Best Apple accessories
From guitars to flying machines, the world of app-controlled toys and smartphone add-ons just keeps growing. So amid all the noise, what are the best iPhone accessories to buy in 2015 to help you get the most from your iOS device?
Accessories can add so much to your Apple device, whether it's letting you ditch the onscreen keyboard with a Bluetooth version for your iPad, giving your iPhone 6 an extra hit of battery or beaming snaps directly from a camera to your Mac.
Here's our pick of the Apple add-ons that'll ensure you never leave your house without your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad ever again.
- Also check out our guide to the best Mac apps
Logitech Keys to Go
Typing out long emails on the iPad’s touchscreen is tolerable, but hardly fun. If you really want to turn the slate into a productivity tool, you’ll need to pair it with it a keyboard. Our pick is Logitech’s Keys to Go (yeh, we know the name is bad), which takes everything we love about Microsoft’s Surface Type Cover and brings it to the iPad. It’s compact, waterproof and very durable, plus the battery lasts for ages and the keys, while they don’t have much give, are pleasant to type on.
Incipio Offgrid Express for iPhone 6
The iPhone 6 battery isn’t that bad, but if you’re really pushing it throughout the day you might end up reaching for the charger before your commute home. That’s where Incipio’s Offgrid steps in. Unlike other battery charging cases, this doesn’t add a whole load of extra bulk to the sleek iPhone and it’s easy to take off completely. It packs a 3,000 mAh battery, which can fully recharge the phone once and then some.
Eyefi Mobi Pro 32GB
If you’ve used any of the Eyefi products in the past you’ll know how they work - it’s an SD card that adds Wifi functionality, letting you quickly beam snaps from your camera directly to your iPhone, iPad or Mac. This ‘Pro’ version adds a couple of nifty extras over the regular version, including the ability to import specific photos instead of all or nothing. It also ups the capacity to 32GB and boasts a year of access to Eyefi’s cloud back-up service.
Grovemade Walnut Dock
The first thing you'll notice about this dock is just how heavy it is, 1.3kgs to be precise. But aside from giving it that premium, handmade feel, the weight also lets you slip your iPhone 6 in and out with ease. You have to provide your own Lightning cable as there isn't anything built-in, but it's wide enought to accodomate devices rocking a case.
$99 | Grovemade
Lacie Porsche Design drive with USB Type C
If you're eager to get your paws on Apple's super-thin yet port-lacking new MacBook, you've already got a few new accesories to pair it with. Top of our list is Lacie's latest mobile HDD, which is fully compatible with Apple's new laptop thanks to the USB Type-C port used here. Three sizes are available - 500GB, 1TB and 2TB, but pricing has yet to be confirmed.
One of most infamous additions to the iPhone, the Typo keyboard case has often been derided since its release, but it’s still intriguing nonetheless. Slip the keyboard portion into the full body covering case and you’ve got yourself an iPhone and Blackberry Bold hybrid. The keys are on the small side and packed tightly together, but they feel durable and case itself should keep those pesky pocket scratches at bay.
There are couple of handy shortcuts added to the keyboard, though the loss of the TouchID sensor and it’s accompanying features is a bit of a shame, as is the seemingly impossible task of swiping up from the bottom of the screen to access the Control Centre.
Typos are fairly common place with the Typo 2 (sorry), but if you’re a BB addict (or was at some point) who’s made the move to an iPhone, you’ll probably appreciate the added tactile feedback that’s available with physical keys. Oh, and it's much better than the original iPhone 5S version.
£99 | Typo
Eye TV W
Barely bigger than a large box of matches, this device can turn your iPad or iPhone into a portable television. It enables up to nine hours of quality TV watching on a fully-charged iPad, and up to four hours on an iPhone. And you can use it for radio as well.
Twelve South High-Rise
This brushed metal dock puts your iPhone on a stylish pedestal. Whether in your office or at home, HiRise allows you to Skype or FaceTime hands free. It's now available in a lovely matte black and is compatible with not only the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini, but also the new iPhone 6, which is a bonus.
Wahoo Speed Tracker
Ensure a healthy start to 2014 with the world’s first Bluetooth Smart (4.0) cycling speed censor. It tracks your cycling speed, cadence and distance through a free Wahoo Fitness App through wireless connection. You no longer need to worry about losing your iPhone on those January bike rides.
Griffin Powerdock 5
Another frustrating situation where there is a lack of chargers available? Problem solved. The powered USB dock charges up to five iOS devices at the same time. It takes up as much space as an iPad on a desk, but is capable of charging five of them at once.
Mophie Juice Pack Plus
There are times when battery life is a necessity - you may have a few hours to kill or a stressful deadline looming. The new Mophie Juice Pack provides 120% extra battery ‘juice’ when you need it. Its rubberized, dual texture case will offer sound protection to your iPhone.
Twelve South Plug Bug
This 2.1-Amp USB wall charger attaches to and converts any MacBook Power adaptor into a dual charger. It can work in most countries, so it’s perfect to whisk off with on holiday. Its weight of 69 grams shouldn’t put too much strain on your holiday baggage, either.
Ollo Clip Quick Connect lens
This handy clip on attachment adds some extra functionality to the awesome camera on the iPhone 5, by allowing you to take fish-eye, wide-angle and macro snaps. No extra app is needed, so you can use it with the regular camera app or Instagram and it only takes a few seconds to attach.
Koubachi Wi-Fi Plant Sensor Outdoor
Tech often forces you to stay indoors, however this sensor encourages quite the opposite. Stick the device into your plant plot, connect it via Wi-Fi to your iPhone and you’ll be fed all the information you need to know on how to keep your plants healthy. It’ll even alert you when you’ve over watered. How kind.
Zepp GolfSense Sensor
The four precision motions sensors packed inside this key fob like device ensure all the data from your swing is as accurate as possible, while the GolfSense Engine captures motion in 3D. The device itself it pretty dinky, clipping easily on your gloves and weighing just 17g.
Elgato EyeTV Mobile with Lightning Connector
Plugging into the Lightning port on your iPhone 5, 5c,5s or fifth generation iPod Touch, this nifty device gives you access to Freeview channels, without having to connect to the internet, great for saving those precious megabytes in your data plan. Using the companion app you can play and pause content, along with recording it for watching later.
Belkin WeMo Switch
One day everything in your house will be controlled through an app on your phone, ditching the need for physical switches. Belkin is looking to bring that future a little bit closer with the WeMo Switch, an adapter for your mains that lets you switch it on and off all from your iPhone. You can add as many switches as you want (or can afford) and then schedule them to turn off and on automatically. Clever.
£39.95 | Buy now from John Lewis
PayPal Here Mobile Chip and PIN Card Reader
Take debit and credit cards payments, keep a track of your cash and accept payments from PayPal all with this nifty iPhone accessory. Great for small businesses, the reader connects to a companion app on your phone via Bluetooth, while keeping everything secure thanks to Chip and Pin tech.
£99.95 | PayPal
Philips InRange Bluetooth Leash Wireless Security
This handy Bluetooth accessory is great if you’re a little clumsy with your belongings and often leave them behind in the pub. A small attachment fixes to, say your wallet, then through an app on your phone you’ll be alerted if it loses connection with the leash – basically when you’ve forgotten it.
Sony QX10 and QX100
These two nifty accessories are rather unique and truly something we’ve never seen before. In short, they are fully formed cameras, shrunk down into a lens and then made to connect with your smartphone. The QX100 is the daddy of the pair, toting the same sensor that’s in the critically acclaimed Sony RX100 II, while the QX10 has an also impressive 18MP back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor.
Sphero 2 is far more than just a plastic ball that is controlled by your smartphone, it’s a device that can connect to games, nifty apps and you can even use it trick your pets. Controlled via Bluetooth, the cute, durable and water resistant ball can be connected to over 25 apps and the packaging itself includeas enough ramps for you to create a seriously fun circuit. It charges from a inductive base and you can even kit it out with a neat rubber jacket.
Ion Audio Guitar Apprentice (iOS)
Sex and tablets and rock and roll: the Guitar Apprentice is part Guitar Hero plastic axe, part iPad dock. Instead of suffering blisters from strings, you’ll find finger-friendly fret buttons and an iPad dock where the bridge should be. It’s fully compatible with GarageBand, and many other MIDI-based apps, so you can record and mix as you play.
£42 | Buy it now from Amazon
Looxcie Live (iOS/Android)
A wearable, 480p camera, the Looxcie Live works with an Android and iOS app to stream footage live to your mobile, archive footage and even talk to the broadcaster if you are not too happy with the view.
Designed by the people that brought you the iPod, the smart thermostat is controllable via an iOS app, uses six sensors that adapt to your living pattern, so you can turn up the heating on the way home.
Parrot AR Drone 2 (iOS/Android)
The smartphone- and tablet-controlled quadcopter has been given an overhaul, with version 2.0 being faster, stronger, stealthier and more fun than ever. The body has been reinforced and embellished with a front-facing 720p camera, which can record HD footage to your iOS or Android device. Far too good to waste on your kids…
Wahoo Blue HR (iOS)
A Bluetooth heart-rate monitor that delivers real-time data via almost any fitness app, the belt is waterproof up to 5 feet and will track your run or bike ride via Blueooth 4.0 which is currently available on the iPhone 4S.
Withings Smart Baby Scale (iOS)
Boasting Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Bluetooth Smart connectivity, you can weigh your critters and then send the data data to your iDevice for extensive “oohing” and “ahhing” about how fast they’re growing. You'll also need the WiScale to get the full baby weighing benefits.
Zeo Sleep Manager (iOS)
Worrying about how much shut eye you're getting these days? Zeo’s SoftWave sensor headband and Sleep Manager app join forces to track sleep quality with scientific accuracy and also features a gentle alarm that wakes you up from at the perfect point of your sleep cycle.
£89 I Zeo
iON’s GarageBand- compatible Piano Apprentice is a keyboard iPad dock and app that will make you the next Rick Wakeman (not in the sense of being a recovering alcoholic and born-again Christian). The app shows notes and hand position videos while the keys light up in time.
£63 I Buy it now
Diabetes sufferers can now use their iPhone or iPod Touch to monitor, track and analyse elements of their lifestyle such as blood glucose, carbohydrate intake, insulin taken and exercise. Used alongside the iBGStar Diabetes Manager App information can then be shared to doctors and family members or anyone else who wants to help you stay on top of your condition.
£48 I bgstar.com
March 2012: FilmOn Air tuner
Live TV on your iPhone or Android smartphone anyone? This add-on for your handset delivers access to legal streaming TV and 120 internet channels via the FilmOn app which includes the terrestrial TV big four and Channel 5.
Dongle is free with £118 subscription to FilmOn worldwide TV package I FilmOn
The iPad-friendly portable speaker dock promises to deliver cinematic quality audio for watching films and gaming on your Apple tablet using front-facing speakers that deliver the rich, powerful digital sound. The Lightning compatible setup that fits around the slate features integrated air channels help ‘bass frequencies come alive’ and with the Thunderstorm app lets you tinker with and customize audio settings.
A Kickstarter success story, this little device connects via USB to Canon and Nikon SLR cameras and will let you remotely take pictures from an iOS, Mac or Android device. Photos snapped are immediately sent to the screen on your tablet or smartphone where you can review and share images, and with the accompanying app enables continuous shooting and even edit shots with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom support also on board.
Price: $299 | CameraMator
Named Best in Show at Macworld/iWorld 2013, the tiny dongle device hooks up to your iPhone via the pin adaptor and turns your Apple smartphone into a laser mouse to navigate around your desktop PC. Working over Wi-Fi, the Mauz boasts touchscreen support to add gesture support like scrolling and browsing, but most impressively uses gyroscope and accelerometer features to add 3D mouse functionality.
Price: TBC | Kickstarter
The Olloclip gives you a fisheye, macro and wide-angle lens all in one easy solution. The tiny unit clips onto the corner of your iPhone, over the camera, and is easily removed and cleaned with the microfibre carry-case whene necessary. As an added bonus, it'll work seamlessly with all your favourite photography and social media apps.
Price: $40 | Link: Olloclip
Bubblescope connects directly to your iPhone lens, and the spherical attachment then takes full 360 degree photos and videos of your surroundings. Then you can upload your 'bubbles' to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook via the free Bubblepix app.
From the simple but effective school of accessories, if you're already a bit nifty with a camera and you have a tripod you'd like to use, the Glif will let you attach your iPhone to your existing tripod. It can also be used to prop up your phone on a flat surface for Facetime or easy screen-watching.
Price: $20 | Link: Glif
Just snap it onto your phone, and the Kogeto Dot will record everything around you in a 360 degree arc. These videos can be uploaded via the accompanying 'Looker' app, or you can view different parts of your panorama by swiping around it on your screen.
Made from an aluminium alloy called Duralumin, this smart luxury iPhone case also has a bespoke attachment for a variety of close-up, fish eye, wide and super wide camera lenses, and comes in a wide range of skins and effects.
Price: $257 | Link: Factron Quattro
Another panoramic lense for iPhone 4S, the GoPano uses curved mirrors to reflect light from 360 degrees around you, and funnel all that information into your iPhone camera lense. You can host all your videos and photos on the GoPano website, and share with friends from there.
This self-powered flash module does what you'd expect from a flash - it lets you take pictures in poor lighting, even in dark conditions that the iPhone's built-in flash would struggle to deal with. The module is only small, so it's not a worry to your luggage restrictions, and it doubles as a torch too.
Price: £19 | Link: Amazon
GorillaMobile will grab onto pretty much anything thanks to it's rubberised foot grips, and hold your iPhone in a secure position for some fantastic shots. You can attach your phone in landscape and portrait, and move it into any position, as each of the legs has over a dozen fully mobile joints.
Price: £20 | Link: Joby GorillaMobile
Constructed from a single piece of billet aluminium, the Owle holds your iPhone and provides a 37mm threaded mount for a variety of lenses, as well as threads to attach tripods, stands, straps or anything else you might like.
Fisheye Pro Lens
The ideal accessory for any keen iPhone photographers, this neat lens will create stunning fisheye effects. Simply stick the metal ring round your iPhone camera lens and the Fisheye Pro clips on magnetically. When you’re done, just pop the lens back in its case and your iPhone will still fit in your pocket.
Price: £28.99 | Firebox.com
Now why not read our guide to the best iPhone games ever?