Everyone keeps talking about the perils of technology. Russia used Facebook to put a pretty bad dude in the White House, Instagram is giving teens weird ideas about body image, staring at screens all day is making it so that no one can get to sleep, and Momo exists. This is all true, sure, but if we're stuck in an age of unparalleled invention, booming industrialization, and instantaneous satisfaction, we might as well take advantage of it. These apps will change your life — some of them might even save your life — if you let them. Embrace the future.
There are at least six apps that will totally change the way you look at money. We all know at least one You Need A Budget stan, and the "envelope budgeting" concept behind Goodbudget is fun, but there's more to money management than budgeting apps. That's where Acorns comes in. The app rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar, then invests the change into a portfolio of stocks and bonds. You get to decide how risky you want your investment plan to be, and Acorns shows you its projected growth over time. It's a great option for young people looking to invest who don't have an advisor to take the lead on their financial planning.
The Planned Parenthood Direct app is, in a word, awesome. Young adults are notorious for ~saying~ they're going to go to the doctor, then never actually doing it. When it comes to your sexual health, procrastination is not an option, so Planned Parenthood came up with a solution. The PP Direct app will help you get a prescription for the birth control pill without leaving your couch, they'll send a UTI treatment to your nearest pharmacy in as little as two hours, and it has experts online to help you answer any burning questions you have about sexually-transmitted infections, birth control, and more.
The biggest complaint about most period tracker apps is that they're pink. Uh, WTF? People, please care more about your health and wellness than the background color of an app. Eve is pink and super cute. Sure, its sex positivity can seem a little pandering (or worse, patronizing), but it helps you keep track of your period, predicts when you'll be ovulating (so you can make sure you get pregnant or really, really make sure you don't get pregnant), and lets you track things like your sex drive, appetite, and mood on the daily. Correlation might not be causation, but if you tend to get hangrier in the three days before your period, at least you'll have a good idea as to why.
While Companion is mostly marketed towards college students, with some features that specifically target student needs, every woman has felt nervous while walking home alone, and in that same vein, most decent people have felt nervous while knowing their friend was walking home alone. Companion allows your friends to track your location as you walk home on a specific route (in an easier-to-follow way than just checking up on Find My Friends), it has an option to mark if an area makes you feel nervous to alert your friends if something is off, and there's an easy option to call 911. Even better, it uses your iPhone's sensors to check if your trip takes a weirdly long time, if you go off the beaten path, if you start running, if your phone falls, or if your headphones get yanked out. The app will then give you 15 seconds to check in that you're okay. If you don't, it calls the authorities. We'd like to download peace of mind for iOS, please.
ScannerPro isn't about to save lives, but if you've ever had to scan *anything*, you know how annoying it is to find a scanner when you don't have your sh*t together. And let's be honest, if you had your sh*t together, would you really be reading this article? Scanners are for people with high powered banking jobs or parents with houses in the suburbs. God, that sounds great. ScannerPro will scan and save a paper document (even if it's multi-page!) and upload it to your phone as a PDF or .jpeg. You can email it, sync it to your cloud, or just upload it for safe keeping. The possibilities are endless, paper is obsolete, and you are welcome.
Tabata Stopwatch Pro
The beauty of Tabata Stopwatch Pro is in its simplicity. Don't let the name fool you: You don't need to be a professional to get ripped by using this HIIT timer. Even if you just use the Classic Tabata automatically set up on the app, the timer will help take the "self" out of "self-motivating" by breaking your workout into manageable thirty-second bursts followed by fifteen-second rest breaks. Google some Blogilates workouts, get a friend to work out with you and make sure you don't pull something, and make your workouts easier *and* more effective.
If you were seven minutes late for work this morning, and yesterday morning — stop. Sometimes, post-vacation brain means staying in bed for five more minutes becomes a thirty-minute nap you definitely didn't have time to take. Alarmy makes it so you literally cannot hit snooze. The alarm will only turn off if you perform a variety of tasks ranging from shaking the phone for thirty seconds, doing hard math problems, or taking pictures of stuff in your bathroom. It's the phone version of asking your roommate to throw things at you before they leave for work.
Listen, you don't need to get boring or anything. If you're dead*ss trying to *quit* drinking for a real reason, go to therapy. Or rehab. Or AA. Please do not just download this app and call it a day. If you're just trying to cut back because you're not in college anymore you feel like it, or you'd like to track your drinking to make sure you don't puke in your Uber and tank your rating, this is the app for you. Drinkaware doesn't just calculate how much you drink, though. It also monitors how much money you're spending on alcohol and how many calories you're consuming. That kind of sucks, but it's definitely better to know why your bank account is overdrawn at the end of a particularly stressful month.
If you don't already have an app that forcibly kicks you off of your phone, you're falling behind. You need a screen time tracker that tells you when it's time to put your phone down and actually pay attention to the concert that's happening in front of you. Or the dog across the street. Or the stairs you're about to fall down. Moment has a clear, sleek aesthetic that makes it easy to track your screen time, coaches you to be present, and establishes screen-free times. It's basically the go-to for using technology to get you to stop using technology.
IFTTT, short for "If This, Then That," is hard to explain. It's also a little hard to figure out at first, but there are user guides online to help you get through it without giving up. It's kind of like the last app you'll ever need. Basically, it automates your technology to fit your needs through functions it calls "applets." You can use premade applets when you're getting started, or create your own for your specific "ifs" once you get a hang of the software. It can automatically turn your lights on when the sun sets, remind you where you parked your car, save photos you're tagged in on Facebook to your phone, Tweet all of your Instagram posts as native photos, and songs from YouTube videos you like to your Spotify playlists, and endless other things that will make you worry that tech might become sentient soon.