Top Picks: TechCrunch’s Must-Have Apps for 2023

As 2023 draws to a close, we reflect on some of our favorite apps that made everyday life a little easier this year. While flashy new AI apps and rival social networks were grabbing headlines, sometimes the most useful innovations fly under the radar. The apps on our best-of list may not have arrived in 2023, but they became daily staples that streamlined our work or brought small moments of joy. PSPlay makes it easy — it’s Remote Play on the go, as advertised. Beyond that, it delivers features that Sony’s official Remote Play app doesn’t, like support for third-party controllers, picture-in-picture mode and screen capture — making it well worth the $5.99 price.

As 2023 comes to a close, it’s time to look back on the apps that made our daily lives a little smoother this year. While flashy new AI apps and rival social networks were grabbing attention, there were some hidden gems that truly made a difference. These are the apps that may not have been new in 2023, but they became integral parts of our routines, helping us get things done, connect with others, and have some fun along the way.

At the top of our list is a beloved Mac app for Gmail, recommended by tech expert Ivan Mehta. “I have used and reviewed many email clients over the years,” Mehta shares. “I still rue the fact that Inbox by Google is no more.” Fortunately, Mehta has found solace in Mimestream, a simple yet powerful Gmail client created by former Apple engineer Neil Jhaveri. With features such as split view and customizable swipe gestures, Mimestream streamlines email management like no other.

But that’s not all – Mimestream also offers support for multiple accounts, a menu bar extension, and convenient features such as Gmail aliases and quick labeling for organization. It’s no wonder Mehta has deemed it one of his favorites this year.

“I have used and reviewed many email clients over the years. I still rue the fact that Inbox by Google is no more.”

– Ivan Mehta

Next on our list is a bite-sized comics app that not only provides entertainment, but also supports its talented creators. Tinyview, available on iOS, Android, and the web, offers a convenient format for reading popular webcomics like Itchy Feet, Fowl Language, and They Can Talk. But as editor Anna Heim discovered, it’s also a great way to support artists – giving them a “real living wage” through paid content and tips, in addition to bonus panels for subscribers.

Heim admits that her initial use of Tinyview was for pure enjoyment, but she soon learned of the meaningful impact it has for creators. “Over time, I learned that it makes authors happy, too,” she shares. “This is because, as one of them noted on Thanksgiving, they get ‘a real living wage,’ much more than through Patreon or book sales.” Plus, who can resist sending a “cookie,” “coffee,” “art supplies,” or “pizza” to show appreciation for a particularly enjoyable comic?

“Let’s be honest: If I started using Tinyview, it’s because it lets me read some of my favorite webcomic strips — Itchy Feet, Fowl Language and They Can Talk — in a convenient format that’s easy to navigate. But over time, I learned that it makes authors happy, too, because as one of them noted on Thanksgiving, they get ‘a real living wage,’ much more than through Patreon or book sales.”

– Anna Heim

For Natasha Lomas, a macro tracking app called MacroFactor has made a significant impact on her nutritional journey this year. As she shares, “This is actually the first (dedicated) macro tracking app I’ve used.” She came across it through a recommendation from climbing experts Hooper’s Beta, and has been pleasantly surprised by its “Zen-like minimalism.”

Aside from its simple interface, MacroFactor offers custom calorie and macro targets based on personal information and goals, as well as a cute food logging feature. Lomas appreciates that it doesn’t bombard users with notifications, making it a valuable tool for those looking to better understand their eating habits.

“If you’re after a no-nonsense tool that won’t blitz you with annoying notifications but will help you better understand the nutritional slant of what you’re eating you can’t go wrong with MacroFactor.”

– Natasha Lomas

For dog owners, finding the perfect playmate for their furry friend can be a challenge. That’s where the dog social app MMDC comes in, according to Lauren Forristal. “As a new puppy mom,” she shares, “finding other dogs with the same temperament as my rambunctious dachshund can be challenging.” But with MMDC, she’s able to connect with other small dog owners and set up playdates and meetups.

But MMDC doesn’t just offer convenient scheduling – it also has features like chat and photo sharing for pet parents to bond over their adorable dogs. Plus, with the added ability to see each other’s availability, Forristal has found it to be the perfect way to stay connected and make plans, even during the current pandemic.

“As a new puppy mom, finding other dogs with the same temperament as my rambunctious dachshund can be challenging…My favorite feature is the availability schedule so everyone can see which days we’re free.”

– Lauren Forristal

Amanda Silberling’s go-to app for reading is Libby, and she can’t recommend it enough. “Every time I meet someone new and learn that they love to read,” she says, “I ask them if they have Libby.” And it’s not hard to see why – with the ability to access e-books and audiobooks directly on your phone, Libby allows users to borrow content through multiple library cards and even send e-books to their Kindle accounts.

Silberling, an avid reader, has found Libby to be an essential tool for her reading goals, especially during the pandemic. “Since the start of the pandemic,” she shares, “I’ve read at least 50 books every year, and I couldn’t do it (or afford it, probably) without Libby.” Plus, sharing a Libby account with a friend adds an extra fun element of swapping and discussing book recommendations.

“Every time I meet someone new and learn that they love to read, I ask them if they have Libby. Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve read at least 50 books every year, and I couldn’t do it (or afford it, probably) without Libby.”

– Amanda Silberling

Finally, for gaming enthusiasts on the go, Kyle Wiggers suggests checking out PSPlay, a third-party client for PlayStation Remote Play. “I’m very late to the party,” he admits, “but my partner and I just began using the PlayStation 5’s Remote Play feature – a true godsend on those days when our bed sounds a lot more appealing than the couch.”

PSPlay makes it easy to take Remote Play out of the living room and onto the go, offering features like third-party controller support, picture-in-picture mode, and screen capture. And at only $5.99, it’s a small price to pay for instant gaming convenience.

“So, I’m very late to the party, but my partner and I just began using the PlayStation 5’s Remote Play feature – a true godsend on those days when our bed sounds a lot more appealing than the couch.”

– Kyle Wiggers

This year has been full of challenges, but these apps have proven to be valuable resources for making things a little easier. Whether it’s for productivity, entertainment, or simply connecting with others, these apps have made a difference in our lives. As we look towards the future, we’re excited to see what new innovations and useful apps will emerge in the coming year.

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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

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