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Appy Trails

Sometimes it’s hard to believe we once lived without apps. How else would we remember that we have a doctor’s appointment, deposit checks from the breakfast table while still in our pj’s, compare prices on plane fare, challenge friends to a word duel, or fix red-eye on our girls’ night out dinner photos before posting them on Facebook or Instagram? Check out this roundup of our current favorite apps, and tell us in the comments which ones are on your must-have list.

Aviary

Aviary

If you’ve ever wished there were a Photoshop for smartphones, Aviary is your new best friend. Take your favorite pictures and apply a variety of filters or effects; adjust brightness, sharpness, color, or saturation; crop; change focus; fix blemishes or discolored teeth; and add text, drawings, or funny stickers like mustaches or alien critters all over your best friends’ photos. Aviary even has a high-resolution output option for printing, posting on a website, or saving to desktop, and many of the cool, nonstandard filters are free or come at a minimal cost.

Dark Sky

Dark Sky/Arcus

Living in such a volatile climate, we tend to be a bit weather-obsessed. Enter Dark Sky (aka Arcus on Android), which offers short-term, hyperlocal, accurate weather forecasts. “Next Hour: Rain for 7 minutes,” Dark Sky will warn, and, without fail, it rains heavily for seven minutes. This app is perfect for frequent joggers, dog walkers, and anyone with a long commute to work.

GateGuru

GateGuru

Fair warning: this travel app, which has been around since 2009, works much better on iOS than on Android, but we’re hearing that updates are coming soon to both platforms. We love that GateGuru stores Tripit or KAYAK itineraries, and gives us detailed airport-terminal maps, including the locations of restaurants, stores, and other amenities (many with Yelp-like user reviews) on each concourse. So now you can plot out where to eat a relatively healthy meal and purchase onboard essentials, rather than settling for the first cinnamon-bun or magazine kiosk you run across. The TSA wait times can be unreliable and GateGuru doesn’t have comprehensive information on non-U.S. airports, but it sure beats guessing when you’re running to catch a connection. The rental-car discounts don’t hurt, either.

Mint

Mint

An easy-to-use money-management app that corrals all of your bank accounts, loans, and more, Mint summarizes your cash in and cash out in an easy-to-read format. You can track your spending for the month, analyze typical spending habits, and set budgets; it will even text you when you go over those budgets. Perfect for the holidays, don’t you think?

Pet Phone

Pet Phone

This iPhone-only app allows you to track vet appointments and bills and set up reminders, as well as store info on medications, weight, allergies, and food preferences for each of your pets (with photos!). Pet Phone syncs with your smartphone’s calendar, so you don’t have to transfer any appointments from one to the other, and can also help you locate a nearby vet, if you’re away from home.

Smart Voice Recorder

Smart Voice Recorder

This superhandy tool sets a new standard for voice recording, whether for blog interviews, doctor’s appointments, or notes to self while driving or out for a walk. We’ve found it especially useful for chats with the vet, in order to help us remember pet-care or pet-med protocols without worry that we’ve forgotten something important. Simply open up Smart Voice Recorder, tap record, and tap Finish when you’re done, then name the file. Transfer the files via e-mail or USB to your computer for safekeeping, e-mail to friends or family, or delete on the fly.

TAlking Translator

Talking Translator

True, no software translator is ever as accurate as a human translator, but Talking Translator is darn close. More than a simple dictionary, Talking Translator allows you to speak a word or sentence and hear the translation, or type in English and translate to your target language. Choose from 50-plus languages, everything from the usual suspects like French, Spanish, and German to Catalan, Afrikaans, and Esperanto (no kidding). If you’re traveling abroad or learning a new language, you’ll want to install Talking Translator before you do anything else today

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