Top 10 iPhone apps for electronics hackers


There are so many apps available for the iPhone, one might even say there are a plethora. We would like to take a moment to help you find a few that might help with your hacking projects. Ever have problems remember a formula when you need it? Need to track the acceleration of your brand new rover? How about beginners needing help remember resistor codes. Well, there’s an app for that. Check out our suggestions after the break.

Here at Hack A Day, we are strong believers in frugality. We think most hackers are. With that in mind, lets start off with our recommendations of free applications to get the job done. These are in no particular order.


The iPhone camera: Not only is this free, its already on your iPhone. yeah, we know its not a great camera, but it is indispensable. Taking apart a project? Snap some pics along the way so you can refer back to them when you reassemble. Project ready for testing? Document it quickly and easy with pictures. Project burst into flames on the tarmac? Snap a pic for posterity. We love the camera.

Electrical toolkit: Even the most experienced hackers need a little help  sometimes. Need to find the SCR Firing angles this app can help with that.

Electronics toolkit
: Another app meant to help us find the missing pieces to a circuit. This one has some different circuits than the Electrical toolkit above.


iResist: Maybe you never committed the resistor codes to memory, or maybe you’re a beginner just learning. Either way, this appears to be a pretty useful application. Simply select the appropriate colors and it will tell you the value of your resistor.

ResistorCode: Another resistor code application. This one has the ability to do up to 6 band resistors. We listed both because some people really have a preference between the text selection or color selection. We like the more robust feature set of this one.
LED resist: Who hasn’t been left scratching their head when wiring LEDs? This handy little app will help you figure out what resistance value is needed to keep those LEDs functioning optimally.

Runkeeper free
: Runners have been raving about this one for a while now. It will track your time, distance, GPS location, and speed. You can view your path on a google map. We’re not exactly sure what project would merit this, but it just seems perfect for tracking rovers or measuring experimental vehicle performance.

Though we do love the free applications, sometimes things just merit a little payment. We really only found 2 apps that we thought could be useful enough to pay for when it comes to hacking.

Formula Pro: We don’t care how l337 of a hacker you are. You simply can’t know everything. This application is a compendium of the most common formulas needed for Engineering, Optics, Thermodynamics, Electronics and much more. There are over 680 formulas out of the box, with features like the ability to modify and save formulas or even add your own. At 1.99, this is a steal.

Accelleration 3d detector: This feature rich acceleration detector will log and chart in 3d your acceleration information. You can even download the results to your computer for inspection. Though we have concerns about the destruction of our iPhone, this just seems like it would be a great tool in a pinch for finding out some acceleration data.

Lastly, we understand that no project goes perfectly. Sometimes you are so frustrated and your brain is so fried, you just can’t function. It is times like these that Bubble Snap comes to the rescue. There are no rules, just the soothing pleasure of popping bubble wrap. Careful though, your kids or significant others might get addicted to this one and steal your phone.

Well, those are our favorites. What do you use? Did we miss any? The iPhone is supposed support accessories with the latest iteration, are there any must have accessories for the hacker?


  1. I absolutely agree about bubblesnap. best tool ever.

  2. jimmys says:

    I’m going to stick with my pocket ref for now.

  3. rosary says:

    What is this crap? This is so contrary to the spirit of hackaday I’m going to vomit. Vomit nuts and bolts. And solder. I LOVE CIRCUIT BOARDS

  4. rosary says:

    in all actuality, i love this article. seriously. i want more of this type of article posted on hackaday. this is the interesting stuff. i love the internet.

  5. bananapanda says:

    this is shitting brilliance

  6. calebkraftisgoddamnedhot says:


  7. missingNo says:

    Anything good for Windows Mobile?

    Y’know… Windows Mobile? The OS that’s more free than iPhone OS?

  8. ross maclean says:

    lol, any other phone user can just use google to find this stuff. best think its, we dont pay a fiver each time we want to find out something new. hack a day promoting paying for applications? doesnt that sound ironic?

  9. nemo says:

    If only hackaday could change its name to 1337HackerTools or Info4Hackers or something. Otherwise, great article, keep it up.

  10. I’ve been liking Electrical Ref, by Hipster Logic. It’s got a Resistor Calc, LED resistance calc, capacitance calc, Arduino language references, a 555 timer frequency calc, and quite a bit more. It’s new, but they seem to be updating regularly, and adding new features and schematics to their repertoire. It’s only 99 cents for all that too.

    I’m not condoning or promoting piracy here, but if you really wanted to try it out, there’s always places like

  11. Dave says:

    I like resistulator for resistor calculations. It teaches you how the codes work when you use it, plus it just looks better than those other ones:

  12. arcnemisis says:

    i give… seriously… this is an article worthy of publish… I may remove the feed now..

  13. Terry says:

    I use sheeplauncher all the time. It keeps my four-year-old busy while I work on a project.

  14. cde says:


    Jeez, whiny posters are whiny.

  15. tripp says:

    I like “Do Not Push” ^_^

  16. Cliff says:

    iResist and Resistorcode seem to no longer be available at the app store.

  17. nrp says:

    Another use for the iPhone Camera is checking IR LEDs. The IR filter still lets some light through, so you can use it to see if IR LEDs are on.

  18. Marek Sokal says:

    Seriously when is Hack a Day sending the space probe! They should have an app for that!

  19. jeff-o says:

    I’ve been promised an iPod Touch for christmas. it’s so far away! I want one now!

  20. nave.notnilc says:

    I’m holding out for the arduino emulator on an iphone, then hackaday can double the BS in any given post :P

  21. thank you. nice post.

  22. zapp says:

    SPL Meter from Studio Six is accurate and neat.
    Graphing Calculator (I think that is the name of it) is a pretty decent app as well.
    Some of the OCR apps are decent (don’t get anything from Senstic) with the new camera on the 3GS.
    Pocket Universe is relatively cheap and if you have a 3GS it uses the compass and accelerometer to overlay constellation maps over the night sky. There are a few astronomy apps that do it but it is a neat trick.
    Sadly being an EE and having tried Electrical Toolkit I can tell you that it is one of the worst technical apps available. The UI takes counter-intuitive to new ++heights.
    All in all this article just reinforces that there aren’t very many cool geek apps on the iPhone.

  23. mykeyFinn says:

    If you don’t like whats there jailbreak your iPhone/iPod and install cydia, then write your own dam app, I am.

  24. uther says:

    Nobody mentioned signal suite? Expensive, but very handy.

  25. Cheers for the great info m8

  26. Grant says:

    I posted some comments before anyway, because lots of your stuff is really informative.Absolutely amazing man!

  27. Angela says:

    I posted some comments before anyway, because lots of your stuff is really informative.Absolutely amazing man!

  28. Sherman says:

    Great job! Can’t wait to start my own blog. :)

  29. jonas says:

    These are all great, but iResist are not in the app store already.
    itronixpal is another worthy app – its just beautiful. one of my favourite electronics app. and also, have you guys seen Graphing Calculator? thats just awesome. basically completes my need in my daily electronics job.

  30. 10top says:

    I enjoyed reading your interesting yet very informative insights. I am looking forward to reading more of your most recent articles and blogs. :D -10top

  31. uMaker says:

    you should try icircut

  32. FastBlinker Calamity says:

    somebody should make an app for hackaday itself

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