25 iPhone Apps Worth Paying For in 2023

Free things are the best, right? Well, there are a lot of great apps that are free, but some of them are worth a dollar (or $50). You wouldn’t think twice about spending a buck or two on a pack of gum, so why not on an app?

Even though you can fill up your iPhone with only free apps, you might want to spend some money on apps with extra features that are related to your interests or are just fun. A paid app usually has extras like being able to use it when you don’t have internet access, syncing across devices, and no ads.

At PCMag, we test a lot of apps, and sometimes we find ones that are good enough to buy with our own money. We asked the staff about these apps to find out what they are: Here are our personal recommendations.

Note: If an app lets you sign up for a subscription, see if you can do it outside of the App Store and then sign into the app. Apple takes 30% of in-app purchases, and app makers often pass that cost on to customers. This means that subscribing through the App Store is often more expensive.


5 Minute Journal: Self Care

$0.00 at Apple App Store

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iPhone Apps Worth Paying

 

Making space in your day for some gratitude can improve not just your day but your whole life(Opens in a new window) (Opens in a new window). Self-care makes sure you have time to write in your journal no matter where you are. It sends reminders and alerts every day and syncs across devices (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch). The free version has a lot of features, but if you pay for the premium version (which starts at $4.99 per month), you can add photos and videos, make your own prompts, take notes, track your mood, and add a widget to your home screen.


Ahead

$0.00 at Apple App Store

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PCMag’s senior analyst for fitness and smart home, Angela Moscaritolo, recommends Ahead (Opens in a new window). “Ahead is an app that helps you deal with your anger. It teaches you how to recognise when you’re getting angry and how to calm down. As a yoga teacher, I already knew the power of deep breathing, but that’s just one of the techniques Ahead offers. I also like the in-app reflection tool that lets you track annoyed and angry moments.” After a free trial of seven days, Ahead costs $39.99 for three months, $99.99 for a year, or $199.99 for life.


Blek

$4.99 at Apple App Store

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iPhone Apps Worth Paying

 

Does your phone have any games? Blek ($4.99) is fun for both gamers and people who don’t play games. To play, you draw a line between all the coloured dots on the screen. It sounds easy, but it’s really hard to stop doing.


Canva

$0.00 at Apple App Store

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If you make something online and want people to click on it, you might want to make sure it fits with how the internet looks right now. But if you aren’t a graphic designer, you might want to try Canva. The app has templates for social media, videos, Zoom backgrounds, infographics, desktop wallpaper, posters, logos, and a lot more. With a premium subscription ($12.99 per month or $119.99 per year), you can use all of its templates, images, videos, audio and graphic design elements, and you get extra editing tools like a background remover and resizing tools.


Captions

$0.00 at Apple App Store

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Adding text to your TikToks is a must if you want people who watch videos without sound to be able to see them and pay attention to them. This is easy to do with Captions(Opens in a new window). For $9.99 a month or $54.99 a year, it has a lot of other features, like one-tap editing, a teleprompter, background noise removal, and more. Angela Moscaritolo, who is the senior analyst for fitness and smart home at PCMag, uses it to make TikToks of her review process.


Duolingo

5.0
$0.00 at Apple App Store

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Duolingo is the best app to use if you want to learn a language through games. The app is free, but it has ads that can lock you out for a few hours if you make too many mistakes in a short amount of time. Paying for Super Duolingo(Opens in a new window) gets rid of ads, enables unlimited hearts (eliminating freeze-outs), lets you practice anything you made a mistake on, and gives you unlimited attempts at earning trophies. It costs $12.99 a month or $83.99 for the whole year.


Headspace

$0.00 at Apple App Store

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There are so many things on your phone that can make you nervous. Why not use an app to help you calm down some of that? Headspace is a great choice whether you’ve been meditating for years or are just starting out. It has courses and single meditations for all kinds of situations. It also has a full sleep section with wind-down meditations, “sleepcasts” (audio content that “creates the right conditions for healthy, restful sleep”), soundscapes, and guided exercises for when you wake up in the middle of the night. A subscription costs $12.99 a month or $69.99 for the whole year.