Whether you’re interested in learning a new skill, aiding Cupid’s arrow or exploring the night sky, there’s plenty on offer for app enthusiasts this month. Grab your phone and start downloading with our pick of October’s best new and updated apps…

The recent release of Apple’s iOS 11 brought a number of AR (Augmented Reality) apps for iPhone users, but they’re not the only ones enjoying some great new downloads this month. From upskilling and gaming to travel and matchmaking, we’ve hunted down our pick of the bunch to keep your home screen looking fresh…

Udemy | iOS, Android, FREE + Cost of course
As summer socialising gives way to quieter nights, autumn is the perfect time to learn a new skill. Udemy puts over 42,000 courses at your fingertips – you don’t even need to venture out! And because access is 24/7, you learn at your own pace. You can train on the train, squeeze in a bit of lunchtime learning, or even pursue higher education once the kids have gone to sleep. With courses on everything from programming to salsa, the tricky bit is deciding what you want to learn. Thankfully, Udemy has this covered too with star ratings and student reviews.

The Guides Axiom | iOS, Android, FREE

Like its 2015 predecessor, The Guides Axiom is a guaranteed head-scratcher with its range of complex puzzles, codes and interactive ciphers designed to challenge your wit, stretch your imagination and test your ingenuity. Once you’ve passed the initial stages, Axiom allows you to jump around between levels. But – while it gives you all the tools you need to succeed – the rest is up to you. Equal parts frustrating and rewarding, Axiom will have you feeling like a genius as you build on what you’ve learned… But only after pushing you to the very limit of human patience. Good luck!

BBC Pandemic | iOS, FREE

Citizen science is the name of the game this month at the BBC with the release of its new Pandemic app for iOS. This app gives you the opportunity to participate in a unique experiment to predict the spread of a deadly flu outbreak across the UK. Don’t worry – for now, it’s very much a hypothetical. However, the information you provide via tracking in the app will help researchers from the University of Cambridge and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine work out how one may spread, and what could be done to stop it.

Pokemon Playhouse | iOS, Android, FREE
It’s Pikachu for pre-schoolers this October with the latest app offering from the Pokemon Company. Designed with 3-5 year olds in mind, Pokemon Playhouse focuses on activities such as Pokemon grooming and starting Pokemon bands over more traditional Pokemon battles. Young trainers are led through the activities by a friendly human character and as they progress, their egg begins to hatch – eventually revealing a new Pokemon for their collection.

*Updated* Sky Guide AR | iOS, £2.99

With the launch of iOS, we can’t help but mention a couple of the coolest AR applications and Sky Guide AR is right up there – literally. A natural progression from the original version, which depicted an animated sky based on a user’s location, the addition of Apple’s ARKit makes viewing stars and planets easier – and more accurate – than ever. Simply point your device’s camera at the sky to see a constellation guide superimposed over the real world image.

Fitness AR | iOS, £2.99

Review your runs, rides or hikes in 3D with a virtual terrain map on your table top. Using Strava’s API to pull data through, Fitness AR allows you to visualise your workout and walk around a model of your route to view the terrain from all angles. Not a Strava user? You can still enjoy the app, as built-in maps of locations such as Yosemite Valley or Mont Ventoux provide the opportunity to check out digital troughs and peaks before you embark on your next big adventure.

Hinge Matchmaker | iOS, FREE
Fancy yourself a modern-day Cupid? Singletons need no longer surrender their phones to swipe happy friends with Hinge Matchmaker, because it lets you meddle from a distance. Separate from the core Hinge dating app, Hinge Matchmaker enables users to see which of their Facebook friends are using Hinge, and recommend potential pairings. You can even send an icebreaker message to get the conversation started. We’re certain your loved ones will thank you.

War Planet Online: Global Conquest | iOS, Android, Windows Phone, FREE 

You are a lone military force in a world completely engulfed by war. Sounds intense right? It certainly is, and now you can immerse yourself in military strategy on Windows Phone as well as iOS and Android. Build a base, dominate your region and lead your alliance to conquer the globe as you chat to allies and enemies the world over.

*Updated* Hopper | iOS, Android, FREE
Need a holiday but not too fussed about the destination? Hopper’s new feature, Flex Watch, enables you to input parameters for personalised destination recommendations alongside advice about the cheapest flights and when prices are expected to drop. You’ll be notified when great deals come along that meet your criteria, and the more you engage, the smarter it gets thanks to its AI engine.

Looking for more mobile entertainment? Check out the top TV, music and sports from our awesome entertainment partners in October’s essential entertainment mix.

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