We continue our guide to the best free apps for iPhone, covering news, photography, entertainment, work and social apps.
The next category is:
Reading, music & entertainment apps
A lot of us don't have time to read all the books we want; for commuters and other busy types, the increasingly popular audiobook option can help. Audible is a fantastic little app that allows you to listen to your books on the go, when washing up, or at the gym.
There's a free trial available to new users, which includes an audiobook of your choice which you get to keep even if you don't decide to subscribe. We doubt you'll be able to resist it though, as it's simply one of the best uses for your iPhone.
If you don't have Apple TV, you'll know one of the many cheaper alternatives is the Chromecast. If you happen to have a Chromecast dongle at home, then this app will be extremely useful if you want to stream content from your iPad to a TV.
FREE | Download Chromecast
If you find yourself feeling a little anxious and in need of a distraction, or if you find yourself with a few minutes spare, Fluid Simulation provides a gorgeous, artistic tactile experience that'll help calm a busy mind. As you swipe across the display, beautiful plumes of colour and light appear beneath your fingers. It's hypnotic and frankly addictive.
There's not much more to it than that, but there's beauty in its simplicity.
FREE | Download Fluid Simulation
If you have a Netflix account, this is a no-brainer. The app is useful to watch your favourite on-demand TV shows and films. You will, of course, need a Netflix account to use the app.
FREE | Download Netflix
If you're a serious musician you might find the iOS version of GarageBand a bit gimmicky (although it's much more likely that you'll appreciate it as a handy portable notebook). However, for those who can hear it all in their heads, but have no training whatsoever, and never felt confident enough to try and lay it down, the interface of GarageBand for iOS is nothing short of a miracle.
FREE | Download GarageBand
Macworld is funded by advertising, and it's therefore debatable whether I should be recommending Instapaper, which offers a charmingly user-friendly way of consuming advertising-funded content without having to look at the adverts. Still, at least Instapaper users briefly glimpse the adverts when they visit the page they're interested in, unlike adblockers.
And make no mistake, Instapaper is really charming, and really user-friendly. You set up a Read Later button in your desktop browser, then whenever someone on Twitter links to an article that you want to read, but it's too long and you're at work, you just hit that button and then load it up - laid out beautifully and cleanly, with (most of the time) the images from the article in the correct places, or near enough, but none of the adverts - on your iPhone while you're commuting home.
It's perhaps the single biggest change that smartphones have made to the way I read, and a neatly designed app. Just a shame about that ad revenue.
FREE | Download Instapaper
With its large catalogue of television programs and radio shows, all streamed without commercials, the BBC iPlayer app enables you to watch any show broadcast in the last seven days on the move.
The BBC iPlayer app should be a stock download for all iOS device owners in the UK. The ability to download content will make it a vital component for anybody going on long journeys without a reliable connection, and also make it less data-intensive for binge-watching your favourite shows.
FREE | Download iPlayer for iPhone
Sounds launched in 2018 as a replacement for the popular iPlayer Radio, which was finally discontinued in late 2019. It brings a wide range of radio listening options together with original podcasts, and it's both free and a pleasure to look at and use. We miss iPlayer Radio, for sure, but Sounds has made the grieving process easier to handle.
FREE | Download BBC Sounds
How do you judge a reading app?
We demand an app with a pleasant reading experience; benefits like a built-in dictionary, easy and fast navigation and search, and customisation options; and a store with a massive ebook selection, and one that's easy to browse from an iOS device. Amazon's Kindle app shines on all those fronts.
That's why - despite competition from no less a giant than Apple and its iBooks offering - Kindle is still the best e-reading option in the App Store.
FREE | Download Kindle
Apple's first stab at its Podcasts app didn't support playlists, didn't sync podcasts between devices, and its Now Playing screen was split into two pieces. But since then a lot of work has been done, and the current version is a much more impressive way to enjoy audio content.
For more of this sort of thing, read our roundup of the Best podcast apps for iPhone.
FREE | Download Podcasts
Founded by various broadcasting heavyweights, including the BBC, Global Radio, Guardian Media Group, Absolute Radio and RadioCentre, Radioplayer bills itself as a not-for-profit company with a single purpose: 'to serve radio and its audiences by making listening easy'. The app delivers on that promise.
If your musical map doesn't extend beyond the UK, then Radioplayer really is an excellent choice, with plenty of favourite channels available despite the geographical limitations. Its 'Recommended' option, much improved by logging into Facebook, also helps discover new channels and broadcasters for when you want to broaden your horizons a little.
FREE | Download Radioplayer
Shazam started life before the advent of smartphones and tablets but has essentially been refining one idea, the ability to identify the music all around you, over the past 10-plus years. Users simply tap the Shazam button to identify tracks they like the sound of - or indeed want to avoid ever hearing again.
For music fans, Shazam really is an essential app, one that should also appeal to casual users who simply want to identify which song is being used to soundtrack a new advert or TV drama, without resorting to a trawl through the internet. It's ability to identify even the most obscure of tracks is very impressive.
FREE | Download Shazam
Sky's free Sky+ app puts you in full control of your Sky+HD box from the sofa in front of it to the other side of the world.
Most useful is the ability to set your Sky+ box to remote-record your favourite TV programmes away from home and on the move. Forgotten to set the final episode of your favourite TV show to record? Getting round Sky's bug of recording that second back-to-back episode via series link? The free Sky+ app sorts all that out for you from the comfort of your smartphone or tablet.
FREE | Download Sky+
Another neat and ingenious free app, SongKick noses through the artists in your music library, then creates a calendar of upcoming concerts in your area. Simple but radically convenient.
Finding the latest music trends or even some of the best DJs around the world can be sometimes hard to listen to. SoundCloud brings music lovers together to enjoy and listen to songs for free. Sometimes you're even able to legally download the songs you listen to.
Via the app you'll be able to follow friends and artists, discover podcasts and comedy, and even listen to the news. You aren't required to sign into a SoundCloud account to use the app, but in order to fully benefit from the functionalities, we recommend creating or signing into your SoundCloud account.
Arguably one of the most popular music streaming services, Spotify allows users to listen to 20 million tracks for free (although peppered with ads) or ad-free via the £9.99-per-month Spotify Premium service.
On the premium plan tracks can be stored locally on the iPhone, so you can listen to them even when you haven't got a data connection. Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, and Google Play Music all offer similar features and choice, but Spotify is the one to beat.
FREE | Download Spotify for iPhone
Possibly the best app to listen to radio from across the world; provided you have an internet connection, TuneIn Radio provides an easy way of listening to music no matter where you are. There are pop-up adverts through the app, which can be annoying after a while, but you are able to get rid of them if you purchase the Pro version of the app for £7.99.
Games are always fun to play, but sometimes we like to watch others play it too. Twitch is the go-to app for watching streams or people ramble on about games (or even technology streams). You won't need an account to watch the streams, but can create an account to mark your favourites.
FREE | Download Twitch for iPhone
Our list of free iPhone apps continues on the next page.