Best replacement apps for stock iPhone apps (camera, calendar, music, mail, clock, and more)

The Apple iPhone takes pride in featuring all the essential apps right out of the box - no bloatware, no unnecessary apps. However, some of the stock apps on the iPhone are just often too simple, and can’t move the needle.

That’s why we've looked at stock iPhone and iPad apps and looked for better replacements. Apps that add more functionality, give you more information and most importantly - apps that have proven to be stable.

Which are those apps? Take a look at the best replacements for stock iPhone apps below.


The stock mail app has plentiful features, but it lacks flare and the option to snooze your email and thus manage them faster. Also, it's terrible with Gmail: it cannot push your notifications and you have to set it to fetch mail with the best option being 15 minutes, which is still plenty of time if you are working with mail intensively.

Mailbox (Free) excels at just this - a simple email app, it allows you to archive and snooze emails with a simple swipe gesture, plus it’s passed the test of time and has won users preferences.

Gmail (Free) is our second suggestion for replacement to the stock mail app - it’s perfectly suited to Gmail users, opening all the options that Google’s webmail offers in a well-polished app.


The built-in Notes app has undergone a redesign in iOS 7 and it no longer has the strange yellow background and strange fonts, and instead changes to a more eye-pleasing white. However, it might be a bit too simple.

Evernote (Free, pictured in the upper part of the image) is an app that syncs across multiple devices including your tablet and desktop, plus it has rich note-taking functions that others lack.

Vesper ($2.99, pictured in the lower part of the image) is another alternative - it retains the simplicity of the original Notes app, adding a few necessary functions without going over the board.


Fantastical 2 ($4.99) has made a name for itself with its simple and colorful interface, but mostly for the way you enter your new appointments: you can simply type in something like "Lunch with Elon in Palo Alto on Friday" and the app will schedule it.

Sunrise (Free) is another alternative with a clean and beautiful design that allows you to easily tell appointments apart, just visually. It’s also simple and reliable.


Apple’s stock Weather app is great - with awesome animations for weather conditions and a gorgeous interface, it delivers all the essential weather info to users at one glance. What it lacks is more detailed information.

Yahoo Weather (Free) strikes the right balance between being informative and usable. With a picture from your location that represents the current weather conditions, a beautiful UI and all the info that you need at a glance - even including a satellite map of clouds, temperature and winds, as well as sunrise and sunset times, it’s our number one choice.

Dark Sky ($3.99) is a newcomer that boasts a hefty $3.99 price tag, but in exchange it gives you one hugely important and novel feature - it simply warns you just before it rains, and next time you arrive at home on time and dry, you’d appreciate the well-spent money as you look at a rainy day through the window.


The built-in photo gallery app on the iPhone is not something to frown at - it allows you to organize your photos in folders and basically gets the job done.


The iPhone is the most popular camera in the world, but its camera app is far from being too advanced - it’s mostly an all-auto shooter.

Photography enthusiasts can have their manual settings via an outstanding app called ProCamera 8 ($2.99). It’s the most stable of all iPhone camera replacement apps that we have tested, and it is one of the richest in terms of capabilities: it allows you to separately control exposure and focus, manually set shutter speed, white balance and ISO live, plus you get a live histogram. Other neat options include a tiltmeter, anti-shake option, and a self-timer, as well as select the right aspect ratio.

Kinomatic ($1.99) is our go-to app for iPhone video. It combines the most advanced manual video recording features along with a powerful built-in editor, all in a surprisingly simple, streamlined user interface. We’re smitten with the speed of edits and the ease with which you can re-arrange trim and mix clips into a finished video project. The powerful manual controls include separate buttons for focus, exposure, and white balance lock, plus you get to see audio levels live.


If you crave a gentle awakening in the morning, Rise Alarm Clock ($1.99) is the app you should pick. Its alarms slowly fade in to gradually wake you up from sleep, and it’s beautifully designed.


The built-in stock app shows you some basic info about the stock that you follow, but not much more. And if you’re investing your money in a company you want data, and more of it.

Real-time Stock Tracker (Free) is the only app that we saw truly adhere to its promise of real-time stock price updates. Its detailed and rich in information, just what a stock trader needs.

Bloomberg (Free) also has an excellent stocks app with a focus on information and news, plus it gives you a very nice overview of a company with charts showing its revenue, profitability, and balance sheet changes in time.


Wunderlist (Free) is our go-to app to jot down to-do notes and share them with others - it’s a simple and easy process.

Any.Do (Free) excels at the same task, with a slightly different, cleaner interface, but at the end of the day it’s a matter of choice between those two.

Browser (Safari)

Safari is an excellent browser that loads webpages quickly, but it works best in an all-Mac environment, and not everyone lives in one.

Google’s Chrome (Free) browser is our alternative to the stock Safari - Chrome has grown to global prominence quickly backed up by swift updates, simple and quick experience when surfing the web, as well as a neat card-based interface. It also syncs across all your devices (and not just iCloud-supporting ones).


The stock Music app does an excellent job categorizing your iTunes collection of music, but being a simple music player, it lacks streaming capabilities.

We feel that it might be worth considering switching to a cloud-based music streaming service that requires you to pay a $5 to $10 monthly fee per month for all-you-can-eat music.

The best music streaming service right now is Spotify (Free). You can also sync your existing tunes with it, and use it as your full-on music player, forgetting about ever having to purchase a song again.

Apple Maps

The stock Apple Maps launch was a fiasco - maps were rendered poorly, often inaccurate, and it seemed like the app was just a half-baked product not ready for roll-out. It has undergone quite the evolution since then, adding fancy 3D features, but another app remains the top dog in the mapping category.

We’re talking about Google Maps (Free) of course. With street view from every corner in the world, and the most accurate and up-to-date maps, Google Maps is our top pick for replacement to the stock Apple Maps.


The basic calculator in iOS is more than enough for most people, but for those taking a math class, or doing some more serious calculations, it will hardly suffice.

Our number one pick to replace it is an app called Soulver ($1.99) adding more options and a history of your calculations.

If you want more scientific functions, the second app you should look at is PCalc ($4.99). It includes an optional RPN mode and multi-line display, a choice of button layouts, an extensive set of unit conversions and constants, a paper tape, multiple undo and redo, engineering and scientific notation, as well as support for hexadecimal, octal, and binary calculations.


Overcast is our top pick for replacement for the barebones Podcasts app by Apple. Overcast is a relatively new arrival on the App Store, but it brings features like Smart Speed, Voice Boost, and Smarter Playlists to help you listen to more podcasts in more places.

Related phones

iPhone 5s
  • Display 4.0 inches 1136 x 640 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera) 1.2 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A7 1GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 1570 mAh
  • OS iOS 12.x


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