Guide to Smart Phone Apps for Korea: Part I

Apps for your smart cell phone during your time in South Korea is a must. We’ve put together this helpful guide to get you started with some essential apps that will help you in many facets of your new adventure.

We get a lot of questions about apps and the two most popular questions are:  “Which one’s should I get?” and “My battery drains SO fast with these apps, what can I do?!” We put our heads together here at the Arrival Store, and came up with answers for you! These apps for Korea are especially relevant to anyone with an Android-based phone, but if you’re running iOS5 or iOS6, take a look at these apps as well. These are all free, by the way!

 Essential Apps:

AppKiller This app is for everyone who has wondered what to do about their battery life, especially Android phones. When I got an Android-based phone recently, I noticed my battery life was about as good as my three-year-old, well “loved” (well used) iPhone 3G. I would charge to 100%, and then see myself at 30% around lunchtime. What the heck? Apps that are heavy (like games or video) and others that constantly run in the background can drain your battery. I was advised to get an “app killer” program. While there are a few out there, Advanced Task Killer is the app that I use. I have it set to kill apps when I lock my phone, and I can manually kill apps as well. Victory. Last night, I still had 20% battery left as I plugged my phone in before I went to bed.


Kakao Talk If you have a smartphone in Korea, you don’t have a smartphone until you get Kakao Talk. It’s like saying you’ve been to Paris and missed the Louvre, or Chicago and didn’t eat a deep dish pizza (for shame!). Kakao Talk allows you to send texts, group chat, call phones with Kakao Talk on them, and play games, meet new people, shop, etc. all over the data network. This allows you to use the data network to do most everything you need to for communication out of one app. And with the plethora of WIFI hotspots available to SK, KT, and LG users, why wouldn’t you?


Jihachul If you live in  Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Daejon, or Gwangju, you should probably get this app. Jihachul (“Subway” in Korean) has maps and route information, time tables and route planners in Korean, English and Japanese. Even if you don’t live in one of these majoy cities, you will probably visit them at some point. This app is so handy!


Dodol Everyone wants to be able to track the usage of their minutes, texts and data. Dodol is probably the easiest way to keep track of all this. If you know your carrier and plan, there are options for that and it will automatically update. You can also set the dates for the beginning and end of your usage period (TAS bills from the first to the end of the month). It’s pretty good at minutes and texts, though it combines data and WIFI usage (**so your actual data use may be misrepresented).


Google Translate Since Word Lens is not available in Korea (yet!), you will probably want something that is just as effective. Google Translate has already saved me some surprise a few times, form translating “Do Not Enter” to “Sold Out” so that I didn’t look like a fool, or get into trouble (thanks Google Translate!). It requires a basic knowledge of the Korean alphabet and how to type it out. It’s very easy to read and write, even if you can’t speak Korean.


Some Other Apps to Consider:

Aenipang ( 애니팡 ) If you’ve ridden the subway or bus, or have ever interacted with a Korean about their smartphone, you’ve probably been exposed to Aenipang. It’s a basic puzzle game with a Korean twist. For the quick fix and extended play. You’ll get addicted!


Chrome If you use Chrome for your main browsing purposes on your desktop or laptop, then you might want to get Chrome for your phone. Syncs your bookmarks and is just as fast, intuitive, and all-around great web-browsing experience, even on the phone.


AnkiDroid Flashcards If you’re interested in learning ANYTHING (but especially Korean) you’ll probably have to do some memorizing. AnkiDroid Flashcards is probably the best program out there for flashcards and memory repetition. Create your own flash cards, or download from thousands of shared decks.


iTourSeoul Even if you don’t live in or around Seoul, you’ll probably come and visit sometime! iTourSeoul is a basic travel guide with information on the sites of Seoul. Neighborhoods, transportation, restaurants, whatever you need to make your time in Seoul a memorable and well-informed time!


Craigslist Whether you need a used camera, a bike, or some more stuff for your “furnished” apartment, Craigslist might be a good option for you (especially if you’re in Seoul). I tend to look here first, as there are some good deals, and I’ll most likely be dealing with other expats. It’s no GMarket, for sure, but it beats HomePlus and EMart prices almost everytime!

There are of course tens of thousands of apps, and these are all for Android phones. Ask others what apps they use, and add your own experience. Maybe even make your own app?

What apps do you use that you have found most helpful for life in Korea?