iCheapskate: the 36 best free apps for iPhone and iPad

UPDATED: We've overhauled our list of the best free iOS apps to bring it bang up to date

Apps are big business and they're one of the main reasons for the success of iOS.

Android may shift more units than Apple's mobile platform, but the App Store still tends to get the lion’s share of the best apps, from high-end audio tools through to cutting-edge education offerings.

But what can you get if you’re not willing to spend anything at all? Surprisingly, quite a lot; as our selection shows, fantastic free iPhone and iPad apps are available for all manner of tasks, from sprucing up photos and composing music through to keeping fit and exploring the world.

(Many thanks to Pixeden for the fabulous device templates)


Travel and weather

Triposo: Best free iOS travel guide

There are plenty of travel guides on the App Store, but of the free ones Triposo is our favourite. The app isn’t restricted to just a few major cities - it has information on a wide variety of destinations.

Along with providing suggestions of things to see, Triposo can build a city walk for you, based on the amount of time you want to spend ambling about. Most usefully, it works offline (assuming you download relevant data before you leave), and so won’t chew through your overseas data allowance. 

Download Triposo


Forecast: Best free iOS weather app

When the iPhone was first unveiled, there was no App Store. Apple’s cunning plan was that everyone should write web apps. Although the web app bandwagon trundles on, few apps of that ilk rival native alternatives. One major exception is Forecast. The online service provides immediate and upcoming weather data, with eerily accurate rainfall predictions. To save it on your device, load the site in Safari, tap the share button, and select Add to Home Screen.

Visit Forecast here.


Google Maps: Best free iOS maps app

Apple initially made a mess of its own maps solution, and even today it’s imperfect. The Apple Maps app is pretty good for driving directions, but it’s not great on foot and it remains poor for locating points of interest.

Fortunately, Google’s alternative is excellent, accurate, and also bundles the useful Street View, for checking out routes before a long and unfamiliar journey. Smartly, it’ll also work offline, too, if you download chunks of map to your device.

Download Google Maps


Citymapper: Best free iOS city travel planner

If you’re roaming around one of the places Citymapper supports, and fancy getting about a bit more efficiently, it’s a superb app. Pick a start point and destination and it lists public transport options and related costs, along with telling you how long it’d take to walk or cycle your route, and how many calories you’d burn. Alternatively, check out the Near tab for a mini map, nearby stops and stations, and to see what transport’s leaving and when. Frankly, we’re almost surprised the app doesn’t turn your iPhone into some kind of tiny car, to transport you about itself.

Download Citymapper here


Foursquare: best free iOS app for finding local gems

Now that its social arm has been hacked off as separate app ‘Swarm’, Foursquare’s doubled down on discovery. The app initially appears obsessed with dining and drinking and you can indeed use it to find all manner of local bars and restaurants. However, there’s also a Fun section that houses loads of categories, helping you locate nearby places of interest, from jazz clubs to historic sites. Amusingly, search results appear to be populated using keywords, so ‘park’ will occasionally list pubs with car parks, rather than places with lots of trees. Result!