Yes, there really is an App for that -- for everything -- and new ones come to market every day. But what's out there that is truly useful for midlifers? Here are some that we swear we'd be lost without:
1. A Mapping app.
Yes, we would literally be lost without a mapping app. While we personally have some lingering trust issues with certain popular directional apps stemming from their early days of misleading us, there has been notable improvement in the accuracy over the past few years. A few apps, including Google Maps, offer cycling directions and integrate bike-only routes into their maps. Some apps offer walking navigation and instructions about how to get places using mass transit. PC Magazine offers this recent list of its top recommended mapping apps. So pick your poison: Google Maps, Mapquest and Apple Maps are the biggies.
So yes, it may be time to part ways with your Thomas Guide and the old AAA TripTik, which interestingly enough is still requested 1.5 million times a year. Think of the trees -- and don't be like this guy.
2. A real-time traffic app.
No more turning on the car radio "on the 5s" hoping that it will tell you what's causing the freeway backup and more importantly, how long it will take you to get to your destination. Now there's an app for that. WAZE has been a game-changer for many drivers. We know some Angelenos who won't leave home without checking their route on WAZE first.
Don't be like this guy either.
3. A fitness tracking app.
There are times when it seems that fitness tracking apps are technology's way of shaming you. There are apps that record and analyze what you eat, measure your steps, track your sleep and your exercise. This is all mildly interesting information and perhaps even motivational for some. What fitness apps don't do for a lot of people is get them to knock off the potato chips, keep track of their alcohol consumption (Has anyone ever entered their fourth glass of wine into their app? Didn't think so.), or tell them when they've just spent 18 of the last 24 hours in front of a screen. Now, those would be some cool features. In the meantime, there's MyFitnessPal.
Fitness apps often have wearable devices that they connect to -- a watch, a blood pressure monitor, a digital scale. While many of the apps are free, the devices are not. There is a plethora of apps out there, and remember: Don't be like this guy.
4. An app to remind you of stuff.
From grocery lists to remembering that the plumber is coming Thursday, there are plenty of apps in the "reminder space." They send a text message or sound an alarm as a reminder. Yes, of course you do have to remember to set them in the first place; nothing is fool-proof, especially when we are the fools. Try Any.do ranks high in the personal organization space by PC Magazine. Carrot To-Do may be nobody's favorite but it quite accurately bills itself as "the to-do list with a personality." Don't get the Carrot lady mad, that's all we're going to say.
5. An app to diagnose what ails you.
The Internet has given us all medical degrees. While WebMD is a perennial favorite, you are by no means limited to just that one when you play doctor. You can use Omnio to look up different medications, symptoms or keep up with the latest medical news for your diseases. You also can plug in your symptoms and the app will provide options of what you might have -- now how great is that feature, Marcus Welby, MD.? If you know what’s bothering you but don’t know what to buy at the drug store to take care of it, browse by pill name or ID it using what it looks like. This is a good app to avoid if you tend to be a hypochondriac, just sayin'.
And please, don't be like this.
6. An app to keep your brain sharp and impress your friends.
Everyone knows that doing puzzles is good for your brain. Some of the most-addicting apps are game apps, so you're in luck! Personally, we spend endless hours playing Merged! and Words with Friends, the world's most-popular word game. Remember, you are doing this for brain health, so it's a good thing. Just an aside on most game apps: There are also apps for game app cheating. Don't be this guy.
7. An app to help you pick out watermelons.
Somewhere, some place, there is research being done at this very minute into the No. 1 reason post-50 couples fight every July. It is "watermelon selection." Tapping, knocking, shaking, scratching the skin with your fingernail, checking if the stripes at the end match -- none of it ever actually works. So along comes PickAMelon, which claims to be the most sophisticated watermelon ripeness detector available in the app store. You place the microphone of your phone on the watermelon and tap on it until all three test lights are glowing and then wait for the results. Note: This is an entertainment app and if it doesn't work, don't blame us or the PickAMelon folks. And please, don't be this guy.