If you can’t remember the last time you downloaded a new app you loved, you’re long overdue for a home screen refresh.
Luckily, we’re halfway through 2018, and the last six months have been filled with plenty of new apps and games worth your attention.
While some have already proven to be smash hits, others have flown under the radar. But whether you’re looking for a new game you can’t put down or something to make you more productive, these are the apps that have made the greatest impressions in 2018.
If you’re serious about taking photos with your phone, you’d be well-served by a manual photography app, which gives you more control over the camera’s settings than the iPhone’s stock camera app alone. The original Camera+ was the app that set the standard for what these apps should be. The Sequel, Camera+ 2, is a worthy successor. It has all the same manual controls and advanced editing features of the original, while also making the app faster and easier to navigate.
Where do we even start? Fortnite was already a global sensation when Epic Games launched the mobile version just a few months ago. It’s not surprising, then, that it quickly became one of the most popular titles in the App Store, raking in $100 million in its first three months alone. But the mobile version of the game is significant for more than simply being a mega money maker and further enabling our collective Fortnite addiction. It’s also the rare console game that jumped to mobile without sacrificing what made it great. And the app plays nice with other versions of the game, too.
Want to know what the future of search looks like? Start with Google Lens. Though it was originally only available to Pixel phones, in June the company launched a standalone Android app for the feature. The app uses your smartphone’s camera to scan the world around you and provide information about the objects it detects. It can scan barcodes, recognize plants and dog breeds, tell you about local landmarks, and provide info on works of art. Some of that may sound gimmicky, but the text-scanning abilities alone make it worth having on your home screen.
Google launched a completely revamped news app this year, and it’s pretty much a dream come true for news nerds. It lets you dive deep into just about any topic or story you’re interested in, and has power-user features, like personalized content and the ability to save articles to read offline. But its most interesting feature is something called “full picture,” which aims to wipe out Facebook-induced filter bubbles.
There’s not a lot of nuance to Hole.io. And when I say “not a lot,” I mean pretty much none at all: You have two minutes to drag a hole around a miniature city, eating everything in sight while slowly growing bigger. If you outgrow all the other players, you win. On paper, the game shouldn’t be very good — it’s dead simple, predictable, and filled with obnoxious ads. Yet somehow it’s also unbelievably addicting. So much so that it’s been sitting in the #1 spot in the App Store’s gaming charts for weeks, with more than 10 million downloads.
Otter Voice Notes
Anyone who’s spent any time transcribing audio recordings knows just how painful that process can be. And while lots of apps have tried to solve the problem, none have totally cracked it. Otter might. Created by AI Sense, Otter records conversations and generates surprisingly accurate transcriptions. It’s much more than basic speech recognition. The software can learn your voice and distinguish between all the different speakers in a given conversation.
It’s the Pokémon you know and love, but with a more Minecraft-esque look. Pokémon Quest is already a huge hit, even though the app’s been out less than a month. The game puts you on “Tumblecube Island,” which you must explore in order to find items, decorate your camp, and — naturally — compete in battles against other players. The formula isn’t new, but it’s enough to capitalize on the Pokémon fever that started two years ago. Did we mention it’s also kind of adorable?