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Top ten must-have apps for your smartphone

SOME OF them are practical, some of them are just for fun, some cost money and some of them are free.

There are thousands and thousands of apps out there – letting you use your mobile phone for anything from a satnav to a gaming device.

But if you are one of the thousands of people who have only just joined the smartphone revolution, it can be hard to know which apps are the best.

Here Stephen Ebbett, director of the specialist gadget insurer Protect Your Bubble, recommends ten apps for our readers.

1. Find My iPhone

If your Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod is either is lost or missing, this cunning app from Apple helps retrieve it. By signing in to your account from a computer, it brings up a map with the exact location of your device. You can then remotely “lock’”the gadget using a passcode and send it a message displaying a contact number, or wipe the device of all your personal data if it has fallen into the wrong hands.

2. Glasgow Taxis/Capital Cars (Edinburgh)

These free apps simplify taxi bookings. Customers check the fare before booking, order a cab and then track its progress, all via the apps. Glasgow Taxis, which is available on both Android and in the AppStore, also boasts a function called iHail, which uses your phone’s built-in GPS to find you.

3. HungryHouse

If the biggest decision you have to make on a Friday night is Chinese, Thai or Indian, it can’t be a bad evening. But HungryHouse makes the takeaway process easier still, enabling you to find a local restaurant, access the menu and order. Free on the AppStore. Now serving Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Paisley.

4. Edinburgh By Bus

Free and downloadable on Google and the AppStore, this journey-planning app features a “Take me Home” function that tells you the quickest way back, day or night, as well as popular attractions, hotels and hostels. There’s also a walking tour audio guide, starting at Leith.

5. Shazam

Ever wanted to know the name of a song? Download this app, then hold your phone up to a music source and it’ll tell you the name of the track, the artist, and stream lyrics as the song is playing so you can sing along. The basic version is free and it’s widely available across multiple app markets.

6. Skype

If you have friends or family overseas, kids at university or an other half who travels a lot, Skype is a must-have free app. Its best feature is free video calls, but you can also write instant messages and make cheap phone calls too.

7. Google Maps

If you hate asking for directions, or you have no sense of direction, Google Maps is a lifesaver. As well as searching for addresses and places, it’ll also direct you there on foot or by car, with live traffic updates. Much like a satnav, it gives voice-guided, turn-by-turn driving directions. Widely available in app markets, and free.

8. Spotify Premium

The cost of buying music track by track, or album by album can quickly mount up. For £10 per month, Spotify Premium solves the problem by letting you listen to millions of songs any time. Make playlists, share music with friends, and listen to songs offline rather than streaming them – useful if you have a Wi-Fi-only device. Widely available in app markets.

9. BBC iPlayer

If you missed the latest episode of Africa (and the soothing tones of David Attenborough, left) this app lets you catch up. Several other TV channels have similar apps that let you stream programmes on-demand, like Channel 4’s 4oD, but BBC iPlayer also lets you download shows to watch offline, perfect for train journeys when your wireless internet connection might be patchy.

10. Nigella Quick Collection for iPhone

If you have people to feed, but not much time, try this. At £3.99 this is far cheaper than a recipe book – and lots more fun. It contains 100 recipes, and 20 videos including how to guides and tips from the lady. As you’d expect from Nigella, the emphasis is on simplicity, meaning that every recipe has six stages or fewer. There’s also an iPad version which costs £4.99.

 

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