Not all apps are created equal. (If you use it to pay bills, it's not as cool as Instagram, the end.) While some are useful, some are fun, and some are complete time wasters we really should delete, occasionally one comes along that truly changes your life for the better. Here are our top 10.

Work

Slack

Anyone who’s ever done a group project at work or in school knows that it’s the worst thing to happen to people since the invention of fluorescent-lit meeting rooms. But Slack makes the whole thing way less awful. This chat forum lets all your team members talk, share documents, call up gifs and set unrealistic deadlines without a single email being exchanged. You can do an entire group project without ever having to meet in person. Plus, did we mention the gifs? Score.

Free; available for iPhone & Android

 

Wellness

FitStar

FitStar via Facebook


Founded by former NFL player Tony Gonzalez, FitStar asks you a few fitness questions after you work out and then gives suggestions on how to exercise in the future. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just want a simple way to work up a sweat, FitStar cuts through excuses with its easy-to-use interface. Prefer to burn your calories on a mat? There’s FitStar Yoga, too.   

Free; available for iPhone

 

Sleep Cycle

Alarm clocks are hateful. A shrill buzz or beep is the worst way to wake up (worse, even, than your cat pouncing on your face). But Sleep Cycle makes daybreak better. It evaluates your sleep patterns and wakes you up at the best possible time in your cycle, meaning it won’t disrupt you at the times when you sleep the deepest. Never have a pleasant dream go poof because of your alarm again. 

$0.99; available for iPhone and Android

 

Dating

Hinge

Hinge via Facebook


Looking for a date, but tired of swiping over creepy randos? Hinge doesn’t just match you up with whoever is nearby. Instead, it connects to your Facebook and recommends friends of your friends to lead you to people you might actually want to talk to. 

Free; available for iPhone

 

Travel

Cool Cousin

Cool Cousin is that trusted friend you wish you had in every city around the globe. Traveling with Cool Cousin means no more researching for hours online, no more planning your trip based on algorithms or boring crowdsourced lists, and no FOMO after the fact  all brought to you through real, human connection. By connecting you directly with like-minded people who know their cities inside-out and want to share it with you, the app makes sure you’ll receive personalized advice and recommendations for your visit and ultimately a better, more authentic travel experience that fits who you are. So long, tourist traps.
 
Free; available for iPhone

 

Airbnb

Airbnb via Facebook


Okay, no, Airbnb is probably not news to you. But if you don’t have this app, download it now. Hotels are expensive relics of the’ 90s. Hostels are only fun for a night … in college … with a backpack … and no plans to sleep. Airbnb is the perfect middle ground, hooking you up with awesome people anywhere in the world who rent out their amazing homes for utterly affordable prices. And unlike those $200-a-night hotel rooms, they actually come with amenities like kitchens.

Free; available for iPhone & Android

 

Music

Shazam

Song recognition isn’t new, but imitators make it hard to find the best app for the job. Shazam is the original, and it’s still the best. Wherever you are, just hold your phone up to a speaker playing a song you don’t know or definitely-know-but-just-can’t-remember-the-name-of-it’s-driving-me-crazy — and you will not be disappointed. 

Free; available for iPhone & Android

 

Soundcloud

Soundcloud via Facebook


Concert tickets are expensive, iTunes is so 2005 and full-length albums are for shelf display only. Soundcloud currently reigns as trendiest music app of them all.  That’s because artists don’t have to go through a record company to release songs on it. The best musicians now come up at the speed that a teen in a basement can upload new tracks. 

Free; available for iPhone & Android

 

City Exclusive

New York Subway

Many of us will, at some point in our lives, end up lost during a trip to New York City — or at least feel a rush of panic on the subway when we can’t remember where the hell we are. The app simply and appropriately named New York Subway is a go-to not just for tourists, but real, live New Yorkers. Prevent getting lost and sail through the city like a local as the app overlays possible routes to wherever you want to go.  It’s the Yelp of public transit.  


Free; available for iPhone & Android

 

Scoot Networks

Scoot Networks via Facebook


Silicon Valley trend fanatics, this one is for you. Currently only in San Francisco, Scoot Networks is a fast, cheap and green ride sharing service that lets you rent electric scooters for a day (or even just half an hour). It’ll get you moving while ensuring that you’re the most San Francisco person alive while doing so. It’s a blast for any hipster, sorry, proudly progressive urbanite. 

Free; available for iPhone & Android


By Jesse Van Mouwerik

Berlin-based illustrator and columnist Jesse Van Mouwerik is an avid fan of art, whisky sours and being alive. When the aliens land, he will draw them a picture.