For all the talk of peak app, 2017 was a surprisingly inventive year for makers of apps and software, from the industry’s giants to intrepid startups. Many of this year’s best apps reflect broader trends in technology, including machine learning, augmented reality, cord cutting, and the rise of virtual assistants. Meanwhile, we’ve seen plenty of meaty improvements from apps that have been around for years. Here are the year’s best new apps, new software, and substantial updates.

Productivity Boosters

Talk to Google. Voice search on Android phones got a major overhaul this year with Google Assistant, but iPhone users needn’t feel left out. The standalone Google Assistant app for iOS has the same conversational skills, smart home controls, and ability to bring up personal info such as flight details and package arrivals. It also integrates with other Google apps such as YouTube and Google Maps, so while it’ll never have the same deep hardware integration as Apple’s Siri assistant, it might still be faster than tapping around on a touch screen. [iOS, Android]


Clipboard on steroids. In one of the most clever applications of iOS 11’s new drag-and-drop feature, Yoink provides a central location for links, text snippets, images, and anything else you might want to drag between apps. You can load the app in Split View, as a Slide Over window, or as a “keyboard” along the bottom of the screen, and you can even look up stored items with iOS 11’s Spotlight Search. It’s an invaluable tool for folks who’ve gone all-in on iPad multitasking. [iOS]

Like Files, only better. Although Apple now…