You may be ready to head back to campus—but is your phone? Whether you’re a fresh-faced freshman or a veteran upperclassman, make sure you and your smartphone are prepared for the year ahead with these essential apps for all college students.
If you only head into class with one app, this is it. Gone are the days when you had to email every paper draft to yourself, in fear of losing the file in a tragic computer crash. Called the “go-to solution for syncing files across multiple devices” by The Verge, Dropbox allows you to access documents, pictures, and videos from any Internet-accessible device. You’ll never have to worry about losing your big assignments, or pictures, again.
Nothing can prepare you for the insane, 10-syllable words you will undoubtedly encounter in your class readings—but at least there’s the Dictionary.com app, which can help you get definitions right on your phone. And if you’re having trouble finding that word on the tip of your tongue, the Thesaurus feature is also quite useful.
Flashlight by iHandy Inc. (iOS/Android)
For safety and convenience, the Flashlight app by iHandy is an absolute necessity for college life. Need to find something in your room at night, but don’t want to wake up your roommate? Use Flashlight. Forgot your bike light going to a night lecture but want to cycle back safely? Use Flashlight. Need to find that one book for class but happen to be stuck in the darkest corner of the library? Use Flashlight. Don’t get stuck in the dark without this app!
Are you part of a team or club this year, or just want to stay more connected with a few friends? Called a “lifechanger” by Gizmodo, GroupMe will revolutionize the way you group message. The app organizes all group texts into a simple, easy-to-access list that remains completely separate from your standard messaging. The best part? If you ever get tired of notifications from a certain group, you can easily turn them off—without actually removing yourself from the group (although that’s an option as well).
With a database of more than 20 million songs available for instant streaming, Spotify is “the new face in the streaming music space” according to PC Magazine. Create your own playlists, discover new music, and stream radio based on specified genres or decades. The free version of the app allows access to radio-based content only; however, the $9.99-a-month Spotify Premium subscription gives you on-demand playback and commercial-free listening, and music—available wherever and whenever you want—on your smartphone or computer.
When you’re hungry and craving anything but cafeteria food, the Yelp app is there to save the day. You can find great places to eat in your college town, reviewed and rated by fellow students and community members. Don’t forget to leave a review and rating, too—Yelp now lets you do it right from your mobile phone. The Yelp app doesn’t just cover food options, either; now you’ll always know where to go, with access to reviews for other categories such as “Shopping,” “Nightlife,” “Health & Medical,” and “Arts & Entertainment.”