With new mobile apps introduced and updated every day, it's tough to pick the best app of the year. When Google listed the top Android apps of 2018, it chose language-learning app Drops (which is also available for iOS) as the best of the best, but in Apple's end of the year list, there's no clear winner. Instead of listing a single app above the rest, Apple's best iOS apps of 2018 runs down the best app for each platform — even though you can grab some of them on any iOS device.
These are the apps Apple rates as must-haves:
- Best iPhone app: Procreate Pocket, a professional-level art app that's accessible to anyone. With hundreds of brushes to imitate any kind of physical drawing tool, you can sketch on your phone anywhere, any time. And with a low $5 price tag, it won't cost you any more than a pocket notebook.
- Best iPhone game: Donut County, a brightly-colored puzzler in which you play as a hole in the ground that swallows up everyday objects. It's just as odd as it sounds — but a lot of fun. For $5 you can play it on your iPhone or iPad.
- Best iPad app: Froggipedia, an interactive educational app that covers everything you might want to know about frogs. It walks you through the lifecycle of a frog and lets you virtually dissect it to see what's inside. It's a biology class right in your pocket, and its $4 price tag is less than a textbook.
- Best iPad game: Gorogoa, a story told through beautiful, hand-drawn illustrations. You progress through the story by dragging illustrations around and solving visual puzzles. While it really shines on the iPad's big screen, the $5 price tag will let you play on your iPhone, too.
But the big trend in apps this year is self-care, with apps moving beyond our physical health to help with our mental health. Apps can help you beat stress like Calm, which teaches meditation with dozens of guided practices, or Joyable, which gives you a personalized eight-week self-improvement course based on cognitive behavioral therapy.
For mobile games, this year's biggest trend is multiplayer brawlers. These "battle royale" games have been popular on computers and consoles for a while, but are just making it to mobile with PUBG Mobile (Google's top game of the year) and Fortnite. These games toss players into a giant battleground to brawl it out or, in Fortnite, do just about anything. While PUBG focuses on fighting, Fortnite has a creative side where players can fight one another or build parts of the game world. These huge multiplayer spaces are perfect for the always-connected mobile devices we carry in our pockets, and it's no surprise that they've had a huge impact on the App Store this year.
There are a lot more apps that get the nod on Apple's top apps charts. Open the App Store on your device, select Apps and you'll see Apple's Best of 2018 at the top. For games, select the Games tab and you'll see a similar set of lists.
[Image credit: Apple]