The Essentials for Your Phone

By Erin Caine

Elm Staff Writer

Amongst the hundreds of thousands of applications available, there are only a select few that are truly essential to the smooth operation of your everyday life. Regardless of whether you’re a first year student or an upperclassman at Washington College, you may find it challenging to juggle personal relationships, rigorous course loads, clubs, sports, and jobs simultaneously. Therefore, it’s imperative that you have certain resources and conveniences at hand.

1. Skype.  It’s only been a couple weeks since moving into your dorm, and inevitably you’re struck by the sense of being completely separated from those you love back home. Adjusting to college life can be a pretty lonely experience, so it’s good to have a way to connect with parents, siblings, and friends with a free and easy-to-use app. In addition to enabling face-to-face video chats, the app also features an instant messaging tool.

2. iTranslate.  When the time comes for you to get that dreaded foreign language credit out of the way, iTranslate is a good app to have to quickly look up unknown words and phrases. This app sports over 90 languages, has voice-recognition, and provides you with a text-to-speech option. (¡Eres afortunado!)

3. Dictionary (Merriam-Webster).  On the other hand those unknown English words having a dictionary on your phone is an indispensable resource. “Being a student can sometimes be difficult when [trying to look up] a word you don’t understand, and you don’t want to bring a heavy dictionary to school,” one customer said in a review on the online Apple store. “This solves the problem!” The app also has a voice search feature and allows one to save words to a Favorites list.

4. Dropbox.  Having access to your files on multiple devices wherever you are is the key facet to this app. But Dropbox can also prevent your files from getting lost in case your computer or phone breaks or crashes. All your documents are stored in the cloud, and uploading and downloading material is quick and simple.

Load your phone up with essential apps like Google Maps and Skype to make everyday life a little easier.
Load your phone up with essential apps like Google Maps and Skype to make everyday life a little easier.

5. Google Maps.  Whether it’s for long journeys or just a trip into town, Google Maps provides you with the route to your destination as well as real-time traffic information, speedy reroutes, and turn-by-turn navigation. Since it monitors traffic patterns, this app can even reroute you to avoid sluggish jams and road construction.

6. Yahoo Weather.  On the Google Play site, over half a million people have rated the Yahoo Weather app—with its pleasing visuals and excellent widget options—a full five out of five stars. One pleased customer wrote, “[This app] is all that I was looking for: I can customize it and it gives me accurate forecasts with personalized images for each city. Love it!” In addition to telling short-term forecasts and temperature, the app also provides more advanced data like wind speed and barometric pressure.

7. Spotify.  For music lovers, this app allows you to rifle through a catalogue of songs, albums, and artists. You can create your own playlists, share them, and discover new music with the recommendation tool. Also, you can also sync a list of your favorite tracks to all of your personal devices.

8. Evernote.  Evernote is an advanced note-taking app that allows you to save a web clipping, full webpage, formatted text, picture, voice memo, “handwritten” note, and a file attachment. All of these can be annotated, moved to folders, and exported as part of a “notebook,” among other things. This app is perfect for taking organized notes and archiving.

In this technologically dependent day and age, it’s important to know which applications are crucial and which ones are just taking up space on your phone. While standard social media applications like Twitter and Snapchat are good for staying on top of the latest news in the lives of your friends and peers, it’s the essential apps above that enable you to make your everyday schedule a little easier to manage.

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