Ten Free Apps

Have a smartphone or tablet?  At a loss as to which apps to install?  With close to a million from which to choose, it can be overwhelming.  Well, MFLA to the rescue!  As a regular feature, we’ll share some of the apps – most free or for a low cost – that we have researched and found to be useful.

So, let’s get started with the first ten apps of January!

AccuWeather – available on iTunes, Google, or Windows
As this is being written, it’s snowing – about 6 – 12 inches here in Maryland.  This app provides current weather conditions, hourly updates, future forecasts, radar maps, and video coverage.  It can be set up for weather reports for multiple cities or towns, including abroad.

Evernote – available on iTunes, Google, or Windows
This hands-down the most useful app for note-taking.  It out-rivals competing apps thanks to its strong search capabilities and file organization.  Evernote also captures screen shots and web pages easily.  Plus, it synchronizes files by saving them to the cloud, which means that they are accessible from the smartphone to the tablet to the laptop.

Facebook – available on iTunes, Google, or Windows
As world language teachers, we are in contact with colleagues, friends, and family around the world.  And Facebook is the app that helps facilitate that!  Share updates, links, photos, and videos – even engage in real time conversations.

Flashlight HD LED – available on iTunes or Google
Well, some apps serve a utilitarian fashion and this is one!  You may not always have a flashlight handy, but bet you have your phone.  This app turns your camera into a flashlight without asking for access to your location, contacts, or device ID.  It’s bright, fast, safe, secure, and won’t steal your data.  However, be aware that the app may drain your battery if you keep it on for extended periods of time.

Genius Scan – available on iTunes or Google
Genius Scan is a great free option, complete with scanning and adjustment settings to help you achieve the best scan possible.  The free version allows you to scan documents, select what type of file you want to save it as, and email it or open it in compatible apps.  You can even organize and conveniently search scanned documents by using tags.  If you want to use it with cloud services, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, you’ll need to pay for the upgrade to Genius Scan+.

Google Maps – available on iTunes or Google
Some devices may already come with a map app, but Google Maps is the most accurate and useful.  You can get driving directions, walking directions, public transit, and more.  The app provides live traffic and incident reports and will let you know what’s nearby so that you can easily locate that restaurant, gas station, shop, etc.  I love the “street view” feature and voice-guided navigation.

Kindle – available on iTunes, Google, or Windows
Purchase and read Amazon ebooks using this app – it’s just like having the device.  Purchases download automatically to the app and it provides all the options of having a Kindle, such as bookmarking and highlighting the text.  It also syncs across devices so that you can start reading a book on the phone, then switch to the tablet or laptop to continue.

Onavo Extend – available on iTunes or Google
Most of us have data plans with a limit, so it’s best to use Wi-Fi when possible.  However, when you can’t, this app can step in to assist.  It automatically compresses the data you send and receive so that you get up to five times more data out of your plan.  The app even works outside the United States so you can monitor your roaming data plan while traveling abroad.

Prey – available on iTunes or Google
Security for your device cannot be underestimated.  Prey provides that peace of mind that if your gadget is lost or stolen, your information will be safe.  For starters, it can take pictures of the thief’s face and send messages to your computer of the device’s whereabouts so that you can get it back.  Prey allows you to protect up to 3 devices with one single account.

YouTube – available on iTunes, Google, or Windows
Stay connected to the latest videos in the target language to research and preview them for your classes.  You can even use the app to record, edit, and share videos right from your device.