there were productivity and entertainment apps as well. Even so, I wasn’t completely hooked. I could have backed away, made sure that what apps I got, regardless of cost, were things I would really use.

Then the iPad landed with its (comparatively) big, gorgeous screen. I enjoyed news and video on my iPhone before, but with the iPad I started jonesing for ever more content and apps to display them.

For instance, I have 19 news apps. Nineteen! There’s no way I can ingest nineteen apps worth of news daily. I have apps from all the major players; New York Times, USA Today, BBC, even The International Herald Tribune. I told myself I needed them to get a balanced view of the news. The truth is, I hardly use them.

19 News Apps!!! Time to purge with extreme prejudice.

Same thing with games, writing apps, music makers and players. The list goes on. What I need to do is go cold turkey and purge myself of apps. I need to eliminate, with extreme prejudice, apps that are little more than clutter. I have to. I literally can’t load anything else on my 32GB iPhone.

So, right here, right now, I’m going to go through the major categories of apps that I own and remove many of them. It going to be a painful process, but I have to do it. I know I’ll feel better after it’s done. At least, my iPhone will.

Since I mentioned news I’ll start with that category first.

Already I’ve run into a problem. All news app I have loaded are good ones. Still, after much debating and hand wringing I’ve decided to keep Pulse, Editions by AOL, and The Onion Tablet.

Pulse is a news gathering app that lets you set up news categories and populate them with sources of your choosing. It’s got a clean interface and it’s a joy to use. I like having all my news at my fingertips.


Pulse Rocks!

The problem with Pulse is that it requires a network connection to be useful. It downloads and holds onto a synopses of a news item, but you need a network connection to get the full story. If you’re running an iOS device on the cheap then grabbing web content while away from free WiFi can be costly. That’s where Editions come in.


Cool Editions

Editions by AOL (imagine that! AOL!) creates a daily e-magazine of top news stories by culling items of interest from all around the Web. I pick the subjects, it grabs the stories and presents them is an easy to use format. If you have an Instapaper or Read It Later account you can save articles of particular interest for offline reading. I like that.

I’m keeping The Onion Tablet because, well…, it’s The Onion Tablet.

Moving on to photo adjustment apps. I’ve already gotten rid of Photoshop Express, not because it wasn’t a good app, but because I’ve bought other apps, like Snapseed and PhotoForge2, that are more feature rich. If, however, I were looking for a free app Adobe Photoshop Express would be it.

PS Express

Adode Photoshop Express featuring my Grandson!

PS Express gives you all the basic photo adjustment tools, including a handful of basic filters, effects, and borders, and you can buy enhanced tools such as noise reduction via in-app purchase.

While Photoshop Express is great for basic editing, you’ll want to add some “Wow!” to you photos that PS Express just can’t handle. For that you need Pixlr-o-matic, another app I’m also purging, but would keep if I hadn’t purchased others.


Pixlr-o-matic also featuring my grandson!

Pixlr-o-matic is from Autodesk, the folks who know a little something about pictures. The app offers a nice set of enhancements that can give your photo that extra something I was talking about. From cool borders to light streaks and spots, Pixlr-o-matic can work wonders on almost any oh-hum photo.

Hmm, I may keep this one.

While we’re on photography I should point out that I’ve purged all my free camera apps as well. I’m also dropping ProCamera and keeping Camera+, both paid apps and both are excellent, but I’m sticking with Camera+ because it’s the one I’m use to.

I’m also keeping SynthCam, the free camera app that’s too addictive to give up.


What SynthCam does is a bit tough to explain in a few words. The app uses multiple exposures and combines them to simulate depth-of-field or tilt-shift, both something normal phone cameras, and even some DSLRs have a tough time doing.

The newly announced iPhone 4s, with its souped up camera, may let you do some depth-of-field shooting, but tilt-shift is another matter altogether.

SynthCam requires that you focus on the subject for several seconds while multiple exposures are taken, so you can’t use it for shooting kid pix, but you can get some really cool shots with it.

OK, that’s a wrap for this week. Thanks for listening. I’ll continue my public app purging next week. Meanwhile, here are more freebie to clutter up your phone, with direct links.