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" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A7, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 1570 mAh(10h 3G talk time)



1. pubbaa

Posts: 25; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

I'd love to see a gallery app. It's a complete pain to sync photos once the pc has been installed with a fresh windows os

2. Cynaraos

Posts: 13; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

Most of these applications probably require iOS 6 or 7, which I can't install on my only iPad. I think I'm too poor, what would [you other] commenters say?

3. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

ipad 1st gen?

6. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

It's iOS7 era now, so forget that any dev will support iOS5

9. kalloud

Posts: 155; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

Well you can buy a used ipad 2 for pretty cheap now, and an ipad 2 can run up to ios 8 so it can have support for 2-3 years from now.

16. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

For app updates maybe yes, for OS updates NO....Apple support its devices for 36 months.

35. kbakker

Posts: 16; Member since: Dec 16, 2014

Do not update an iPad 2 to iOS 8! You'll regret it if you do. Mine has been buggy and slow every since. Stick with 7. The iPhone 4s has the same problem. They shouldn't have allowed these devices to get the update. The hardware just can't support it.


Posts: 290; Member since: Dec 15, 2014

Buy an Android tablet. Less expensive than an ipad, more options, expandable memory, there's literally no reason to choose an ipad over an Android tablet.

34. AlikMalix unregistered

Sales quota low this week?

4. Lt.Green

Posts: 397; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Somehow I still prefer stock apps.

11. hellbread

Posts: 309; Member since: Nov 21, 2014

Agree, ios stock apps are perfectly fine. But that procam8 is very good. I had v7 when i had iphone and it was working like a charm.

21. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

No app on this planet is perfect. Now having said that, maybe you have found a way to live within the limitations of what the stock apps provide. Hwoever, that is why their are altrenative because someone else felt they can do it better. Fcat - Google Maps is better than Apple Maps. Does that mean you have to use Google Maps if Apple Maps work for you? No! But that doesn't mean Apple Maps is the best and factually it isn't. If you just need something that will work, it doesn't matter if its the best.

36. kbakker

Posts: 16; Member since: Dec 16, 2014

To each his own. Some of the replacement options are clearly better than the stock options (gmail, Google maps, evernote, etc.)

5. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

For music there is no better app than Ecoute.

7. Victor.H

Posts: 1056; Member since: May 27, 2011

This one somehow got under the radar, but it's definitely worthy.


Posts: 290; Member since: Dec 15, 2014

Fail article.The absolute best thing one could download to an iphone to alleviate the pain of iphone ownership would be Android 4.4

17. darkkjedii

Posts: 30969; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

That was stupid, and not funny at all.


Posts: 290; Member since: Dec 15, 2014

And yet it got your panties all a twist. So yeah, it was pretty funny.

19. Mxyzptlk unregistered

What kind of sick fantasy do you have for wanting men in panties? Actually I rather not know.


Posts: 290; Member since: Dec 15, 2014

He's literally wearing panties in his profile pic. I know your brain doesn't work well, I am sorry to see your eyes don't work very well either. Certainly explains your obsession with hideous apple trinkets, poor guy can't even see just how uggo they are.

28. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Yet you asked. HMMMM!?

20. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

This article is so funny. It basically admits to the fact, Apple's options of apps suck. That, or you simply may have a preference that works for you that you may be more familiar with. The best solutions to Apple's offerings for me come preinstalled on my phone and don't cost me any extra money. I dont have to go searching for them either. Mail - Apple's mail app has come along way, but it's only finally supporting features I had on GMAIL for quite a while. Apple's mail app is also very slow and still doesn't even allow the simplest capabilities. For example. Apple's mail app still only lets you attach photos, while with GMail I can attch any file type I want. Downloading another mail app wont solve this problem on iOS because of the locked down filesystem. Calendar is a toughy. I refuse to mention my device, but it comes installed with 2 calandar apps. One by the phones manufacturer and the other is from Google. Both essentailly can pull data from the same source so they basically work nearly identical. However, the manufacturer calandar actually offers me a couple extra nicies over the Google one. Either way, they burn the Apple one. Here is the biggest flaw with Apple's calendar. When I use to travel alot, and I set a event, iOS doesn't adjust for my change in time zones. So when I travel, it sets all evens based on my local time zone. But when I switch to another zone and the clock updates, it doesn't reset the times on the events to cover the new time change. My MFR's calendar does do this. When I set the event, I can choose whcj time zone this event takes place. When that times comes, and I am in that zone, the alers come at the proper time. Not hours earlier or later like on iOS. No calendar app on IOS will change this because this is an IOS flaw that has existed since day one that has never been fixed. Browser - On iOS it doesn't matter what broswer you use by name. They are all forced to use the Apple Safari Webkit API. Which means even if you install Chrome, it is seen as Safari. On my device, my broswer registers as its own enitity. Potentially every broswer on iOS is flawed because they are forced to use the flawed Safari engine. Apple Maps - The biigest joke ever on iOS. Google Maps is the answer, but I've tried Nokia's Here app which is now avail on Android, and even in BETA it works way better than iOS. The only plus I saw with Apple Maps is when you look at the map in 3D it looks cool. Its not better, just looks cool. Calculator - Mine has basic and scientific functions already and its free too. Podcasts - Do people actually listen to podcasts?

22. slyooney

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

I agree with you. Actually, replacing all the stocks apps by these (or others) was the first step I made toward switching to another platform (each app I use a lot can be found on Android) I haven't yet decide wich my next phone will be and my iphone 5 still works quite fine (despite a reduced life > 2 years old) But I will have to change it in 2015 and I'm really looking toward an Android phone to replace it...

37. kbakker

Posts: 16; Member since: Dec 16, 2014

Smart move. There's going to be some really impressive devices coming out in Q1 and Q2 next year. I still use a macbook pro and an iPad, but I see myself using android phones for the foreseeable future.

30. jimjam unregistered

procamera 8 is fantastic.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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