The 10 Best New Apps of 2016 (So Far)

Tech Lists
The 10 Best New Apps of 2016 (So Far)

We all have our tried-and-true apps on our phones—the one we use every single day. In fact, we just put together our list of the 50 essential Android apps, none of which you’ll find below.

Instead, what you’ll find in this list is 10 apps that launched this year so far that have some serious innovation and thought behind them. You’ll find some apps that take on familiar duties of social networking, email, and video calls in a particularly fresh way—as well as apps that do something you never thought your phone could do.

10. Interact (iOS)

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Simply put, Interact is keen on taking your contacts (quite literally, you have to opt-in for the app to use your contact list or it’s useless), and applying them to a new UI. The main idea is to group up specific contacts into filters and tags, and also find new ways to create contacts. It’s not for everyone, but for people who’d consider themselves to be power users in texting and calling, it’s a must-have replacement to the default app.—Chris Carter

9. NASA Television (Apple TV)


Anything that gets space travel back in top of mind for the everyday person is awesome in my books. NASA Television for the Apple TV doesn’t do anything extraordinary—it’s a livestream of the ISS, some beautiful photos, and keeps you update to date with ongoing missions. The fact that this is all on your living room television is the power of NASA making this app. In an era of cable cutting, the thought of more livestreamed space travel events for the country to experience together right on your television is truly exciting.—Luke Larsen

8. Ummo (iOS)

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Growing up, one of my worst fears was public speaking. I would dread alphabetical order, and revel in “reverse alphabetical order,” hoping that eventually, somehow, the class would have to move on to another topic before I was called to present my project (this actually happened on numerous occasions). Fighting bouts of “uhs’ and “ums” for nearly two decades, it wasn’t until college that I really found my voice. Ummo is an app that seeks to help people find theirs far earlier, and for the most part, it achieves that.—CC

7. Airmail (iOS/Mac)

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There is an abundance of email clients for iPhone and iPad out there today. Just a quick scan of the keyword “email” on the App Store will result in countless results of apps with various features. Airmail added themselves to the group when it was released earlier this week. Coming from the amazing desktop client, I had high expectations for the iPhone version. Airmail’s UI isn’t complex, nor is it new. However, they’ve made a simple email app that’s accessible and easy to use. Furthermore, its users can change to its liking thanks to a lot of the available customization. I’ve been using it all week and it’s my email app of choice so far.—Jamie Pham

6. Day One 2 (iOS/Android/Mac)

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Day One has been a mainstay of the App Store for years now. It’s a journaling app—a way of capturing memories and reliving them later on. The sequel is a complete redesign that allows expands features and allows for multiple journals. It’s simply beautiful—and if you have the discipline to really put it to use, the results are really something special. It’s not cheap for an app, but if you are in need of an all-encompassing, multiplatform journaling app, Day One 2 is as good as it gets.—LL

5. Cheeky Fingers (iOS/Android)


Music apps will always have a certain amount of magic about them. Cheeky Fingers is a digital keyboard and chord dictionary—both for learners and people who want to tickle the ivories once and a while. With its visual chord dictionary, it’s an invaluable teaching tool, especially for those who are teaching themselves how to play.—LL

4. Peach (iOS/Android)

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Another week, another social network! The newest kid on the block is Peach, a new app that is attempting to take the world by storm. Peach sort of operates like a mix between Facebook, Tumblr, and Snapchat. Now it isn’t predicated on “temporary messages” that disappear like the latter, but it is focused on quick chats, filled to the brim with emojis and gifs. To facilitate this concept Peach has a ton of basic command lines that are baked in, to allow easy access to a number of different features.

There’s a lot more on the table, like “draw” (which queues up a mini MS Paint suite, something I wish more apps did, and only recently came to iOS’ notepad), song identification, weather, and even the ability to display or share your battery life. It’s a lot of info, but if social media has proven anything in the past decade or so, it’s that people like to share all of it, so having a platform to easily do so works in Peach’s favor.—CC

3. Flamingo for Twitter (Android)

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If you’re an Android user, you know frustrating the Twitter app is. My favorite alternative has always been Fenix, but now Flamingo is an open contender for the spot. Flamingo has a really nice, clean design—one that really matches what Google is doing system-wide. The support for multiple accounts is really helpful, as well as all the different customization you can do. It’s still in beta, so it can only get better from here.—LL

2. Airtime (iOS/Android)

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If you just want to video chat to a sole friend and not really do anything else, then FaceTime is just fine. Airtime, however, feels like what Apple’s service should have been all along. For one thing, you can have six people video chatting as a group at the same time. The only real catch here is that it means I need to keep another messaging app installed, alongside my regular use of iMessage, Telegram, and WhatsApp. Other than that, it’s a worthy addition to anyone’s social app collection. I’ll certainly be using it to participate in overexcited fangirling chats about my favorite shows.—Jennifer Allen

1. Swift Playgrounds (iPad)

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The announcement at WWDC got swept under the rug fairly quickly, but Swift Playgrounds for the iPad is a remarkable app for teaching and learning coding. Learning complex programming languages can be such an intimidating thing to get started in. Swift Playgrounds is an iPad app that seeks to create a comfortable and safe environment for learning Apple’s app programming language—and is really impressive for how well it does it. In a time when public schools still don’t seem to be taking up the mantle of teaching this all-important skill, Swift Playgrounds has the opportunity to have a huge impact on the next generation of coders and developers.—LL

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