Apps are big business and one of the main reasons for the success of iOS. Android may shift more units than Apple's mobile platform, but the App Store gets the lion’s share of the best apps, from high-end audio tools through to cutting-edge education offerings.
But what can you get when unwilling to spend anything at all? Actually, loads; 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.
Below, you can find our favourite free travel and weather apps. Then check out Stuff’s pick of the best free iOS apps for: Health and wellbeing | Photography | Art, video and animation | Music, audio and video | Entertainment | Education and learning | Work and studying
Air Matters: Best free iOS allergen tracker
Many weather apps include air quality readings. The snag is they tend to be tucked behind sign that says ‘beware of the leopard’. Air Matters flips all that around: AQI and allergen information is front and centre, and it’s the weather forecast that takes a back seat, being relegated to a few icons detailing current conditions.
But you’re not here to find out whether it’ll rain next Tuesday, rather to see if you’re going to have trouble breathing. And for that, this app excels. You get readings for a range of pollutants and separate data on allergens, including alder, birch, grasses and mugwort. There’s an Apple Watch app to get all that on your wrist, and the entire thing’s free – unless you fancy splashing out a piffling 79p per year to remove the unobtrusive ads.
XE Currency: best free iOS currency convertor
When you’re grappling with unfamiliar currency, the last thing you need is for an app to make things difficult, resulting in you accidentally spending your entire life savings on a sponge. XE currency might not be the prettiest app around, but it’s straightforward and usable.
You concoct a custom list of currencies, and prod any of them to make it the main one. Tap the calculator to enter a value and conversions happen instantaneously. If you’re offline, the app retains the most recent rates it downloaded. You can also compare the rates you get at a cashpoint or bureau de change to see how much you just got ripped off.
Google Translate: best free iOS translation app
Google has a habit of injecting its apps with a little slice of magic, and Google Translate is no exception. The app will happily translate between over 100 languages (and can handle over 50 of those offline), and translate bi-lingual conversations on the fly.
The best bit, though, is when you’re ambling about somewhere, looking at strange signs and menus, and then point Google Translate’s camera at them. In an instant, it translates everything, like a Babel fish for your eyes. And although some live translations can be a little, um, fishy (sorry), it’s a much more efficient way to translate than laboriously tapping out words, or hiring 50 translators to follow you about wherever you go.