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Like the other thread, but for iOS.

Let’s make a list of iOS apps that satisfy either one of these criteria.

  1. Open source.
  2. Commercial app, but hardcore app for power users, not basic stuff.

The list should be biased towards gems, more obscure stuff that’s useful. Please don’t list apps that everyone knows about. I encourage you to post domain-specific apps, rather than general purpose apps.

I’ll start with what I use and found helpful:


These apps are as good as they get for doing landscape photography.


These apps are serious enough to be used by people doing legitimate outdoor activities.

  • Pro Altimeter, nothing more, nothing else, also for iPad.
  • Pro Compass, compass that can use alternative geodetic datums.
  • Theodolite, if you don’t know what a theodolite is, check it out. Also for iPad.
  • Gaia GPS, the best app for off-road navigation (including maritime navigation). Period. It’s as legit as it gets. I wish everything were this good.

These apps are serious enough to be used by people doing legitimate outdoor activities.

  • Wx, U.S. National Weather Service frontend. Just the real data, no bullshit. Also for iPad.
  • MeteoEarth, 3D weather visualisation, including radar and wind.
  • WeatherPro, from the same company, the same data but in a different, more traditional format. Also for iPad.
  • Clear Outside, more tailored for outdoor stuff like hiking, nature photography, or astronomy. You get visibility, fog, wind, precipitation, and the types of clouds on the same, very easy to read screen.
Flying (piloting planes, not flying in planes)

I am not a pilot yet, but the pilots I know swear by this app:

  • dict.cc Dictionary. Best German-English offline dictionary. Supposedly it supports more languages, never tried that out.
  • Zones, simplest and cleanest time-zone conversion app I know.
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    I’ve always admired iOS for the strong commercial development scene that pays respect towards the platform and its users; imported from the Mac scene. Windows and Android are wastelands compared to the quality of small scale shops that put effort into it for iOS.

    As for a recommendation, I haven’t had the oppurtunity to try the iOS version, but Coda is a great web development environment, if that’s how you roll.

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      I like https://darksky.net/app for the weather.

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        I find WeatherLine to be pretty good too.

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        Blink is a GPLv3-licensed SSH and Mosh client for iOS. It is pretty much what lets me travel light: With Blink I can travel without a laptop and use an iPad Pro with a smart keyboard to connect to and troubleshoot systems, or even do some limited development if it came to that. (The latter is more of a peace-of-mind thing, but it’s far from unpleasant.)

        Warmly recommended, and easily worth the price if you don’t want to compile it yourself.

        P.S: It’s almost embarrassing to say, but one of my favourite features is that it allows re-mapping caps lock to ctrl, which is usually not possible on iOS.

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          Right now I use Prompt for ssh. Besides the fact that Blink has mosh support, is it better than Prompt?

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            Blink also has more options for remapping certain keys on your keyboard, like “Caps as Esc”, “Shift as Esc”, etc. Although I have not purchased Prompt, since Mosh support for me is indispensable, these are other aspects people usually cite when comparing these two products.

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              Prompt is also really, really good, and if you don’t need the Mosh support I don’t really see any big reasons to switch.

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                I think the thing about Mosh support is that nobody thinks they need it until they get hooked in. :-)

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            If you study Chinese, you use Pleco. If you don’t study Chinese, then you probably have never heard of Pleco.

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              I’ve never found a better app for another language period. Every serious Chinese learner will download this app after a year. No ads, extensive dictionary, writing input, long form text reader, powerful flash card engine, all for free. It’s so popular here in China among waiguoren that we even use Pleco as a verb.

              Not just for iOS though, the Android version is the same.

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              Trying to restrain myself to just a couple:

              Outdoors / Mapping

              iNaturalist / Seek - apps for identifying plants, Seek is a newer one oriented for kids. I believe both are open source.

              Go Map!! - It’s an openstreetmap editor tailored for iOS. I met the developer behind this recently - was fairly impressed that he wrote his own coregraphics map renderer for this.


              Start Stretching - it’s based on https://www.phraktured.net/starting-stretching.html . Yes, it’s a basic non-hardcore user app - but we should all be stretching more :)


              Scrawl Notes - made by a local developer I know. Nothing hardcore about it, it’s just a note taker that’s accessible as a widget for quick notetaking. Also has a companion mac app.


              V for wikipedia - I haven’t bought this app yet but it’s made by an expert at design/typography. The maker talks about the design decisions here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM2Nj691PMo

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                Music apps for iPhone (most are only written for iPad)

                • Nanoloop is a music sequencer originally written for the Gameboy but works well on iOS/Android.
                • Elastic Drums is a drum machine / groovebox with a pretty intuitive interface.


                • PONS German-English Dictionary Advanced is expensive, but it’s a fully offline dictionary. Good in situations when you don’t have signal.
                • German Grammar Spy spaced-repetition German article trainer. The words are sorted by frequency, so you learn the most common words first. I prefer this over normal vocabulary trainers because you can go through it very quickly.
                • German Verb Conjugator no-nonsense offline conjugation lookup of all German verbs. There is a separate paid version without ads.


                • Reporter is a good self-logging app with random sampling.
                • Productive well-written habit builder.


                • Transit immediately tells you the arrival times of nearby transit options, and does it better than Citymapper.
                • Citymapper is usually better than Google Maps and Transit for route planning.
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                    I made a repository of my favourite apps I use and love as well as descriptions of why I use them.

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                      GithubContributionsiOS deserve some love, shows GitHub contribution graph in a beautiful way. There is also app for Apple Watch.

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                        • Maps.me: offline maps based on Openstreetmap data. Contains ads (highlited places on map, offline too), but mostly opensource. Supports some basic editing of Openstreetmap, mostly creation/editing of Points of Interest.
                        • Similar to previous app, Osmand, TIL it has iOS version too (was only for Android before)
                        • Mapillary, allows to contribute to CC-BY-SA catalog of pseudo-street-view. Especially for those who miss Google’s Panoramio. Popular in Openstreetmap community because of free license of photos that allows to use them as reference data for editing map. Also they run interesting experiments with structure-from-motion, semantic segmentation and road sign detection on photos.
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                          Another OSM-based app is Pocket Earth (pro version). I like the UI more than maps.me.

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                          Perhaps there are too regular to apply to the 2nd item requirements, but who needs karma anyway?

                          Strides – habit tracking. $5 for the pro version, which enables cloud sync amongst other things.

                          Enpass – password management. Desktop versions are free, mobile costs $10.

                          Scanbot Pro – for going paperless. Excellent scanning tool and OCR tool.

                          Things – personal todo list.

                          SongShift – playlist synchronisation between different music streaming services. Trained my Apple Music account in few weeks to.an acceptable level from Spotify input thanks to this.

                          I’m missing a good meditation app. I’ve tried Calm and Headspace, but they’re too featureful for me. I’d just want something that gives me a time and good selection of background noise/music for the duration of the session.

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                            I’m missing a good meditation app

                            Try breathe meditation timer. All it does is lets you set a timer and set some background music. I’ve been happy with it so far.

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                              Check out Insight Timer, although I’ve never used it to meditate with sound.