Let’s face it: the App Store isn’t the easiest way to find the best iPhone or iPod touch apps.
Sure, it’s great to have all the apps in one place, but the App Store is a pain to navigate, and you can’t sort apps by rating, making it hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Since the App Store now contains over 15,000 apps this can be a bit of a problem.
Fortunately, there are some great sites out there that make finding the best iPhone apps that much easier. Here’s my top 15:
There’s a great list of over 250 (at the time of writing) app reviews at the Macworld site. Each app is given a thorough review (with user comments), and the list is sorted by rating. (The Sort by Date option is useful for finding new apps.)
This handy site lets you find apps in all sorts of ways. You can look at just paid or just free apps; find recently-updated apps; look at just new apps; and browse different categories. You can also browse the current top 100 free and paid apps.
A really nice feature of App Shopper is that it shows you the pricing history of each app (iPhone apps tend to go up and down in price a lot), so you can see if you’re getting a bargain.
This blog features tons of iPhone and iPod touch game reviews, often including a handy YouTube video with each review that shows off the gameplay. A great way to get a feel of a game before you download or buy it. Also has news of upcoming games and a busy forum.
The iPhone section of iusethis.com, a site that ranks apps by the number of registered members using them. As they put it, this is “a much more democratic way to rate apps” than the usual five-star ratings system. Interesting idea, and a great way to find and compare popular apps.
If you prefer your app reviews served to you in video format then this is the site for you. Each app is accompanied by a video review and walkthrough of the app’s main features. This is a great way to get a quick overview of an app. If you’re really keen you can even download the AppVee app to your iPhone, letting you browse, search, and watch the video reviews right from your phone.
More iPhone app video reviews. You can watch the reviews on the site, or subscribe to the podcast to watch them on your computer or iPhone. The reviews are decent quality. It’d be good if each podcast episode (review) included a rating and price in the episode name, so you could see this info at a glance. Otherwise a great idea.
Comprehensive list of all App Store apps. Each app features a wealth of information, including description, price, recent app activity, news related to the app, reviews (both professional and user-submitted), and screenshots/videos. A nice touch is the iPhone-style badges on app icons, showing you when they’ve recently been updated.
I’d like be able to sort or filter apps by rating, as well as see an iPhone-optimized version of the site.
Apple’s own site has a useful list of web apps that work with the iPhone and iPod touch. The nice thing about web apps is you don’t have to install anything – just point your Safari at the app URL and you’re good to go. (Obviously you have to be connected to the internet.)
Top tip: You can also add useful web apps to your Home screen by making Web Clips of them (In Safari tap the + (plus) icon, and then tap “Add to Home screen”.)
Not a vast collection right now, but in typical Ars Technica style each reviewed app gets a thorough treatment.
A nice blog with a clean look, giving decent-enough reviews of the latest iPhone apps. Tends to focus more on games and entertainment apps.
On appsafari.com you can find thousands of App Store apps, Web apps that work on the iPhone/iPod touch, and other iPhone-related websites such as wallpaper sites. Each app or site has a short description and, occasionally, a YouTube video illustrating it.
One minor criticism is that clicking the thumbnails bounces you off to the App Store or site, rather than giving you more info on the app or site (for which you have to click the small app title above the thumbnail).
This one’s been around a while. A blog with news of the latest App Store apps and Web apps. Also reviews a large number of apps, as well as iPhone/iPod touch accessories.
Have a favourite site for finding the best iPhone/iPod touch apps? Tell us about it in the comments below.