The Best Apps for iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max

BY Khamosh Pathak

Published 21 Sep 2018

Best iPhone XS Apps Featured

Now that your shiny new iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max is here, the first thing you’ll want to do is load it up with apps. And here, you’re truly spoiled for choice. The App Store and hundreds of thousands of amazing apps to choose from. But of course, you don’t have time to go through all of them.

Which is why we’re here. Put that awesome A12 Bionic processor and the gorgeous screen to good use with these 20 best apps for iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

1. Shortcuts

Shortcuts app in iOS 12

If you’re a power user, this is the first app you should download after setting up your new iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max. iOS 12 integrates Siri functionality everywhere. And you can go to Settings -> Siri & Search to turn a frequent action into a shortcut.

But what Apple’s new Shortcuts app can do is on a whole different level. The app brings system and app level automation to the iPhone. You can create a list of actions that would happen one after the other, and because this is Apple’s own app, you can start a workflow simply by talking to Siri. For example, you can create a shortcut that would tell you the weather forecast for the day, start your coffee machine, change the lights, and start a playlist, all via a single command.

We’ll be exploring Shortcuts in depth in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on our Shortcuts category page.

2. 1Password

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1Password is hands down the best password manager for iPhone, iPad and the Mac. It’s the most secure and versatile option for saving passwords. You can choose to save your 1Password vault locally, in Dropbox or in 1Password’s own cloud service.

If you’ve never tried 1Password, now is the right time. iOS 12 now has support for third-party apps for password autofill. Once enabled, you’ll be able to autofill username and passwords in Safari and in apps directly from 1Password.


3. Overcast

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Overcast is the best free podcast app for iPhone. You get access to a clean interface and features like Smart Speed and Volume Boost. Overcast’s Smart Playlist feature is also feature-rich.


4. Houseparty

FaceTime is supposed to come with group video chat with up to 32 people. But that feature isn’t coming out at launch. But you can get the same feature, in the app that Apple ripped off. Install Houseparty to create rooms where your friends and drop in and out any time they want.

Download: Houseparty

5. Focos

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iPhone XS comes with a new feature that lets you edit the depth effect after you’ve taken the picture. If you liked this feature, you’ll live the Focos app which is a pro version of the app.

The app gives you precise control over front and back bokeh, and the range of depth control is also higher. You can go all the way from f/1.4 to f/20 (Photos app only goes till f/16).



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VSCO is the best free third-party camera app on the iPhone. You can shoot images in RAW, and you get access to all the usual image controls – exposure, focus, brightness and more.

Where VSCO truly stands out are the filters. They’re now years old but still legendary. Pick a preset and just edit the images.


7. Halide

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iPhone XS has an amazing camera and the Smart HDR feature automatically creates awesome pictures for you. But what if you want manual control over the process? Use Halide to shoot photos in RAW. The app’s UI in intuitive and you quickly adjust the focus, brightness, exposure, shutter speed and more.

DownloadHalide ($4.99)

8. Pcalc Lite

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Pcalc Lite is the best calculator app on the iPhone. Now in iOS 12, it supports Siri Shortcuts as well. So you can create a Siri shortcut to quickly convert the amount that’s already in your clipboard.

DownloadPcalc Lite

9. Apollo

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Apollo is a thoughtfully designed Reddit client for iPhone. The true black theme looks amazing on the OLED display on the iPhone XS. The app is filled with gestures and has a customizable interface.


10. Snapseed

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Snapseed is the best and easiest way to edit photos. Not every shot you capture on the iPhone XS is going to be amazing. Some of them can use a bit of touch up. Using Snapseed’s intuitive UI, you can use swipe gestures to change brightness, contrast, highlights, vibrancy and more.


11. Spotify

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Spotify is the best third-party music streaming service. If you don’t like Apple Music, you should be using Spotify. The app has an amazing music discovery engine. It uses crowd-sourced data, algorithms, and curators to bring you new awesome playlists that are personalized just for you.


12. Pocket

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You’ll come across a lot of interesting stuff to read on your iPhone XS. But you don’t always have the time to read a longform piece right that second. Add it to Pocket and the article will be downloaded to your device. Pocket will strip all formatting from the article. Only text and images will remain. And they’ll be presented in a beautiful, easy to read format. The black theme looks killer on the big new iPhone XS Max display.

Download: Pocket

13. Reeder 3

iPhone X Reading in Dark Mode OLED Screen 2

Reeder 3 is the best RSS reader on the iPhone. If you use an RSS service of any kind, you should be using Reeder. The app’s gesture-based UI in intuitive to use. The reading experience is awesome as well. The Black theme is a standout.

DownloadReeder 3

14. Google Maps

Best iPhone X Apps 1

Apple Maps still doesn’t have the turn-by-turn navigation feature in many countries around the world. Plus, it just doesn’t have enough data. For most users around the world, Google Maps is a much better, and a more reliable maps and navigation app.

DownloadGoogle Maps

15. Bear Notes

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If you’re going to ditch the Apple Notes app, do it for Bear Notes. The app is gorgeous to look and is choke full of text editing features. You can write in Markdown and export to HTML or PDF. The formatting bar over the keyboard makes text manipulation a breeze. Plus, you get support for drag and drop as well.

Download: Bear Notes

16. Scanbot

There’s a document scanning feature in Notes app but it’s quite basic. If you want to supercharge your scanning workflow, check out Scanbot. With the Scanbot app you can quite literally make automate your scanning and sharing process by creating a workflow. Scan a couple of pages and with a tap of a button, upload it to a specific folder in Dropbox, or share it with a group of people.

Download: Scanbot

17. Just Press Record

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The Voice Memos app in iOS 12 gets a new redesign but I still think Just Press Record app is better. At least, it’s simpler. Just open the app and tap on the button to start recording. You can even start recording from the widget, or using your Apple Watch.

Download: Just Press Record ($4.99)

18. Dropbox

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iCloud Drive is not the best option for storing and syncing your files. That honor still goes to Dropbox. And the iPhone app is clean and a joy to use. You can quickly create folders, upload photos or documents, and share files with other users. You can also make files available for offline use.

Download: Dropbox

19. Dropbox Paper

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Dropbox Paper is a better alternative to Google Docs. It brings the document collaboration feature to the smartphone world. The app is thoughtfully designed and makes it easy to embed media and tables. Plus, you can tag your collaborators, leave comments and even track todos from all documents in one single view.

Download: Dropbox Paper

20. TickTick

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TickTick is one of the best to do managers for iPhone. The app is free and packed with features. You can use Siri to add tasks, and you get all the standard features for free – multiple projects, natural language processing, notes, due dates, reminders, smart lists, and more.

Download: TickTick

Your Favorite iPhone Apps?

What are some of your favorite iPhone apps? Apps you’ve used for years and still swear by? Share with us in the comments below.