Overcast: best free iOS podcasts player
Previously a paid podcasts app, Overcast’s now on an optional patronage model, meaning you can get your mitts on it for nothing. On using the app, you’ll appreciate the developer’s generosity – Overcast is great for discovering new shows to listen to, organising your podcasts, and for playback.
When it comes to management, you can create smart playlists and per-podcast priorities, to make sense of a deluge of episodes. During playback is where Overcast truly excels, though, with superb smart speed adjustment and voice boost tools that none of the competition – paid or otherwise – have fully matched.
BBC iPlayer: Best free iOS catch-up TV app
BBC iPlayer’s almost like a checklist for how a video streaming service should be. Finding something to watch is a cinch, either by going old-school and browsing the TV guide, or checking out whatever the app recommends.
Shows can be streamed live or downloaded to your device for later playback. And if you own an Apple TV but can’t be bothered installing iPlayer on it, you can AirPlay your shows across. Take note, other network execs!
Letterboxd: best iOS movie-tracking app
Watch enough films and they all blur into one, at which point you run the risk of accidentally watching something by Michael Bay. Save yourself by using Letterboxd to make a record of the films you love.
Tracking can be as simple as providing a quick thumbs-up or star rating. All your films can then be browsed in a grid that can be filtered by various criteria. To take things further, you can write reviews and delve into the social side of the app, thereby becoming a virtual mix of Mark Kermode, Roger Ebert, and an angry person on Twitter.
Chunky: Best free iOS comics reader
There are quite a few comic readers available for iPad, and Chunky rarely gets a mention - which is bizarre when you consider it’s free and astonishingly good. The app will happily grab comics from a range of cloud services, but splash out on the single £2.99 IAP and you also gain access to Mac/Windows shared folders and Chunky’s own web server.
When reading, settings enable you to adjust aspects of panning, page turns and rendering, including upscaling; the last of those things ensures comics in Chunky look stunning on the Retina display – even if the source material isn’t of the highest quality.
Pocket: Best free iOS read-it-later app
Quite often, you’ll stumble upon an article you want to digest but don’t have time for. That’s where a read-later service like Pocket comes in. Articles can be sent to the service from your iPhone or a desktop browser. When you read them, they are stripped of cruft, leaving only words and images. You can fiddle about with text styles, and sort your article list in all sorts of ways. Perfect fodder for the daily commute – and also to ensure you don’t end the day with a hundred unread tabs.