Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

A defense attorney & PI who also happen to be writers

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iPhone Apps for Private Investigators

Posted by Writing PIs on January 4, 2012

We finally ditched our dumb phones in 2011 and got smart ones, as in iPhones. Now that we have ‘em, we can’t believe why we waited so long. Besides being able to check directions, look up phone numbers, research databases and more on the fly, we’ve also become enamoured of a few apps.

For the iPhone

Flashlight. There’s a number of flashlight apps. The one we use is simply called “Flashlight.” Big off/on button that fills the screen, easy to switch it on. We’ve carried flashlights with us since we opened our investigation agency yea many years ago, but we’re always losing flashlights, plus they’re cumbersome to carry, and if you’re not on top of the battery situation you can find — surprise! — you’re stuck in the dark with a weak-lighted or dead flashlight. But with this handy app, which was .99, we can now light up at any time.

TurboScan. Again, there’s a bunch of scan apps. We chose this one because reviews were good. And it is good. After taking a pix of a document, you can adjust the parameters (shorten, lengthen, add width) to encompass the entire doc. Haven’t figured out how to email the doc directly yet, but it’s easy to store a doc scan on the iPhone “Camera Roll” and email that image. We used to feel smart carting a remote scanner, which was heavy and clunky, into courthouses to scan file docs…now we just use TurboScan on our iPhones. $1.99.

VoiceRecorderHD. With this app, we can record witness interviews with our iPhones, link it to Dropbox (another app we’re fond of) for file transfer or instead connect the iPhone to our Mac and download the voice file that way. $1.99.

Lumin. Sometimes you gotta read the fine print…and sometimes you gotta read the fine print in the dark. Lumin works like a magnifying glass…lets you read the fine print, even capture the image so you can zoom in on a part of it for closer inspection, and if you’re in dim or no lighting, Lumin also provides a light for viewing. Cool. $1.99.

For the iPad

Evernote. We’re digging Evernote on our iPad, but still learning how to manipulate it on our iPhones (some apps just seem too large for an iPhone, y’know?). But on the iPad, this app is a winner. One of the Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes PIs now carries her iPad to all witness interviews and uses Evernote to take notes, pictures, voice recordings…then sends the report immediately afterward to the attorney-client. You can use the free version or upgrade for a nominal fee (something like $1.99). We went for the upgrade.

There you have it. Our current 4 favorite apps for the iPhone, and one winner for the iPad.

Have a great week, Writing PIs

Like private eye mysteries with thrills, humor and romance? Check out The Zen Man, a 21-st Nick and Nora mystery, now available on Kindle and Nook. Only .99 through January 18.

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