As we wrap up 2023, we’re looking back at some stand-out apps that have made our lives a little easier this year. While flashy new AI apps and rival social networks may be grabbing headlines, we find that the most useful innovations often fly under the radar. The apps on our best-of list might not be new, but they’ve become daily staples that have helped us work more efficiently or simply have more fun. Keep reading to find out which apps we’ve turned to time and time again.
Details: A Mac app for Gmail (Mac)
Who picked it: Ivan Mehta
Why it’s a fave: I’ve used and reviewed many email clients over the years. I still miss Inbox by Google. Mimestream is a simple yet great Gmail client made by former Apple engineer Neil Jhaveri. It has a split view to quickly see email content and swipe gestures to archive or delete emails from the Inbox queue. It also offers multiple account support, a menu bar extra, Gmail aliases, and quick labeling, which I found useful for categorizing emails.
Details: Bite-sized comics app that supports their creators (iOS, Android, web)
Who picked it: Anna Heim
Why it’s a fave: Tinyview lets me read some of my favorite webcomic strips in a convenient format. But it also makes authors happy because they receive “a real living wage.” The app is free, but paid users get access to bonus panels and more. Paying for the app is also a way to support the creators. If you particularly enjoyed one comic, you can also share “love” on a one-by-one basis by sending them a “cookie,” “coffee”, “art supplies” or “pizza,” each corresponding to a different tipping level.
Details: Macro tracking app with minimal cues (iOS, Android)
Who picked it: Natasha Lomas
Why it’s a fave: I appreciate MacroFactor’s zen-like minimalism. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense tool to help you better understand what you’re eating, this app is perfect. It generates custom calorie and macro targets that adapt week to week as you weigh in. The food logging interface is also decent, with cute icons that add a Pokemon-style touch to nudge you to vary what you’re eating.
Details: Dog social app for pawrents (iOS, Android)
Who picked it: Lauren Forristal
Why it’s a fave: MMDC allows me to set up playdates with other small dogs, find nearby group meetups and share pics of my pup in her new raincoat. My favorite feature is the availability schedule so everyone can see what days we’re free. It’s also great for chatting online with other users whom I can bond with over our adorable doxies.
Details: Borrow ebooks and audiobooks from the library right on your phone (iOS, Android, Web)
Who picked it: Amanda Silberling
Why it’s a fave: Libby allows you to plug in your library cards and borrow ebooks or audiobooks. If you borrow an ebook, you can send books directly to your Kindle. It’s easy and helpful for book lovers.
Details: A third-party client for PlayStation Remote Play (Android)
Who picked it: Kyle Wiggers
Why it’s a fave: PSPlay makes it easy to use Remote Play on the go. It offers features that Sony’s official Remote Play app doesn’t, making it well worth the $5.99 price.