Over the last decade, the iPhone has become a completely reliable tool in the magician’s arsenal. There are a mind-boggling number of apps at your disposal, so we’ve listed some of the best. Your author has been deliberately vague to protect the secrets of the tricks. There’s more than enough info to get you started, though. The truly curious will be able to find what they’re looking for.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to Marc Kerstein, the godfather of magic apps. This isn’t even all of them, but it’s more than enough to get you started.
- WikiTest: An instant classic that’s only aged with time. Marc’s continued improvement of the pairing system means that you have a plethora of logical methods at your disposal. You can truly figure out anything someone looks up on Wikipedia. It’s worth picking up.
- Xeno: You can capture any thought totally impromptu. Someone scrolls through a page on their phone and you can tell them what it is.
- Earworm: Predict any song that someone is thinking of. This is made better with an accomplice, but can absolutely be done alone.
- ISO: This shouldn’t be legal. I’m not going to go into the details on the internet. It’s really good and it really works. You should get it.
- Inertia: How would you normally scroll through your phone? You would just scroll. Except with inertia, you control where the audience member stops scrolling, meaning you can force an item on Amazon, for example, or a spot in a news article. I can’t emphasize how logical Kerstein’s apps are. They feel like what you would do in real life.
- Digital Force Bag: I absolutely love this app. The possibilities are endless here (although most magicians succumb to having someone choose from a list of 100 celebrities. SMH). Regardless, any app needs to perfectly simulate what it says it is, and DFB looks and feels exactly like a notes app. Likewise, the input system is easy, logical, and totally above suspicion. It’s exactly how you would open an app. In my opinion, this is a terrible trick for stage, but phenomenal for casual performances.
- iThump: No longer do you have to awkwardly fiddle with someone’s phone to do the TOXIC force. You can now do TOXIC on television or video. Anyone watching can put in the exact same numbers on their phones, and they could watch it back to make sure the math is correct. And you can do it all on airplane mode, which is a key factor I look for in a magic app. iThump is pure genius, and if it sounds too good to be true, it’s not. I’ve performed it dozens of times in live performances and it hasn’t failed me once. Likewise, there are several other fascinating uses for this that I’m not getting into. If you want to force a number, this is truly one of the cleanest ways to do it.
- Architect of Predictions (TAP): In my everyday carry, TAP is truly a system, more so than a trick. You can predict anything in any photo set to any date. When I have nothing on me and I need to genuinely amaze people in under a minute, this is what I do.
- Inject: Take Wikitest and put it on Google. Tell someone to search for anything and you’ll know exactly what it is. Likewise, you can thump something to someone’s phone–imagine searching for something, putting the spectator’s phone facedown, they name anything, they flip it over, and you’re correct. All that and more with Inject!
- The Stranger: Jonathan Levit didn’t just create an app, he created a community. Go to any magic convention and you’ll see “I’m a Stranger” pins. This trick used to be so convoluted and now it just…isn’t. Presented correctly, this trick will break people. Use carefully.
- Enigma: I think this is my favorite, purely because of the method. Yes, the effect is phenomenal and it feels like real mind reading. But there’s something so fun about the method that, as a mentalist, I really appreciate. Method aside–Enigma allows you to, seemingly, rummage around in someone’s head and grab a thought. It’s pricey but it’s worth it–Christian Grace has really thought of everything, and his customer support is top notch.
Side note: In writing this article, I realized that I have every single app on this list. Embarrassing? Perhaps. But unlike the junk sitting on my shelf, I’ve actually used these and they really work. I’ve gotten many free drinks from TAP. I created a legend with The Stranger. And I’ve seen iThump shatter people. Full credit goes to the creators for these results–my point is that I wouldn’t be writing about these if they didn’t work. Use them carefully.