Best iOS Apps of 2017: Affinity Photo, Halide, Apollo, HQ and More

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    2017 was a big year for apps. The App Store got a major overhaul in iOS 11 to separate apps and games to give both better visibility, and Apple introduced ARKit, an SDK that lets developers build unique augmented reality capabilities into their apps.

    Below, we've rounded up some of the most notable apps that came out in 2017, based both on what we use and recommendations from MacRumors readers sourced from Twitter. Our list, which is in no particular order, features AR apps, several photo editing apps, to-do and weather apps, and a few other apps. In our opinion, all of these are worth checking out if you're looking for something to spend your Christmas iTunes cash on.

    Affinity Photo ($14.99)

    Affinity Photo for iPad is one of the most robust photo editing tools available for Apple's tablet lineup. Designed with the same backend as Affinity Photo for Mac, Affinity Photo for iPad is a must have for artists and photographers who like to work on an iPad. It's speedy, intuitive to use, and it offers an ideal touch-based interface.

    Every tool you'd expect in a pro photo editing app is available, including unlimited layers, support for RAW images, panorama stitching, advanced lens corrections, histogram information, and more, plus there are tools for quick selections and retouches. There's also an advanced brush engine that supports custom brush creation and a wide range of painting, drawing, and texture tools.

    Halide ($2.99)

    Halide is a camera app that was designed specifically with Apple's latest devices in mind - the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus. Halide is a powerful photography app that's also simple to use, as intuitive touch gestures can be used to tweak exposure and focus.

    If you want access to full manual controls for shutter speed, ISO, and white balance along with manual focusing options and tools that include an adaptive level grid, a detailed live histogram, and focus peaking, Halide is worth checking out. If you're not looking for manual control, Halide is still great because it has an intelligent automatic mode that churns out some nice looking photos. On supported iPhones, Halide also captures depth information so you can apply Portrait effects after capturing an image.

    HQ (Free)

    Trivia app HQ is technically in the games category of the App Store, but we're including it here because it's more entertainment app than traditional game. HQ made our list because of its explosion in popularity over the course of the last month or two.


    When it was released in September, HQ had just a few thousand users, but now hundreds of thousands of people tune in to the live trivia gameshow every day at 3:00 and 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. HQ is played live, and players answer a series of 12 questions. If you make it through all 12, you split a cash prize with other winners. Questions run the gamut from super simple to incredibly difficult, so making it to the end can be a serious challenge.

    IKEA Place (Free)

    IKEA Place is an augmented reality app that lets you see how IKEA furniture will look in your house before you buy it. It's not an app that you're going to use everyday, but it's on our list because it's one of the apps that best shows off what ARKit is capable of when it comes to improving the shopping experience.

    IKEA Place isn't perfect and there are some kinks IKEA has yet to work out, but it's a neat way to see if a particular piece of IKEA furniture works in your living space, and it's a good way to experience a practical ARKit application.

    Apollo for Reddit (Free)

    When we asked MacRumors readers about their favorite 2017 apps on Twitter, Apollo is an app that came up time and time again. This Reddit client was introduced in October and it's already become a favorite among Redditors.

    Apollo has a simple, clean interface with customizable gestures, a full-screen media viewer, a markdown editor for formatting posts, a Jump Bar for navigating between subreddits, a Dark Mode, and more. The developer behind Apollo is active on Reddit and regularly solicits feedback from Reddit users.

    Weather Atlas (Free)

    Weather Atlas was designed from the ground up for Apple's newest devices, so it takes advantage of iOS 11-style design elements and the full length of the iPhone X display. Weather Atlas offers a wealth of information in a single glance, with both hourly weather and 10-day forecasts overlaid on a map with standard rader and cloud layers.


    Multiple locations are supported, there are built-in weather warnings, and there's an option to see weather patterns on the map over time. Weather Atlas is free to download, but to get rid of the ads and to get features like themes and widgets, you'll need a pro account. Pro accounts are priced at $0.49 per month or $4.99 per year.

    Things 3 ($9.99)

    Things 3, the newest version of the popular Things to-do/task management app, was another popular choice among MacRumors readers. Things 3 features an overhauled design with all of the same tools Things users have come to know and love, along with all new tools.

    The Things 3 interface is more intuitive with reimagined Today and Upcoming screens that merge calendar events and to-dos into a single daily view, there's a new Quick Find feature for searching content across the entire app, and there's a Magic Plus Button for quickly creating new tasks. For anyone who needs a robust task management app that's richly featured but still easy to use, Things 3 is the app to get.

    Focos (Free)

    Focos is a fun little photo editing app that works with dual-camera iPhones like the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus. It lets you take Portrait Mode photos that can then be edited with customizable bokeh effects, aka that artful background blur that you get with high-end DSLRs.


    You can either snap a picture right in the app or edit a Portrait Mode photo you've already captured. An adjustable aperture tool lets you change the amount of blur in a Portrait Mode photo, and an adjustable diaphragm results in different blur effects. Focos is free to download, but many pro features are behind a paywall. It'll cost $0.99 per month or $5.99 per year to unlock them, but there's also a $9.99 lifetime access purchase option.

    Yoink ($2.99)

    Yoink, which is also available on the Mac, is an app that's designed to store items that you drag, copy, or share, giving you a central place to collect things like photos, screenshots, text snippets, URLs, and more, so they're easier to access later.

    On iPad, Yoink supports Slide Over and Split View multitasking so you can drag content from any app to Yoink. On iPhone, there's a Share extension for getting content to Yoink, and you can also use copy/paste. It's basically a little storage space where you can hold media you want to be able to use for something else later.

    Astro Mail (Free)

    Astro Mail is another app suggested by MacRumors readers. It has a priority inbox powered by artificial intelligence, which is designed to separate important emails from junk mail, and it has tools to snooze, star, archive, delete, and move emails with simple gestures.

    There are options to track when an email is opened and send an email at a scheduled date, and the built-in Astrobot assistant can do things like archive old emails, unsubscribe from lists, and more. For Slack users, Astro Mail offers Slack integration so you can manage your email inbox from Slack and search across both Slack and email when looking for something.

    Our list only includes apps that were released in 2017, which is why you won't see older but still very popular apps on the list. Many of you told us that your favorite apps were older apps, though, so here's our list of some of the best apps that didn't come out in 2017 but were still widely used or received major updates throughout the year:

    - T-Mobile Tuesdays - Free stuff for T-Mobile subscribers every Tuesday.

    - Spark - Readdle's email app that supports a smart inbox to filter out the junk, intuitive touch gestures, and more.

    - Fantastical 2 - A full-featured calendar replacement with everything you need from a calendar app, plus natural language support.

    - Dark Sky - A popular weather app known for its accuracy at delivering hyperlocal weather data.

    - Pennies - A super simple budgeting app that lets you know how much you can spend each day after you input a monthly target.

    - Day One - A popular subscription-based personal journaling app that has a rich selection of features.

    - Bear - A subscription-based cross-platform writing and note taking app.

    - Shazam - Shazam, which Apple is in the process of buying, identifies songs that are playing aloud. A visual feature can also identify magazines, books, posters, and more.

    - Waze - A community based navigation app that offers up live traffic and road condition reports, along with the best routes to save time.

    Along with our list of top apps of 2017, make sure to check out our top games of 2017, a list sourced from our sister site TouchArcade. Have a favorite 2017 app we didn't mention, or a favorite overall app? Share it with us in the comments.

    Article Link: Best iOS Apps of 2017: Affinity Photo, Halide, Apollo, HQ and More
  2. Miss_Mac macrumors member


    Nov 22, 2017
    Nice to see Affinity's sale trickled down to the iPad version of Affinity Photo as well.
  3. chucker23n1 macrumors 68020


    Dec 7, 2014
    It's unfortunate that weather app data services tend to be so internationally limited. Dark Sky, too, is basically useless in many major countries.
  4. sinsin07 macrumors 68040

    Mar 28, 2009
  5. NinjaHERO macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2008
    U S of A
    I love these lists. There's always a few things I'd never heard of that I want to check out. Thanks.
  6. kuwxman macrumors 6502a


    Jul 25, 2009
    Olathe, KS
    No loss. Dark Sky is incredibly overrated.
  7. j-a-x macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2005
    Houston, Texas
    I find that while the UI and visuals of dark sky are nice, the forecast accuracy is horrible in the US. It is indeed incredibly overrated.

    Looking forward to trying Atlas Weather though.
  8. 0003939 Suspended

    Jun 2, 2017
    Dark Sky is limited to the United States only if I am not wrong. CARROT Weather failed to make the top list?
  9. BigMcGuire, Dec 26, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017

    BigMcGuire Contributor


    Jan 10, 2012
    As a Weather Underground user (premium) I find it difficult to pay for Dark Sky, Weather Atlas, or Carrot - would like to try them at least. Curious where people see the 4 apps in relation to each other.
  10. Uofmtiger macrumors 68020


    Dec 11, 2010
    CARROT is awesome.
  11. calzon65 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2008
    Nice list ... maybe Apple will eventually fix the IOS 11 bugs :rolleyes:
  12. Avieshek Suspended


    Dec 7, 2013
    If only Apple officially supports Mirror Selfies or just have horizontal-flip in edits.
  13. jayducharme macrumors 68040


    Jun 22, 2006
    The thick of it
    Affinity Photo is a bargain. Great little app and a nice companion to its big brother for Mac.
  14. anthogag macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2015
    I have a Mac running High Sierra.

    How do I print an oversize picture on several pages? Some people call it tiling.

    I found some apps but is there a way to do it 'natively'?

    I run Windows 10 using Parallels on my Mac. In Windows "Paint" it is easy to do.
  15. BigMcGuire Contributor


    Jan 10, 2012
    Just got CARROT and ... wow it is nice. Really like that I can use Weather Underground as the data source. Been looking for a usable Weather App on the Apple Watch - I really like the way it looks on the iPhone as well. Can't believe I didn't do this earlier. :p
  16. kuwxman macrumors 6502a


    Jul 25, 2009
    Olathe, KS
    Carrot looks nice, but it uses the same crappy Dark Sky/ API that Dark Sky uses. I personally just can't support any weather apps that use it although they all 'look' pretty.

    I have Weather Atlas on my phone, but can't bring myself to pay for the ad free version either. Especially since I prefer 1Weather (paid), RadarScope (paid) and the National Weather Service forecasts (saved bookmark on home screen; works like an app).
  17. BigMcGuire Contributor


    Jan 10, 2012
    Yeah, I just found out that you can have WU as a source but you gotta pay the $9/year for that. Otherwise yeah, having Dark Sky as a source is really sucky. Agreed. Thanks for the Info!
  18. mrr macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2008
    Some of my most used: WeatherNow, MyRadar, CityMapper, Fooducate, GasGuru, Tweetbot, AppAdvice, Yelp, 1Password, ProCamera8, RadioApp, GoogleEarth, Flipboard, CheckPlease.
  19. JetBlack7 macrumors 68020


    May 14, 2011
    Have had Halide and Focos for 1 month now. I love the Focos app, you can basically play with it a lot and take great photos. Halide is a bit strange. Both need to have some work done on the machine learning side of things.
  20. vannibombonato macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2007
    Anyone using a Mac get Yoink right now.

    It’s that good.
  21. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    No love for Carrot weather?

    Also with Things 3, if I buy the Mac version do i get the iPhone/ipad. Do i need to purchase all three?
  22. joueboy macrumors 68000

    Jul 3, 2008
    Can’t blame the developers though because they only rely their data from a third party source. In the case of the United States the government provides raw data and developers can do their tricks or in other cases meteorologist interprets the data. If other countries wants to provide data to their citizens and invest on their equipments then it shouldn’t be a problem. I’m sure there are talented programmers in other countries but if they don’t have data they have no information.
  23. az431 macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2008
    Portland, OR
    These apps were likely picked because MR receives a cut of sales. For example, it is odd that Weather Atlas made it onto this list given that it is ranked #108 among weather apps, and only provides weather for the US. Feature-wise it's not even close to apps such as Weather Bug, Weather Channel, to name a few.

    If one was to review weather apps and pick the best one, Weather Atlas wouldn't even make into the top 10.

    If that is indeed the case, MR should disclose up front that it is receiving payment when someone purchases one of these apps.
  24. BigMcGuire Contributor


    Jan 10, 2012
    Tons of sites are doing this about now and yeah, they all get a cut. Gotta put food on the table somehow. I like MR but these articles rarely make me go out of my way to pay for something. I see that Carrot weather has a super responsive developer who has a very long forum thread here - that makes me pay for an application.

    I don't see Macrumors doing anything wrong - anything that helps them make this a better place is a green light in my book. But yeah, some of the websites out there have some really laughable recommendations where you know they were paid to put that there. lol.

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38 December 26, 2017