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Excellent iOS apps for Black Friday

The biggest shopping day of the year is gearing up to be a madhouse at the stores, but with the right apps you can map out your shopping strategy and get the best deals before they're gone.

For better or worse, the biggest shopping day of the year is finally upon us. Whether you're the type that's planning to brave the long lines or just want to get the best deals online, Black Friday is the day to do it.

Fortunately, with your iPhone in hand and the right apps, you have an excellent resource for both planning what you're going to buy and finding the best possible deals -- even when you're in the stores. And don't forget, you can always get great buying advice for all your tech needs using the CNET app (iOS|Android|Windows Phone). We also have a list of all the Black Friday tech deals we've gathered so far.

For everyone who's looking for the biggest discounts for Black Friday, I've put together a collection of apps that will help you make your plan of attack, compare prices on shopping day, and quickly scan items while in the store to make sure you're getting the best deals possible.

Editors' note: For Android shopping apps, check out Sarah Mitroff's holiday shopping roundup.

Go to the newest ads tab to find the latest deals from several stores. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

TGI Black Friday gets you the latest ads for Black Friday on your iPhone and will send notifications when new ones are posted. With this app, you can start shopping now because many stores post their deals in advance.

TGI Black Friday has all the bases covered when it comes to finding the best deals. Along with notifications, you can shop for and buy items from directly within the app. This is an especially useful feature when you're looking at a price tag at one store, but realize you can get the item for less at another. The app has over 10,000 deals sorted into categories so you can find the items you want quickly.

It's also useful before you even enter the store. You can browse the ads in advance, then use the shopping list feature so you have place where you can check off items when in the store. You also can share your shopping list with others to team up and grab items before they're gone. The app also comes with several coupons for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday for additional savings.

Overall, TGI Black Friday is one of the best available for the latest deals and can be used year round for coupons.

Get TGI Black Friday for Android.

Sort by category to find the best deals on specific items. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Black Friday 2014 Ads shows you the latest deals from major stores so you can map out your shopping attack plan. Rather than flipping through circulars, this app has all the deals listed out for you, and you can save the best deals to a favorites list so you can refer back to it when you're out in the trenches on Black Friday.

The app has just four buttons across the bottom for navigation. The Featured button gives you up-to-the-minute deal announcements. The Stores button lists out all the stores with deals, and touching a store breaks down the discounted items into Doorbusters (deals that people will physically line up for) and online (deals you can get simply by shopping the store's Web site). A Categories button breaks down the deals into common categories -- great if you know the item you want and don't want to sift through all the deals. Finally, a Shopping List button shows your favorite deals you have already selected, so you can use this list as your main page if you decide to hit the stores.

Black Friday Survival Guide doesn't have a lot of fancy features, but it's got just the info you need to get the best deals during the mad rush on Black Friday.

Get Black Friday 2014 Ads for Android.

When you scan an item, you'll get other locations near you that may have a better deal. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Shop Savvy is one of the best bar code scanners in the App Store, and offers fast scanning and unique added features to make it one of the best shopping companions on Black Friday. Shop Savvy lets you use your iPhone camera to "scan" a bar code then view the item and prices from various locations, and you can scan QR codes at the touch of a button. The interface is set up to be as simple as possible, but it offers nice touches, such as the ability to initiate a scan by swiping upward on the product display screen.

After a bar code scan, you're presented with an image of the item and given places to shop for it online or at nearby stores (Shop Savvy uses your GPS location), online reviews of the product, and the ability to share your findings via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook. You also can categorize your items in lists that are neatly arranged in folders you create.

The app has seen a lot of updates since it launched, and is now even better. With new featured deals, popular items you can track, and other handy features for when you're out, Shop Savvy has evolved into the go-to app for finding the best prices. Also, if you just want to find deals for specific items, you can touch one of the tags at the top to get a list.

If you're out on Black Friday making a big purchase and want a way to quickly check prices in other locations, Shop Savvy is a great app to have as a shopping companion.

Get Shop Savvy for Android.