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Geek Girl Report: Doing It Better Than Apple – The Best Replacements For iPhone’s Native Apps (Part 1)

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

As much as I love my iPhone, I’m not so much in love with some of their built-in apps. I’ve already expressed my intense dislike of the Maps app, but I also have a few grips with the Weather app, the Safari browser, and other such in-house apps that came included on my phone. The problem is these “native apps” are built in to every iPhone and cannot be deleted. So like them or not, you’re stuck with them, right?  Well, not necessarily. You may not be able to delete those native apps, but you can find better alternatives to them, and most of them for free. Here’s a few suggestions for some of the more finicky native apps.

Phone Calls
Native: Phone/FaceTime
Replace With: Skype

With everything the iPhone can do, people seem to forget that their iPhone can make phone calls, despite “phone” being in the name of the device. But the Phone app only deals with voice calls, and the video-calling app FaceTime is only available on iOS devices on a Wi-Fi connection. Why not kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and replace both with Skype? Skype takes care of both voice and video calls with often times superior quality to your average cell networks. (depending on the connection strength of course…) And best of all it’s completely free to call to other Skype users from anywhere in the world, and they even offer some affordable deals for calling landlines and mobile phones.

Web Browser
Native: Safari
Replace With: Google Chrome

I’ve never liked using the native web browser on my computer. Whether it’s Safari for my Mac or the dreaded Internet Explorer for Windows, I’ve always had a much better experience using a third-party browser, namely Firefox and Goolge Chrome. The same holds true for the iPhone. As a web browser, Safari does a decent job, but Google Chrome does it far better. It automatically syncs with all of your Google Accounts and your Chrome Browser on your desktop, allows you to request desktop versions of websites instead of clunky mobile sites, and is overall faster, smoother, and frankly, superior to Safari. Unfortunately, you can’t set Chrome, or any other browser,  to replace Safari as your default browser on the iPhone.

Camera
Native: Camera
Replace With: Camera+

One of the big selling points for smartphones now is cameras. Apple’s built-in Camera app does a pretty good job of taking photos and videos, but Camera+ takes the iPhone’s camera to an entirely new level. This app, available for less that a dollar, was created by photography lovers, and it shows. It takes higher quality picture at a much faster rate then the native apps with more professional tools like exposure control, a steady shot feature, and tons of different Instagram-style filters and effects. If you fancy yourself a smartphone photographer of any sort, there is no reason this app should not be on your phone.

Weather
Native: Weather
Replace With: Weather Channel

The Weather app is one of the first things I check when I wake up in the morning, if for no other reason than to figure out which coat to grab on my way out the door. However, the in-house app, much like the Yahoo! weather that powers it, is not always accurate. And considering how unpredictable the weather can be here in West Texas, a reliable, accurate weather app is a must. There are a ton of different options you can use for your go-to weather app, but I like using The Weather Channel app the best. it has the most detailed reports of the current weather across the region, and unlike the native Weather app, it will give you detailed reports about severe weather in your area, which is a must for West Texans in the Spring.

I’ll have more suggestions for more native app replacements in next week’s report. Be sure and check out The Geek Girl Report every Tuesday morning, only on KFYO.com. And be sure to follow me on Twitter as well: @ArielWalden214.

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