5 Great New Apps For Your Phone

Photographed by Mark Iantosca.
The App Store can feel like an overgrown jungle sometimes; every day, it seems like there are a hundred new apps to filter through. While you want to check them out, it's hard to know what's worth your while (and your precious home screen space). Refinery29 is here to help. Each week, we're going to highlight the five best new apps, on any major mobile platform.

This week, we've got some great new apps, including a way to share your favorite Disney moments as GIFs, one for finding workout partners (misery loves company, right?), and an app that ensures you never stay too busy by helping you build in some chill time.

Click through for our picks — you could find your new favorite.
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Photo: Courtesy Disney.
Disney Gif
Stop what you are doing right now. The just-released Disney Gif app (free on iOS) is here to solve all of your Frozen, Lion King, Inside Out, and Star Wars GIF-posting needs. The app is loaded up with moments that you can search by emotion (such as happiness, yikes, or yuck) or story, and you can share them with friends by copy-and-pasting, or by using the Disney Gif keyboard (!!). Disney’s adding new GIFs regularly, so you won’t get tired of the same old Finding Nemo reaction animation. BRB while we find the perfect celebration GIF for this occasion.
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Photo: Courtesy Microsoft.
Sway For iPad
If you’ve got a project and want to do something more than a traditional PowerPoint presentation, try Sway. Sway (Free on iOS) takes photos, videos, and text and arranges them into a cohesive, interactive web-based canvas. You can add headers and captions, rearrange photos and text, and if you don’t feel like tapping out or copy-pasting your thoughts, you can just dictate them. The nice thing about Sway is it handles the formatting for you, but if you’re not happy with what it comes up with, you can adjust the look and feel to get things just right. From there, you can share what you created, whether it’s research on a topic or a photo book from a recent vacation, via social media or email.
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Photo: Courtesy Medium.
Medium For Android
Medium lies somewhere in between a media publication and a modern LiveJournal: It’s a polished blogging platform open to all, and because of that, there are some incredibly unique and personal pieces that crop up. Now, Medium is available as a native Android app, so you can browse top stories, see what’s been written in topics you’re interested in, or write your own entries without having to deal with a mobile site. It’s a beautiful, polished reading and composition experience.
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Photo: Courtesy Jaha.
Motivating yourself to workout can be a tall order when it’s 100 degrees outside and you could be sipping a Frappuccino. Think of Jaha (free on iOS) as Tinder meets Fitbit: It’s a fitness tracking app that also helps you find folks to workout with. It tracks your daily steps, movement, and distance traveled, tallying up the scores on a leaderboard so you can compare yourself against friends, and lets you find like-minded fitness pals so your jogs in the park aren’t quite so miserable. The app matches you up with people whose fitness level is on par with yours, so you don’t have to worry about being matched up with a semi-pro tennis star when you bought your first racket three months ago.
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Photo: Courtesy Chillkeeper.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the chillest of them all? You’ll know definitively with Chillkeeper (free on iOS). Rather than track your activity, your calorie expenditures, or your eating habits, this app lets you track and share your “chill sessions” — when you’re zoning out on the couch or sitting on a bench in the park just people watching. Chillkeeper says the point of the app is to help you be more creative: In our nonstop, screen, and notification-filled world, we don’t take enough time to just sit and let our mind wander. That’s where creativity, inspiration, and problem-solving come from. If you need an app to help you fit some chill time into your day (or keep you accountable so those 10 minutes don’t turn into 30), check out Chillkeeper.

Read on to check out last week's top apps.
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Photo: Courtesy Brigade.
The 2016 election is fast approaching, and your Facebook feed maybe isn’t the best place for starting intelligent political discourse. If you want to talk politics without creating a feud with your great Aunt Muriel, sign up to get in on the private beta of Brigade (iOS and Android). It’s a place to express your political opinions, find friends and neighbors who agree with you, start discussions, and re-energize the democratic process by joining campaigns for specific issues. The app is basically a series of cards that you, friends, and other users can agree or disagree with. If you aren’t sure, you can tap to see reasons for or against each issue. It’s unclear if the results of all this polling will get noticed by politicians and policy makers, but at least this app will help you and your friends get more educated about what’s at stake in our country.
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Photo: Courtesy Facebook.
It’s your 30th birthday bash, and everyone is snapping tons of photos. You’d love access to the ones your friends took (maybe they’re less blurry than yours?), but you’re not going to go around begging for them to be sent your way. Facebook’s Moments app (free on iOS and Android) is designed to let you easily, privately share photos among friends. Moments groups photos based on when they were taken and identifies who is in them using facial-recognition technology. From there, you can sync photos with friends, so all of you have access to all of the photos from a specific event. While the facial recognition (the same that’s used to power tagging identification in the Facebook app) verges on creepy, we definitely see the utility of Moments for things like weddings and group trips.
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Photo: Courtesy Cataluv.
If your living room could use a style refresh, check out Cataluv (free on iOS). It’s a catalog-like hub of lifestyle goods from a wide variety of independent retailers — stuff you’re not going to find in just any shop. New products and images are added daily. You can browse through them and tap to buy through the app. From what we’ve seen, the products in Cataluv are dangerously cute and often very affordable, too.
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Photo: Courtesy Ginger Emoji Keyboard.
Ginger Emoji Keyboard
Apple recently diversified its people emojis with a handful of different skin colors and races. But, it has left out one important group: the redheads. If you download the Ginger Emoji keyboard (free on iOS and Android), you’ll be able to choose from tons of redheaded emojis: happy gingers, angry gingers, in-love gingers, plus famous mugs such as Ron Weasley and Conan O’Brien.
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Photo: Courtesy Giving Tales.
Giving Tales
The next time you’re babysitting your nephew, elevate your storytime game with Giving Tales (free on iOS and Android). It’s a new storybook app in which the classic tales of Hans Christian Anderson are narrated by familiar voices like Ewan McGregor, Sir Roger Moore, and Stephen Fry. The app comes with “The Princess and the Pea,” with additional stories such as “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes” available for purchase for $4 each. And, you can feel good about that purchase: 30% of the proceeds go to Unicef to help ensure kids across the world are fed, vaccinated, and educated. The app is customizable, so you can toggle on and off narration, sound, and subtitles depending on the age and preference of your kiddos.

Read on for last week's top apps.
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Photo: Courtesy ZodiaCat.
If you live and die by Refinery29’s weekly horoscopes, it’s your lucky day: You can now even get astrological guidance for your cat. ZodiaCat (free on iOS) will ask you some details about your furry friend and, based on that info, deliver daily horoscopes for Fluffy. My cat, Leeloo, is a Leo, a.k.a. “always the bossiest cat in the room” and her horoscope for today begins: “Decisions from your recent past are proving fortuitous. You definitely picked the right place to nap.” The app is colorful and fun, and right now it has a five-star review on iTunes. There is also a $1 paid version of the app that eliminates banner ads.
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Photo: Courtesy KptnCook.
KptnCook (free on iOS) will get you out of that buttered-pasta rut by serving up three new 30-minute recipes every day (including vegetarian and vegan options) sourced from top food bloggers. The app includes step-by-step directions and a shopping list with prices from Whole Foods and Safeway grocery stores, so you can swing by on your way home from work. You’ll also get nutritional facts and portion information for each dish. Normally, each recipe disappears after 24 hours, but if you love it or want to save it for later, you can add it to a favorites list.
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Photo: Courtesy Flipd.
Smartphone addiction is a real thing. If you find yourself incapable of prying your iPhone out of your kung fu grip, it’s time for some help. Flipd (Free on Android) is basically a timer that locks your screen, letting you enjoy life (or focus on that presentation you need to finish up) free from distracting notifications and apps. It also features a convenient SMS auto-responder that tells friends who text you that you’re busy.
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Photo: Courtesy Free.
The weekend is here. You don’t want to seem desperate, but you really need to get out of the house tonight, and you’re tired of going solo. Free (free on iOS) aims to help you find a partner in crime by showing which of your friends are busy, who’s flexible, and who’s free at any given moment. Saturday night plans fall through? Now you can know instantly who’s already tied up, and who’s down for a few beers down the street. If your whole social crew gets on board, this is a much faster way to learn who’s available than an endless chain of mass text messages. The app also lets you gauge everyone’s weekend plans with a weekly “weekend roll-call” message.
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Photo: Courtesy PBS.
PBS Video
Fuel your Antiques Roadshow obsession (your secret’s safe with us) with PBS Video, free on Android. The app houses thousands of new and archived episodes of programs such as Nature, NOVA, Masterpiece, and Antiques Roadshow. The app itself is straightforward, letting you browse through your favorite shows (which you’ve saved) or featured titles, and each episode offers additional information — like when the show originally aired and a summary. If you enjoy PBS content and/or want to insert its enlightening fare back into your life, give PBS Video a download.
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Photo: Courtesy MikMak.
MikMak (free on iOS) has taken the idea of video shopping and revamped it for the Vine generation. The app serves up bite-size video “minimercials” of products that cost $100 or less. The videos are entertaining in a Broad City or SNL-like way, so you may find yourself binge-watching them without even realizing it. According to founder Rachel Tipograph (who we featured in our Rising Tech Stars piece in April), MikMak aims to build an emotional relationship with the customer that’s much closer to the bond you experience shopping IRL. It was just named one of Apple’s best new Lifestyle apps in the App Store this week, too.
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Photo: Courtesy Lilly Pulitzer.
Lilly Pulitzer
Lilly girls, you need to download Lilly Pulitzer’s app (free on iOS) right now. It serves up all sorts of exclusives, including peeks at new looks, downloadable wallpapers, and the stories behind your favorite prints. It offers an easy in-app shopping experience, too: You can check out reviews for that white dress you’re on the fence about and track your purchases. If Lilly is a priority in your life, you can also choose to get push notifications for all the new features, prints, and stories.
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Photo: Courtesy Mattel.
Apples To Apples
Apples to Apples has made us laugh so hard it brought us to tears, and now the silly and irreverent card game is available as a free iOS app. In the multi-player game, you match a communal adjective “green apple” card with a noun-based “red apple” card in your hand, and a judge selects which pairing is “best” each round. The app lets you play with up to five friends and family in real time. To switch up the experience, you can customize what card packs you have, including ones focused on geography, dessert, or animals. A lot of the fun of this game is being able to laugh, tease, and explain your card pairing reasoning in-person, but like Words With Friends did for Scrabble, a mobile version of Apples to Apples could still lead to obsessive ongoing games and rivalries.
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Photo: Courtesy SoundHound.
Hound Beta
Voice search used to be gimmicky and finicky, but big advances in artificial intelligence and voice recognition tech are making it the fastest way to search for information these days. The invite-only Hound Beta app (free on Android) is a new voice search app from SoundHound that just might put Google Now and Siri to shame. The app lets you do tons of things using just your voice: search for hotels, make phone calls, check the weather, find music, and do general web searches. But, beyond basic searches, you can give it something fairly ridiculous like “I want a hotel in Manhattan in four days that costs less than $500 and is dog-friendly” and the app can parse what you say and find what you want. In the future, SoundHound founder Keyvan Mohajer wants the app to be able to figure out what recipes you can make if you tell the app what ingredients you have on hand. Awesomely powerful and fast, Hound Beta could transform how you use your phone.
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Photo: Courtesy King.
AlphaBetty Saga
We made two cross-country flights this week, so we’re all about addictive, absorbing new games that will take our minds off the crying baby three rows behind us. From the makers of Candy Crush, AlphaBetty Saga (free on iOS and Android) is a fun word-based adventure that has you finding and spelling words with Scrabble-like onscreen tiles to help the main character, a mouse named Betty, complete “the Encyclopedia of Everything.” The colorful puzzle game has over 100 levels, with special boosters you can purchase in-app if you're hopelessly stuck on a level. The graphics are incredibly cute, and the levels are somewhat open-ended, so you can solve each word puzzle your own way.