Gift Guide: iPhone and iPad Apps

Whether a family member or loved one is getting a new iDevice or they’re already an addict, a few great apps can make their experience a whole lot better. Here are a handful of some of our favourite paid apps you can procure for a gift for this Christmas.

Picture by Christina Rutz



If you’re looking to buy an app for both an iOS- and music-addict, Panamp is worth a look. While the built-in music player in iOS is serviceable, it’s not great for actually managing your library and playlists. If your recipient likes to create playlists on the go, Panamp makes that process ridiculously simple. Instead of tapping and selecting all the songs you want to add to your new playlist, Panamp lets you just swipe a song to quickly add it to your current queue. It also provides a number of excellent gestures to make navigating your music library faster and easier. It’s a favourite of our own Whitson Gordon, and as he puts it, “the gestures are win”. If you know someone who spends more time with their earbuds in rather than out, put Panamp on their gift list.

Buy Panamp ($2.99)

Stream To Me

Perhaps you have a friend or family member who has managed to horde a ridiculous amount of video and music, so much so that they can’t fit all that much of it on their iDevice. That’s no problem if you pick up Stream To Me, which will allow them to stream virtually any audio or video file on the fly regardless of what format it is in. It does this by converting the video or audio to a compatible format as it streams it and does a pretty great job. Alternatively, you can check out Air Video which some people prefer because it can pre-convert files, though it only handles video streams.

Buy Stream To Me ($2.99)


Downcast is an app that changed the way I listen to podcasts, and if there’s anyone you know who loves spoken word content it may do the same for them. Downcast is a podcatcher that automatically downloads new episodes directly from your iDevice, unlike the way Apple’s music app forces you to do it manually. It also comes with handy gestures to navigate through podcasts, a sleep timer so you can listen before you go to bed, and plenty of other nifty features. Anyone who loves podcasts will love Downcast.

Buy Downcast ($1.99)

Photo and Video


Camera+ is favorite camera app on the iPhone because it is an incredible upgrade for the avid iPhone photographer. You get tools you generally find in DSLRs, several ways to improve common problems like camera shake and just poor photos in general, lots of ways to share pictures, and those colourful filters everyone loves these days. If you know anyone who loves taking pictures with their iDevice’s camera, you’ll want to get them Camera+.

Buy Camera+ ($0.99)

DSLR Camera Remote Professional Edition

If you’ve got a professional or hobbyist photography who wants to expand his or her toolkit, DSLR Camera Remote is an excellent addition. It will let them take photos (and even video with some camera) remotely using their iDevice via Wi-Fi. Some will avoid it because of it’s high ($20) price tag, but that’s why it makes a great gift.

Buy DSLR Camera Remote ($20.99)

FiLMiC Pro

Just as Camera+ is a great camera upgrade for photos, FiLMiC Pro is a great upgrade for video. Technically it’s not as comprehensive as Camera+, but it does add a lot of great features. For example, it offers multiple shooting modes, multiple recording resolutions, 26 variable frame rates, audio level monitoring, and even colour bars. If you know someone who wants to use their iDevice to shoot a more professional video, or at least have a few new options, that’s what FiLMiC is for.

Buy FiLMiC Pro ($2.99)


You might think editing video on a phone is silly, but iMovie actually makes it worthwhile and functional. It’s certainly not a professional editing suite or even on par with the desktop version of the application, but just about anyone would be able to use it to cut together a polished version of their family vacation videos, or whatever other clips they might want to stitch together. Sharing is easy, too, as YouTube-upload is integrated and there are other options as well. If you’ve got a friend or family member who’s always sharing video from their iDevice, you’ll want to get them a copy of iMovie.

Buy iMovie ($5.49)

Productivity and Utilities


iWork is arguably one of the best demonstrations of what the iPad is capable of, letting you actually layout posters, fliers, or whatever else you can think of in Pages, create beautiful spreadsheets and graphs in Numbers, and compelling presentations in Keynote. Each app costs about $US10 so you can pick and choose the ones you want to give or just get the entire suite. Additionally, each app is a hybrid — meaning it works on all iDevices — so iPhone and iPod touch users won’t be left out.

Buy Pages ($10.49), Numbers ($10.49), andKeynote ($10.49)

Atomic Web Browser

Apple’s Mobile Safari is a pretty great mobile web browser, but it is lacking in the feature department. For $US1 you could pick up a copy of Atomic for someone who spends a lot of time on the web on their mobile device. Atomic provides tabbed browser, private browsing, and just about any feature you’ll find on a desktop browser. It’s great for anyone wishing for the desktop experience on their iDevice.

Buy Atomic Web Browser ($0.99)


Know anyone who loves news feeds? Get them a copy of Reeder. It’s great on the iPhone and iPod touch and even better on the iPad. It’s simple interface makes it easier to navigate feeds, plus everything syncs with Google Reeder so it’s easy to keep what’s read and what isn’t up-to-date on every device. It is our favourite newsreader for iOS, and will likely be a favourite for anyone who uses it too.

Buy Reeder ($2.99)


If you know anyone who needs to control their desktop remotely, get them Screens. Out of all the iOS remote desktop apps, it is the best. It’s incredibly simple to use and set up. More importantly, it actually feels natural controlling your desktop from a touchscreen. The gestures are intuitive and work with a surprising amount of precision. It’s a pricey app at $US20, but it includes versions for iPhones/iPod touches and iPad.

Buy Screens ($20.99)


There are plenty of great, free to-do apps but TeuxDeux is a great choice for your favourite productive, design-conscious friend or family member. It offers a very simple interface for keeping track of tasks without the bloat of too many features. It’s not for everyone, but if you want to gift an app that’s both pretty and productive then TeuxDeux is a great choice.

Buy Teux Deux ($2.99)

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At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


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