If there’s one common trait among most smartphone apps, it’s that they tend to draw your attention inward and shut out the outside world. However, two of my favorite mobile apps use your phone’s camera to help you get even more out of the world around you.
Using augmented reality, these apps allow you to point your phone’s camera at different objects to learn more about them.
Many of these features are being built into more modern Android devices and iPhones — for example, the iPhone’s camera app can now do that recognize dog breeds as well as Plantand both Visual Lookup and Google Lens also provide much more context to what you’re seeing through your smartphone’s camera.
But there are still a few things that phones just can’t do alone. And that’s where these apps come in. They didn’t make it onto our list though The best AR appsthey are still worth a look.
Best of all, both apps are available for Android and iOS phones, so you can use them regardless of your device.
My home happens to be near the approach path from Teterboro and Newark Liberty International Airport, so there always seems to be an airplane hovering over me. As a longtime airplane freak, I always wonder about the airplane and where it flies to.
With Flightradar24 I can see all the details of every passing plane – where it’s going, its altitude, speed, arrival and departure times and even photos of the plane. But what I really like about Flightradar24 is the AR function.
With AR on, I just point my phone at any plane in the sky and see all that information at a glance. It’s fun to see a plane flying to Milan or Frankfurt, for example, and imagine being on the plane yourself. Unfortunately, it only tracks civilian planes, so you can’t see when Air Force One flies by.
Flightradar24 is free but offers two upgrades: a $9.98/year subscription removes ads and includes more aircraft details and flight history, while a $34.99/year subscription adds aeronautical charts, weather layers and more. But you will get a lot out of the free version.
Download Flugradar24: Android | iOS
When the sun goes down, I also look up at the sky to see which celestial bodies I can spot. While the New York City area is plagued by a lot of light pollution, if you’re going to the country, the Star Chart app is great. As Carl Sagan once said, there are billions and billions of stars and I don’t know a thing about them.
Like Flightradar24, once you open the star map app, simply point it at the sky to see what’s out there. The app uses your location data to determine your spot on Earth, so you can see the stars in front of you when you look at the app.
Click on any celestial body and you will get more information about it, e.g. B. its name, its distance and the data to find it if you have a telescope. In addition to stars, it can also identify planets, satellites and meteor showers.
The app is free, but add-ons for meteor showers, satellites, and the extended solar system cost $4.99 one-time each.
Download star map: Android | iOS