Connected Favorite apps for that new phone

People around the world will be waking up Christmas morning to find a new smart phone under their tree.

If you’re one of the lucky souls to score a new phone, the excitement of ripping through the wrapping paper to get to your new toy is only half the fun.

After setting up your phone, the first order of business will probably be a selfie or two by the tree.

Then it’s on to downloading apps.

Of course, there are many apps from which to choose. Probably too many.

As of June 2016, there were over 2.2 million apps available to Android users and over 2 million apps for Apple devices, according to

It’s hard to know where to begin. Sure, you could start with must-have apps like Facebook and Instagram. Or maybe you’re a gamer, waiting for a chance to try your hand at Pokemon Go or Mobile Strike.

Some of the best apps for getting you through the holiday are actually Christmas-themed apps.

So, whether your smart phone is brand new, or you have an old phone due for an upgrade, Christmas apps are both fun and beneficial for getting through the season. Here are a few of my favorites:

How The Grinch Stole Christmas. A few years ago, I downloaded this app. My kids and I return to it every holiday. Of course, the great Dr. Seuss tale is not the only Christmas book available for iOS and Android platforms, but it is on the best for the money ($1.99). Sure, it’s designed for kids, but that’s my main motivation for opening it every holiday (secret: it’s actually a lot of fun for adults, too). Check out the reading options, tap the pictures as you navigate the pages, and listen to the professional narration or record your own.

Christmas Photo Apps. Getting everyone to fit around the Christmas tree for a family photo can be tough. Instead, you can capture that great moment anywhere and set it within an amazing holiday frame. With an app like “Christmas Photo Frames” available for Android and iOS devices, simply take a photo or pick one from your gallery, select a frame style (e.g., Santa Claus, candy canes, etc.), apply texture and tones (e.g., gray scale, sepia, etc.), and save it. When your masterpiece is complete, share it on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

Tracking Santa. Let’s be clear. NORAD’s Santa Tracker is the gold standard for following the big guy and his reindeer as they circumnavigate the globe. NORAD (or North American Aerospace Defense Command) offers great features including following Santa’s progress on Dec. 24, playing games, and listening to Christmas tunes. The app is free and available for Android and iOS devices. Make it extra special and track Santa’s moves with the rest of the family on your large, Internet-connected television.

Merry Christmas.

Adam Earnheardt is chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University. Read his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @adamearn.

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