12 Apps to make your bus, train or tube commute more fun and productive

apps for commute
Most people’s journey to work has patchy internet at best, making surfing the web and Social media near impossible. Kindle, Spotify and Podcasts are great fallbacks for offline entertainment, but to change things up a bit, try some of the apps below, which are ideal for filling time during a commute with little or no internet access.

Apps for life-hacking and getting stuff done during your commute

  • Wunderlist
  • wunderlist

    A super-simple app that helps you manage group or personal to-do lists, write shopping lists or generate ideas. The ability to share lists makes it simple to stay on top of things you are working on with friends, colleagues or family.

    Update your lists during your commute and be ready to attack them when you get to work or arrive home.

    Available for iOS, Android, as well as as an app for Mac, Chromebook, Windows 8 or as a browser extension.

  • Splitwise – IOU app for keeping track of shared expenses
  • splitwise
    Here is another great app for staying on top of your personal admin. Splitwise takes the trouble out of sharing expenses with friends, housemates or family, or anyone you’ve lent or borrowed money from.

    Splitwise keeps a running total over time, so you can pay each other back in one big payment, instead of a lot of small ones.

    Get on top of your IOUs from the weekend during your morning commute and arrive at work ready to tackle the day.

    Available on iOS and Android.

  • Pocket – save articles that you wanted to read then catch up on the train
  • pocket-app

    Pocket lets you save articles directly from your browser or from apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse and Zite. Once saved to Pocket, it’s on your phone, tablet or computer and you don’t need an Internet connection to view them.

    Available on iOS, Android and Mac App Store

  • Listen – pre-programmed status messages to play to callers
  • listen

    If you have patchy reception or simply want to switch off your phone and relax during your commute, listen is a great way to let your callers know. Listen will automatically play any status message for the caller to hear instead of a ringtone, you can even play certain songs to your callers as a fun way to entertain them. Or even schedule your status messages to play at certain times of day.

    Available for Android and iOS users on T-Mobile and Orange.

Apps for getting creative during your commute

  • Hyperlapse – record your journey
  • hyperlapse

    Hyperlapse from Instagram allows you to shoot a video that then gets automatically stabilised to smooth out and give it a slick, cinematic feeling.

    Capture an entire bus journey in 30 seconds – add some music and send it to friends so they can get a glimpse of your daily life. It’s surprising how good even the mundane can look on high-speed!

    Available on iPhone only at present.

  • VSCOcam – edit and improve your photos on the move
  • vsco cam

    VSCO has some great tools for editing and adapting your photos – allowing you to catch up on editing your photos while you are on the train or bus. You can also showcase your original photography, find and follow creatives from around the world and view a curated selection of the finest images online.

    Available on iOS and Android

Apps for total escapism on your commute

  • Stitcher – listen to and discover new podcasts
  • stitcher

    Discover new comedy, sports and talk radio shows and save them for offline listening while you are out of range.

    Easy-to-use browsing means you can uncover the best of radio and podcasts from the obscure to the wildly popular from over 25,000 shows, podcasts and live stations.

    Available on iOS and Android

  • Sky Go Extra – lets you download movies and TV for your journey
  • sky

    This one is for Sky customers only and depends on your Sky TV subscription. It lets you download movies and Box Sets to watch offline. Just download shows before you head off via Wi-Fi to compatible laptops, mobiles and tablets and you’re ready to roll.

    It costs £5 extra a month – worth it if you commute a lot.

  • RealPlayer Cloud – access your entire video collection on your phone or tablet
  • realplayer cloud

    Okay, so we are biased, but our customers are telling us that RealPlayer Cloud is a pretty neat app for moving videos you have saved on your PC or Mac to your phone or tablet for watching offline.

    With the PC app you can also download any videos from YouTube that aren’t rights-protected, then seamlessly transfer them to your tablet for offline watching on the move.

    Available on Kindle Fire, Android, iOS, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox, Mac & PC.

    Apps for self-improvement during your commute

  • Headspace – get some headspace (meditation) before and after the workday
  • headspace

    Headspace is a nice simple way to give meditation a try, with ten-minute taster sessions to get you started on your meditation journey.

    The downtime during your commute is the perfect place to get started and clear your mind before and after a day at work, as long as you are comfortable shutting your eyes for ten minutes while they walk you through it.

    Available on Android, iOS and Amazon Appstore.

  • Duolingo – learn a new language with fun games
  • duolingo

    Duolingo won Apple’s 2013 App of the year. It’s a very addictive, super fun way to build vocabulary in your language of choice. It makes it feel more like a game than a learning activity, and the competitive amongst you can pit yourself against your mates. Currently available in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English.

    Available on iOS and Android

  • Peak – Personalised self-improvement app
  • peak

    Peak is designed to help you train your memory, focus, problem solving, mental agility and language skills with fun, games. Currently it has 20 games to help you build healthy habits, with adaptive and dynamic difficulties, unique challenges, personalised workouts and daily goals.

    iOS only

If all else fails…

For when your journey goes completely pear-shaped there is always Uber – for on-demand private taxis or CityMapper – to give you all the info you need to plan out an alternative journey.

And for when you really are stuck in one spot – here are some games that the team at RealPlayer HQ are addicted to right now:

  • Super Hexagon for high paced gaming
  • Terra Battle: a tactical RPG
  • PunchQuest: awesome infinite scrolling game
  • Threes: the better version of 1234
  • Puzzle and Dragons puzzle video game with elements of RPGs and strategy games
  • Carcassonne (game) The app version of the board game
  • Hay day: Farm simulation game

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