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13 of the best free iOS apps available in 2013

Sections: Features, iDevice Apps, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Opinions and Editorials

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Remember when just being able to call someone while you were on the go was a status symbol? Now, everyone has cell phones, and it’s just not enough anymore. Today’s phones can do everything from recording notes to giving directions to playing games. And with an almost infinite base of designers and programmers, news apps are being released everyday. And to add a little bit more frosting to that cake, many of them don’t cost you a bent nickel. Here are 13 of the best free iOS apps available for download right now.

Vinny

Maybe the most useful app on this list, at least in terms of saving you money, Vinny can tell you almost exactly what a car is worth. All you do is scan the vehicles’  VIN barcode, and Vinny’s database locates the make and model, and tells you the wholesale price.

best free ios apps

So, whether you’re buying, selling, or just curious, Vinny can let you know what amount of money that particular car could equal.

Sky Map

Ok. So this one has been around for a little while. So what? Skymap is fun, easy to use, and informative. By pinpointing the user’s location, it provides a detailed map of the night sky, including stars, planets, and other celestial points of interest. So, if you want to know what that bright spot of light is just to the right of the moon, all you have to do is hold up your phone in the right direction, and see for yourself. Hopefully future updates will be able to identify extraterrestrial spaceships and planet-crushing asteroids as well, but we’ll see.

MenuPages

best free ios apps

It’s not uncommon these days for people to do a little internet research before they go out to eat. MenuPages is an app that helps you do just that. By providing reviews, suggestions, and menus, MenuPages can take the risk out of dining someplace new. Best of all, it actually gives the prices of the menu items, so you can get a feel for just how far into debt you’ll be going if you decide to get the lobster.

Yelp

Have you ever wondered where the nearest emergency dental clinic was, like, say, if you happened to wake up with a mind-bendingly bad toothache in the middle of the night? Well, with Yelp you can just let your smartphone do the walking. Yelp provides an in-depth list of local restaurants, services, entertainment, and whatever else you might want to find on short notice. It also gives reviews and suggestions for local businesses, because why not have a total stranger tell you what they think you should eat?

SugarSync

Despite having a name that you can’t say out loud without sounding like a wuss, SugarSync is a really useful app that backs up all of your files to the Cloud and makes them accessible from each of your devices. It also protects you from file loss by keeping secure copies safely away from hard drive crashes and cyberattacks. Just don’t refer to it by name when someone asks you what what app you’re using.

Onavo Extend

Again, not the greatest name, but Onavo (we’ll just leave out the extend part) can help you out by saving you money. The app monitors and compresses your data usage, so that you can get substantially more use out of your current data plan.

onavoapp

So, even though it sounds like something that might be promoted on a late-night infomercial, You’ll be happy you got it.

Flashlight

It’s a flashlight. Now, before you snootily scoff at the simplicity here, take a moment and ask yourself; what are you more likely to need on a regular basis, one of the thousands of complicated and specialized gadgets that are put into apps every day, or a light? The only confusing thing here is that it doesn’t already come included standard with your smartphone.

Shazam

Shazam is the magic word that young Billy Batson uses to turn into the comic book superhero Captain Marvel. It is also, and more importantly for the purpose of this article, an app that allows you to identify song titles and artists. All you do is let the app hear a small portion of the song, and it tells you who sings it and what it’s called. So, it’s not quite magic, but it’s close.

LevelUp

best free ios apps

Checks used to be the more convenient way to pay, then came credit cards. Now, cards have apparently become too difficult and cumbersome, and people around the world have begun using their smartphones to make everyday purchases. LevelUp allows you to record your card information, and then use it with various vendors. And while there may not be many companies that are LevelUp compatible as of yet, the list is growing. The best part is that everytime you use LevelUp at a new location, you’re rewarded a few dollars bonus from the app. So, not only is this convenience free, but you might even make some free money when you use it.

Redlaser

It can be frustrating when you’re considering making a purchase, but you discover that there’s no price tag to be found. Now, you can either take it to a register and make the “There’s no price on this; I guess it’s free” joke that clerks haven’t heard a million times (dang, I can’t find the sarcasm font), or you can bust out your phone and scan it yourself. Redlaser is a barcode reader for your phone, and it comes in handy.

PBS Parent Play and Learn

Mobile smart devices cost a pretty penny, but when faced with an upset, bored, or angry child, we’re usually more than happy to place our several-hundred dollar smartphone into his or her small, unsure hands and hope for the best. Games are a must if you’ve got young children, and the PBS Parent Play and Learn app is one of the best. Not only will it entertain your children, but it will also educate them as it does.

Google Translate

You don’t need to let language barriers keep you from communicating if you have the Google Translate app. Just set the language, record what’s being said, and then read the translation. Then, type in your own response and translate it back. Okay, so your accent will probably still be laughable, but at least you’ll be able to converse on some level (and remember, hand gestures work in any language).

iHeartRadio

If you listen to the radio while you drive, then chances are you’ve heard approximately a billion advertisements for this app. Basically, it taps into the aether of the Internet to bring you over 1,500 stations from all over the country.

best free ios apps

So now you can listen to the best of modern country with Texas’ 99.5 The Wolf, even though you live in downtown Seattle. Smartphones and radio—there hasn’t been such an innovative pairing of new and old since the Jetsons met the Flintstones.

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