Best Apps of 2016

This year, we've seen scores of outstanding new software releases, some groundbreaking, some extending already great ideas with enhanced functionality. This list comprises many of those notable tools, powerhouse applications and outstanding games that have made this great year all the more worth celebrating.

  • Prisma icon


    Free Android iPhone Website

    Art filters made a huge splash this year, largely due to Prisma. Released in June, the app provided a simple process for users to take a photo, select an artistic filter, upload the photo to Prisma's servers and shortly after, receive a version of the photo with their selected filter applied. It was so easy and the results were so breathtaking that the app exploded in popularity, spawning a number of clones. The app has continued with amazing feature updates that have helped make 2016 a beautifully artistic year.


  • Pigment - Coloring Book icon

    Pigment - Coloring Book

    Freemium Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Website

    Released for iOS at the end of the year 2015 and finally launched for Android in 2016, Pigment provides the best digital representation of the adult coloring book phenomenon to date.


  • icon

    Freemium Web Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad ... Chrome Website

    Developers of the hit game took the game concept to another level with the even bigger snake-eating hit, From its release in March, the game continually picked up new fans and great reviews.


  • Quik by GoPro icon

    Quik by GoPro

    Free Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Website

    Video editing used to be for pros. GoPro's Quik automatically takes care of the editing, making everyone a pro. It's made lots of pros in 2016!


  • Elementor icon


    Freemium Self-Hosted Wordpress Website

    WordPress users rejoiced with the mid-year release of the free and open-source page builder Elementor. Just as adept as the commercial builders, this one has a much prettier price tag!


  • Houseparty icon


    Free Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Website

    A bit of a hidden gem this one, Houseparty makes it easy to keep in touch with friends, through a video stream that connects friends and family in a sort of party hub that's always accessible.


  • Amazon Prime Now icon

    Amazon Prime Now

    Commercial Android iPhone Amazon Appstore Website

    Amazon shook up various parts of the USA this year by offering super fast local deliveries and even 1-hour restaurant deliveries to certain areas and through certain key providers.


  • elementary OS icon

    elementary OS

    Free Linux Website

    Besides a huge update that brought the Ubuntu core up to speed along with some other very welcomed additions, Elementary OS also got a huge boost from various bloggers raving about its great UI and how well it works for, well, work!


  • Let's Encrypt icon

    Let's Encrypt

    Free Self-Hosted Website

    Let's Encrypt is far too good to be true; open, free encryption for websites. Plus, it removes all the complicated parts of HTTPS configuration and management that can otherwise be a huge pain. It's made life bright for countless web developers this year.


  • icon

    Free Web Website

    A surprise release from Netflix in May, provides a speedy way to check your internet speed. No need to have Flash installed and no worries about bloated pages of ads just to run a speed test, is ad-free and super quick.


  • Affinity Designer icon

    Affinity Designer

    Commercial Mac OS X Windows Website

    Affinity Designer was a Mac exclusive for far too long but Windows users finally got to enjoy its outstanding design workflow in 2016 with the official release on the Windows platform.


  • Pokémon GO icon

    Pokémon GO

    Freemium Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Apple Watch Website

    Possibly the biggest release this year was the game that had people wandering around the world in search of rare Pokémon, guided only by their phones. Pokémon GO put augmented reality on the map and got players up and moving around to explore the world, albeit while still focused on a virtual one.


  • Google Trips icon

    Google Trips

    Free Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Website

    Google has already been a part of the travel market with its various map incarnations and integrated search suggestions. It's now directly involved in travel though, with Trips, which simplifies nearly everything travel related.


  • Gboard icon


    Free Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Website

    The new keyboard for Android first arrived on Apple's App Store early in the year. It finally made its way to Android as the default keyboard this month. bringing the same helpful integrated search and emoji super powers.


  • Snapchat icon


    Free Personal Android iPhone Website

    Snapchat was all the rage this year with its new line of super trendy, yet difficult to procure, sunglasses. Moreover, the image and video sharing app seems to have gotten everything so right that every similar app copied it.


  • Figma icon


    Freemium Mac Windows Web Android iPhone ... Android Tablet iPad Website

    Piggybacking on the tremendous popularity of the highly specialized Sketch, Figma offers the same vector design super-powers but through a browser application that's built for collaboration. Similar to Sketch, it gives users advanced vector tools reminiscent of Adobe Illustrator, yet with a major focus on interface design, simplifying the layout process. Figma takes that power a step further with collaboration to help teams design together and to allow designers to work with clients in a live design environment. It's the right mesh of great design tools intuitively arranged in a collaborative experience that's built to get work done. Definitely a highlight of this past year.


  • Google PhotoScan icon

    Google PhotoScan

    Free Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Website

    Courtesy of Google, though only available for Android devices, Photo Scan is a very helpful app for users with old photos seeking to digitize them. It's fast, intuitive and totally free from ads, offers and similar distractions.


  • PinOut! icon


    Freemium Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Website

    A surprise hit this year, PinOut! climbed the app store charts with its brilliant new spin on pinball. Its low-poly, retro theme and ambient sounds added style to an already great concept of infinite-runner-meets-pinball gameplay.


  • Affinity Photo icon

    Affinity Photo

    Commercial Mac Windows iPad Website

    Adobe Photoshop isn't cheap, but it's near impossible to find a viable alternative. Affinity Photo is one of the very few and it remains dirt cheap even in lieu of its powerful commercial features. A Mac exclusive for 2015, the app finally got released on Windows as well this year.


  • Truebill icon


    Free Web Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Website

    Truebill is one of those apps many people need without realizing. It lets you easily track down and cancel unwanted subscriptions while also helping you keep updated on your bills from one place. It's like a ledger that auto-fills the details for you.


  • Microsoft Solitaire Collection icon

    Microsoft Solitaire Collection

    Freemium Windows Android iPhone Android Tablet Windows Phone ... iPad Website

    Topping its list of successes this year, Microsoft released its popular solitaire collection for both Android and iOS, both being very well received.


  • White Noise icon

    White Noise

    Freemium Mac OS X Windows Web Android iPhone ... Windows RT Android Tablet Windows Phone iPad Chrome Website

    White noise never sounded better than in 2016, with the aptly named app taking relaxation to new heights through an innovative system of soothing sounds based on white noise. The app's been around a while via the web, but has slowly made its way to other platforms, finally making its debut directly on Windows 10 this month.


  • Super Mario Run icon

    Super Mario Run

    Freemium Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Website

    Still only available for iOS, Super Mario Run hit the Apple App Store running to the top with a whole lot of buzz preceding its December launch. It's an endless runner featuring the ultimate platformer icon and as of now, it's an iOS exclusive.


  • AlternativeTo icon


    Free Web Website

    Our own best apps of the year list just wouldn't be complete without the app bringing you the list! AlternativeTo saw countless enhancements this year making it even easier for people to find viable alternatives. A new theme that looks great on mobile and desktop, back-end updates to make it speedier, comments on a per alternative basis, even more outstanding community members, the list goes on!


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