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These Are the 50 Best Apps of the Year

October 31, 2016

Millennials Say 'Venmo Me' To Fuel Mobile-Payment SurgeMillennials Say 'Venmo Me' To Fuel Mobile-Payment Surge
The Venmo app is arranged for a photograph on an iPhone 5s in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 22, 2014. Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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. 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?


iPhone and Android, Free

It’s rare that a company or an app gets “verbified” the way Google (GOOGL) did. That’s exactly what’s happening with money-sending app Venmo, especially among cash-allergic millennials. “Just Venmo me” is an increasingly common refrain at brunch or the bar when it’s time to split the check.

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iPhone, Free

Why include Apple’s (AAPL) default messaging service in this list? Because Messages got a major overhaul in iOS 10, the company’s new iPhone software update. Messages is now a feature-rich messaging platform, complete with third-party apps, stickers, and fun graphic effects like confetti and laser beams. All the new functionality puts it leagues ahead of regular old SMS texting.


iPhone and Android, Free

Which messaging app should you use when you really want to make sure your chats stay secret? Try Signal, an encrypted chat app used by politicians, businesspeople and whistleblowers worldwide. Signal offers complete end-to-end encryption, meaning the company behind the app can’t see what you’re sending and receiving. And it works with your existing contact book, so long as both parties have Signal installed.

For the entire list, click through the rest on