10 best apps for living in Shanghai

10 best apps for living in Shanghai

Play well, shop hard and make friends in Shanghai at your fingertips

While the rumor mill is in overdrive over the iPhone 5's Chinese release date -- ranging from September 5 to early October -- Shanghainese fanboys already have everything they need in their pocket: Apple apps.

Here are 10 of the most popular apps to get to know Shanghai in different and conveniently portable ways.

 

Explore ShanghaiKeep up with the constantly sprouting Shanghai metro system. 1. Explore Shanghai

Designed for: iPhone and iPad

Price: US$2.49

Language: Bilingual

The city of Shanghai is constantly evolving, as is its metro system, which is why it's a good idea to keep Explore Shanghai's popular metro map app at the ready.

These maps are very easy on the eye and simple to navigate. They work offline and also include free updates of stations that have yet to be completed, operating hours and schedules. 

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Fei XinFei Xin: a perfect app for tight iPhone owners.2. Fei Xin (飞信) 

Designed for: iPhone and iPad

Price: Free

Language: Chinese

There are plenty of clever apps in the world, but this one is life-changing.

Basically, Fei Xin is an online service, now complete with app, that allows you to send text messages to anyone who can receive text messages for free. It's perfect for those truly tight Apple aficionados who cringe at every kuai they waste with each SMS. 

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Sina WeiboSina Weibo: the iPhone apps everyone seems to have in Shanghai.3. Sina Weibo (新浪微博)

Designed for: iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad

Price: Free

Language: Bilingual (but much more Chinese than English)

Sina's microblogging site is one of the most popular in China, and its mobile client has followed in its footsteps.

This Chinese version of Twitter is equally user-friendly and is a great way to stay connected with news feeds, images and inane details of people's lives -- plus of course allowing you to share your own news, photos and inane details.

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City FuUnlike guidebook apps, this puppy is always up to date.4. City Fu Shanghai

Designed for: iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad

Price: Free

Language: English

This listings app has a comprehensive list of Shanghai's venues -- with address, contact details and maps -- as well as ratings and reviews from real people.

Developed by the people behind City Weekend magazine, this app can also be used offline and is particularly useful for expats and travelers.

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Shanghai city guideSearch for your favorite restaurant offline with Shanghai City Guide.5. Shanghai City Guide

Designed for: iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad

Price: Free

Language: English

Although there are plenty of Shanghai-related listings apps, this one is worthy of inclusion because it's both free and it gives a good variety of events, shopping information, hotels, restaurants and more. Being able to search offline according to name, price or recommendations is also very handy.

The information given for each venue isn't as comprehensive as you get with City Fu, but as they are both free, you're not losing anything if you invest in both.  

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Douban FMDouban FM is your personalized iPhone radio station.6. Douban FM

Designed for: iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad

Price: Free 

Language: Chinese

This personal music channel works much the same way as Pandora or Spotify do outside China -- with the distinct advantage that it also works inside of China.

Sign up online at Douban.com and you're all set to download your app and start streaming music over Wi-Fi or 3G. 

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A short history of ShanghaiA history of Shanghai within an iPhone app.7. A Short History of Shanghai

 Designed for: iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad

Price: US$2.99
 

Language: English

This digital version of F. L. Hawks Pott's book, originally published in 1928, is a nice way to get to know a little more about Shanghai.

The original 350-page book was the first and most comprehensive attempt to document the growth and development of Shanghai's International Settlement. 

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Fashion Nomad"I need to find where to buy the crocodile leather boots before they go out of style in five minutes' time. Good thing I have this app."8. Shanghai FashionNomad

 Designed for: iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad

Price: US$2.49 for the FashionNomad app, then US$0.99 for Shanghai in app purchase

Language: English

This brand new app created by former Ford fashion model and cosmetic developer, Debra Winter, profiles the best boutiques in the world's nine most fashionable cities, including Shanghai, Sydney, New York and London.

Along with addresses and contact information, boutique listings are conveniently organized by the best shopping areas, together with interactive maps. 

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Shanghai MahjongShanghai mahjong teachers' modern-day competitor. 9. Shanghai Mahjong

Designed for: iPhone and iPad

Price: US$1.19

Language: English

If you are at all into this traditional Chinese board game, Shanghai Mahjong is a great app option for getting your fix.

The app looks great and is highly customizable. It was voted the third in Apple apps review website 148apps.com's “Best App Ever” awards last year.  

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Shanghai walking tourA must-download app for Shanghai walking tour enthusiasts. 10. Shanghai Walking Tours and Map

Designed for: iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad

Price: US$5.99

Language: English

Find your own way around Shanghai's most famous and less well-known sites at street level with these self-guided tours.

The detailed tour maps and powerful navigation features make it easy to get from A to B, and all the way to Z if you have the energy.

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Casey is a city/lifestyle journalist from Melbourne, Australia, who has been based in Shanghai since 2007.

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