TIME apps

How to Make Your Instagram Followers Jealous of Your Sweet Feed

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Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

3 photo editing apps that will make your Instagram snaps really pop

If your Instagram feed is starting to feel dull, maybe that’s because it is. After years of seeing photos in the same layout and with the same filters, everything can begin to look the same — even your own photos start to look like everyone else’s.

While Instagram adds new filters once in a while, you can also look to other apps to liven up your snaps.

One of the most popular options is Hipstamatic. The app lets you choose between a variety of lenses, film types, and flashes, which means you can stack filter upon filter and then tinker with the lighting to create an almost endless combination of image styles. That means Hipstamatic gives you a little more creative freedom. Hipstamatic also released a TinType app, which mimics old film stock to make your images look like Civil War mugshots.

Another popular camera app is VSCO Cam, which gives you even more control over your images. VSCO allows you to edit photos until you find a setting you like, and then save it to a preset that can be applied to multiple photos. VSCO also offers its own constantly growing line of filters, many of which are far better than Instagram’s stock offerings.

But for those who like complete image editing freedom, there’s yet another app called Shift designed specifically for engineering and saving filters that you can apply to any number of photos. Shift allows you to choose the color hue of your filter, the texture of the image, and then adjust the strength of your color gradients, light, brightness, contrast and saturation. You can also choose any of Shift’s presets to edit to your liking.

TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Games to Play This Week

Goat Simulator and Marvel Future Flight are our favorite iPhone games of the week

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.

Goat Simulator GoatZ

The day has finally arrived — there’s now a higher form of Goat Simulator available. The GTA-style animal game that captivated audiences has been given an expansion pack. In this version, you can create actual objects, and there are zombies absolutely everywhere. You can unlock new goats with new goat magic powers, because why not.

Goat Simulator GoatZ is $4.99 in the App Store

MARVEL Future Fight

Released alongside Avengers: Age of Ultron, Future Fight lets you don the costumes of your favorite heroes to do battle with Marvel baddies. You can select your favorite heroes, from the more obscure to the most famous, and upgrade them and their abilities as you clobber enemies.

MARVEL Future Fight is free in the App Store

Lifeline…

For those who saw and loved Big with Tom Hanks, you may remember the weird text-based RPG game he’s playing throughout the film. Lifeline… is shockingly similar. You’ve crash-landed on the moon with limited communication. Use text to jump through points in the story’s timeline, or to interact with others, and solve your problems and save yourself.

Lifeline… is $2.99 in the App Store

Skatelander

If you combine Temple Run and Crossy Road, you get Skatelander. It’s a blocky-style neo-arcade runner game in which you skate your way across a series of maps, dodging obstacles, getting powerups, and eventually upgrading your abilities and characters. Overall, it’s a lot of fun to look at, and the animation has an endearing retro quality without losing the flash of an iPhone game.

Skatelander is free in the App Store

Catch The Rabbit

It’s hard to tell if this game has a real end, or if it’s just an endless runner with the illusion of a goal. Nevertheless, it’s a lot of fun to play. Essentially, you need to chase down an evil rabbit and hop from platform to platform until you get him. The hopping takes a lot of getting used to—it’s difficult to hit lower platforms without overshooting, but that’s all part of the game. It looks a lot like a cleaned up Dreamcast game.

Catch The Rabbit is free in the App Store

TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Apps to Download This Week

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

Amazon Instant Video finally adds HD streaming

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.

 

Amazon Instant Video

Amazon’s iOS video app has finally been updated with high-definition video, as well as a dashboard that shows how much mobile data the app has been using. This way, you won’t end up with a huge bill for going over your limit, but you’ll still be able to marathon binge Transparent. You can also use the app to download purchased or rented videos and view them offline.

Amazon Instant Video is free in the App Store

Pacemaker

For those who absolutely have no patience for Pandora, Pacemaker allows you to create extensive playlists from iTunes and Spotify and skip through songs with a simple tap. Pacemaker will also let you know when a playlist is about to end, so you can choose a new playlist or to let Pacemaker choose songs for you.

Pacemaker is free in the App Store

Typorama

Although Typorama’s developers have marketed the app as an inspirational poster-making tool, its functions make it great for other reasons. Typorama lets you place typefaces over your images and edit them with a variety of filters. That means Typorama is great for sending any number of well-designed messages to friends, from birthday messages to apology cards.

Typorama is $1.99 in the App Store

Quick Compose

Quick Compose is a simple app that serves a simple function. It allows you to post updates to Twitter or Facebook from your Notification Center. It comes with a designated keyboard which makes it fit into your notification seamlessly. Any app that allows you to operate another without opening a second application is a smart download.

Quick Compose is $0.99 in the App Store

Alfred

Although it may not be the sharpest home security device, Alfred is useful for some basic monitoring. You can use an inactive smartphone and sync it with your Gmail account in order to stream a live video to your everyday phone. Basically, it turns your older generation iPhone into a nannycam. You can also add other devices and cameras into the mix for more extensive security.

Alfred is free in the App Store

TIME

This Is the Quickest Way to Add Events to Google Calendar

You can text them to yourself using this trick

If you’ve ever fumbled around with your phone while trying to add an upcoming event to your calendar, this tip should be a lifesaver.

If This Then That, a popular trigger-based service, can help you add events to Google Calendar by sending a text message to a dedicated number. This was incredibly useful before Google released a dedicated iOS Calendar app, but it can still be easier than opening that app on its own.

First, go to My Recipes on the top bar of IFTTT. Then select Create a Recipe. You’ll be prompted to set up your trigger. In this case, select SMS. You’ll then be asked to active your phone, and IFTTT will send your phone an activation pin from a designated number (think of this as your digital butler’s number).

IFTTT will then ask you to set up a trigger phrase. For this purpose, you should select something like GCal, which means every time you text #Gcal to this number, you’ll be setting off the Gcal trigger you’re about to set up.

Then you’ll be asked to pick your Then trigger, for which you’ll select the Google Calendar thumbnail. IFTTT will ask to access your Google account, which you should activate. Once this trigger is good to go, you can text any jumbled phrase, like “#Gcal Dinner with Anna May 7 8pm,” and IFTTT will put the event into your Google Calendar.

Read more: How to Automatically Post Instagram Photos to Twitter

TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Games of the Month

Bouncy Bits
Bouncy Bits Bouncy Bits

From 'Ducktails' to 'Hellrider'

Every week, TIME rounds up our favorite iPhone games of the past few days. Here are the best of the best for March, from a 1990s throwback to a spooky dungeon adventure.

 

DuckTales: Remastered

DuckTales, originally released in the late 1980s and 1990s, was one of the best adventure games ever. Now, it’s been remastered for iOS — which means no more crummy, hard to see graphics. Take Scrooge McDuck on a string of journeys through dangerous terrains, traps and maps until you find your treasure. It’s an expensive game, but it’s a small price to pay for reliving one of the best games ever developed – or discovering it for the first time.

DuckTales: Remastered is available for $9.99 in the App Store

Bouncy Bits

If you were to take Frogger and give it to the creators of Adventure Time, you’d get Bouncy Bits. It’s a simple runner game with a slight twist. The goal is to navigate your character and bounce through each level while dodging obstacles. You can upgrade to new maps and players and rack up points. There are some in-app purchases you can make, like new player modes and characters, to enhance gameplay.

Bouncy Bits is free in the App Store

MORTAL KOMBAT X

This hugely anticipated game was well worth the wait. It’s essentially just like the much-loved button mashing games of yesteryear, except with greatly improved graphics. You can unlock a variety of characters, including some of your favorites from the old series, and spend your time ripping opponents throats out or stabbing them in the face or turning them into ice sculptures.

MORTAL KOMBAT X is free in the App Store

Hellrider

Imagine Mad Max, but instead of fighting other humans, you’re battling an army of skeletons. Clobber your way through various maps and destroy your enemies. Despite the fact that Hellrider follows the basic arcade game principle of running through levels and smashing enemies to bits, the game is remarkably designed and never gets boring.

Hellrider is free in the App Store

Tiny Dangerous Dungeons

Until the day Nintendo decides to get launch a full suite of titles for iOS, games like Tiny Dangerous Dungeons will have to do. Take your character (who is wearing a suspiciously Mario-like outfit) through spooky arenas and over obstacles until you reach the end of each level. There’s not much enemy-fighting in this one, which is why it’s so endearingly like games of yesteryear, down to the blocky graphics and monochrome display. It’ll look really cool on your iPhone screen.

Tiny Dangerous Dungeons is free in the App Store

TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Apps of the Month

New Product Announcements At The Apple Inc. Spring Forward Event
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Richard Plepler, chief executive officer of Home Box Office Inc. (HBO), speaks during the Apple Inc. Spring Forward event in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, March 9, 2015.

From HBO Now to Periscope

Every week, TIME rounds up our favorite iPhone apps of the past few days. Here are the best of the best for April, from television to productivity.

HBO NOW

HBO NOW is HBO’s new standalone streaming service, offering all of the network’s programming for $15 a month sans a cable subscription. You can watch shows like Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicon Valley as they air, or dive deep into HBO’s back catalog to catch up on Sex and the City or The Sopranos.

HBO NOW is free in the App Store

Google Calendar

Many of us have been waiting for years for Google to release an iPhone version of its Google Calendar app. It’s finally here, with a beautiful color palette and easy-to-read viewing options. It also syncs up nicely with your Gmail account, helping to import events directly from emailed messages.

Google Calendar is free in the App Store

Periscope

When Meerkat came out and gave Twitter users a way to stream live video feeds directly to their followers, it was clear that Twitter itself would need to respond, and quickly. Like Meerkat, Twitter’s new app Periscope allows you to send direct live video feeds to your Twitter followers. However, the app is more polished and easier to use, plus it has the benefit of official Twitter support.

Periscope is free in the App Store

Highball

Highball is less of a cocktail recipe app and more of a cocktail diary app, helping you remember exactly how you prefer certain drinks. For example, I like twice as much gin in my Negroni than the normal recipe calls for. Highball allows you to doctor and alter drink recipes, adding measurements as small as a “Pinch” (which will come in extremely handy for the eccentrics who like to add a drop of bitters into everything).

Highball is free in the App Store

Office Lens

Long one of the best Windows Phone apps out there, Microsoft’s Office Lens is now available for iPhone (and Android), letting you use your iPhone’s camera to digitize just about anything. Office Lens can turn whiteboard notes into a readable document; it can convert images into a PowerPoint presentation, and it can make digital versions of print documents. In short, your phone is a lot more useful with Office Lens than without it.

Office Lens is free in the iTunes App Store

TIME apps

These Are the 3 Best Free iPhone Apps Right Now

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

You'll be glad you downloaded these

Looking to score some great new iPhone apps at no cost? These three are some of the best you can get without spending a dime right now.

City Maps 2Go Pro

One of the biggest struggles of traveling abroad is paying for super-expensive roaming data plans. City Maps 2Go Pro is an amazing app that allows you to download maps for offline use, which means actually finding your way around a new city without spending a ton of money on a data plan.It will also give you walking directions and sightseeing recommendations.

Meeting Box

Although Meeting Box might work best on the iPad, it’s a great note-taking app on any device. It allows users to sketch, write notes, as well as take audio recordings to accompany your jottings. A good app for the note-takers who don’t like the distraction of a full computer in class or in meetings. More importantly, it can create an entire note document that you can cycle through later, page-by-page.

Sketchworthy

For the most expert doodlers, Sketchworthy is definitely worth downloading. Choose from different types of paper and choose from a variety of points and colors to let your imagination run wild. There’s a professional element to the app, too, which means you can sketch out blueprints or designs and share them with friends or partners.

TIME How-To

How to Automatically Post Instagram Photos to Twitter

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

Here's an easy fix to a frustrating problem

Once upon a time, it was easy to share your Instagram photos via Twitter. But these days, sharing your Instagram images directly to Twitter just tweets out a boring old link, not that fav-worthy snapshot you just took.

No worries — there’s an easy fix.

IFTTT, short for “If This Then That,” is a program that lets you create “triggers” for your various apps. IFTTT has lots of great applications, but one of them is sharing Instagram images natively on Twitter once again.

To do so, you can create a recipe—IFTTT’s name for its triggers—for posting an image to Twitter every time you take a photo with Instagram.

First, visit IFTTT’s website and create an account. Then, visit this link and activate the recipe. You’ll then be asked to activate your Twitter and Instagram accounts, which you should go ahead and do. Then, the service will essentially link those two accounts, sending out a tweet every time you post a new photo to Instagram.

A few caveats: This setup can be a little slow, so fret not if your photos don’t show up on Twitter immediately after you post them on Instagram. And if you want to temporarily turn off the auto-posting, download IFTTT’s mobile app, which lets you turn recipes on and off on a whim.

 

TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Games of the Week

Bouncy Bits
Bouncy Bits Bouncy Bits

Try 'Bouncy Bits,' which is like a modern Frogger

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.

Wrassling

Although Wrassling is truly inane in its gameplay, it’s reminiscent of the classic Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Command a blockheaded wrestler and try your best to clobber your opponent even as your limbs fall off. There’s something truly mesmerizing about how long you can spend playing a game this simple.

Wrassling is free in the App Store

Burn It Down

For a blocky, retro-looking game, Burn it Down is surprisingly plot-heavy. You wake up and find that all of the sudden, your lover is missing. The kidnapper and the motive remain unclear, but you must work your way through various, grim levels and find clues in order to get to the bottom of it. Part detective story, part haunted mansion explorer.e

Burn It Down is free in the App Store

Bouncy Bits

If you were to take Frogger and give it to the creators of Adventure Time, you’d get Bouncy Bits. It’s a simple runner game with a slight twist. The goal is to navigate your character and bounce through each level while dodging obstacles. You can upgrade to new maps and players and rack up points. There are some in-app purchases you can make, like new player modes and characters, to enhance gameplay.

Bouncy Bits is free in the App Store

Tower Slash

Tower Slash takes the classic neo-pixel game format and does something that is at once both incredibly retro and very well suited to the iPhone. Climb up a tower on the game’s vertical landscape and try to beat your friend’s scores — but you’re limited to the few basic commands of jumping to dodge obstacles and attacking enemies with a few weapons upgrades.

Tower Slash is free in the App Store

Tadpole Tap

This should have been a Game Boy Color game. Navigate a tadpole with an elastic tongue through a river and snatch various bugs and animals. As you improve, and as the game becomes more impossible, you also unlock other tadpoles to play with. Every fly you eat earns you points. There’s something incredibly calming about the game’s design and how easy it is to play for a few short minutes here and there.

Tadpole Tap 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

Google Calendar, VOX Player and more are our favorite iPhone apps of the week.

Linkagoal

Linkagoal describes itself as a “goal-based social network,” letting you post all sorts of personal aspirations so people can cheer you on and help keep you motivated. But the flip side is also true: Using the app brings a newfound sense of shame when you don’t complete your goals, further helping you stay on target. Once you post about your dreams online, motivation from strangers won’t get you there — the fear of public failure, rather, does the trick.

Linkagoal is free in the App Store

Sketchat

Sketchat is essentially Snapchat for drawings, but you don’t lose your sketches into the ether. The most fun part of the app is that you can send your sketches to friends, who can then make modifications of their own and send them back to you. Staff meetings and lecture halls will never be the same.

Sketchat is free in the App Store

VOX Player

VOX gives you cloud storage for your music, meaning you don’t have to take up your iPhone’s storage space with a whole bunch of .mp3s. You get unlimited music storage for $4.99, as well as the ability to create offline playlists and access music you have stored in different places, making it a great app for those managing multiple music subscriptions.

VOX Player is free in the App Store

Office 365 Video for iPhone

Office 365 Video is a great way to share videos with your employees or coworkers. Record a video, then submit it to your personal portal for others in your organization to view — assuming you’ve got an Office 365 subscription.

Office 365 Video for iPhone is free in the App Store

Google Calendar

Many of us have been waiting for years for Google to release an iPhone version of its Google Calendar app. It’s finally here, with a beautiful color palette and easy-to-read viewing options. It also syncs up nicely with your Gmail account, helping to import events directly from emailed messages.

Google Calendar is free in the App Store

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