TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Games of the Month

Lastronaut
Lastronaut Lastronaut

Play our favorite iPhone games of March

Every week, TIME rounds up our favorite iPhone games of the past few days. Here are the best of the best for March, from mind-straining puzzle games to mad-dash runners.

TouchTone

This is one of the most fascinating games for iPhone at the moment. A lot like the celebrated Papers Please, TouchTone is about cracking a code and finding patterns with an eye for red flags. The game presents you with puzzles you must break in order to find important messages pertaining to national security. It’s a true, tough challenge that feels a bit like propaganda, but if you can get over that part of it, TouchTone will keep you occupied for hours.

TouchTone is $2.99 in the App Store

Spring Ninja

Spring Ninja is an adorable runner-type game in which you control a ninja with springs beneath its feet, jumping from column to column in order to beat your high score. The challenge is to jump from one platform to the next without falling off or overshooting. Be prepared to invest lots of practice time to master the art of spotting your next landing.

Spring Ninja is free in the App Store

Heartbeats

A game that feels like a Gogol short story, Heartbeats is a puzzling little challenge that will take you plenty of time to crack. The appeal of this game is largely in the way it’s designed — as a series of scrawled, eerie doodles. The game tells a story, too: you must solve the puzzles one man left behind as his life’s legacy to learn more about him. Each level presents a unique task that will make you work hard and think differently. A strange game that should make the top of the charts in little time.

Heartbeats is free in the App Store

Lastronaut

An endless runner game with an arcade backdrop, Lastronaut tells the story of a world overrun by a mechanical army that must be destroyed. Jump, run, dodge, and attack wave after wave of enemy forces as you run through the map. Pick up robot weapons and different gear in order to last as long as you possibly can.

Lastronaut is free in the App Store

Under the Sun

In Under the Sun, the goal is to lead your character through a series of puzzle-based desert island maps. In this 3D puzzle game, try to navigate natural obstacles such as trees and rocks in order to get to reach your fire before it gets dark. But every move you make alters the map just a bit. Thankfully, you can tinker with time and go backwards if you make a mistake.

Under the Sun is free in the App Store

TIME How-To

How to Delete iPhone Apps for Good

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Sometimes it's not as easy as it should be

What Apple’s iPhone platform provides in ease of use, it takes away in control. As easy as it is to learn how to use an iPhone, it can be tricky to get it to behave exactly like you want it to — that’s why almost nobody was particularly thrilled when Apple decided to upload U2’s newest album onto iPhones across the world without asking first.

One of the more difficult tasks for new iPhone owners is removing apps you’ve decided you no longer want. Here’s how to delete an iPhone app for good.

First, the simple method is to tap and hold the offending app’s icon on your home screen until all your iPhone’s app icons begin to jiggle. Then, you can tap the small “x” on the upper corner of the app. You’ll then be prompted with an option to delete the app and its data.

However, this doesn’t always rid your iPhone of the unwanted app for good. Sometimes you’ll find that upon connecting your iPhone to your computer to sync with iTunes, you’ll find the app has mysteriously reappeared on your iPhone. The solution for this is to go into iTunes on your desktop or laptop, select “Apps,” find the app you want to delete and click the small “x” on the app icon. That will ensure the app doesn’t find its way back to your iPhone through a sync again.

TIME apps

These Are the 5 Best iPhone Apps of the Week

Try Instagram's new collage-making app, Layout

It seems like hundreds of new iPhone apps pop up every week, but which ones should you bother trying? We explored the App Store and found some apps actually worth downloading.

Layout from Instagram

Some clever folks over at Instagram realized they weren’t doing enough to help users make collages or photo montages right in the app, seceding those functions to a plethora of third-party apps. Enter Layout, which lets you tinker with your photos by putting them in a collage or mirror-flipping them for a variety of clever effects. You can then share the results on Instagram or anywhere else on the web.

Layout from Instagram is free in the App Store

PICSPLAY 2

If you’re looking for a far more sophisticated photo-editing app, then PICSPLAY 2 is a necessary download. The app is packed with high-quality editing tools optimized for mobile use. That means you’ll find tools that aren’t only pared down for smaller screens, but ones that work well via swipes rather than needing super-careful fingertip placements to operate. You can completely change a way a photo looks—adjust color, burn parts of the image, eliminate elements, resize and more. It takes some getting used to, but it’s worth learning.

PICSPLAY 2 is free in the App Store

Atari Fit

It’s hard to tell which is the more appealing part of this app: that it offers you new exercises to include in your daily routine, or that it’s a gateway to the old school Atari games that you probably miss dearly. As you complete exercises, you earn experience points which then unlock different Atari games. Working out is just a small price to pay for access to the library of some of the greatest games of all time.

Atari Fit is free in the App Store

Adobe Fill & Sign

It’s total madness that in 2015 there are still moments when employers or landlords want you to fax documents — you might as well send files by carrier pigeon. Bring yourself into the digital age with Adobe Fill & Sign, which lets you scan paper documents or import files from your email inbox to fill out in the app. The files can then be sent electronically or, if you must, printed for snail mail.

Adobe Fill & Sign is free in the App Store

Star Wars™: Card Trader

It’s hard not to be excited for the next Star Wars film — but for those of us eagerly awaiting December 18, this cheesy trading card app can tide you over nicely. The app brings back Star Wars trading cards in digital form, letting you collect your favorite characters and swap with friends. It reminds me of my younger days finding Star Wars pogs in bags of Doritos, which is a level of excitement nobody should miss out on.

Star Wars™: Card Trader is free in the App Store

TIME apps

You Asked: How Can My Phone Help Me Split the Bill?

TIME.com stock photos Money Dollar Bills
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Plenty of apps can make it easier to send money from one person to another

Whether it’s splitting a tab, paying someone back for a few rounds at the bar, or negotiating six months of electricity bill back payments with your roommates, there isn’t always an easy way to square away your debts with friends. You never want to be that person who breaks out the checkbook at dinner.

But you’re in luck: There are plenty of great digital payment apps that can make your life a lot easier.

The most obvious choice for the job is the PayPal app. Once you sign in to your PayPal account, you can link your card or bank account when prompted. If you want to add a second card, you’ll find the option to do so on the app’s home page. In order to transfer funds to a friend’s account, select the option on the bottom left of the app that says “Send.” If your friend also uses PayPal, you send money using their email address.

However, PayPal knocks you with a 2.9% fee for sending money via a credit or debit card account instead of sending from a PayPal account to a PayPal account. To avoid that fee, check out Venmo, an increasing popular mobile payment app that doesn’t knock you with a fee if you link it with a debit card (using a credit card involves a 3% fee).

When you first open Venmo, you’ll be prompted to enter your bank info — stick with a debit card to avoid that fee. If you give Venmo access to your Facebook friends list, you’ll be able to select from a list of your friends already using Venmo, thanks to integration with Facebook’s social graph. You can also search for people on Venmo who aren’t already your Facebook friends by clicking the new transaction button—the upper rightmost gray button—and then typing a name.

Once you have selected your recipient, you’ll be prompted with a number pad on which you’ll be able to decide how much to transfer. Venmo also lets you request payments from people — say, that roommate who still hasn’t doled out his share of last night’s Thai delivery order. If you have somebody you really trust, like a significant other, you can let them take money from you without asking — sort of like having a joint bank account — but that’s probably not the smartest thing to do with casual friends.

Venmo keeps money you receive in a separate account; you can either hang on to that cash to use via Venmo or “cash out” and have it hit your regular bank account in 24 hours.

It’s worth noting here that Venmo recently had a security scare, but it’s taking steps to address those issues. There are other cash-sending alternatives, too: Mobile messaging app Snapchat recently added “Snapcash,” a payment feature that integrates with Square, while Facebook is rolling out a payment option in its Messenger app as well. Which app you use ultimately depends on which ones most of your friends or roommates are using and which one you feel most comfortable linking to your bank accounts.

TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Games of the Week

Try 'Mr Jump' and more

Had enough Candy Crush and looking for some fun new games to play on your iPhone? Here are five favorites TIME rounded up this week.

Snow Roll

Sort of like the much-adored ski game for old desktop computers, Snow Roll sets you up as a penguin atop a ball of snow rolling down a mountain, zig-zagging between obstacles while collecting coins. It’s a pretty classic runner game in which you’re in an endless quest to beat your high score, but the 8-bit graphics and the limited storyline make it a good way to pass the time.

Snow Roll is free in the App Store

Mr Jump

Mr Jump does everything right: It takes the basic premise of getting from A to B and adds obstacles and a surreal, almost creepy component to mix things up. You’re a block-headed character with no face, navigating a pretty barebones landscape and trying to jump across ravines from one surface to the next. Collect tokens, upgrade your wardrobe, and break through new levels and maps as you get better and the game gets harder.

Mr Jump is free in the App Store

Stan Lee’s Hero Command

Most people are happy to engage with anything in which Stan Lee is involved. In this game, take missions handed down by the powerful creator himself as you run with a crew of original comic heroes, fight dangerous battles with explosive graphics — cartoonish in the best way possible. It’s overall a pretty funny game, and you get to clobber massive bosses with super powers.

Stan Lee’s Hero Command is free in the App Store

TouchTone

This is one of the most fascinating games for iPhone at the moment. A lot like the celebrated Papers Please, TouchTone is about cracking a code and finding patterns with an eye for red flags. TouchTone presents you with puzzles you must break in order to find important messages pertaining to national security. It’s a true, tough challenge that feels a bit like propaganda, but if you can get over that part of it, TouchTone will keep you occupied for hours.

TouchTone is $2.99 in the App Store

Heartbeats

A game that feels like a Gogol short story, Heartbeats is a puzzling little challenge that will take you quite some time to crack. The appeal of this game is largely in the way it’s designed — as a series of scrawled, eerie doodles. The game tells a story, too: solve the puzzles one man left behind as his entire legacy. Each presents a unique task that will make you work hard and think differently. A strange game that should make the top of the charts in little time.

Heartbeats is free in the App Store

TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Apps of the Week

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Try Tether, which unlocks your Mac when you're nearby

It seems like hundreds of new iPhone apps pop up every week, but which ones should you bother trying? We explored the App Store and found some apps actually worth downloading.

Tether

Tether works a lot like those keys that unlock your car when you’re nearby. Tether unlocks your Mac when you get close, then locks it back up the moment you step away. It’s a convenient way to avoid typing in passwords and getting right back down to business. It also feels like a program Bruce Wayne would have on his own computer, so there’s that, too.

Tether is free in the App Store

Enlight

Enlight is a sophisticated digital photo editor. Not only does it offer basic color adjustment, light tinkering and Instagram-optimization, but Enlight also has some more involved, Photoshop-like features that can be used without much skill. You can toy with the sizes of images as well as shift the focus of the image itself. In short, Enlight helps you alter your photos for both style and quality.

Enlight is $3.99 in the App Store

VaporChat

I say a lot of things I wish I hadn’t, so an app like VaporChat is pretty essential for a walking foot-in-mouth marathon like me. VaporChat offers you far greater control over your conversations by allowing you to delete texts or even entire conversations from your own phone and from the receiving device as well. No further explanation is needed.

VaporChat is free in the App Store

HERE

A much-lauded maps app, HERE combines the practicality of Google Maps with the level of detailed offered by more powerful travel apps. This means maps can be downloaded for offline use or in areas of spotty wireless service—the times when having maps may matter the most. HERE functions as a full GPS, helps plan public transport routes, and can give to tips on where to stay or help keep your itinerary organized. The interface is simple, keeping the app from getting overwhelming.

HERE is free in the App Store

NCAA March Madness Live

Though not a new app, the March Madness app’s new perfectly-timed update makes this one essential. And despite John Oliver’s well-reported piece on the ethics of the NCAA — especially during March Madness — your loyalty to your college team hasn’t gotten any less real. This app not only allows you to keep a bracket and keep track of the tournament’s progress, but it also gives you schedules and allows you to stream games live on your mobile device.

NCAA March Madness Live is free in the App Store

TIME How-To

How to Tell Which iPhone Apps Are Killing Your Battery

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone Facebook
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Your favorite apps are most often to blame

The most stressful part of a quickly-draining iPhone battery isn’t the fact that you may soon be without your trusty device, but that you’re ultimately helpless. You’ve stopped checking your phone every five minutes, turned down your screen brightness, and maybe even activated Airplane Mode. But still, something is killing your battery.

What could it be? Maybe your favorite app is the culprit.

Apple’s newest iPhone software, iOS 8, has made it easy to tell which apps are literally sucking the life out of your battery.

The first step is to go to your Settings app, then into the General tab, then into Usage, and then continue into Battery Usage. A quick scroll down will show you which apps are using the most battery life.

If your battery is knocking on death’s door, you should close these apps by double-clicking your iPhone’s Home button and sliding the guilty apps upwards into oblivion. That might not help too much, but at least you’ll know which apps are the biggest power-suckers in the future — and yes, sadly, you’ll often find your most-used apps like Facebook and Twitter on the top of the list.

If you’re on an older iPhone running iOS 7, you’re a little bit out of luck, as it doesn’t have the Battery Usage feature. Third-party battery usage apps can be helpful, but your best bet is to just know that apps like Google Maps, Facebook, Tinder, video games and camera apps will be the biggest drain on your iPhone’s battery. iOS 7 also runs a few background apps that drain your battery, like Background App Refresh, which can be disabled by going to Settings, then to General, then clicking the Background App Refresh tab. Similarly, Location Servings are a huge power suck — go to Settings, then Privacy, then Location Services to disable them.

TIME apps

The Best iPhone Games of the Week

Pocket Mine 2, Dotello, rop and more

Had enough Candy Crush and looking for some fun new games to play on your iPhone? Here are five favorites TIME rounded up this week.

  • Pocket Mine 2

    Pocket Mine 2
    Pocket Mine 2 Pocket Mine 2

    Pocket Mine 2 takes you into the life of a miner to dig deep and unlock a series of treasures. Not only are you mining for precious metals, but you can earn cards that enhance gameplay, play with new characters, get new gear for your kit, and find treasure chests and other fun rewards. It’s a strangely addicting game that builds on itself as you play.

    Pocket Mine 2 is free in the App Store

  • Dotello

    Dotello
    Dotello Dotello

    A game for people who love destructive gameplay and puzzles, Dotello is a simple game that presents players with a dot-based puzzle to clear. Players move the dots around to eliminate them with big, animated swipes. Keep an eye out for repetition and patterns in order to solve stages. The game isn’t timed, making it a refreshingly calm take on the genre.

    Dotello is free in the App Store

  • rop

    rop
    rop rop

    There’s nothing easy about rop. After playing for several hours, I’m still completely lost — but also still addicted. It’s a puzzle game that asks plays to recreate patterns on a plane over 77 different levels. The challenge is to finish each level without breaking the stream you draw. But this isn’t for the easily frustrated: I’ve been stuck on level four for two hours.

    rop is $0.99 in the App Store

  • Blokshot Revolution

    Blockshot
    Blockshot Blockshot

    Blockshot Revolution is all about destructive therapy. The main point of the game is to shoot fireballs out of a pod at a network of bricks and watch them shatter and explode. In theory, there’s a plot to this game and levels to clear, but in reality, the main sell here is endless block-smashing as a sort of mindless entertainment. Eventually, you can power up and use new weapons to smash blocks.

    Blokshot Revolution is free in the App Store

  • Dungeon Hunter 5

    Dungeon Hunter 2
    Dungeon Hunter 2 Dungeon Hunter 2

    Dungeon Hunter 5 is a single-player fantasy RPG game in which you control a bounty hunter through a series of campaigns through different worlds to track down villains. You can hook up with your friends to make the game more social, while the developers ping you with new weekly challenges to keep things fresh. And, of course, there are countless hours of slash-filled sword fighting.

    Dungeon Hunter 5 is free in the App Store

TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Apps of the Week

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Try Meerkat, which lets you stream live video via Twitter

It seems like hundreds of new iPhone apps pop up every week, but which ones should you bother trying? We explored the App Store and found some apps actually worth downloading.

OneShot

Say you’re reading a great article and you come across a specific passage you’d like to share on social media. You can take a screenshot of the article, then import it into OneShot, where you can crop out your battery life and other unneeded elements and highlight the specific line you’re interested in. Then you can share the screenshot from OneShot, which will automagically include a link to the article in your post.

OneShot is free in the App Store

Meerkat

Livestreaming video has been around for years, but it’s never been as easy to do as it is with Meerkat. Basically, it lets you easily send a link to your Twitter followers that takes them to a live video feed of whatever you’re pointing your iPhone at. People watching the stream can chat with each other, turning the broadcasts into community experiences. This app feels like it’ll be very popular with all your favorite celebrities very soon.

Meerkat is free in the App Store

Breaking

Breaking is like lots of other iPhone RSS readers in that it lets you compile news alerts from different sources—anything that has an RSS feed—and then pulls updates to your phone. But where Breaking stands out is that it pushes stories to your notification center, which makes it easy to get news at a glance without having to log into a dozen different apps.

Breaking is $2.99 in the App Store

BriefMe

Another news reader, BriefMe pushes stories to your iPhone based on what’s most popular or most read at the moment. The 10 most shared articles are pulled together for you to read. Although this setup means the occasional dud, it also means you get wind of breaking news extremely quickly. You can also choose stories based on categories. BriefMe makes you feel like a politician getting updates from his or her staff.

BriefMe is free in the App Store

Hand Scale

Did you know your iPhone can be a scale? Hand Scale lets you use your iPhone’s pressure sensor to weigh objects 20 grams or less after calibrating the app by applying pressure with your hand. If something can fit on your iPhone’s screen, then Hand Scale can weigh it — within limits, of course. Be careful about using it with anything over that 20-gram mark. But Hand Scale can be really, ahem, handy around the house, especially when paired an iPhone level app.

Hand Scale is $2.99 in the App Store

TIME You Asked

You Asked: What Can I Do When My iPhone’s Battery Is Dying?

iPhone 6 Becomes Available In Hong Kong
Lam Yik Fei—Getty Images Customer looks at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at the Apple IFC store on September 19, 2014 in Hong Kong, China.

iPhone battery dipping dangerously low? Here's what to do

There are few things as stressful as the moment you realize your iPhone is dipping below the 20% battery life mark. It’s a feeling of terror and uncertainty — especially if you’re far from an outlet.

But fear not. Here’s what to do to get every last drop of battery life from your soon-to-be-deceased iPhone.

First, close all those apps running in the background. To do this, double-tap your home button and then swipe up to close apps.

Next, go to Settings -> Cellular and switch “Cellular Data” to the off position. This will cut your iPhone off from wireless Internet service, meaning you’ll be without access to email or iMessage — but you’ll still be able to make calls and send and receive regular SMS texts.

If you really don’t need to be accessible for a while and you’re just trying to save your iPhone for when you’ll need it later, swipe up from the bottom of your screen and hit the airplane icon on the far left to turn on Airplane Mode, which will disable all communications while cutting down dramatically on battery usage (You should also do this when you’re out of cell range for a while, say, in a subway tunnel).

Finally, lower your screen brightness by swiping up from the bottom of your phone and moving the brightness slider to the left. That’ll make your iPhone harder to read, but powering a bright screen eats up a whole lot of your iPhone’s battery power.

But these are all emergency protocols to be followed in the most desperate of times. There are other steps you can take to keep your battery healthy so it won’t ever come to this.

For instance: Always let your battery drain as close to 0% as possible before charging it, then charge it all the way back to 100%. That’ll help maintain your battery’s integrity.

Another backup option? Keep an external battery pack or charging case like a Tenergy or Mophie handy. Some of Tenergy’s battery packs have two cables, so you can help a friend or a date in need, too. Nova also makes a popular small battery pack.

It’s worth noting here that some of Amazon’s highest-rated battery packs are well-reviewed just because they’re inexpensive, not because they’re small or high-capacity — so make sure you’re getting what you want before you click “Buy.”

Read next: How to Make Your Android Battery Last Longer

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