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Trawling the iPhone apps store searching for the hidden gems is no mean feat. The last time Apple reported App Store figures it quoted 400,000 individual downloads, and that was over three months ago.

This list isn't the work of one person, it's a culmination of several sources. The majority of these apps were selected by the team of CBS Interactive in Australia, others came from you, our readers, through comments made on the numerous stories and forum posts relating to iPhone apps.

Interestingly, as we compiled the list, we discovered similarities in our friends' lists of favourite apps. There are, of course, some essentials, like Facebook and Twitter, but we also found other friends prefer health apps, cooking apps, science guides and photography tools. And games, lots and lots of games.

This is our top 100 iPhone apps, but of course, at 400,000 apps this represents but a fraction of what's available. If you know of any hidden gems you've unearthed let us know in the comments below.

Easily one of the most popular app categories across all smartphones. Limber up your thumbs, because there is a stack of games to get through.

Apps are listed from left to right, top to bottom.

  • Chop Chop Ninja (AU$3.99)
  • Monster Dash (AU$1.19)
  • Robot Unicorn Attack (AU$3.99)
  • Monster Mayhem (AU$1.19)
  • ShaveoMatic (Free)
  • Talking Tomcat (Free)
  • Fragger (AU$1.19)
  • World Series of Poker Hold'em (AU$1.19)
  • Doodle Find (Free)
  • UFO on tape (AU$1.19)

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More games

  • Oven Break (AU$1.19)
  • Hoggy (AU$1.19)
  • Rescue Pine (AU$2.49)
  • Deer Hunter — African Safari (AU$1.19)
  • The Settlers (AU$5.99)
  • OpenFeint Game Spotlight (Free)
  • Zombies and Me (AU$2.49)
  • Rock Band (AU$8.99)
  • Backbreaker (Free)
  • Nano Rally (AU$1.19)

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And more games

  • UniWar (AU$1.19)
  • Words with Friends (AU$3.99)
  • Trivial Pursuit (AU$1.19)
  • Baby Scratch (Free)
  • Doodle Jump (AU$1.19)
  • Tap Resort Party (Free)
  • Unblock me (AU$1.19)
  • Tap Tap Revenge (Free)
  • Plants vs. Zombies (AU$3.99)
  • Flight Control (AU$1.19)

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Yet more games

  • Slice It! (AU$1.19)
  • Fruit Ninja (AU$1.19)
  • Grand Theft Auto CTW (AU$12.99)
  • Radiant (AU$1.19)
  • Civilization Revolution (AU$5.99)
  • Peggle (AU$1.19)
  • Monkey Island (AU$1.19)
  • Battle for Wesnoth (AU$5.99)
  • Zen Bound 2 Universal (AU$3.99)
  • Predators (AU$1.19)

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Thanks in part to the quality of the iPhone's camera, photography apps are a favourite in the circles we mix in. These apps help take better shots, artsy shots or add goofy effects after-the-fact.

  • PhotoChop (Free)
  • Dash of Color (Free)
  • Cool Iris (Free)
  • CrossProcess (AU$1.19)
  • Snapr (Free)
  • Hipstamatic (AU$2.49)
  • Vintage Video Maker (AU$2.49)
  • Film Lab (AU$1.19)
  • HDR Photo (AU$2.49)
  • Color Splash (AU$2.49)

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Food and fitness

As intimate tools of our lives, it is only fitting that the iPhone keeps track of our waistlines and decreasing fitness.

  • Food Advisor (Free)
  • Cyclemeter (AU$5.99)
  • RunKeeper (AU$12.99)
  • Get Running — Couch to 5km (AU$3.99)
  • Calorie Counter (Free)
  • 20 min meals — Jamie Oliver (AU$9.99)
  • Fox Sports (Free)
  • iQuit cigs app (AU$2.49)
  • First Aid (AU$3.99)
  • iFitness (AU$2.49)

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Trips and transit

Smartphones are primarily tools for consuming information, and what info is more important than "What time is the next bus?"

  • TripView (AU$2.49)
  • TramTracker (Free)
  • Public Trans: Brisbane (Free)
  • Transit Perth (AU$3.99)
  • Cab Meter — Australia (AU$2.49)
  • ACT Buses (AU$2.49)
  • iSpeedy (Free)
  • Trapster (Free)
  • Lonely Planet (Free)
  • mTaxi (Free)

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Science and the web

This is a motley grouping of online tools and our favourite science guides.

  • Tumblr (Free)
  • Flipboard (Free)
  • G-Whizz! Pro (AU$5.99)
  • The Elements for iPhone 4 (AU$12.99)
  • iHandy Carpenter (AU$2.49)
  • Starmap (AU$14.99)
  • Molecules (Free)
  • Space Images (Free)
  • Science Glossary (Free)
  • Mayorama (AU$1.19)

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Essential freebies

Almost all of these apps have been included in our previous app lists. These are the essentials, apps that have an impact on our day-to-day lives.

  • Remote (Free)
  • Kindle (Free)
  • Dropbox (Free)
  • Flickr (Free)
  • IMDB (Free)
  • MSN Messenger (Free)
  • ABC (Free)
  • Skype (Free)
  • TweetDeck (Free)
  • Facebook (Free)

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Last but not least

Another loose grouping of random favourites, these cover a number of must-have categories on every iPhone.

  • Comics + (Free)
  • WunderRadio (AU$8.99)
  • Consume (Free)
  • Who2Call (Free)
  • Foxtel (Free)
  • media:connect (AU$1.19)
  • Pocket Cinema (Free)
  • BC Reader (Free)
  • rage (Free)
  • Sleep cycle alarm (AU$1.19)

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