5 iTunes apps I actually use

5 iPhone apps I actually use

Nikki Parkinson Life 53 Comments

I cannot imagine my life without apps.

I realise that this may sound a little over-dramatic but I’m a geek girl at heart and apps seriously float my geek girl boat.

I have periods where I go a wee bit cray-cray and download every new app that I think my life needs. This is generally not such a bad thing as many are free or quite cheap. But it can lead to app overload.

What tends to happen in the aftermath of such a burst of app purchasing is a bit of unscientific research on my part.

If an app “grabs” my attention in such a way that I can’t stop using it, then I know I’m on to a good thing.

If I’m still using said app two, three or more weeks down the track then it’s a keeper.

What constitutes a “keeper” app?

Quite simply put, these are the iPhone apps I actually use. Apps that I actually use because they make my home or blogging life run more smoothly.

5 iTunes apps I actually use

Before I run through my current top 5 apps (and possibly lose some of you in my personal sea of geekdom), I want to assure you that diving into the app world is not a scary as it might seem.

If the only apps on your phone are for your kids’ amusement then maybe it’s time to delve a little further.

It’s so easy to be bamboozled by the thousands out there and available. Here’s how to start.

Tips for choosing apps to install

1. Ask friends for recommendations. Friends in real life and online friends are a big source for leads on apps that might be a good addition to my collection. If they rave about an app on a blog or on social media … or over coffee, telling me how it helps them, then there’s a high chance that I’ll be hitting that install button just as fast as I can punch in my password.

2. Think about how your blogging day could be better streamlined or organised and do a Google search for apps around that thought. There’s a fair chance there’s an app to help you. If not, get in touch with an app developer and create your own!

3. If you use a desktop application or program, Google search to see whether there is an app version that will help you when away from your computer and just on your tablet or phone.

5 iPhone apps I actually use


Evernote is like having access to an online filing system, wherever you are. How you organise that system and what you put in it is up to you. The filing system works by creating “notebooks” and “notes” to add to a particular notebook. I have the app on my desktop computer, laptop, iPhone and iPad so I can sync and access anything in Evernote from any of those devices as long as I have internet access.

I know a lot of bloggers who use Evernote as part of their blog planning. For me, Evernote has evolved into my work (and play) travel organiser. If I’m travelling away for a night or three weeks, I will create a notebook around that trip and then “clip” web pages (that’s as easy has having a button installed on your web browser), or copy pdfs of itineraries, tickets and relevant emails to that notebook.

Evernote really came into its own when we travelled to the US. While planning how we would spend our time in New York and on the West Coast, I would madly “clip” away ideas I found online and add them to a general New York notebook. When it got closer to the time that we were leaving, I split up the notebook into several notebooks to make it easier to find what I was looking for. I copied in any tickets or documents we might need while away and also added the app to my husband’s iPad. With my Evernote logon and password, he too was able to access any of the required information. This meant we travelled paper-free except for any ticketing we needed to physically present.


Dropbox is also an online filing system which you can have synced to all your devices. You can create specific folders to house documents and images just as you would file them on your computer.

I use Dropbox mainly as my photographic filing friend. A filing friend who is happy to share. The beauty of Dropbox for me is that I’ve programmed the SD eye-fi card in my Canon camera to upload to a specific folder in Dropbox. While we were travelling I made this folder a “shared” folder and invited my husband to share it via his gmail address. This meant he could access all our photos from his iPad while we were travelling and upload what he wanted to to Facebook.

I also use Dropbox as an online storage centre for blogging tools like my media kit. This means if I get a request for my media kit details while I’m away from my desktop computer, I can access the pdf document and email it straight away – from my phone or iPad. Particularly helpful if on a work trip away from home.

Facebook Pages Manager

I was a bit late to the party on this one but now that I’m here I’m a very happy Facebook page administrator. Not only do you get notifications if people post a comment on your page but you can also check your Insights stats and more easily share a photo.

Previously I would have actually had to go into the page to see if there were comments to respond to (or delete).

Umm, just a note on that. Just like this space here on the blog is my space, so is my Facebook page. Spamming the Facebook page with links to your page, website, blog without any relevance to what I’ve posted is not on. Message me first if you have something to promote and I’ll consider it. Just think of it like an office or retail outlet … would you go up to their space and slap up a big sign on their window promoting your stuff without asking them first? Etiquette people, etiquette.

I’m also not tolerating any nastiness in comments – here and on Facebook. Persist and your comments will be deleted and you’ll be blocked. I’m a real person, so think before you post something that might make YOU feel better about your obviously miserable life but make ME feel like shite. Again, would you get up on the microphone at a party and say something nasty about me in front of all those at the party? If the answer’s yes, then I’d be kicking you out of that party too. Life’s too short. If you don’t like something I say, do or wear, just click away.


I cannot believe I did not have this iPhone photography app until hearing about it at BlogHer. Of course, once I’d heard about it, I heard everyone talking about it. It’s good. Really good. Whether you take your photos using the normal camera app or Camera+ like I do, you can edit and tweak them using this app  and make those photos pop before you’ve even whipped them into Instagram.

I particularly like using the Detail function to sharpen up my phone images and the Tune function to play with the brightness and ambience of the photo. I also like the options with the Center Focus function – not as limiting at the blur function in Instagram. Once done, I save the image back on to the Camera Roll, ready to bring into Instagram.


This is actually a web-based and phone app that I started using to schedule tweets and the odd Facebook post (particularly when out of whack with Australian time zones while I was travelling). Previously I’d used Tweetdeck but for me this is better option.

It will help you determine the best times to send out Tweets and how many but if you’d prefer to set your own times, you can do that too. The free version limits how far in advance you can schedule but I upgraded to the $10 a month before I went away as I wanted to schedule further ahead than just the next day.

Bufferapp also gives you the click-through analytics on all your posts made via Bufferapp – this is great for testing what Tweets get more attention than others and at what time of day. You can then tweak your Tweeting accordingly.

I know a lot of bloggers don’t schedule at all. I do because it keeps me regular 😉 What I do do is actually make sure I’m around Twitter at the times that I know I’ve got a scheduled Tweet going out, so yes I’m broadcasting but I’m still there for the conversation … if anyone is up for a chat.

I don’t schedule Facebook as much as Facebook’s algorithm is not as kind to scheduled posts as manually added posts.

So, that’s it. Now, I’d love to hand this post over to you now. Send me on an app installing frenzy!

What apps make your life – blogging or otherwise – better?


Share your blogging know-how

Thanks so much to everyone who plays along with my Saturday blogging linky. Sharing your blogging knowledge with other bloggers and potential bloggers really is how this blogging world best goes round. It’s a bit like having a mini online conference here every week.

Remember if you want to join in, just add your link below. The link needs to be to a post ABOUT BLOGGING (all others will be deleted). Please fill in the box where it says “name” like this: BLOG NAME: Blog post title. That way your blog gets a plug and if you include the title of your post, you’ll attract readers interested in the topic.

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Comments 53

  1. Forgot to mention that I really like ‘Sleep Cycle’ as well. They also have some amazingly relaxing music to wake up to as well as keeping track of your sleep cycle. Worth a look! x

  2. I have had 2 massive work months and am away behind on my blog reading but always make time for your Saturday posts. Great tips once again. Already have a few bu will be trying out snap seed.

  3. Thanks for some great tips Nikki!! I am so new to this blogging thing that still trying to work out quick ways to get it done as I am always in a hurry. I use Dropbox as you mentioned this once before and its brilliant. I take pics on my phone and intantly its on my laptop like magic 🙂 I will look at the other apps you have mentioned and give them a go 🙂
    I also posted a link to my post on Blogging with Bloggers Block but not sure is it worked, I wasn’t sure its belongs under your criteria and I think I posted a link on your last article but that didnt work either. Not sure if I did the right thing but will leave it up to you to decide if it is ok. Cheers Jana

  4. I’ve got Snapseed but never actually used it as I use Camera+. I’ve heard a lot about Evernote but never actually looked into it, downloaoding it after I finish here! And Miss Suger I didn’t know Mailchimp had an app! I’ll be getting that one as well. I love my WW app as well to track all my points. And I simply couldn’t go on without my Pinterest app!

  5. Hi Nikki,
    I have some of these – love the FB pages app and must use Snapseed more. I have the Buffer app but I haven’t used it as much as I should I must chekc out Evernote too.

    My favourite lately is one called Wunderlist. I have a bunch of lists in it for blog stuff and home stuff and I can keep notes on each one as I need them. I often put post ideas in there when I’m out and about.

    I do like the WordPress app too. Great for deleting those spam comments as soon as they appear!

  6. I just read the italics – many businesses have been putting their own stuff on my page. I had been wondering whether to delete or leave. I can’t believe you are getting nasty comments. You are the least offensive and nicest blogger out there. x

    1. Oh thanks Rach x There haven’t been many but I delete and ban from Facebook and if it’s a comment just delete (usually it’s a fake email address so can’t blacklist. And re businesses on your page, just make a decision that sits well with you.

        1. I draft almost all my blog posts in it. Evernote is also where I take notes like while I’m at a conference or if I’m interviewing someone for a story I’m writing. Plus I love it when I’m collecting information and need to collate random things in one spot. Eg. I’m currently collecting research on venues where I can hold writing courses in Melbourne – so handy.
          I love that it syncs across all devices so if I get a new computer or device, I just download Evernote and all my stuff is there ready to go!

  7. Firstly Nikki thanks for all the interesting info on apps. I’d heard of Dropbox but not the others. Always seems there’s more to do in this game.
    Scheduling tweets and FB posts is something I hadn’t considered either.

    As for your no tolerance policy on nasty comments I second it wholeheartedly.

    1. Always more but not everything suits everyone – that’s why I tend to download, play and review later as to what apps are actually working for me. And the comment policy … the more we all speak out about this the more we play a party in stopping the trolls.

  8. I have dropbox (I use all the time), Evernote and have been told about Buffer so will just try to use them more effectively for blogging. I was also wondering if you could do a saturday session on the benefit of newsletters and who should use them, what plugin to use , content etc. love the saturday blogging advice

  9. I like the sound of evernotes I am always ,writing notes to myself either on geeky coloured sticky notes or in my I phone ,scheduling things I have to do or birthdays dentist ,doctors visits and the like and i love the Fact that my new computer has sticky notes ,just pretend ones that go on the front of your laptop and stay there without having to use sticky notes,love:) I have the facebook app and I like the picture frame app as well,also have viber for o/s or internet calling and weatherzone I love that app it makes getting dressed in the morning much easier if I know the temp for my exact postcode.
    I also would like to try snapseed To make my pics look better !

      1. And I will be using evernotes as i have been playing with my new computer just now and it has evernotes and just read all about it,very handy gadget.

  10. I am a complete Evernote geek. I draft all of my blog posts in Evernote so that I can archive them, and have access to them wherever I am. It’s more reliable than WordPress for saving drafts, I think.

    I also couldn’t live without Clear To Do, Google Reader, or my Kindle app. Not necessarily just for blogging, but for survival. Or something.

    1. I’ve heard of lots of people use Evernote like this with their blog. For me, I love using the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin for planning, drafting and scheduling posts. I can see how a week or a month looks on the blog, drag drafts from one day or week to the next and obbviously access anywhere I’m logged into the dashboard.

      Will check out Clear To Do – thanks!

  11. Evernote is my no 1 app! I’ve noticed a lot of pre-editing on many peoples Instagram photos recently, so I’m going to check out snapseed now! Thanks!

  12. The Facebook Pages App makes it SO much easier for someone like me who manages multiple pages. Oh my goodness. I actually think that is something I couldn’t live without at the moment.

    For blogging, I like the MailChimp app {managing subscriptions etc for the newsletter and subscribers list} and the new WordPress app is all kinds of wonderful. Everything I need in one place.

    And otherwise, the Weight Watchers app has been such a lifesaver for me, it sends me reminders to track the food {and holds a MASSIVE database of foods so I don’t have to look them up}, reminds me when my meeting is, offers recipes and articles and tracks my milestones. In one place! {app available to anyone, unlimited members only can access all the tools}.

  13. I have never delved too far into the app world, just because my mobile device has been blackberry and there just never had the same uptake in the non corporate world hence app development has lacked. Though with the recent adition of an Ipad at home I can’t wait to try the facebook page manager app. Thanks fo your top 5, really liked the post!

  14. I have a snapseed, dropbox and evernote apps, but haven’t really tied them in to blogging, and you know how I love the eye fi card! Did you try out google +? I find it good for the pictures too, especially with my blogspot blog.

  15. Ooh good tip re BufferApp. I will download.
    I haven’t had much success with Pages for Facebook. It’s slow, especially adding text to a picture. But maybe I need an upgrade of the app?
    I have a lot of photo apps and my faves are Pudding Cam (beautiful photos) and Diptic (framing)
    On a funny note – I have a few just for fun apps on my iPod including a spirit level, bubble wrap and one called ‘Shy Bladder’ – it is the sound of running water to um… encourage your wee. A few years ago, before I had an operation, I needed to give a wee sample at the hospital. And my app helped make it happen in a short amount of time! Who knew it’d be so useful?!

    1. There’s been a few updates for Pages for Facebook Carly so check that out – it’s definitely not as slow as accessing your page through the general Facebook app. And I’m peeing myself over that bladder app 😉

  16. Great post Nikki, Will def be checking out Snapseed, but waiting for the long awaited iPhone 5.
    Just also wanted to check you are aware of the recent changes in the ACCC ruling that you are now responsible for all comments on your social networks…. There has always been a rule of DO NOT DELETE within communities, but I think you are well within your rights for the above purposes, no one likes a spammer…
    Have a great day x

    1. I too will be getting the 5, Fleur – can’t wait! And as for comments, I’ve always taken responsibility for what comments appear on my social media platforms – so I applaud those changes. A do not delete policy is stupid – even Mamamia has changed their policy this week to one that does not foster nastiness. There is no need for it. I believe as a blog owner you have the opportunity and responsibility to set the tone of your community. My comments policy is one part of that tone.

      1. I definately agree with you here. Any word on a definite date for the 5 I have been trying to fnd out but I thought you good people might know. I will be getting one too especially after I flushed this 4 down the toilet and had to do resuscitation on it!

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