Wednesday, August 24

iPhone for College Life

Many of my friends have been debating which smartphone to buy for uni and which apps are the most useful for student life, so I decided to find the most loved iPhone apps for students and came up with a rather comprehensive list. Aside from the Facebook app here are some others you might want to consider...(and also check out Gabbi's list of iPhone essentials here - her blog is one of my favorite weekly reads)


Track This
Flashlight and iTorch very simply allow you to use your iPhone as a flashlight - great for the middle of the night when you're not quite ready to deal with lighting up the entire room yet, but need to look for a water bottle or go to the bathroom. Especially handy when you have roommates that are light sleepers. I prefer Flashlight for its simplicity, but iTorch gives you more options like different hues and modes.

TrackThis lets you track any FedEx or UPS packages. It saves a lot of hassle when you've ordered some used books off Amazon or had concert tickets sent over, since all you have to do is enter the package tracking number into the app and it'll give you instant updates on exactly where the package is.

SoundHound and Shazam identify any songs playing - anytime, anywhere. No more endlessly Googling lyrics in vain!

Stylebook is more of a fashionista app, but is still very practical. It's basically a portable closet that lets you log outfits for different occasions (work, class, night out, date, etc.), store looks that you love and plan outfits in advance - this way, I never have to spend time remembering which pieces to combine and I love not having to worry about this in the morning. Personal Finance is one your parents will love. It keeps track of your expenses, lets you create financial goals and warns you when your balance is low/you've exceeded your budget. My favourite feature is the visual breakdown of how you're spending your money, which makes it really easy to notice spending patterns (since we're all rather delusional - or in denial - about what we spend most of our money on).

QR Reader reads QR codes that normally gives you access to promotions or sneak peek videos for movies/music videos.

Find my iPhone is the app you've always wanted; it tells you where your iPhone is when you've misplaced or lost it. 

Around Me or Google Places locates cafés, ATMs, cinemas, restaurants, etc. nearby. It also provides you with an indicator of how far they are away from you, directions on how to get there, the telephone number of the store and ratings.

Tribune de Genève on iPhone
One way I keep homesickness at bay is by keeping up with the local news, so I'm always checking up on the Bangkok Post and Tribune de Genève while I'm away. I also use news apps to stay informed when I'm traveling, so this summer I was able to scroll through El Pais and The Guardian to find out about local events in Madrid and London, which was especially important since the unemployment protests (in Spain) and UK riots were happening during my stay. Some of my other favourite news sources that provide iPhone-formatted reads include the International Herald TribuneLe Monde and The Economist. There's also a Mashable news app - an absolute blessing for technology and social media geeks ;)

802theApp keeps you up to date on events in Burlington and gives you directions to event locations and local businesses. 

Pandora lets you create and personalise your own music channels according to your mood/taste. Spotify is a massive music database that lets you stream free any song you wish. The main difference between these two services is that Pandora will find music similar to the song you search, but not the specific song, while Spotify will let you play that song but doesn't allow you to create a 'channel' based on it.

Evernote allows you to quickly take notes, clip photos/links/songs/voicenotes and save entire webpages to a personal "cloud" that syncs to all your devices. It's the most efficient note-taking system I've ever encountered and allows me to capture a whole range of materials.

USB Disk turns your iPhone into digital storage space for any essays that need to be printed, files that need to be backed up, etc.

Dictionary & Thesaurus is a very simple app for quickly searching definitions and synonyms. I use the website ( / on my web browser all the time.

 Tweetdeck shows you your Twitter timeline in an easy and sleek display and allows you to control multiple Twitter accounts.

Foursquare lets you check into locations (like Starbucks or your dorm building) and become "mayor" of the place if you show up often enough. You can earn discounts at businesses like Gap, Steve Madden and most chain restaurants as a reward for checking in frequently. I personally don't use this app, but lots of my friends have recommended it.

WhatsApp lets all smartphone users communicate via a common platform - no more BBM/Ping divide.

Instagram lets you snap photos, make funky edits and post it directly onto Facebook or Twitter.

Viber is absolute genius, but will only work if you have a group of friends connected to it. I've also heard that Skype and Google Voice are good options for free calls. 

Words with Friends is a virtual game of scrabble that you can play with your friends.


  1. great article! im downloading new apps right now!

  2. Dear Tara:
    Congratulations on finally making it to SMC! It has been a long journey for you as you had made up your mind so early in the process. I am very sad that I was not able to stay at St. Mike's and welcome you in person to the great community you are joining, but I had to make the move to Tennessee to start my grad program in order to continue along my career path. I hope you have an amazing 4 years, become involved in lots and lots, and learn all you can. You are going to be great!!!! Please let me know if there is anything I can do, explain, or help you with ( All the best and ENJOY ORIENTATION!

    Conor Fritz
    Former International Admissions Counselor