Sunday, February 10, 2013

Best iPad/iPhone Apps for Senior Missionaries

If you have an iDevice (iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch) and are serving in a Spanish-speaking mission, you undoubtedly use many of its built-in apps, for example:
  • Contacts (to keep information on fellow missionaries, local Church leaders, investigators as well as your friends and family at home)
  • Calendar (to keep track of appointments, meetings, events, birthdays, and holidays)
  • Mail (to receive and send email)
  • Music (to listen to music as well as to hear the missionary tasks in Spanish)
  • Safari (to access the world-wide web)
In addition to these apps (which come with your iDevice), you might also like other apps to help you in your service as a senior missionary. Here is a list of apps that I (Scott) recommend for senior missionaries serving in a Spanish-speaking country.

The Collins Spanish-English Dictionary Translation Dictionary and Verbs is the best Spanish-English English-Spanish dictionary currently available for iDevices. (The Oxford Spanish dictionary is actually the best, but it is no longer available.) Unfortunately, this app is very expensive (around $32). Fortunately, because I bought this app for my iPad, it is free on my other iDevices.

This app, simply called Spanish, is probably the best free Spanish-English English-Spanish dictionary (to remove banner ads, you can buy the app for $0.99). It contains all (or most) of the words in the Collins Spanish dictionary listed above, but it doesn't contain as many examples and explanations of each word.

LDS Gospel Library is absolutely essential for any senior missionary. It includes all the scriptures, many manuals, and many other Church resources. It includes scriptures and manuals in both English and Spanish.

The LDS Scripture Library is expensive but worth the cost. It is more complete than the LDS Gospel Library (in English, but not in Spanish) and has a fantastic search engine if you're looking for a scriptural reference or a quote from the Ensign or from some other Church source (manuals, study guides, etc.).

Navigation (to jump from one scripture to another) is much better than in the LDS Gospel Library, which makes it ideal for finding references fast during Church meetings.

This app also allows you to see the words and sheet music to hymns, to play built-in recordings of the hymns (with or without the words in English only, so it doesn't replace the LDS Music app, described below). The disadvantage of LDS Scriptures Library is that it doesn't contain the manuals in Spanish. That's why I use both of these apps.

Important Note: Whichever app you use, you should learn how to use "tabs" to be able to keep more than one book open at the same time (and even more than one place within the same book). For example, during Sunday School class, I keep open a tab with the instructor's manual, a tab for the main book and chapter of scriptures upon which the current lesson is based, and tabs for additional scriptures and references. I just touch a tab to jump back and forth among these references.

LDS Music is also an essential app. It contains the Church hymn book and the children's song book in English and Spanish. It includes the hymns/songs with just the words or with the words and notes, just as they appear in the printed hymn book.

There are other LDS hymn apps but I think this one is the best.

Pages is invaluable for keeping your missionary journal, writing notes, and creating and opening documents (such as your patriarchal blessing). The documents you create are automatically saved to iCloud, which you can then use on your laptop or desktop to download the documents. Even if you lose your iDevice and your laptop, your documents are still safe on iCloud.

I use Converter Plus (Universal) almost daily to convert between dollars and euros, between pounds and kilos, between miles and kilometers, and between Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures. I often use it to convert from liters, centimeters, and milliliters to quarts, gallons, and ounces or even to tablespoons and cups (or any other measure of volume).

You can use the app completely off line, but if you are online, it will automatically update the exchange rate of the currencies. Because the relative value of the euro and dollar change regularly, this is a nice feature.

If you live in Madrid, Madrid Metro by mxData is a great app for using the metro. It contains the metro map and also allows you to find out how to go from one metro station to another metro station, and clearly indicates the number of stops and the transfer points. There are metro apps for other cities in Spain (and probably cities in other countries) as well.
I use MapsWithMe Pro almost daily. It is a database of offline maps (so you don't have to be connected to the internet) of every highway, byway, road, and city street in Spain (and other countries). You can zoom in to see individual countries, cities, roads, and streets or zoom out to see the whole world. You can search to find cities, streets, monuments, restaurants, hotels, or many other locations. It is an essential app to help you get around your city and to travel around your mission or your country. This app also allows you to "pin" locations. For example, you can pin the location of your apartment, homes of members and investigators, businesses that you need to visit, or hotels to stay at if/when you travel. I highly recommend this app (there is also a free version that works well).

iBooks is a great app for reading Church literature. Each month, I download the Liahona in Spanish (free!) onto my laptop and then email the resulting PDF file to my iPad. I can then open (and save) the issue in iBooks for reading at a later time. (There is an app called LDS Liahona Español Magazine, but it has an annual subscription fee.) Some of the things that I have in my iBooks include the following: Predicad Mi Evangelio, Jesús el Cristo, Principios del Evangelio (English version as well), Enseñanzas de los Presidentes de la Iglesia (current and past volumes of these Priesthood and Relief Society manuals), Advanced Spanish Grammar, Diccionario de dudas de la lengua española, and Temple Spanish Tasks (and other Provo MTC Spanish task books).

I use the Deseret News app to keep up-to-date with news in Utah and in the Church.
You can't beat the BYUtv app for watching Church TV shows, BYU sports programs, and other shows in streaming video.
I use the app to listen to BYU games on the radio, when they aren't available for viewing on BYUtv.

That's my list of invaluable apps that will help you get the most from your iDevice while you are on your mission. If you have questions or comments about these apps, don't hesitate to send me an email (at

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