Twenty-two (22) iPhone applications for the year 2022 #noxp

You might have a new iPhone for the new year, or if you are looking at refreshing your iPhone and re-arranging applications on your home screen, here’s a list of twenty-two (22) must-have iPhone applications for the year 2022 (in no particular order)

  1. Password Manager (1Password or BitWarden) Gone are the days of having to memorize your passwords or using the same password for multiple accounts. A password manager is a must-have, so I highly recommend 1Password or BitWarden. That being said, iOS 15 comes with its own password manager with its own TOTP generator, which may be sufficient for most, but I find myself saving a couple of backup codes for some accounts or even texts and files, which iCloud Keychain does you yet support (hoping that notes can be supported by the keychain on iOS 16). Currently, I am using 1Password.

  2. Privacy-oriented Email (Fastmail, ProtonMail or TutaNota) Now is the time to start using a privacy-oriented email service. Free e-mail services were attractive before because they offered unlimited storage, until they don’t anymore. In addition, think of how companies that offer free services are paying for their infrastructure (by mining your data one way or another). You can choose one of these services and you will be sure that your privacy is protected.

  3. Privacy-oriented Search Engine/Browser (DuckDuckGo) Whilst I defaut to using Safari with several settings configured so as to make my data even more private, I also recommend using DuckDuckGo browser on your iPhone (heard that they are coming up with a desktop version soon, too!). Remember that you can use DuckDuckGo browser and still get the Google search results you prefer without leaking your data to Google, just prefix your search terms with “!g”. And oh, it does come with a widget, too.

  4. E-mail Alias service (SimpleLogin) It is one thing to use unique passwords for your accounts, but it is even safer if you have unique email addresses that is bundled with a unique password for your accounts. Associating different email address aliases to a single account (your main e-mail account) makes it a bit complicated for the machine learning model, specially when bundled with more privacy-enhancing services, such as VPNs. Anyway, I prefer using SimpleLogin for my e-mail aliases. FYI, that trick to use “+”, e.g. jose+google@gmail.com, does not really provide you with added anonymity.

  5. A VPN service (Windscribe and WireGuard) Speaking of VPNs, I use Windscibe as it does not log my traffic, and their website does not contain trackers. When paired with e-mail aliases, your anonymity improves considerably! Now, I also have my own VPN, WireGuard, for protecting my internet traffic when anonymity is not that much needed (I wrote about this last year). I recommend Windscribe for those who don’t have time to deploy their own VPN service.

  6. Network-wide Ad Tracker Blocker (NextDNS) For my personal use, I have a Pi-hole running on a Raspberry Pi on my home network. However, for others who do not have the time and extra money to spend on a Raspberry Pi and configuring it, there is NextDNS. This is one of the most flexible DNS service today - it supports ad blocking, tracker blocking, and much more. The NextDNS application on your iPhone makes it easier to use the service when you are away from your home network.

  7. Privacy-oriented Messaging app (Signal) The iPhone’s default messaging app, Message, pretty much provides a privacy-oriented service, but only if you communicate with Apple device users. For cross-platform messaging service, nothing beats Signal at the moment. No, don’t be duped by the end-to-end encrypted, secure communications that other services brag about (WhatsApp & Viber - whilst they cannot peek at your messages, they collect your metadata and use it for profit, Telegram - their encryption is open, so good luck keeping your messages away from their prying eyes).

  8. Browser ad and tracker blocker (1Blocker) As an added protection, although it might seem overkill if you already have those mentioned above, but you can never be too safe, is to use a browser extension to block more sneaky trackers. With Better.fyi sunsetting, 1Blocker is now my go to browser extension!

  9. Photo metadata stripper (ViewEXIF) The iPhone is one of the popular devices for taking photos and sharing them. However, until recently with the new iOS versions, sharing a photo exposes its metadata, the EXIF information that contains, among other things, the exact location where the photo was taken. This is actually being exploited by social media companies - scraping the EXIF information to learn more about you. I recommend using an app that strips photos of the metadata before you share it, and for me, that is ViewEXIF - a simple tool that allows you to analyze your photo’s metadata, but also strips it off for you to protect your privacy.

  10. An alternative camera app (Halide) For those who prefer to have more camera controls that the default Camera app, I recommend Halide, which is one of the most powerful third-party camera apps out there, and what is even better is that it does not collect any of your data for their own use.

  11. Photo Editing App (Pixelmator Photo) We all have our favorite photo editor, but I cannot recommend Pixelmator Photo enough. This is a recently released iOS app and I am sure that you’d like the power it provides.

  12. Photo sharing (Flickr) Before there was Instagram, Flickr ruled the internet. I have been using Flickr for a long time, and this service is a photo-sharing application with a great online community. There is a free-tier, but I’d recommend upgrading to the Pro so you won’t worry about using up the free storage provided. Either you give it a try or you revisit it, it is one photo sharing site that does not leak your personal information to other social media companies.

  13. Photo Back-up App (PhotoSync) If you are like me, I don’t share all the photos that I take - some are just for family use only. For these photos (and also those that I share on Flickr), I back it up to local storage, and sometimes to an encrypted cloud storage, and for these, I use PhotoSync. What I like about this is that it supports a wide array of storage services, and I am sure that you’ll find your preferred one there.

  14. A Quick Note Taking app (Tot) The iPhone has the Notes app built-in, but there are times that you just need a quick application for temporary storage of information, ala clipboard but more flexible, and that is where Tot comes in. I like that it has multiple tabs for storing different types of data, and you can even use Markdown to format it. This is best paired with the macOS Tot app, which syncs via iCloud.

  15. Favorite Weather App (Carrot) iOS 15 comes with a revamped Weather app that is gorgeous, but it does not have the snarky attitude of Carrot. Carrot is my go-to when the weather is gloomy as the snarky comments usually makes me smile.

  16. Podcast app (Overcast) iOS comes with the stock Podcast app, but I prefer Overcast. Yeah, it is not free, but it is feature-rich, and I like that it informs you whether the podcast producer inserted some trackers in their feed.

  17. News Aggregator (NetNewsWire) Really Simple Syndication (RSS) has been around for quite sometime already. Before the centralization of content by social media companies, people used to have full control of their content (they own it, and some even monetize it) via blogs. To keep tabs of blogs and other news sites, RSS news aggrators were used to have a single application to retrieve the latest articles and consolidate it. RSS is still alive and well, and I prefer using NetNewsWire for this. Frankly, people should stop posting exclusively on social media, and instead post on their own blog (and post the URLs on social media) — that way, you have full ownership and control of your content.

  18. Blogging App (Gluon and Micro.blog app) Speaking of blogging, I use Micro.blog app and Gluon (a third-party Micro.blog app) to post on my Micro.blog site. One thing that differentiates Micro.blog from other blogging platforms is the community — it is such a top-notch bunch of people who are respectful of each other. I’d say try it out - a free account will let you explore the community. You can’t go wrong with any of these two applications.

  19. Federated Social Network (Mastodon) If there is one social network that rivals Twitter, it is Mastodon. First, it is free and open source software, so you can either self-host it yourself or join an existing instance or server. What makes it even better is that even if you are on one server, its federation system allows you to also follow and see posts from members of other servers or instances — very much unlike the single, centralized Twitter. Mastodon recently released its iOS application, Mastodon, which I prefer, but there are other third-party applications out there.

  20. Social Network (Twitterific) Speaking of Twitter, I still maintain an account on it - unlike Facebook and Instagram, which I ditched a long time ago. Whilst Twitter has its own iOS application, I prefer Twitterific. It is unfortunate that there are features that are only available on the official Twitter application, I am hoping that soon, these features will be opened up to third-party developers.

  21. File Manager (ShellFish) Apple has the Files application built-in, but if you wish to connect to remote servers using a better, more secure protocol (SSH/SFTP), then ShellFish is the way to go. I have this on both iOS and iPadOS devices as it makes sending and retrieving files from my Raspberry Pi and virtual private servers running Linux convenient and secure!

  22. Internet Speed Test (Fast and Speedtest) When you live in a country with unreliable internet services, constantly measuring the speed of your internet connection is needed. If you have a Netflix account, Fast should be part of your arsenal. However, this is not recognized by your ISP’s technical support when troubleshooting your internet issues, so Ookla’s Speedtest is a must have.

These are my top 22 applications that I highly recommend that you check out.

If you have learned something new, please don’t hesitate to donate to my coffee fund at https://buymeacoffee.com/Benguet. Thank you.

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