Five smartphone apps to optimise your life

Have you been relying on the same dozen apps for the past few years, but never have the time to explore the app store for something new? You could be missing out on some new time savers or productivity tools. With that in mind, here are some fantastic and genuininely useful apps we’ve found to freshen up your home screen.

And remember — if you rely on your smartphone to get you through the day, as many of us do, you’ll want to know you can get it repaired or replaced if it’s accidentally lost or damaged. Portable valuables^, like phones, can be covered as part of GIO Classic Home & Contents or Contents Insurance policy as an optional extra you pay extra for.

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EpocCam Pro

In the era of the webcam, it’s often frustrating to know that our smartphone has the best camera we own, but we’re stuck taking meetings or catching up with friends through a poor quality camera on our laptop. EpocCam Pro changes that, letting you use your smartphone camera as a wireless webcam, and it works really well. Install the related app on Windows or Mac and your iPhone appears as a webcam option in all the applications you use. For a similar app for Android, try Iriun Webcam or DroidCam.

Price: $12.99 | Platform: iOS, Android


You’ve heard many apps and services talk about two-factor authentication. But have you done anything about it to protect the most important parts of your digital life? Authy is a free app that can manage all those extra codes for you and — unlike many others — it can even synchronise those real-time codes across multiple devices. This is one of the most valuable steps you can take to protect your digital identity, so using an app like Authy to keep it all in one place is a huge help to knowing you have it all under control.

Price: Free | Platform: iOS, Android


If you’re ready to move on past basic to-do lists through your built in notes apps, Todoist is an amazingly powerful way to keep your productivity on track. You can categorise to-do items and set deadlines, and there’s even settings to be reminded of tasks when you arrive or depart certain locations like home, work or your local shops. You can also set shared to-do lists to assign things – a powerful option for families who want to really get things done.

Price: Freemium ($5.50/month for Pro version) | Platform: iOS, Android


Australia’s own Canva is one of the world’s leading graphic design tools online, and it can be a great way to create flyers, postcards or images for sharing on social media. On a free plan you can use thousands of templates for personal tasks like invitations, fun photo designs and club posters, or for work tasks like social media imagery, banners and promotional posters. Canva now also offers integration with Snap printing to get physical prints delivered to your door.

Price: Freemium ($13.74/month for pro version) | Platform: iOS, Android

Carrot Weather

For many, the default weather app is more than enough. But for those who want more detail and accuracy, or just a smarter design, Carrot gives a highly readable forecast with loads of extra details for those who take their weather seriously. It also adds some comedy to the mix by presenting the voice of Carrot as an AI that hates all humans. Don’t worry, you can tone down the laughs if you're just after the excellent weather reporting.

Price: Freemium ($24.49/year) | Platform: iOS, Android

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Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

The information in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries. The apps mentioned in this article are owned and operated by third-parties who we have no association with.

^Optional cover with a Classic Home and Contents or Contents insurance policy for items that are normally carried with you away from home, like jewellery and cameras. They can be unspecified or specified. Unspecified items don't need to be mentioned on your certificate of insurance and will be covered up to a set limit (max $1,000 per item, and total up to your sum insured). Specified items are those which you'd like to be covered for a particular amount, rather than the set limit. Please refer to the PDS before buying this insurance.