Since smartphones were first introduced, there has been a revolution in application development around the world as handheld devices of all kinds were suddenly able to do all sorts of things that few people imagined possible only a decade ago and science apps are no exception, as these 17 free iOS science apps demonstrate.
University of Plymouth Enterprise Ltd
The Secchi iOS app is the mobile device interface for the Secchi Disk project that is studying phytoplankton levels in the ocean. This app allows anyone with a boat, an iOS device, and a DIY bit of equipment called the Secchi Disk to help researchers study phytoplankton and its habitat and how its environment is changing because of climate change.
Exoplanet is an interactive, visual, and daily-updated catalog of all known exoplanets discovered so far. Exoplanets are planets orbiting stars outside our solar system and the Exoplanet iOS app features information on their known composition as well as that of the parent star.
The app also features an interactive map of the Milky Way, which allows you to zoom in and out to view the different star systems and even lets you explore how constellations look from the surface of other planets.
Terminal Eleven LLC
The award-winning free iOS science app SkyView Lite is one of the most popular stargazing apps out there on any platform. Utilizing AR, simply point your iOS device at the sky to identify what you’re looking at to discover stars, constellations, and even other galaxies.
Use it to explore what the night sky looked like at different points in time, track the movement of the sun and moon, and pair it with Space Navigator branded equipment.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Earth-Now uses the latest global climate data from satellites to produce false-color maps of the planet that reflect real-time surface temperature, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ozone, and water vapor levels, as well as gravity and sea-level variations around the world.
Stefo Mai Morojna
Let your inner Elon Musk play in space with this rocket simulator! Much like Kerbal Space Program, this iOS app lets you explore the solar system using real rocket and orbital physics with custom built rockets. Land on the moon, Mars, asteroids, and more with this nifty little time killer.
Great for students, FX Math Solver is comprehensive math software that can help anyone get step-by-step help for solving whatever math problem they input, including Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus problems. Includes over 1,500 sample math problems and supports both scientific and graphing calculators.
This is essential software for self-learners everywhere. iTunes U partners with colleges and universities around the world to bring you courses taught by some of the top instructors on every topic under the sun, all for free. You won’t get college credit for it, but who cares? Education is its own reward and this free iOS app is like having an Ivy League University in your pocket.
More than simply a graphing calculator, EduCalc Classic has all the standard graphing calculator functions you’d expect, but also includes a unit converter, constants for scientific purposes such as the gravitational constant and the speed of light, and statistical tools. With an attractive interface, this is the only calculator you’ll ever need on your iOS device.
The NASA Visualization Explorer provides all the latest stories and features about NASA’s space-based research projects, all presented in a visually appealing format to help bring the research to life.
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
iCell from HudsonAlpha offers students and teachers a detailed 3D perspective of the 3 different types of cells (plant, animal, and bacteria). Explore the different parts of each cell by tapping on the different organelles of each to zoom in and learn more about the particular function it serves.
World Wildlife Fund
Using AR, this free iOS science app turns a flat surface into a virtual landscape that you can explore to learn more about how rivers impact their environment. See how they affect people and wildlife that live along them, dam the river and see the consequences, and experiment with different solutions to achieve more sustainable development.
Beacon Solutions, Inc.
Curiosity is a great app for when you’ve got a few minutes to kill while shopping or waiting in line. Explore several different categories including science and technology, and over 5000+ articles on various topics in small, digestible content. Featuring text, audio, and video, there’s plenty to satiate your curiosity.
Howard Hughes Medical Insitute
Want to see what the Earth Looked like 250 million years ago when Dinosaurs were walking about getting into trouble? Explore the geographic history of the planet with EarthViewer! Featuring continental reconstruction going back billions of years, sea level data for the past 21,000 years, and more; you can even explore the locations of modern cities as far back as 500 million years into the past.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
A companion app to EarthView, BiomeViewer focuses on the different climates around the planet and the various lifeforms supported by them. Features a description for every biome, data on more than 16,000 species of reptile, amphibian, and mammals, and data on the effects of human activity on the planet going back 300 years.
This is one of those free iOS science apps that every scientist, both amateur and professional, should have on their iOS device.
More like a science assistant than a note-taker, Science Journal by Google uses all of your phone’s hardware to collect and measure experiment data including light, sound, vibration, and more. Document your experiment using photos and note-taking, with more note types on the way.
Connect your device to external sensors via Bluetooth to expand the possibilities for recording information. Use automated triggers to begin recording data and play it back using built-in sonification to hear the changes in your data graphs. All in all, the best free iOS science app out there, without question.