5 Great New Apps For Your Phone

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
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 options whether you're focused on productivity, or looking for some nostalgic fun. The VHS Camera Recorder app finally made its way from iOS to Android this week, so you can flavor your videos with all the 80s feels. There are also apps for helping you find the perfect nail shade, and for keeping your notes and lists organized.

Click through for our picks — you could find your new favorite.
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Photo: Courtesy Sally Hansen.
Sally Hansen ManiMatch
We love getting a little matchy-matchy with our nails, whether it’s finding the perfect shade to complement a bridesmaid’s dress or picking up on an awesome trending hue from Pinterest. For do-it-yourself-ers, Sally Hansen’s new augmented-reality ManiMatch app (free on iOS) makes trying on new shades as easy as holding your phone in front of your hand. Scan your hand in the app, and then you can try out a variety of the brand’s color offerings as well as get a personalized recommendation based on your skin tone. If you’re in-store, you can scan a barcode on any Sally Hansen polish to virtually try on a shade before buying. The app includes 200 colors, and you can even see how your painted nails would look from different angles.
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Photo: Courtesy Seedling Comic Studio.
Seedling Comic Studio
Looking for a fun, creative way to tell a story? Use Seedling Comic Studio (free on iOS), an app that lets you create and share your own comic books. You can mix real photos with custom-illustrated backgrounds and stickers; tell the story of your latest office triumph with a “BAM!!” and a “ZAAAP” (just like it happened in real life, right?). There are a ton of different layouts, themes, text bubbles, and other options to choose from. It could make a super-cute card alternative for a young niece or nephew’s birthday — or a new time-killer to play with when a kiddo borrows your phone. But, if you just want to illustrate the awesomeness of your own life, we’re all for it. You are a superhero, after all.
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Photo: Courtesy Flashgap.
Flashgap
Whether it’s a night to remember or a night you’re going to have trouble remembering, you can use Flashgap (free on iOS and Android) to make sure you keep tabs on what the heck actually happened. Flashgap works like this: You create a Flashgap (essentially a shared Photo Album) with your friends; then, start shooting pictures for the album. Each photo disappears three seconds after you’ve shot it, so you’re focusing on the present rather than dwelling on the shot you just took. The next day, at 12 p.m., your photo-filled album is revealed, letting you experience the event all over again from your and your friends’ perspectives. The photos are there for you to save, share, and treasure — or try to forget about. You can certainly do something similar without a third-party app (using iCloud Photo Sharing on iOS, for example), but the nice thing here is how it hides the photos, giving you a (hopefully pleasant) surprise the next day and keeping your nose from being buried in your phone the night before.
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Photo: Courtesy VHS Camera Recorder.
VHS Camera Recorder
To give that nostalgic, filmed-on-a-clunky-old-camcorder feel to your videos, you’ve got to use VHS Camera Recorder ($1 on Android). Everyone can now use the app, which was previously only available on iOS, to filter videos so they look like VHS, VHS B&W, or other “vintage” feels from the ‘80s and ‘90s. The app even adds a subtle bit of white noise to the background audio of the video, just like the real deal. It’s not free, but honestly, you can’t put a price on this kind of fun.
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Photo: Courtesy Google.
Google Keep
If you’re looking for something more colorful, collaborative, and well, Google-friendly than Apple’s built-in Notes app, you should try Google Keep. Long available on Android and now available to iPhone users, Google Keep (free on iOS) lets you collect notes, lists, images, and audio all in one place, which you can access no matter what device you’re on. You can set reminders for notes based on time or location (so you get that grocery-list reminder when you’re actually at the grocery store), and the app also records and transcribes voice memos — for when you get sudden inspiration and need to jot something down hands-free. If an image includes text, the app can grab that text so that it’s searchable in the future. More than just collecting all your thoughts and lists, Google Keep makes them organized and searchable, so that information is easily available when you actually need it.

Read on for last week's best apps.
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Photo: Courtesy Snapmoji.
Snapmoji
Fusing our twin loves of emoji and GIFs, Snapmoji (free on iOS) lets you record a short video or snap a photo; then, it transforms it into a GIF. But, not just any GIF: one that ends in the emoji of your choosing. You can take a video of yourself faux-crying and conclude it with the crying face emoji, or snap a selfie of your new haircut and finish with the hair-toss emoji. Once you’ve created the Snapmoji your life has been missing, you can share it via text or through options such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Instagram. The app also stores the Snapmojis you’ve created in the past, so you end up with a library of custom reactions you can share with friends and family.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
iCloud Drive
If your digital life revolves around your iPhone, MacBook, Keynote, and iCloud, you’ve likely been hoping for an easier way to keep track of documents cross-device in your all-Apple ecosystem. A new app secretly built into iOS 9, iCloud Drive (free on iOS), is your answer. Once you’ve downloaded iOS 9, you can access the app by heading to Settings, iCloud, iCloud Drive, then toggle on “Show on Home Screen.” Now, you’ve got a Dropbox-like app that lets you view, move, or share files stored on iCloud Drive. Unfortunately, you can’t make edits to documents in the app itself; you’ll have to export the file to an app such as Pages to do that. But your changes will get synced back to iCloud once you’re done.
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Photo: Courtesy Whalerock Industries.
The Official Kardashian Apps
If you can’t get enough of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, we’ve got news you will love. Kim, Khloé, Kylie, and Kendall now all have official personal apps (free on iOS) so fans can keep up-to-date with everything happening in their lives. The apps include live-streamed video, behind-the-scenes photos, beauty and fitness tips, and giveaways — but much of the app’s content will be behind a subscription paywall (such savvy businesswomen). There are four apps — one for each sister, to go along with their corresponding personal websites. If you do give them a download, be sure to use a unique password and maybe a throwaway email address: At launch, the apps accidentally revealed users’ private credentials, but the security faux pas has since been fixed.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Move To iOS
This may not be quite the app Android owners were hoping for when we learned Apple was making its first app for Google’s platform. Move To iOS (free on Android) helps Android owners wrangle all their photos, contacts, and other data, so that switching to an iPhone is super easy. It migrates your message history, email, calendars, and web bookmarks (along with the aforementioned photos, videos, and contacts) so that when you set up a new iPhone, it’s got just about everything your old phone had. Now, all you’ve got to do is download your favorite apps.
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Photo: Courtesy Pokémon.
Pokémon Shuffle Mobile
Daydreaming wistfully of the days when you were a masterful Pokémon trainer? Dream no more. Pokémon Shuffle Mobile (free on iOS and Android) is a game where you match three or more Pokémon, vertically or horizontally, to defeat or capture other Pokémon. The game features all your favorite characters, such as Pikachu, Jigglypuff, and Bulbasaur. Just watch out: The game has lots of in-app purchases, so if you don’t want to pony up, you may find yourself waiting up to half an hour for a new life when you can’t solve a puzzle in the number of moves required.
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Photo: Courtesy of Paper.
Paper
Just because an app helps you be productive doesn’t mean it has to be ugly. Previously iPad-only, Paper (free on iOS) is now available for iPhone, too, and it’s a beautiful, elegant, and organized way for you to do everything from write checklists to sketch diagrams. You can then share your lists and creations as PDFs, images, or presentations (Keynote or PowerPoint). It’s a great tool if you need to mix text, photos, and drawings in a single project, and you’ll be working on it both on the go and at your desk.
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Photo: Courtesy of AdBlock Plus.
AdBlock Plus
You’re reading a wonderful article on your phone, when bam — you're blasted with an awful, flashing “LOSE 10 POUNDS NOW!” ad. Ugh. Block annoying ads — that also end up slowing page-loading times — with AdBlock Plus (free on iOS and Android). By cutting out ads from your mobile browsing, you can save up to 50% on your data plan usage and improve battery life up to 23%, according to AdBlock. And by reducing the chance of an accidental tap, you’re also reducing your chances of infecting your phone with malware or spyware. The app has a number of different settings, so you don’t have to block all ads (sometimes they are helpful and relevant, after all).
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Photo: Courtesy of YouHue.
YouHue
Remember back when the Facebook status update started automatically with “Christina is...” so you could only post how you felt or what you were doing? YouHue (free on iOS) is kind of like that. It’s an app just for sharing your feelings — and whatever happened to elicit those feelings in the first place. You can post various status updates on your current mood throughout the day and the week, share them with friends, and then commiserate or empathize over good days, bad days, and personal triumphs. Sometimes, it can instantly lift your mood to just get something off your chest. With this app, you can do that — and know you’re not irritating friends or followers in the process.
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Photo: Courtesy of Private Photo (Calculator%).
Private Photo (Calculator%)
Apparently, teens are using this app to hide dirty photos from their parents, but you can use it to, uh, hide dirty photos from anyone else who happens to browse through your phone, too. Private Photo (free on iOS) is a password-protected photo-storage application disguised as a calculator app. It has a calculator app-type icon, and when you open it, it looks like a calculator app. But, then you enter your passcode, a period, your four-digit pin, and then another period — and voila, you’ve opened up a hidden vault of photos. As with all cloud-based storage solutions, just because you store items in this app does not mean they’re 100% safe from prying eyes or safe from being hacked, so use with discretion. Still, it's a clever way to hide photos you want to store outside of your Camera Roll. It also has a feature that lets you record an intruder with the camera and GPS, so if someone does grab a hold of your phone and manage to get into the app, you'll know who did it.
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Photo: Courtesy of Rovio.
Nibblers
You’ve got plenty of apps for keeping your photos organized, your inbox groomed, and your calendar under control. Sometimes, you just want a little fun on your phone. Nibblers (free on iOS and Android) is a cute puzzle game about some fish out of water. You match pieces of fruit and try to avoid enemy lizards in the process. Built by the makers of Angry Birds, it lies somewhere between that iconic game and Candy Crush. The details, animations, and adorableness of the on-screen characters set this game apart from your average matching puzzle.
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