The 20 best mobile apps to download now

Real Racing 3

Free; iPhone, iPad and Android


Minecraft Pocket Edition

£4.99; iPhone, iPad and Android


Sky Go

Free (subscription required); iPad, iPhone and Android


Offering entertainment from Sky's live TV and Anytime+ movies and sports content, Sky has upped the ante with this last major update. It allows users to download their favourite programmes to their mobile device and stream without a wi-fi or 3G connection.


Seene

Free; iPad and iPhone


A jaw-dropping app that lets you turn your iPhone into a basic 3D scanner, creating pictures that appear to move in front of your eyes as you rotate the phone. It's great fun, and simple to create your own 3D seenes.


My Culinary Encyclopedia

£23.99; iPad


Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse teaches you some of his techniques and secrets in this exhaustive app, which boasts 250 recipes from his Grand Livre de Cuisine. There's also detailed information on 180 ingredients, explaining how to select, store and prepare them, plus videos to teach more than 100 cooking skills. You can annotate the recipes, send shopping lists via email and create your own list of favourites. It's an expensive app but the wealth of high-quality information makes it worth the investment.


Urbanspoon

Free; iPhone, iPad and Android


Dining is made easy with Urbanspoon's smart bar and restaurant guide. Punch in your preferences by location, cuisine and budget (or just give it a good shake for a surprise suggestion) to find some of the best-reviewed spots in your neighbourhood.


Great British Bake Off

£2.99; iPhone and iPad


Useful for any level of baker, this app from the successful BBC series features savoury and sweet treats such as Mary Berry's tarte au citron, and beef and red wine pie. It is helpfully broken down into ingredient lists, skill-level tips and a step-by-step guide.


Triposo

Free; iPhone, iPad and Android


This beautifully designed app cuts the mustard when it comes to delivering curated information from locals and seasoned travellers on more than 8,000 destinations. The latest version sees interfaces tailored to specific devices to improve display.


Everyday Golf Coach HD

£4.99; iPad and iPhone


Packed with tips, videos and clever golfing tricks, this is a handy app to carry with you on the fairway. It has all the suggestions you need to improve your game, and a clever swing analyser to boot, and the latest tablet HD version looks superb.


Netflix

Free (subscription required); iPad, iPhone and Android


Box-set junkies love Netflix for its exhaustive back catalogue of on-demand titles, as well as a growing collection of original series (including the stellar House of Cards). The pin-sharp visuals and new AirPlay function for iOS 7 users - allowing devices to sync with any Apple TV - make the £5.99 subscription worth every penny.


Twitter

Free; iPhone, iPad and Android


Twitter lets you watch the world unfold around you. Read real-time stories and conversations, plus express yourself by sharing pictures and videos with friends, family and people with similar interests. Follow people to gain access to unique behind-the-scenes perspectives on the world at large.


National Trust

Free; iPhone, iPad and Android


With the latest opening times, prices and directions to more than 400 locations, it's never been easier to explore the UK's historic houses and countryside with the National Trust's simple app.


WhatsApp Messenger

Free; iPhone, iPad and Android


Usurped to an extent by Apple's own iMesssages feature, WhatsApp Messenger retains one key advantage: you can message friends who are on other smartphones. Think of it as free text messaging. WhatsApp is one of the most consistently popular apps of any category on the App Store.


Wikipedia Mobile

Free; iPhone, iPad and Android


Wikipedia is available online, but this official app lets you save articles to read later offline, handy if you know you will need to refer to something later when you are without wi-fi. The latest version has greater localisation of content.


Facebook

Free; iPhone, iPad and Android


The daddy of social networking entities has apps for every platform. They are well designed, especially the sumptuous iPad app, which makes photos look great. If you want to stay up to date with your social network, this is the best way.


Brian Cox's Wonders of the Universe

£3.99; iPhone and iPad


Spectacular video, gorgeous images and well-written text combine in this impressive and engrossing app. Pinch and zoom to see things in great detail. It now includes exclusive samples from the BBC series and extra features like causing the supernova explosion of Betelgeuse (not for real, you understand).


Flipboard

Free; iPhone, iPad and Android


Flipboard is the easiest way to catch up on the news or connect with friends. You can also collect and save pieces you like to build your own magazine. Pick a few topics and collate everything from world news to sports, travel and more.


Ladybird: I'm Ready for Phonics

£4.99; iPhone and iPad


Phonics are well established as the best way that children learn about letters and eventually start reading. This app supports the curriculum that children will follow at school and doesn't skip the hard parts that can't be easily sounded out. Some useful information for parents is also included.


Get Running (Couch to 5K)

£1.99; iPhone, iPad and Android


You might be a novice runner but this app will ease you along, building your strength and stamina over nine weeks to reach a goal of 5km in 30 minutes. A new single sign-in for Twitter and Facebook makes it easier to share your achievements.


Sleep Time

Free; iPhone, iPad and Android


Groggy morning wake-ups become a thing of the past with Sleep Time's smart alarm clock. Detecting movements while you sleep (using your phone's accelerometer), the virtual alarm clock sets itself off during your lightest sleep phases.


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