The Apps that Stuck in 2012 — iPhone Edition

Once again I tested a ton of different apps over the course of the year. Many of the apps I never, or perhaps only briefly, mentioned on the site.

Let’s take a look at the apps that I ended the year using.


At the end of 2011 I was back on the Apple Weather app. By the end of 2012 I have two weather apps on my Home screen — and a lot of other apps that challenged them.

For a good chunk of the year I was using the built-in weather app. Apple’s done a better job than most transitioning the app to the iPhone 5, and I really give them credit for a job well done.

At the end of the year, however, I am a firm believer in Check the Weather as the best all-around iOS weather app you can currently get. It has everything, including Dark Sky integration.

Speaking of Dark Sky, it’s still worth having on your phone even if you own Check the Weather. The push notifications alone are fantastic, but moreover the app itself looks gorgeous and offers a better graph for upcoming precipitation. I absolutely love Dark Sky.

Some others I tried but they didn’t stick: S°lar, WTHR, and Sun. Each of those are good apps, with a pretty aesthetic, but I found each lacking in some way, shape, or form.


I wish I could stick with one calendar app, but this year I was fed up with them all. Agenda has long been my go-to iOS calendar app, but it was dethroned on my iPhone this year.

First Today kicked it off. The simplicity of today was a breath of fresh air, but the design of the app is terrible. Next, Tempus poked its head back up and showed me it’s refreshing design, but again the app was lacking. Finally I found an app I love: Fantastical. It really is the best calendar app on iOS — iPhone or iPad — hands down.

At the end of this year I’m very happy with Fantastical. It’s not my perfect app, but it is the best calendar app in the store. The only caveat is the limited number of days visible at a glance: Agenda is still better if you need to see more.


I went on a tear this year to find the best—no, fastest—flashlight app. I chose Lighty, which was dethroned by iTorch Pro soon after.

There’s a lot I don’t like about iTorch, the icon and the UI among them, but I love the speed of the app and the ability to dim the flashlight (if only a bit). Very well worth the money: It’s the fastest flashlight in the store.

The Rest of the Lot

That’s it for this year’s challenges. Now for the mainstays on my Home screen (i.e. the apps you should own):

  • iA Writer: Simply fantastic. Integrated and consistent writing interface between iOS and the Mac: What more could I want? I use this app everyday. The greatest testament is that I didn’t even bother trying to look for its replacement. (And is it just me, or has the whole Dropbox-powered iOS text editor sector died down lately?)
  • Poster: When stuff is done in Writer, I use Poster to send it to this site. Not only is Poster excellent, it beats the crap out of the official WordPress iOS app. There’s not much I don’t like about Poster — it’s right up there for best new app in 2012 in my book.
  • OmniFocus: It isn’t even challenged these days — nothing compares. End-to-end encrypted sync, robust, stable, perfection. It’s just silly to use anything else at this point.
  • Soulver: Why anyone uses any other calculator app is beyond me — I’d have to ask an Android user to explain it to me.
  • Sunstroke: Best way to read your Fever° RSS links on the iPhone. Actually it’s the best way to interact with Fever°, period.
  • Scratch: What a great app. I like Drafts too, but Scratch suits me much better for reasons I cannot verbalize.
  • Felix: Hands down the best iOS client on the market. Forget about robot interfaces, just use a good interface.


There are other apps on my Home screen, but nothing I would emphatically urge you to own. For 2013 I am hoping for a perfect calendar app, but not holding my breath. Oh, and I still want this.

Originally posted for members on: January 7, 2013
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