The Apple Design Awards recognize state-of-the-art apps that reflect the very best in design, innovation, and technology on Apple platforms. Learn about these winning apps and the talented developers behind them.
Check out the list of winners below!
Ryan McLeod - Blackbox
Exclusive to iPhone, and with more than 77,000 5-star ratings, Blackbox is a refreshingly stimulating, engrossing, and clever puzzle game that breaks through the “fourth wall” of iPhone to take you beyond the screen and make your world a part of each solution. Designed and developed by one person, Blackbox was chosen as an Apple Design Award winner for being fully accessible, and offering unique and ingenious gameplay, deep iOS integration, and clever innovations. Blackbox offers puzzles that rely on minimalistic clues, deliberate movement, elegant animations, and visual cues to expand creative thinking and encourage players to solve puzzles by turning, shouting, clicking, snapping, and more. It is fully accessible, taking a highly visual interface designed to be navigated by touch and and other sensory inputs, and adding a brilliant sonic interface that enables a new world of gameplay for everyone. It uses haptics for sensory feedback to make puzzles more personal, nuanced, and tactile, and relies heavily on the iPhone’s camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer to enable sensory inputs. Additionally, by using CoreAudio, CoreLocation, Core Telephony, AVCaptureSession, iCloud, and GameCenter in novel ways, this app takes advantage of an enormous range of iOS technologies. Blackbox challenges the player's ingenuity and creativity through innovative presentation and unique interactions. The result is a game that is impressively clever and unlike anything we’ve played before.
Download Blackbox on the App Store
RAC7 Games - Splitter Critters
Designed and developed by a team of two from Vancouver, Canada, Splitter Critters is a charming level-based arcade puzzle-game for iPhone and iPad with a mind-bending game mechanic that’s playable by all ages. Selected as an Apple Design Award winner for it’s touch-centric game play, absorbing sound design, and minimalistic paper-craft aesthetic, Splitter Critters uses a clever tearing effect and scene re-arrangement technique to help players solve puzzles in new ways. With clever environmental mechanics such as laser beams, reflective surfaces, liquids, moving platforms, and immersive soundscapes for each world (best experienced with headphones), this app offers an inventive and memorable gaming experience. Unity-based, and with optimizations for Metal, Splitter Critters was released first on iOS, takes advantage of iCloud and Game Center, and is localized into 15 languages.
Download Splitter Critters on the App Store
Untame - Mushroom 11
This a one-of-a-kind platformer mixes physics-puzzle problem-solving with action and strategy. Mushroom 11 plays better than ever before on a multi-touch mobile device and was selected as an Apple Design Award winner for its intriguing alien landscapes, rich hand-painted levels, and incredibly unique, tactile, and immersive gameplay on iPhone and iPad. Players move an ever-expanding life form through a surreal post-apocalyptic landscape by strategically molding, splitting, and reshaping it into any shape needed to explore the strange and challenging environment. Multi-gesture support and 3D Touch optimizations add a whole new dimension to the game, making it a truly physical experience. Details matter in great games, and Mushroom 11 delivers by providing a clever helper that appears when needed, an original sound score, interesting posters to investigate, and a left-handed mode which mirrors the game and provides an optimal experience for everyone. Localized into 5 languages, including First-Nation languages, Mushroom 11 is Unity-based with optimizations for Metal and support for Game Center.
Download Mushroom 11 on the App Store
Broken Rules - Old Man's Journey
Available first on iOS, Old Man’s Journey is a captivating puzzle adventure about life, loss, and hope. Designed and developed by a team of five in Vienna, Austria, it uses a clever landscape-shifting game mechanic to solve puzzles and reveal an emotional narrative told entirely through imagery and sound. We picked this game as an Apple Design Award winner because of its immersive and meaningful game play, beautiful, hand-drawn art style, and whimsical, exceptionally crafted landscapes. Old Man’s Journey conveys universal truths that transcend cultures and the many stages of life, and delivers an experience focused on originality, simplicity, refined game mechanics, and rich interactivity. Unity-based with Metal optimizations, Old Man’s Journey is best played on iPad and allows players to share in-game moments via ReplayKit and photo sharing.
Download Old Man's Journey on the App Store
Drinkbox Studios - Severed
This is an intense, critically acclaimed, narrative-driven adventure game in which you play a one-armed warrior named Sasha in search of her family. Developed by a small, independent Toronto-based video game developer, Severed is a challenging touch and swipe-based adventure with deep, detailed, and psychedelic gameplay that masterfully melds macabre themes with vibrant color. Localized into 11 languages, including Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Severed is a unique and memorable game with original style, finely-honed game play, an award-winning soundtrack, and numerous optimizations for iOS. We were impressed by Severed’s sword-swinging mechanic that’s both intuitive and effective, the thoughtful approach taken for touchscreen-only controls, and the Metal optimizations used to create its high fidelity graphics and effects, and as well as its support for Game Center Achievements, ReplayKit to record video and audio, 3D Touch to Peek & Pop in-game maps, and iCloud for syncing game play between devices.
Download Severed on the App Store
Lake d.o.o - Lake
This is a beautifully designed, best-of-breed coloring app, exclusive to iPad and iPhone. Created by a five-person team in Slovenia, Lake’s simple and playful design is a delight, and comes packed with creativity-enhancing tools, customized color palettes, and beautiful illustrations to help anyone create a masterpiece. Available in 8 languages, including Simplified and Traditional Chinese, it offers high quality curated illustrations from local and renowned artists that bring them together with their fans and ensures a rewarding and relaxing coloring book experience for all ages. Lake’s deep system integration is also impressive. Written in Swift, Lake is optimized for Apple Pencil and takes full advantage of powerful iOS and macOS technologies such as Dynamic Type, 3D Touch, Quick actions, On-Demand Resources, CloudKit Sync, Handoff, Haptic Feedback, QuickLook, and Spotlight search.
Download Lake on the App Store
Shiny Frog di Matteo Rattotti e C. S.N.C. - Bear
Exclusive to iPhone, iPad, and Mac, Bear is an elegant and flexible writing tool for crafting notes and prose. With a simple and clean design, beautiful typography, and a consistently fast experience on any device, Bear helps writers focus on their content and produce great looking results whenever and wherever inspiration strikes. Available in 11 languages and packed with beautiful themes, extensive typography customization tools, and powerful capabilities, Bear is flexible and capable enough to handle a mix of short notes, articles, essays, long blog posts, code snippets, and more. An advanced Markup Editor supporting over 20 programming languages, with smart data recognition and numerous export options, reinforces Bear’s powerful capabilities. Developed by a three-person team in Italy, Bear takes full advantage of essential technologies like Core Data, TextKit/CoreText, Core Graphics, Core Audio, Core Spotlight, iCloud sync, Share extensions, 3D Touch, Haptic feedback, and VoiceOver to provide a fast and powerful native experience on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Download Bear on the App Store
Download Bear on the Mac App Store
AJNS New Media GmbH - Kitchen Stories
Founded by two young women and developed with the goal of enabling anyone to cook a delicious meal, Kitchen Stories is a simple and beautiful cooking app, available in 12 languages, for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Kitchen Stories includes a rich variety of recipes, dazzling photos, helpful videos, handy tips, and informative articles, all focused on inspiration, convenience, and execution. Kitchen Stories on Apple TV provides an inviting large-screen recipe browsing experience, and allows you to pick a recipe while you’re on the go for an automatically generated shopping list for your Apple Watch or iPhone. It is a state-of-the-art app that’s optimized for iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. Written almost entirely in Swift, Kitchen Stories supports 3D Touch, Haptic feedback, Rich Notifications with images and videos, iPad Multi-tasking, Picture in Picture video playback, Handoff, Spotlight search, tvOS Dark mode, and more, ensuring a remarkable experience on any device.
Download Kitchen Stories on the App Store
Cultured Code GmbH & Co. KG - Things 3
This app is the quintessential personal task manager, exclusive to iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac. A joy to use and beautiful to look at, Things 3 has been completely re-imagined to improve efficiency. Its thoughtful design and powerful features help you get organized and make the most out of every day. Developed by a team of 10 at Cultured Code, a company passionate about productivity, simplicity, and beautiful design, the totally redesigned Things 3 removes distractions and provides innovative interactions and gestures to simplify list editing, multi-selection, list reordering, to do list syncing across all devices, quick scheduling, date parsing, searching, reminders, and more. Things 3 is deeply integrated with iOS, macOS, and watchOS, leveraging Core Animation for smooth and delightful animations, integrating with Calendar and Reminders, supporting Action and Share Extensions, Rich Notifications, Slide Over and Split Views, 3D Touch and Quick Actions, Handoff, Haptic Feedback, Apple Watch complications, and TouchBar support on Mac. Things 3 sets the standard for how apps should be designed and developed to be their best on every device.
Download Things 3 on the App Store
Clean Shaven Apps Pte. Ltd. - Elk
An innovative currency conversion app, Elk is perfectly suited for Apple Watch and enables quickly converting between 150+ currencies worldwide. Elk provides a thoughtfully designed and efficient experience on watchOS that makes currency conversion fast, easy, and convenient. Smart and creative use of pickers, swipe gestures, haptics, and the Digital Crown make interactions feel natural and intuitive. Clever use of one’s locale and current time zones enables Elk to quickly infer currencies to convert without the need to manually select anything. Written entirely in Swift and available in 9 languages, Elk uses the Watch Connectivity framework to sync between iPhone and Apple Watch, and thoughtfully employs Haptic feedback throughout the app on iPhone and Apple Watch to reinforce user-initiated actions. Designed and developed by Clean Shaven Apps, a two-person team in Singapore, Elk is a model watchOS app that’s simple to use and designed for quick interactions on the wrist.
Download Elk on the App Store
Lightricks Inc. - Enlight
Exclusive to iPhone and iPad, Enlight is a groundbreaking photo editing application with a collection of tools rivaling professional-grade desktop mainstays. Chosen as an Apple Design Award winner for its thoughtful, powerful, and elegant implementation on iOS, Enlight’s comprehensive and consistent user experience makes its' powerful capabilities easy to learn and a joy to use. Create and edit stunning Wide Color images with traditional 2D and novel 3D elements to simulate surface materials and lighting, while controlling everything in real-time. Now using Metal, the Accelerate framework, and state-of-the-art custom image processing technology, Enlight harnesses the full power of the CPU and GPU on iPhone for ultra-high performance and low latency on a wide variety of non-photorealistic rendering styles such pen sketch and oil-painting, or editing photos up to 50 megapixels in size. Started by a team of five in Israel, Enlight 3 is available in 13 languages and sets the standard for industrial-strength mobile photography apps.
Download Enlight on the App Store
Bloop - AirMail 3
This is a powerful and efficient mail client designed specifically for iOS, macOS, and watchOS. AirMail 3 stands above the crowd and helps you tame your inbox with its clean, three-column layout, smart interactive features, beautiful design, and speed. Bloop’s development team of two took great care to optimize the email workflow with extensive customizations, custom actions, an innovative snooze feature, and deep integration with a wide range of popular apps and services. Available in 32 languages, AirMail 3 is fully accessible and features Siri support, Haptic feedback, 3D Touch support, Rich Notifications, Today and To Do Widgets, fast document previewing, TouchBar support, watchOS 3 complications with full message previews, an iMessage app to access mail attachments, and CloudKit support that enables ubiquitous syncing of data across all devices. With its sheer breadth of options and device specific optimizations, AirMail 3 showcases how powerful productivity apps are supposed to work on all devices.
Download AirMail 3 on the App Store
Download AirMail 3 on the Mac App Store