The Six Apps Every Man Needs
THE SIX APPS EVERY MAN NEEDS.
Now, we’re fully aware that, in the world of digital gimmickry, so-called “essential” apps come and go. On Friday, you and your friends are yelping with glee at the “Hot” filter on FaceApp. On Monday, it’s not only been revealed to be inherently racist – whoops! – but you’re bored of it, and on to the next thing. Having said that, there are some pieces of software in this enduringly fickle world that seem to have a certain amount of staying power and, in MR PORTER’s humble opinion, belong on everybody’s phone. We’re not just talking about Instagram – a little obvious, no? – but a few handy tools that hopefully make the whole ordeal of 21st-century life that little bit less onerous. Scroll down for our current top six – a list of tried-and-tested nuggets of mobile gold.
1. MR PORTER
Of course we couldn’t compile a list of apps without including our own, which is not only the best way to shop our selection of more than 400 menswear brands on a mobile device, but is a packed with daily updated editorial content from The Journal, The Daily and Style Council. The latest version features a nifty new redesign, and is faster than ever. What’s not to like? Get it now and experience the satisfying pleasure of curating your Wish List while you wait for trains to come and/or unreliable people to turn up to lunch. Sigh.
Rule one of social media: only toddlers and grannies use the pre-packaged filters on Instagram. Real men retouch their photos themselves. Yes, they do. Whether your goal is, indeed, to elevate the smugness of your feed that extra touch, or merely to improve the quality of your iPhone holiday snaps, a photo editing app is essential. There are two great free options in this arena: Snapseed (from Google) and VSCO. Both do the job wonderfully, but the latter – don’t ask us why – has a slightly more sophisticated feel, making for moodier, filmier photos, as well as offering a “library” feature that allows you to preview how your final feed might look. Though it too comes with its own filters, the best way to use it fiddle with the individual settings (exposure, contrast, clarity, etc) on each image – you’ll soon figure out what kind of effects you like best, and perhaps even develop your own photographic style.
The organisation of one’s day and workload is another problem with many solutions, but our favourite is bulletin board app Trello, not only because it’s simple and easy to use, but because it easily synchronises across the web and mobile versions. Trello works as a series of “Dashboards”, each of which contain a series of “lists” that are populated by “cards”. Each card can be assigned a deadline and team member, and accompanied by comments and notes. Once loaded up with cards, Trello helpfully colour codes them according to deadline – yellow means imminent, red means urgent, which means you can find out how much of a certain substance is about to hit the fan with a quick glance, even when you’re on the go.
There is life beyond Netflix. In fact, if you’ve already slogged through every single episode of Breaking Bad and have found yourself tentatively considering rewatching Spaceballs for the thirteenth time, you should really know that there are far more edifying options out there. Chief among them is MUBI, a site that continually offers a curated selection of 30 arthouse and independent films to watch each month (this May there’s selections from Messrs Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Frank Capra and Federico Fellini), with a new film added each day. With the mobile app, you can download these to watch on the commute – a far more pleasant experience, we can attest, than reading the free papers and staring at your fellow-passengers’ weird shoes.
If you like live music, you will love Dice. It’s a ticket sales app that’s brilliantly designed and utterly efficient, but also works as a listings app, providing handy recommendations of upcoming events and concerts – a boon if you’re looking to go and see something, but you’re not entirely sure what. Plus there’s no booking fee. If you don’t like music, of course, you won’t much care. Have fun fiddling with your Spotify settings, by the way!
As we noted in a recent article in The Daily, sometimes the very best thing you can do with your phone is to ignore it completely. Let’s face it – we’re all addicted to these portable distraction factories, and the only question each individual really needs to face is: how bad has it got? Moment is an app that provides the answers in this direction: running in the background, it merely records how much time you have spent on your phone in any given day. By sending it screenshots of your battery usage each morning, you can also identify which of your other apps are the most pernicious users of your time. Though the results might initially seem depressing (average smartphone usage hovers around three hours per day), in the long run, it’s a great way to gently encourage you to cut down on timewasting activities such as, well, shucks, Instagram, perhaps?