This Month’s Top Apps

By Zoe Hyett

There are some fantastic apps around at the moment, this time around we are looking at new features from old favourite – Shazam, editing software from Pocket Casts, some relaxing vibes with Music Zen and we’re keeping ourselves organised with Microsoft to-do list. If you want to find out more about any of the apps listed, just click the title which will take you through to the iOS download page (Android also available).

Shazam

Now owned by Apple, Shazam – the brilliant ‘name that tune’ app – has been updated. Predictably, most of the new features are skewed in favour of Apple devices, such as the ability to sync automatically with iOS 13’s new native Dark Mode and the option to long-press any Shazammed track to add it to your favourite streaming app – including of course, Apple Music. Android users aren’t left out though, they get new ways to navigate, browse and manage their Shazam history

★★★★★

Music Zen

Relaxing Sounds When you need to de-stress, this app aims to be a one-stop shop for all your relaxation and meditate needs. It offers a broad selection of guided meditation exercises to choose from, alongside a range of soothing sounds – including white noise, rainfall and relaxing music- to help you chill out. For visual soothing, there are mesmerising animations, images of nature and even calming games. Free users get a limited selection of content along with some shorter clips, whole full access costs £40 a year.

★★★☆☆

Microsoft To Do

Microsoft has released a new desktop version of it’s Wunderlist replacement, To Do and the Android and iOS versions have also been freshly updated with a new look and additional features. These include the freedoms to set and customise your own full-colour backgrounds, while iOS users also get the ability to drag and drop items between tasks and lists. It’s even possible to drag and drop multiple items at once, by long-tapping the first item, then tapping another. 4 stars BBC Own It As we recently mentioned, the BBC has been launching its online archive as and will be closing it’s much-loved iPlayer app. But it has also released a very welcome app the uses AI to monitor the well-being of young people through their online interactions with friends and family, proving help and support where it’s needed. Own It takes the shape of an on-screen keyboard, which works like any other keyboard, complete with emojis and GIFs. It will pop up as you type, offering friendly advice and helpful tips. Everything that you type is kept completely confidential.

★★★★★

Pocket Casts

One of the better paid-for podcast apps, Pocket Casts has bee updated and is now completely free to users (although there is an optional £1 a month premium tier offering extras such as cloud storage and special themes). Free users get some powerful ok playback tools, such as a brilliant silence trimmer that automatically edits out silences from your podcasts to speed up listening times. The latest version adds several improvements, including the ability to import your own content and listen to it alongside podcasts downloaded within the app.

★★★★☆