iCheapskate: the 40 best free apps for iPhone and iPad

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AutoDesk Sketchbook: Best free iOS drawing app

For a good long while, AutoDesk Sketchbook was after your money, but now it just wants you to create. From that blank canvas you start off with, there’s scope to make all manner of compositions, from photorealistic digital paintings to initial stabs at designing the next must-have digital gadget.

The app is packed with features – tons of brushes; layers; grids and perspective guides; curve rulers; Pencil support on iPad. All it lacks is a price tag, meaning that if you’re a scribbler, an iOS fan, and someone who doesn’t have enough cash knocking around for a top-notch sketching app, you no longer need worry. Just grab this one, because it’s fab.

Download AutoDesk Sketchbook

Brushes Redux: Best free iOS painting app

The original Brushes was the app that finally convinced a lot of people the iPhone could be suitable for work rather than just play. Jorge Colombo used it to paint a New Yorker cover, and David Hockney also became a fan. The app sadly keeled over (boo!) but became open source (hurray) and now Brushes Redux brings the app to modern devices. It’s still simple and usable but also powerful, and boasts one of the best super-fast brush creation tools you’re ever likely to see.

Download Brushes Redux

Clarity: best free iPhone wallpaper app

On launch, this app was resolutely focussed on helping you make sleek, minimal wallpapers. Welding a scrolling ‘magazine’ of backgrounds has eroded some of this, uh, clarity; even so, it’s a good bet for iPhone wallpapers.

For free, you can create blurs and masks based on your own photos, or choose from a selection of gradients. Whatever you pick can be tested against a Home screen preview, to make sure it doesn’t offend your eyes.

Lob IAP the dev’s way and you open up more editing and download options; but even for free, you won’t find anything better for snazzing up Home and Lock screens – and in a manner even Mr Ive would probably approve of.

Download Clarity

PicsArt Animator: Best free iOS app for animators

Much like our former favourite Animatic, PicsArt Animator is an app that makes it easy to get into animation. It’s a virtual flip-book of sorts, with onion-skinning smarts: you draw each frame, and see previous ones beneath in faded form. This ensures smooth transitions in your miniature movie, rather than something resembling an explosion in a fly factory.

But delve into the menus and PicsArt takes things further, with varied brushes, a layers system, and the ability to import a photo and scribble all over it. Want to Roobarb and Custard your own face? Now’s your chance.

Download PicsArt Animated Gif & Video Animator

Clips: best free iOS video editor

Unlike Apple’s own iMovie, Clips doesn’t want to be a full-fledged video editor. Instead, it’s about capturing moments, and doing something interesting with them.

Recorded shots can be slathered in filters and stickers, have live titles applied, and be set alongside editable ‘posters’ that sort of work like title cards. And if you’ve an iPhone X, Selfie Scenes can transport you to an immersive neon cityscape, fine-art landscape, or Star Wars spaceships. Really good app, it is.

Download Clips

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