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Top 10 must-have apps for the iPhone and Android smartphones

March 20, 2013|By Salvador Rodriguez

You can do a lot with smartphones these days, but unless you're downloading the best apps for your device, you aren't really using it to its full potential.

So if you aren't sure what to download, just make sure you have these 10 apps on your iPhone or Android device.

Google Maps

This app comes preinstalled on Android devices and should be the first app downloaded on iPhones. Besides top-notch design, the app is the best free voice navigation app for driving directions. It also offers users information for how to get around using public transportation and lets users peek at other parts of the world by way of Google Street View.

Facebook

It's no surprise the most popular social network on the Web also has one of the most popular apps. Although the Facebook app used to be hated for its slow speed and constant crashing, the app is now super speedy and features some of the easiest to use gestures, such as swiping down to leave a full-screened photo. The app can be used to update your status on the go, upload pics or video, check in at places and more. 

Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular apps for two reasons: It's a fun social network and a great photo-taking app. The app's filters can pretty much make any picture look decent or at the very least artistic, and with big bold pictures that can be quickly "liked," the social network is perfect for users on the go.

Twitter

For heavy Twitter users, the mobile app is a must. The most valuable feature is being alerted every time someone mentions you, favorites one of your tweets or follows you. Also useful is the ability to subscribe to receive notifications from specific users -- such as reporters or news sites -- whenever they share new tweets. That's a useful tool if you want to be the first to know the latest news.

Pandora

If you're looking for free music to listen to, Pandora is one of the top choices. The app lets users create radio stations based on their favorite songs, artists or genres, which they can then listen to. If you aren't a paying user, you'll have to listen to ads every once in a while and there's a monthly cap of 40 hours of music each month.

Netflix

Although you'll need a subscription to get any value out of this app, Netflix is the most popular TV and movie streaming app. Users can easily access their Netflix Instant Queue and watch their favorite TV shows and movies on the go. Although Netflix doesn't have every single show or movie, its vast catalog has made it a popular choice. It also doesn't hurt that Netflix has begun to make its own content, notably the critically praised drama "House of Cards."

YouTube

YouTube, which comes preinstalled on Android devices, is a must-download for iPhone users. It makes it easy for users to find videos, check their subscriptions, look for videos based on categories or check out videos they have favorited.

Kindle

The popular line of Amazon.com e-readers is also available as an app for iPhone and Android smartphones. Books and magazines that users buy online show up in their app and can be streamed from the cloud or downloaded for offline usage. Android users can also make new purchases directly from the app.

Dropbox

If you run out of space on your smartphone's storage but still want to access more photos and other types of files, Dropbox is a great app for easily storing and accessing that content through the cloud. The app lets users upload and download whatever files they want to their Dropbox account easily, and if users want, they can set up the app to automatically upload new photos and videos they've taken on their phone every time they open the app.

Yelp

This app is helpful for users looking to discover specific types of restaurants and stores. The app has users reviews for all sorts of location. The app can be used to check out store information, restaurant menus, photos of the inside of locations and quick tips from other users.

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