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I only keep 10 third-party apps on my iPhone – here’s which ones make the cut

Published May 1st, 2024 2:22PM EDT
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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When I wrote about the 14 apps that I’ll always keep on my iPhone’s Home Screen, our editor Zach Epstein practically lost it that none of them were third-party apps. Yes, I am that person who rocks only built-in iPhone apps from Apple on the Home Screen.

To give Zach some hope that the world isn’t that boring (and everyone else who thinks I’m off my rocker), I wanted it to be known that I do, in fact, keep third-party apps on my iPhone as well — all 10 of them.

That’s right! There are only ten third-party apps that I’ve found beneficial enough to keep on my iPhone in the App Library. Here’s what apps those are and why they’ve earned a spot.


I’ve been an Xbox person my entire life. I owned the original Xbox all of the way through the Xbox Series X, and the PlayStation 5 was the first console I’ve ever owned from Sony.

The PlayStation app is a requirement for sharing game clips with friends.

Ever since Helldivers 2 came out, I’m ashamed to say I haven’t touched my Xbox. And, if I want to share the incredible game clips I’ve captured with friends, I need the PlayStation app to make it easy. So the app gets a spot.


Just because I’m not playing Xbox right now doesn’t mean that I’m not going to return to it, and doing so also means that I’ll capture some gameplay I want to share with friends.

The Xbox app is also just a means to share game clips.

Just like the PlayStation app, sharing game clips is the sole reason I keep the Xbox app on my phone. I don’t use it for anything else like seeing when friends are online or managing my console — it’s all about sharing game clips through iMessage.


I feel like everyone in the world has this app on their phone. You might not have Netflix or Max, but you can bet you have YouTube.

YouTube is the world’s video streaming service for everyone who doesn’t have a film or television deal at this point. I get so much value out of the service that, despite not being on social media, it has earned an eternal spot on my phone.

YouTube Premium
YouTube is likely a staple on everyone’s phones. Image source: José Adorno for BGR

Not only do I have YouTube on my phone, but I actually pay for YouTube Premium. Fun fact: YouTube is the only video streaming service that I pay to get rid of ads on (I watch way more YouTube than other streaming services).


I’m not a “hack” person — meaning that I’m not into the whole idea that you can find “hacks” to make more money or improve your life. Everything has tradeoffs, so I don’t like the premise that you can “hack” your way through life.

That said, if there ever was a hack, this one is it for me. The Libby app connects to your local library system and gives you free access to thousands upon thousands of ebooks and audiobooks.

Libby is a game-changing app for my iPhone (and iPad)

I’ve been paying for books and audiobooks for years through Kindle, Apple Books, and my local bookstore, and I’ll continue to do so. However, there are tons of titles I can now read to or listen for free on my iPad mini or my iPhone.

Libby has saved me a ton of money already and it’s now the first place I go to read or listen to a book I’m interested in. Check with your library if they work with an app like Libby. In a world of hacks, the Libby app is a real one.


After almost two decades on social media after joining Facebook back in college in 2005, I’ve gotten rid of everything. I’m no longer on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Threads, TikTok, Snapchat — you name the social media app, and I’m not on it. I even deleted LinkedIn!

After all of this time, I’ve finally figured out what I’ve been waiting for that social media hasn’t been able to deliver on: forums. Enter, Reddit. I’ve known about Reddit for forever but, after finally trying it out last year, it’s become the only app I use that could even be considered a social media app.

Forums have been the solution all of this time. Image source: Reddit

Instead of everyone either posting for attention or screaming at each other (which is also posting for attention I guess), Reddit reminds me of the days of old: people sharing things they are excited about or asking questions and getting answers on things.

Subreddits, which allow you to follow a particular area of interest, also let me cut out all of the other crap that feeds would try and show me. It’s been a fantastic experience, and I feel like I’ve finally found the one social area of the internet I actually enjoy and find useful.


I love running, hiking, camping, and backpacking, so the AllTrails app is an obvious app for someone like me to keep on their iPhone. The app, especially after its recent update, is basically a requirement for anyone who wants to explore the outdoors.

I’ve checked out so many trails I never knew existed with AllTrails.

My friend and I started backpacking during the COVID pandemic, and the AllTrails app made getting into that hobby so much less stressful with all of the features that AllTrails+ offers. I don’t think I’d have hiked in some of the places I’ve been if the app didn’t exist, so I’m actually eternally grateful to that team for creating such a useful app.


As someone who is now in their mid-30s, health is becoming a more and more important part of my life. So, while Apple’s built-in health features are great across the iPhone and Apple Watch, there are some things that you do need other devices for.

The Withings app helps me to build a more complete view of my health.

I personally chose Withings who has a great track record of creating health devices and use their scale, blood pressure monitor, and thermometer. Everything syncs wirelessly with the Withings app which also passes data to the Health app, making it incredibly easy to build a bigger picture of my health.

It’s been a great way to keep track of my health progress to ensure other areas of health like my weight, body composition, and blood pressure are looking good without having to wait for a doctor’s appointment.

Finance apps

I’m not going to say exactly what banking apps are on my phone since I’m still a little nervous about disclosing that kind of information publicly (I see you identify theft), but I’ll give you the gist.

I have three finance apps on my phone: one is for my bank where I keep my checking, savings, and investments. The second is for my credit card to track my spending and my travel points. The third is an app to track my balance and transactions coming out of my HSA (Health Savings Account).

That’s it. No aggregator apps or anything fancy — just two apps and I’m able to keep track of all of my finances. It’s a really simple setup that works really well for me.

That’s it!

That’s it, folks. Those are the only third-party apps on my iPhone right now. No social media apps (Reddit is a forum in my opinion and I stand by this), no streaming apps, no productivity apps, and no games. Just a few apps that I get enough value out of to keep them on my iPhone full-time.

Weather Up app running on iPhone 15 Pro
Widgets and apps on the iPhone’s Home Screen. Image source: José Adorno for BGR

It wasn’t always this way. I used to keep dozens if not over 100 third-party apps on my iPhone at one point or another. However, once I whittled this list down to 10, I found that this was much better — less noise and I knew that everything on my iPhone was something I actually used.

Everyone is different, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who get a ton of use out of having many more apps on their phones than I do. However, for me, 10 third-party apps are just right. Everything else can happen on my Apple TV or in the browser.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.