Article in Best of category.

Best Apps of 2023

2023 was an exceptional year for apps. There’s been a wave of new apps, some existing apps that got overhauled with new features, and an…

2023 was an exceptional year for apps. There’s been a wave of new apps, some existing apps that got overhauled with new features, and an influx of AI. The apps I’ve chosen for my favorite apps of the year are an eclectic bunch in several categories that I’ve personally loved this year.

Jump To:

1. Carrot Weather

2. Flighty

3. SmartGym

4. Lumy

5. Water llama

6. Finch

Carrot Weather

It’s astonishing how much Carrot Weather is capable of. This app has been intricately engineered to the nth-degree with more customization than I’d ever imagine for a simple weather app. The main interface is entirely user-designed that basically lets you create your own weather app. Display temperature, moon phases, UV index, precipitation, and more in any order you like and in different styles.

There are plenty of notifications to keep you updated on the weather, such as emergency alerts for tornados or other natural disasters, lightning strikes nearby, or when precipitation is getting ready to begin. You can view weather info in new iOS 17 interactive widgets or on StandBy mode. Finally, Carrot Weather supports Live Activities to keep you up-to-date on precipitation on the Lock Screen or by the Dynamic Island.

If the functionality there wasn’t enough, the app is ruled by the malicious Carrot AI. Carrot will talk back to you and provide snarky remarks every time you open the app. This year, Carrot got infused with new chatbot abilities to let you talk directly to Carrot yourself.

Finally, Carrot Weather is available on a whole host of devices. You can get Carrot Weather on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and even the Apple TV. All platforms have their own custom, painstakingly-designed interfaces but Apple Watch is my favorite. There are so many different widgets that can display plenty of weather-specific information. From the iOS app, you can customize the widgets which then are displayed on the watch. Brian Mueller has seriously thought of everything here. Even in these paragraphs I’ve barely scratched the surface of what Carrot can offer.


As a frequent flyer, Flighty has been an essential tool for my travels. From a high level — heh, get it? — Flighty is a flight tracker. Input your plane number and it will track its arrival, boarding status, flight status, and more. It can send you alerts about impending weather that may derail your flight or even an alert about a cancellation before the airline even informs you.

It has a ton of exclusive features such as 25-hour “Where’s my plane” tracking which they say is the number one cause of delays, and airport ground radar which tells you your place in the takeoff queue while on the runway.

All airlines worldwide can be tracked with Flighty and at the end of the year you can see your yearly stats about your travel. To import flights you can just forward your confirmation email, it can sync with your calendar, and it can predict your arrival time.

Many iOS features are touted here such as Live Activities during the flight to track your flight. That includes the Dynamic Island on newer phones, too.


Also with several app awards under its belt, SmartGym is an all-around outstanding app that is perfect as you get ready to start that new resolution come January first. SmartGym isn’t just full of exercises that you can perform, but can intelligently recommend workouts and modifications for you to get the most out of your workout.

You can generate a session based on your experience, the equipment you have available, or the muscle group you want to isolate. As you use Smart Trainer, it will offer you suggestions over time such as adjusting the reps or weight. In total, there are 690 exercises with animations that you can include in your schedule.

There are professionally-created workouts too that are done by professionals that you can rely on. These could be full body workouts or maybe quick ones you want to do on a lunch break. As you workout, whether your custom ones or the professional ones, you can track everything.

SmartGym can show you progress over time, tracking workouts, calories, heart rates, VO2, and more. Of course this all syncs to the Health app too. Other great features include insights about muscle groups to expand your knowledge, group workouts over FaceTime with SharePlay, voice guided HIIT workouts, Apple Watch support, and more.


Another single-purpose app, Lumy is a wonderful tool for photographers looking to nab that perfect golden light. Featured by Apple repeatedly, Lumy has continued to get updates to utilize Apple’s newest features.

With its dark blue aesthetic, Lumy will let you know when the sun will set and when it will rise, where on the planet. This can translate to a Live Activity so you see a countdown right on the Lock Screen of when you need to start snapping pics.

Lumy shows golden hour, sunset, and last light times for your current location. If you place your phone in StandBy mode, there are new widgets there that will keep you abreast of the sun’s status. Or perhaps you prefer the new interactive Home Screen widgets.

There’s other information in this app too, such as the moon phase and weather.

My favorite though, is on the Apple Watch. It has a gorgeous Apple Watch app that you can use plus a bunch of complications. These colorfully represent the sun and moon cycles on various watch faces styles so you’ll be sure to find one that you love.

 Water llama

I wrote about Water Llama fairly recently here and weeks later, I’m still staying strong. I’ve still very much enjoyed using Water Llama to help me stay hydrated. It’s poppy graphics, gentle reminders, Apple Watch app, and Lock Screen widgets all work together for a comprehensive user experience.

Water Llama gives you a recommended about water to drink during the day, based on your age, gender, height, and weight. Then, as you drink throughout the day, you log it in the app. Each thing you drink gives your different amounts of hydration as you work to fill up your llama.

There’s a huge list of beverages and it’s kind of cool to see how they each contribute to your overall hydration. Coffee is 60% hydrating while milk is 130% hydrating because of what else they contain. Watch out for booze though, because whiskey is a harsh -318% hydrating. I’ll have to make up for that later.

The more you drink the more challenges you complete which unlocks more characters. You can then choose which character is set for each day.

Water Llama’s Apple Watch app is fantastic with a colorful interface you don’t usually see on Apple’s wearable. Plus, there is the aforementioned interactive widgets and other ways for you to keep logging water, staying hydrated, and feeling your best.


Self care is super important and of all the ones I’ve stumbled upon, I think Finch has been the most fun. It’s an adorable animated character that works with you on your self care journey. Set your goals, practice exercises, and work towards better mental health.

Finch is almost a combination of a mental health app and a Tomagachi. As you do daily checkins, reach your goals, or complete exercises your companion will grow with you. To help maintain your pet, you have to maintain yourself. By positively rewarding you for practicing self care, you earn points that can be used to further customize your pet with various outfits and accessories. You can even adjust their personality traits and discover their likes and dislikes as if you’re playing a big RPG.

There are a ton of exercises you can due, based on your mood or what you’re currently dealing with. Each of these takes different amounts of time and can earn you varying amounts of energy for your pet. Some could be useful during a panic attack, others are daily affirmations and growth, while others help with nagging anxiety.

Other features include quizzes, guided reflections, breathing meditation, audio soundscapes, first aid, and more. It also utilizes Apple’s new App Store Events feature which highlights limited-time content in the app, which right now is winter-themed wearables, decorations, and a new arctic fox micro pet!

But enough about other people's apps.


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