Apps to Make Your iPhone Even More Indispensable

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Apps to Make Your iPhone Even More Indispensable
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

A shiny new iPhone comes preloaded with a selection of apps designed to handle everyday tasks, like browsing the Web and keeping track of your schedule, but these preinstalled apps are pretty bare-bones. When you're ready to upgrade your iPhone experience, ditch those defaults and check out these apps that offer a feature-rich twist on Apple's standard offerings.

Camera+ ($.99)
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Camera+ ($.99)

The physical camera built into the iPhone 5 isn't bad, but the default Camera app itself is pretty bland and doesn't offer many features. Camera+ provides dozens of photo filters, individual control over exposure and focus, along with burst mode, a timer and the addition of Flickr to your photo-sharing options. The app also offers the ability to enhance photos taken in other apps.

Camera+

Soulver ($2.99)
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Soulver ($2.99)

Soulver bills itself as your "back of the envelope" calculator, and when you use it you'll see why -- the clean interface allows you to see all your calculations as you work and accepts textual input, making it easy to go back later and remember what all those numbers actually meant. As an added bonus, your calculations can be saved and synced with Dropbox for easy retrieval from any device.

Soulver

Plex ($4.99)
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Plex ($4.99)

Apps, videos and photos can take up a ton of space on your iPhone, leaving little room for your own music and movies. Plex is a two-part solution that makes it easy to access music and videos from your home computer using your iPhone from anywhere with an Internet connection. First you'll need to set up the Plex Media Server on your desktop and select the option to publish your server to the Internet. Once that's done, you can download the app, sign in using the MyPlex account you created during the setup process, and you'll be able to queue up your favorite album from just about anywhere.

Plex

Google Maps (Free)
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Google Maps (Free)

If you're a longtime iPhone user, you're already familiar with Google Maps; it was the default mapping app until the launch of iOS 6, when Apple replaced it with its own Maps app. The change was met with a very vocal outcry from fans who pointed out flaws in Apple Maps, and Google quickly followed up with its own official app. The new Google Maps is a powerful, user-friendly reboot of the previous incarnation of the app, complete with nifty new features, such as turn-by-turn directions, integration with Google Local and live traffic information.

Google Maps

Call Bliss ($2.99)
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Call Bliss ($2.99)

The "Do Not Disturb" feature included in iOS 6 is pretty nifty, but its customization options are limited to blocking calls during a specific time of day, with the option to allow calls from users on your Favorites list. Call Bliss extends the "Do Not Disturb" function of the iPhone by adding location-based blocking and custom groups -- for example, while you're at work you can block calls from overly chatty friends, and when you're out to dinner you can set it to block calls from work contacts.

Call Bliss

Evernote (Free)
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Evernote (Free)

When it comes to taking and sharing notes, cloud-based Evernote has it all. The interface is as crisp and white as a fresh sheet of paper, and the ability to geotag notes and attach photos and voice memos makes it far more useful than the simple "Notes" app built into the iPhone. Saved notes can be organized into different notebooks, shared via email, text, Facebook and Twitter, and are automatically synced back to Evernote's server, making them accessible from any computer or mobile device.

Evernote

Dropbox (Free)
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Dropbox (Free)

The iPhone's built-in cloud storage feature, iCloud, is fine for backing up files -- but when it comes to making files shareable, it's not so great. For quick and easy access to your files from any device, check out Dropbox, a free cloud storage alternative that makes your files accessible from any mobile device or computer and makes it easy to collaborate with remote colleagues by allowing the sharing of folders and documents.

Dropbox

Twitter (Free)
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Twitter (Free)

Twitter has firmly established itself as a serious social network, and certain aspects of the service, such as photo sharing and the ability to tweet directly from the notification center, are built into iOS. Sharing photos and tweets are only half the fun of the Twitter experience, though; to view your friends' tweets, follow trends and view replies and direct messages, you'll want to download the Twitter app.

Twitter

Fantastical ($3.99)
Fantastical

Fantastical ($3.99)

Fantastical is a beautiful, user-friendly calendar alternative that supports the same services as the default app -- Google, iCal, Exchange and Facebook Events -- but really shines when it comes to scheduling new events. The app's ability to process natural language -- spoken or typed -- and turn it into a scheduled event means that instead of fiddling with Calendar's multiple menus, you can simply type (or say) "Dinner with Bill at Nobu next Tuesday at 7," and the event is scheduled. The DayTicker feature at the top of the app is also handy for seeing at a glance how busy you are on any given day.

Fantastical

AccuWeather (Free)
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AccuWeather (Free)

The default weather app on the iPhone is pretty skimpy when it comes to features -- icons indicate whether it will be sunny or snowy, but a detailed forecast isn't available. AccuWeather provides a comprehensive weather report that includes information such as visibility, humidity level, barometric pressure and wind speed, along with the estimated amount of rain or snow you can expect to see. A radar view is also available for tracking the storms that might be heading in your direction, and push notifications alert you of severe weather in your area.

AccuWeather

Key Ring Reward Cards (Free)
Key Ring

Key Ring Reward Cards (Free)

Passbook is a new feature in iOS 6 designed to make it easier to organize everything from store loyalty cards to boarding passes, but in its current iteration it's a bit clunky and confusing. Key Ring isn't designed to be a replacement for all of Passbook's features, but it does handle store loyalty cards with ease -- just scan the bar codes with the app and you're good to go. When you're ready to check out, simply pull up the store card in Key Ring and the cashier can scan it as easily as the physical card.

Key Ring Reward Cards

Chrome (Free)
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Chrome (Free)

Safari isn't a bad mobile browser, but its limited feature set makes Chrome worth a look, especially if you use Chrome on your desktop. The ability to sync your bookmarks and tabs between multiple devices -- including your iPhone, tablet and computer -- is a great feature on its own, but it's not the only benefit offered by the app. For private browsing, you can easily create an incognito tab -- without leaving the app -- that doesn't track your history, and a "Request Desktop Version" button in the settings menu makes it a breeze to switch from a mobile website to the standard view without hunting around for a tiny link on the homepage.

Chrome

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