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10 must-have iPhone apps for Dubai expats

If you have an iPhone and are an expat in Dubai, there are some iPhone applications (apps) you absolutely must have.

Not only will they make your life easier, but they’ll make living in Dubai a breeze by giving you all the information you need at your fingertips.

Screenshot of Ulmon App from iTunes Store Screenshot of Ulmon App from iTunes Store


1. Ulmon Dubai Travel Guide and Offline Map

This is the ideal app for the new expat. The app has maps as well as things to do and, at the time of writing, has received more than 10k downloads. It has the usual maps and routes function (which Google Maps offer) but adds in a variety of search functions, local information and trip planning function.

If you’ve just landed in Dubai and want to find out more about your adoptive country, then this should be the first app you download, the app contains advice in its ‘Discover’ section. These tips can be saved and organised within the app.

The 2017 update included an updated map and 60% more places — most of which include pictures and details of opening hours.

Apple App Store rating: 4.3
Download Ulmon Dubai Travel Guide for iPhone

Google Play rating: 4.4
Download Ulmon Dubai Travel Guide for Android

Screenshot of Visit Dubai app from Google Play Screenshot of Visit Dubai app from Google Play


2. Visit Dubai

This is a great app to help you make the most of your time in Dubai with its extensive listings of sights, attractions and activities. The app allows you to create your own customised itineraries and features include a handy currency converter, downloadable maps and guides for off-line use. The app is also available in six different languages — Arabic, English, French, German, Russian, and Mandarin. Some users have found some issues with logging in, but the majority using the app rate it highly.

Some expats use it to plan extra events when family and friends visit and its geo-location feature prompts users to find landmarks that are close by.

Apple App Store rating: 3.5
Download Visit Dubai for iPhone

Google Play rating:
Download Visit Dubai for Android

Screenshot of All Events In The City App from iTunes Store Screenshot of All Events In The City App from iTunes Store


3. All Events In City

While the app includes many global cities, it is ideal for a new expat who is clueless about what’s happening in Dubai. You can browse through the events happening in Dubai by month or by category.

Users can create their own calendar and populate it with events by searching by category or by events near them.

The app has many features and functions, for example: listings of parties, concerts, workshops, networking events, dance, sports and even foodie events. The app also allows you to share events with others and purchase tickets in-app.

Apple App Store rating:
Download All Events In City for iPhone

Google Play rating: 4.0
Download All Events In City for Android 

Screenshot of Careem car-booking app taken from Google Play Screenshot of Careem car-booking app taken from Google Play


4. Careem

‘Book a safe, reliable ride in seconds': it’s Dubai’s answer to Uber. Like other carpooling apps, people can use the Careem app to book rides and get picked up and dropped off wherever they want. This is a particularly useful app in Dubai due to the power of the sun and the dangers that can come from even short periods of exposure.

Book a ride for immediate pick up, get a fare estimate and track your driver (or 'Captain' as they are called). Pay in cash or card and customer support is always online.

Apple App Store rating: 3.6
Download Careem for iPhone

Google Play rating: 4.6
Download Careem for Android

Screeshot of the RTA Dubai App from iTunes Store Screeshot of the RTA Dubai App from iTunes Store


5. RTA Dubai

RTA Dubai has been an award-winning app for the last three years with 40 frequently used services and features designed to support road and public transport users. The app allows you to book taxis and find the closest metro station to you. Its fare calculator lets you know the exact fare when using Dubai’s public transport.

For road users, it lists tourist places, shopping malls, hospitals and also petrol stations! Not only that but you can also get yourself a mobile parking ticket if you’re parking in a charged parking zone.

Many expats love the app for this feature alone as it means they don’t have to stand in the hot sun to get a ticket, they can just use the app to park, log it and go.

Since most places in Dubai now have paid parking, you can’t afford to not use this app.

Apple App Store rating: 3.3
Download RTA Dubai for iPhone

Google Play rating: 4.4
Download RTA Dubai for Android

Screenshot of the Talabat app from Google Play Screenshot of the Talabat app from Google Play

 

6. Talabat

This app operates in several Middle Eastern countries and lets you search for and discover restaurants to eat out at or order takeaway from. Simply select your local area to find nearby restaurants for Indian, Chinese, American, Italian, healthy food and other options. It’s a great way to support local businesses and discover great new food and restaurants.

Users can receive updates on the latest restaurant offers, promotions and discounts available near them. By creating an account, you can also revisit previous orders and request specific amends to dishes being delivered via the app.

Apple App Store rating: 4.6
Download Talabat for iPhone

Google Play rating: 4.5
Download Talabat for Android

Screenshot of iDubai App from iTunes App Store Screenshot of iDubai App from iTunes App Store


7. iDubai

iDubai is the official app of Dubai Municipality. It provides individuals and businesses with lifestyle and business-centric content and tools to help users improve, maintain and advance their quality of life in Dubai.

But what really blew me away about this app was their map. It lists everything from government offices to clinics, banks, hospitals, hotels, mosques, parks, school and malls.

Once you’ve chosen an amenity you want to locate on the map, the app will find the one closest to your location.

Apple App Store rating: N/A
Download iDubai for iPhone

Google Play rating: 4.3
Download iDubai for Android

Screenshot of Bayt.com app from Google Play Screenshot of Bayt.com app from Google Play


8. Bayt

Bayt is a job search app with a particular role to play in Dubai’s burgeoning economy as companies grow and demand change. The app allows users to upload their CV, search for and apply for jobs.

As well as the ability to create a profile and apply for local jobs, the app also includes advice on applying and securing jobs. Bayt includes useful information about the job market, including the three fastest growing job roles in Dubai, as well as the average salary paid for a specific job title. The app also boasts the ability for individuals to use the power of their own network to see if there are job vacancies where their friends work. You can also help your friends find work by recommending jobs.

The reviews on both App Store and Google Play show how useful the app is to people from around the world.

Premium and Elite subscriptions offer additional functions including the ability to see who viewed your profile.

Apple App Store rating: 4.4
Download Bayt for iPhone

Google Play rating: 4.4
Download Bayt for Android

Screenshot of The Dubai Mall App from the iTunes Store Screenshot of The Dubai Mall App from the iTunes Store


9. The Dubai Mall

The world’s largest mall definitely needs an iPhone app of its own. It’s so large that if you don’t know your way around, you can get lost and end up walking for hours before you find the shop you wanted to go to.

The Dubai Mall app saves users from the nuisance of being on the wrong floor and at the wrong end of wherever it is they want to go.

That’s not the only way you can get lost in Dubai Mall though. Folks regularly forget which level or zone they parked their car in. If you’re wondering how someone could possible forget where they parked their car, consider this: the Dubai Mall has 10 parking levels and 26 parking zones.

Luckily, this app lets you save your car park location. And in case you still can’t find it, it’s got a ‘Take Me To My Car’ feature you can enable.

While the app’s rating is not high, the developers have clearly tackled the bugs as recent reviews — especially on Google Play — are overwhelmingly positive.

Apple App Store rating: 2.5
Download Dubai Mall for iPhone

Google Play rating: 3.2
Download Dubai Mall for Android

Screenshot of Vox Cinemas App from Google Play Screenshot of Vox Cinemas App from Google Play


10. Vox Cinemas

With the VOX Cinemas app, you can browse and book ahead of time to beat ticket queues. Check show times, book tickets and discover more about movies showing in a variety of locations.

Users can save their favourite cinema, use e-tickets (via Apple Wallet) and research movies for information on trailers, cast, synopsis, ratings and more.

The most recent iteration includes bug fixes and the ability to book food and drinks ahead of time

Apple App Store rating: 2.5
Download Vox Cinemas for iPhone

Google Play rating: 3.9
Download Vox Cinemas for Android

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