If you’re one of the lucky people whose Christmas lists include the latest mobile device, then you’ll want to get your mitts on the new tech so that you can hit the ground running. Whether you want to play bingo, find the latest cooking recipes, get in shape, or enjoy other exciting hobbies, you’ll probably need an app to help you.
Whether it’s the latest Android or iPhone smartphone, or a brand new tablet or iPad – we want to help you start loading it up with the best new apps on the market. So here’s an early Christmas present – the top nine apps available this holiday season (as well as a runner-up in each category). Let’s go!
1. Christmas theme
What better way to celebrate your newly acquired mobile device than with a Christmas-themed app? There are many contenders for this category, but here’s our top app that you can enjoy right now, as well as an honourable mention:
Top app – Christmas Countdown
It’s Christmas, you’ve opened your presents and got your brand new mobile device and are wondering what’s the first app you should download – Christmas Countdown of course! What better way to spend the year than counting down the days to next Christmas? Christmas Countdown by developer Jupli can be configured with various backgrounds and music, and will tick off the months, weeks, days, and hours till Santa’s next visit!
Honourable mention – Elf Yourself
Need a chuckle with your mince pies on Christmas evening? Then you absolutely have to download the free Elf Yourself app. All you have to do is take a photo of you or your family, and the app will turn you and them into elves and create a dancing video. If you’ve ever been curious as to whether you could pass yourself off as one of Santa’s helpers, this is your chance. Simple, brilliant and heaps of fun!
While some of us may choose to avoid spending time in the kitchen, others look forward to whipping up a culinary storm any chance they get. If you’re one of the latter, or perhaps if you just need a little more inspiration when it comes to cooking for guests, you’re bound to find some enlightenment with these two great apps.
Top app – Kitchen Stories
Even if you usually avoid making your own food, you may find yourself getting inspired and loving the time you spend cooking with Kitchen Stories. Not only does this incredible cooking app come with a huge number of recipes, more are added every day thanks to the international community that supports this app. Whether you’re a novice or an aspiring chef, you’re bound to find something to suit your taste (literally), thanks to the videos, photos, and step-by-step recipes in this app.
Honourable mention – BBC Good Food
If you’re looking for a slightly more curated culinary experience, and one that’s a bit more UK-focused, then be sure to check out the BBC Good Food app. Recipes are all curated by the BBC Good Food team, with more recipes added on a frequent basis. So if you’re really proud of a recipe you’ve been perfecting, why not share it so others can enjoy them?
Things have undoubtedly changed from a couple of decades ago when it was considered strange to try and find a partner online. Whether you’re single and looking for a bit of fun, or perhaps interested in something a bit more serious, there are more apps than ever to help you find the perfect date.
Top app – Tinder
Do we even need to go into detail about this app? There may have been other online dating sites that pre-date Tinder, but this app is the one that officially took online dating to the next level. No matter what you think about it, there’s absolutely no doubt that this is still the most popular app for dating, which also makes it the one you’re most likely to find your special someone on (if for no other reason than its sheer number of users). Get your swiping finger ready!
Honourable mention – Bumble
“Ladies first” is undoubtedly the focus of our honourable mention, Bumble. There’s absolutely no doubt that online dating can be a bit of a minefield, especially for women, which is why Bumble is our second choice. This female-friendly app has been designed from the ground up with improved privacy features, and also requires that women take the first step and message first. Unfortunately, matches disappear if a conversation isn’t started within 24 hours, which means you might miss out on the love of your life (or at least a great date) if your match is busy and doesn’t have the time to drop you a line. But you know what? Sometimes great things come from spontaneity, so if you like the idea of prompt responses, this app could really resonate with you.
4. Entertainment and gossip news
Want to get your fingertips on who’s dating who in the world of celebrities? Or what’s available to keep you entertained when you’re bored at home on a Friday night? Check out these two apps and you’ll never be out of the loop with the latest celebrity news.
Top app – The Daily Mail’s MailOnline
Chock full of the latest celeb news that’s relevant to the UK, views and gossip, it’s your direct link to the A to Z list, available free in the App Store and Android stores. The app also has regular news, sports and fashion news if you’re interested in more than just celebrity gossip.
Honourable mention – Mirror
Honestly, it’s almost a tie between The Mirror’s bespoke app and MailOnline, so if you’re looking for the latest celebrity and other news, you can’t go wrong with either of these apps. (However, note that the two news brands behind these apps differ quite widely on their political stance, so you may well wish to download both apps for a balanced view.)
There’s never been a better time to be a mobile gamer, with great free and paid titles, as well as online casino games, regularly coming out for mobile devices. Whether you are a social gamer, consider yourself more of a “hardcore” gaming fan, or enjoy some gambling from time to time, here are two great options.
Top app – Mecca Bingo
Fancy a flutter but want to keep it fun? Then the Mecca Bingo App is definitely the way to go. There’s a brand new tablet app or award-winning mobile bingo app (crowned Best Mobile Bingo Product in the 2019 EGR Awards) and both are just the ticket. As an extra Christmas pressie, you’ll get up to £60 free when you make your first deposit, but there are also other great promotions available. The best bingo app this Christmas is available free via this link, so download it to enjoy a huge range of bingo and casino games.
Honourable mention – Coin Master
If you’re interested in regular mobile games, Coin Master is currently dominating the charts on both Android and iOS. The goal of this fun mobile game is to build up your village, but you need some gold to do that! Raid other villages, spin a wheel of fortune, and collect other treasures to help build your village and turn it into your kingdom!
6. Health and fitness
Just because it’s the holiday season, you shouldn’t forget about the importance of staying fit. Or if you are planning to indulge, at least plan ahead to get back in shape after the holiday season. Here are our top picks for apps to help you stay fit and healthy.
Top app – Nike Training Club
If you’re looking for an all-round training app that has everything you might need, from yoga and core training to quick workouts, you cannot go wrong with the Nike Training Club. This app has literally everything you need to get started, as well as wellness and nutrition advice, a motivational feed, and much more! And the great news is that it’s all available for absolutely nothing. Just download and get started!
Honourable mention – Couch to 5K
If you’re looking to get yourself off the sofa and hit the road (with your running shoes), check out Couch to 5K. The aim of this app is to provide people with all the advice they need to eventually run a 5K marathon! Even if you thought you would never go for a distance that long, you could end up surprising yourself. The app comes with a training plan, virtual coaches, an in-app music player, and many more features to help you achieve your goal of being 5K-ready.
Looking for something to bust a move to, wind down over the last few hours of your holiday, or even get you pumped up for work? There are a plethora of choices when it comes to music apps, but only a few truly stand out when it comes to being user-friendly, good value and having every tune you could ever want to listen to.
Top app – Spotify
If you enjoy music, chances are you’ve already downloaded and installed this app. Spotify is the most popular music app, regularly topping the charts when it comes to downloads. This is unsurprising since it offers free and multiple paid options, so you can pick what best suits your budget. Add in an absolutely massive library of music (more than 70 million songs), support for a huge number of platforms, and the fact that it’s very easy to use, and you have a great app to meet your audio needs.
Honourable mention – YouTube Music
If you’re a YouTube Premium subscriber, you already have access to this great app with hours of music, as well as something the other apps don’t have to offer: music videos! Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the audio quality of many other apps, but YouTube Music is still great for more casual listeners who may not have the highest-end headphones or speakers anyway.
Looking to stay up to date on all the latest news from the UK and abroad? These apps will keep you in the loop on the most important happenings from around the world.
Top app – BBC News
The BBC News app remains the benchmark for news and programming. As you’d expect from the UK’s national broadcaster, the app is slick and packed with great features including top stories, push notifications, a customisable news feed thanks to the “My News” tab, and much more! It really is the benchmark for both news and longer features.
Honourable mention – The Guardian
Another close call between apps in this category – The Guardian is also packed with the latest groundbreaking news and has many of the features the BBC News app has. There are also some great “lunchtime reads” – longer pieces you can really get into when you’ve got the time. Ultimately, though, it’s up to you which news source you prefer… but hey, why not have both?
While casual sports fans may be okay with getting their sports updates from a regular news app, serious sports connoisseurs will want a dedicated app to keep them up to date on all the latest sporting news. Here are our top two picks:
Top app – LiveScore: Live Sports Scores
Interested in the latest scores on live matches in football, hockey, basketball, tennis and cricket? You’ll find the latest updates on a variety of sports, as well as the options to receive updates, analysis from the LiveScore team, and even enjoy sports-related news updates. This service has existed since 1998, and it’s great to see how it continues to satisfy eager sports fans even today.
Honourable mention – Sky Sports
For the sports fan who’s more interested in sports-related news in your household, as well as regular updates on various sports including football, F1, boxing, cricket, rugby, and more, Sky Sports has it all. Ultimately, if you enjoy a sport that LiveScore doesn’t cover, we recommend this app in its place.
Enjoy great bingo and more at Mecca Bingo
Take a pick from these delights and your new phone or tablet will be the envy of your family by the time the turkey is rolled out again for sandwiches on Christmas evening! And once you’re done showing off all your phone’s great new features, why not try your luck with some online bingo (including free bingo games) at Mecca Bingo? But that’s not all you can enjoy at our great bingo site – you can also play slots online, scratchcards, and even raffles!
Register online to join in the fun!