Making the most of my iPhone while I'm offline
August 12, 2010 2:32 PM   Subscribe

What are your favourite iPhone apps that can be used offline?

I've just inherited a jailbroken iPhone 3G that I'm using without a data plan. What are some apps that I can install that don't require cellular data or wi-fi? I have wi-fi at home but otherwise my wi-fi access is spotty.

I'm looking for anything fun or useful that can help pass the time while I'm waiting for the bus, stuck in line somewhere, or taking a break at work. I'm especially interested in finding a good offline app for quick and simple "to do" lists (syncing to my Macbook would be nice, but the most important thing is that it's fast and easy on the iPhone).
posted by exquisite_deluxe to Technology (31 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Joe Beese at 2:33 PM on August 12, 2010

Dear God, Tetris. It's a little frustrating that it ends after level 15 (Seriously, I can beat that with my eyes closed), but it's still entertaining.
posted by two lights above the sea at 2:35 PM on August 12, 2010

My favorite iPhone game is warblade. Absolutely addictive and fantastic.
posted by Carillon at 2:36 PM on August 12, 2010

For the "to do list": I use Todo and I've heard good things about Things.
posted by two lights above the sea at 2:37 PM on August 12, 2010

Best answer: Angry Birds is the best $1 I've spent in months. There's a reason it's the #1 app.
posted by mrsshotglass at 2:38 PM on August 12, 2010 [5 favorites]

Glyder, 1 and 2
posted by nomadicink at 2:39 PM on August 12, 2010

Drop 7
Zen Bound
Flight Control

Eucalyptus (expensive but a fantastic interface)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:45 PM on August 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

Seconding Angry Birds. My wife and I barely speak any more, as our lives are consumed with murdering smug little fucking green pigs.
posted by Skot at 2:51 PM on August 12, 2010 [9 favorites]

Angry Birds
Memory Block (It's like Simon)
the Couch 2 5 k app
posted by dpx.mfx at 2:53 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Osmos is lovely. Like playing snooker whilst living in an Orb album. Really.
posted by jontyjago at 2:56 PM on August 12, 2010

Kindle -- I'm never w/o a book!
posted by elmay at 3:05 PM on August 12, 2010

Encyclopedia is an offline Wikipedia app. It downloads a copy of the text of the English Wikipedia, so it takes up about 2.6GB, but it's pretty handy.
posted by jedicus at 3:06 PM on August 12, 2010

The New York Times Crossword Puzzle app.
posted by painquale at 3:12 PM on August 12, 2010

More games: Orbital and DoodleJump
posted by kimdog at 3:14 PM on August 12, 2010

Evernote can be used offline, and is great for to-dos (and it's free!). You can also sync notebooks to your iDevice for reference offline.
posted by jasondbarr at 3:21 PM on August 12, 2010

Angry Birds, oh my YES! I usually get frustrated with this type of game and quit, but I've enjoyed Angry Birds and used walkthroughs for the tough levels. My husband keeps stealing my Touch to play it.

Gas Cubby for tracking gas usage/mileage. Much better than a notebook.

FreeAppADay requires internet, but helps me find free apps (usually games) that don't require internet.

I'm not as addicted as I was, but iProximity is a neat little strategy game.

Other games: Skee-Ball, the Associate This series, Civilization Revolution, Dark Nova (Space Trader for the iPhone), Call of Atlantis (sorta Bejeweled, with extras+backstory)

Melodica for random musical amusement. Plus it entertains small children.

Some of these were free, some were $.99, some were free via the FAAD app but may cost now - Civilization Revolution and Dark Nova in particular.
posted by booksherpa at 3:46 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Some of my favorite five-minute fixes that haven't been mentioned yet: Doodle God, Fruit Ninja, Sword & Poker 2, and Babo Crash HD. Doodle Find is a nice cheap as in free thrill.

Don't get the NYT Crossword app if you don't already have a subscription, and it will require regular wifi updates to be worthwhile.

Todo is pretty good, although I don't know if a lot of the functionality is lost without regular web access.

Other random useful apps: Hipstamatic is one of my favorite photography apps, and if you're the lady type I'm assuming you to be, Period Tracker Deluxe is a surprisingly handy app.

I review apps for a living, so feel free to memail me if you have any questions.
posted by Diagonalize at 3:48 PM on August 12, 2010

OffMaps is a big help in your pocket for when you need a map. Download and cache where you need to go. (Note, your plan-less iPhone is essentially an iPod Touch.)
posted by Nelson at 3:49 PM on August 12, 2010

On several occasions I've found it useful that the app works offline.
posted by AnimalKing at 3:51 PM on August 12, 2010

Evernote can be used offline, and is great for to-dos

Ugh. Evernote has it's strengths. It's terrible for a task manager unless all you want is a list (and simplenote does that better).

Things looks great but still depends on the desktop version for many things.

OmniFocus does pretty well without the desktop version, but isn't cheap (as far as iPhone apps go) and might be more than you want in a task manager.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 4:31 PM on August 12, 2010

Nthing angrybirds, Simplenote, Stanza, Instapaper, GoodReader. Also, Bejeweled and Hive.
posted by rtha at 4:56 PM on August 12, 2010

One more game: Tilt to Live. Seriously addictive.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 5:15 PM on August 12, 2010

Seconding Carcassonne!
posted by synecdoche at 5:22 PM on August 12, 2010

nthing Instapaper. Also, the New York Times app- it works well if you update it before leaving your house in the morning (then you can read the news whenever). The LA Times app is similar.
posted by majikstreet at 6:56 PM on August 12, 2010

The National Film Board (NFB) of Canada app. It is free and lets you load up to three films that you can watch off-line, for a 48 hour period. You can load up new films whenever you have access to Wifi. The selection of films & animations is outstanding.
posted by Cuke at 7:46 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding Tilt to Live and Carcassonne, adding Osmos and Bowmaster and Jet Car Stunts.
posted by nicwolff at 8:46 PM on August 12, 2010

Angry BIrds ROCKS.

Also civilization revolution i think is $.99 Its also worth it.
posted by majortom1981 at 4:27 AM on August 13, 2010

I'm enjoying Angry Birds, Gas Cubby, the NY Times, Weightbot, Sporcle, and any of the Big Fish hidden object games.
posted by cheapskatebay at 7:11 AM on August 13, 2010

Yeah, Civilization Revolution is the only game that I have not deleted from my iPhone since installing it. It's perfect.
posted by painquale at 9:34 AM on August 13, 2010

SimpleNote, Instapaper, and the games Plants vs. Zombies, Strategy and Carcassonne.
posted by chunking express at 11:49 AM on August 13, 2010

Have to agree with the 'Simplenote' recommendation. Any notes you add will sync next time you're on wi-fi. There's a lovely Dashboard widget for it too: Dashnote.

'True (offline) Maps'. But oh does it take forever to download the maps initially!
I have a UK route planner too; maybe there's one for your country.
You might find apps that use the GPS chip in the iPhone to provide location services will work. Or maybe they need a bit of data access too--probably some do and some don't. Can anyone who knows more chime in? I only have an iPod so I don't know much about how GPS apps work.

I wonder if there's a language translator that works offline. The one I have doesn't. Mmm...

My favourite offline use for my iPod is to just get my RSS reader up to date then read the articles when I'm out.

Install a third-party wi-fi finder because the one built into the iPhone is crap and doesn't see a lot off networks.

'Cambio' for converting lots of things like weights and currencies.

'Dropbox'. Anything you favorite in the iPhone app will be downloaded to the phone for permanent access.

If you blog you can make draft entries to post later with most blogging apps. Tweets can be saved as drafts as well of course.

'Kalm Sutra', '69 Positions', 'The Perfumed Garden. ;-)
'Vincent'. An official, free multimedia presentation about Van Gogh's life and work.
'OECD Factbook'. Lots economic, environmental and social info.
'Oxford Dictionary of World History'.
'The World Factbook'.
I know someone read 'War and Peace' on his iPhone while commuting. You could try audiobooks too, and podcasts.
There are comics like 'Craphound'.

If you want silly little games when you've some time to spare try: 'Jumbline Lite', 'Resquare', 'Fling' 'Wordsearch' 'Labyrinth 2', 'Ski Jump Lite'. 'RM' (Record Makers) is a totally surreal, humorous art game that defies description, just try it.

'Ambience' is handy when you can't access In a similar vein, 'Birdclock' is cool. 'Pocket Pond' puts an animated, interactive carp pond on your screen.
posted by Deor at 4:17 PM on August 13, 2010

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