Essentials

9 apps to pass the time on your commute

Essentials

9 apps to pass the time on your commute

As a daily commuter, you’ve probably fallen into a solid routine that keeps you on track for your day, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a challenge to remain entertained along the way. The digital world provides commuters with so many options to busy their minds, but narrowing down the best apps that best suits your interests and needs requires some research. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the most popular apps that span across education, entertainment, and wellness to help make the most of your time on transit. 

Here are 9 apps that will help you stay entertained and educated while you commute

1. Pocket 

iOS: Free
Android: Free

The Pocket app allows you to save content you come across online but are too afraid to read at work for fear of getting caught. Users can save articles, videos, and stories from various publications across the web. It really comes in handy if you have friends who bombard you with content via text or messenger but don’t realize you are desperately trying to protect your data. Once the content is saved to Pocket, you can download it with a quick drag down action on the main screen and read it offline to keep your data intact. Bonus: it’s free! 

2. Headspace

iOS: Free Trial
Android: Free Trial 

After a hectic day at work or school, taking a moment to reflect and tune out your fellow commuters might be exactly what you need. Headspace is the app that provides guided mediation and can be used regardless of your level of experience with meditation. Headspace uses the first ten days to teach you the fundamentals, so if you’re someone who thinks meditation is a myth — prepare to become a changed human! Or, at the very least, educate yourself enough to determine if mediation is in your repertoire finally.    

3. Audible

iOS: Free Trial (subscription requires monthly credits)
Android: Free Trial (subscription requires monthly credits)

Holding a book on a train, streetcar or bus is an awkward balancing act during rush hour. Sometimes you get so deep into a story that you lose sight of your surroundings and mistake someone’s lap for a free seat. Thankfully, Audible is here to keep your imagination flowing and your hands free. Audible provides audiobooks and entertainment programs that go beyond your favourite books. Celebrities, comedians, and experts have all taken part in recording audiobooks, which means you get a side of personality served up next to an excellent piece of literature. 

4. Spotify 

iOS: Free (paid subscription available without commercials) 
Android: Free (paid subscription available without commercials) 

Music lovers likely already have Spotify downloaded on their phones, but did you know that Spotify has expanded beyond music? In addition to music across all genres, Spotify now offers a variety of podcasts, spoken word poetry, guided meditation and language skills — just in case you want to grace the vehicle with your Spanish speaking abilities. Everything is available to download with a Wifi connection so that you can listen to them offline — but you better use headphones! No public dances parties allowed unless requested by the audience. 

5. Apple Podcasts

iOS: Free – $ (cost varies by podcast)

Podcasts are readily available on most audio-focused apps, but let’s not kid ourselves — Apple did it first.  These days, everyone and their pet is starting a podcast, so it can be difficult to keep up. Some of the most popular podcasts of the past include Serial, which unfolds one true story throughout a season, and My Favourite Murder. This podcast features two hosts discussing their favourite true crime stories as they take in calls from friends and fans. Those looking for Canadian content can tune into Canadaland to hear media criticism, news analysis, and investigations with host Jesse Brown. We’ve also rounded up 13 of our favourites, which happens to be perfect listening for a long commute. 

6. 2048

iOS: Free
Android: Free

Getting your hands on a commuter paper with a crossword or sudoku puzzle is no longer a thing, because it’s cooler to save some trees than solve some puzzles. Luckily for us all, the digital world has created some cool substitutes. 2048 is a sliding block puzzle game that many commuters use to pass the time while entertaining and challenging the mind. The game’s objective is to slide the numbered tiles on the grid to combine them to create a tile with the number 2048. Once players have reached their goal, they can continue to play the game creating tiles with larger numbers. 

7. Medium 

iOS: $5/month or $50/year
Android: $5/month or $50/year

For those interested in reading original content from writers all over the world, Medium is the app that makes it happen. Writers on Medium create a variety of content across all genres, which means the quality and interest will vary depending on your tolerance and mood. The app also allows writers to create their own publications and request submissions from fellow writers. But, if you rather read from brands and well-known publications, The Atlantic, Refinery29, and Fast Company, are just a few names that post on Medium. And yes — you can save articles for offline consumption so your precious data won’t be compromised. 

8. Quibi

iOS: Free 90-Day Trial 
Android: Free 90-Day Trial 

Quibi is the new kid on the video streaming scene, who is brave enough to compete with all of the other streaming services out there. The only difference is that Quibi features mostly short-form video for a mobile world, making it the perfect video streaming app for your commute. The new service is available starting April 6, but users who pre-order and download the app now will gain free access to original shows for the first 90 days after the launch. Just remember that you’re watching this content in public, so don’t go streaming anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see. 

9. Zinio

iOS: Free (magazine subscription fees apply) 
Android: Free (magazine subscription fees apply) 

Think of Zinio as the newsstand for your phone or tablet. This handy little app allows users to download a wide selection of digital magazines in over 30 languages. And with a new print magazine going into extinction each year, it’s no wonder they’ve all caught on to the digital trend. The digital magazines are accessible on any platform and can be read online or offline. The app itself is free; however, users are required to pay per issue or opt-in for an annual subscription of the magazines they love. But that’s a small price to pay to have your favourite reading materials right at your fingertips. 

Looking for ways to make your commute more productive? View our list of top podcasts to listen to on your commute.

Stay ahead of your commute

There are so many apps to stay connected to while you ride, but don’t forget to stay ahead of your commute by using Rocketman for real-time transit alerts and arrival times.

As a daily commuter, you’ve probably fallen into a solid routine that keeps you on track for your day, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a challenge to remain entertained along the way. The digital world provides commuters with so many options to busy their minds, but narrowing down the best apps that best suits your interests and needs requires some research. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the most popular apps that span across education, entertainment, and wellness to help make the most of your time on transit. 

Here are 9 apps that will help you stay entertained and educated while you commute

1. Pocket 

iOS: Free
Android: Free

The Pocket app allows you to save content you come across online but are too afraid to read at work for fear of getting caught. Users can save articles, videos, and stories from various publications across the web. It really comes in handy if you have friends who bombard you with content via text or messenger but don’t realize you are desperately trying to protect your data. Once the content is saved to Pocket, you can download it with a quick drag down action on the main screen and read it offline to keep your data intact. Bonus: it’s free! 

2. Headspace

iOS: Free Trial
Android: Free Trial 

After a hectic day at work or school, taking a moment to reflect and tune out your fellow commuters might be exactly what you need. Headspace is the app that provides guided mediation and can be used regardless of your level of experience with meditation. Headspace uses the first ten days to teach you the fundamentals, so if you’re someone who thinks meditation is a myth — prepare to become a changed human! Or, at the very least, educate yourself enough to determine if mediation is in your repertoire finally.    

3. Audible

iOS: Free Trial (subscription requires monthly credits)
Android: Free Trial (subscription requires monthly credits)

Holding a book on a train, streetcar or bus is an awkward balancing act during rush hour. Sometimes you get so deep into a story that you lose sight of your surroundings and mistake someone’s lap for a free seat. Thankfully, Audible is here to keep your imagination flowing and your hands free. Audible provides audiobooks and entertainment programs that go beyond your favourite books. Celebrities, comedians, and experts have all taken part in recording audiobooks, which means you get a side of personality served up next to an excellent piece of literature. 

4. Spotify 

iOS: Free (paid subscription available without commercials) 
Android: Free (paid subscription available without commercials) 

Music lovers likely already have Spotify downloaded on their phones, but did you know that Spotify has expanded beyond music? In addition to music across all genres, Spotify now offers a variety of podcasts, spoken word poetry, guided meditation and language skills — just in case you want to grace the vehicle with your Spanish speaking abilities. Everything is available to download with a Wifi connection so that you can listen to them offline — but you better use headphones! No public dances parties allowed unless requested by the audience. 

5. Apple Podcasts

iOS: Free – $ (cost varies by podcast)

Podcasts are readily available on most audio-focused apps, but let’s not kid ourselves — Apple did it first.  These days, everyone and their pet is starting a podcast, so it can be difficult to keep up. Some of the most popular podcasts of the past include Serial, which unfolds one true story throughout a season, and My Favourite Murder. This podcast features two hosts discussing their favourite true crime stories as they take in calls from friends and fans. Those looking for Canadian content can tune into Canadaland to hear media criticism, news analysis, and investigations with host Jesse Brown. We’ve also rounded up 13 of our favourites, which happens to be perfect listening for a long commute. 

6. 2048

iOS: Free
Android: Free

Getting your hands on a commuter paper with a crossword or sudoku puzzle is no longer a thing, because it’s cooler to save some trees than solve some puzzles. Luckily for us all, the digital world has created some cool substitutes. 2048 is a sliding block puzzle game that many commuters use to pass the time while entertaining and challenging the mind. The game’s objective is to slide the numbered tiles on the grid to combine them to create a tile with the number 2048. Once players have reached their goal, they can continue to play the game creating tiles with larger numbers. 

7. Medium 

iOS: $5/month or $50/year
Android: $5/month or $50/year

For those interested in reading original content from writers all over the world, Medium is the app that makes it happen. Writers on Medium create a variety of content across all genres, which means the quality and interest will vary depending on your tolerance and mood. The app also allows writers to create their own publications and request submissions from fellow writers. But, if you rather read from brands and well-known publications, The Atlantic, Refinery29, and Fast Company, are just a few names that post on Medium. And yes — you can save articles for offline consumption so your precious data won’t be compromised. 

8. Quibi

iOS: Free 90-Day Trial 
Android: Free 90-Day Trial 

Quibi is the new kid on the video streaming scene, who is brave enough to compete with all of the other streaming services out there. The only difference is that Quibi features mostly short-form video for a mobile world, making it the perfect video streaming app for your commute. The new service is available starting April 6, but users who pre-order and download the app now will gain free access to original shows for the first 90 days after the launch. Just remember that you’re watching this content in public, so don’t go streaming anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see. 

9. Zinio

iOS: Free (magazine subscription fees apply) 
Android: Free (magazine subscription fees apply) 

Think of Zinio as the newsstand for your phone or tablet. This handy little app allows users to download a wide selection of digital magazines in over 30 languages. And with a new print magazine going into extinction each year, it’s no wonder they’ve all caught on to the digital trend. The digital magazines are accessible on any platform and can be read online or offline. The app itself is free; however, users are required to pay per issue or opt-in for an annual subscription of the magazines they love. But that’s a small price to pay to have your favourite reading materials right at your fingertips. 

Looking for ways to make your commute more productive? View our list of top podcasts to listen to on your commute.

Stay ahead of your commute

There are so many apps to stay connected to while you ride, but don’t forget to stay ahead of your commute by using Rocketman for real-time transit alerts and arrival times.

Don’t have Rocketman? Stay on top of your commute by downloading it:

Download Rocketman on the App Store
Get Rocketman on Google Play

Not sure if Rocketman works in your area? View our list of supported regions.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.

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