Photo Illustration by Josh Raab for TIME
By Alex Fitzpatrick , Mandy Oaklander , Lisa Eadicicco , John Patrick Pullen , Matt Peckham , Dan Hirschhorn and Merrill Fabry
Updated: November 4, 2016 10:33 AM ET | Originally published: October 31, 2016

We’re increasingly reliant on the smartphones in our pockets to keep in touch with friends, watch movies and TV shows, and get work done, among other tasks. But the phones themselves would be meaningless without the software that, almost like magic, imbues them with new powers even their creators never thought possible.

In that spirit, these are TIME’s 50 best iPhone and Android apps of the year. These are apps that were either released, had a notable redesign, or took off in popularity this year. The list is unranked, as the different functionality of each app makes them impossible to fairly compare. What did we miss?

Write to Alex Fitzpatrick at, Mandy Oaklander at and Matt Peckham at

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