If you got a new phone or tablet for Christmas, you are likely in the market for a few new apps to run on that shiny new gadget.
I get asked about my favorite apps, and every now and then I like to share a few of my favorites.
Waze (free, iOS and Android)
I use this navigation app several times per week.
Unlike plain old GPS apps, Waze uses traffic information sourced from real-time user reports to help guide you quickly around any incidents.
I’ve come to trust the “Waze lady” when it comes to directions.
Even if I’m headed to a place I’ve been a hundred times, if I’m worried about getting stuck in traffic I’ll put the destination into Waze. That way, I can count on the “Waze lady” to reroute me if a traffic jam should occur while I’m on the way. You’ll also get warnings of police activity along your route.
Adobe Scan (free, iOS and Android)
This app turns your phone or tablet’s camera into a full-color document scanner.
You’ll need to create a free Adobe ID, which is required for Adobe Scan to save your scans as PDFs.
Place the document you’d like to scan on a flat surface, launch Adobe Scan and hold the phone or tablet’s camera to frame the image. Once you hold it steady, the app will capture the image and upload it to the Adobe Document Cloud.
When the PDF is uploaded, it’ll go through optical character recognition to make the text searchable and editable.
The files stored on the Adobe Document Cloud are available from your phone, tablet or computer.
Pixelmator ($4.99, iOS only)
Adobe Photoshop is the go-to digital photo manipulation app for the desktop (Mac and Windows). But as more of us choose a smartphone as our main camera, a snappy photo editing app on a mobile platform would be very helpful.
Pixelmator has quickly become the go-to photo app on iOS.
I snagged Pixelmator when it was free during a promotion, but even at $4.99, this app is a bargain.
There isn’t much you can’t do to a picture with Pixelmator. Set size, crop, adjust colors, apply effects, retouch, repair and more.
If you are a Mac user, there is also a version of Pixelmator Pro for Macs.
Wave (free, iOS and Android)
I’ve tried several apps over the years that let you share your location with another person, so you can be tracked in real time on a map.
My mom loves these apps to keep track of us kids on the road when we are coming to visit.
Wave is a recent find for me, and it does everything I’m looking for in a location-sharing app.
Wave scans your contacts and lets you instantly invite them to download and install Wave. Once they install it and set up an account, you’ll see them in the app and you can start a “Wave” session to see each other’s location on a private map for a set duration. The default Wave is 30 minutes, but you can choose a duration from 15 minutes to eight hours. Once the Wave is over, the sharing stops. You can also interrupt a session manually from the app.