In my short time living in Saudi Arabia, I’ve learned that there is an app for everything. Which makes life here so effortlessly convenient! Below, I’m going to share with you the apps you need to download on your phone whether you’re living in or visiting Saudi Arabia.
Please note, a large part of these apps (specifically under the “for expats” portion) are nursing related. This is because I’m living in Saudi Arabia and working as a nurse (for more on that decision you can read this post), so many of these are the apps relevant to nurses. If you’re not a nurse, you can certainly skip downloading the nursing apps mentioned.
Apps to Download if You Visit Saudi Arabia
If you’re planning on visiting Saudi Arabia, don’t miss: The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Saudi Arabia
Hunger Station is a God send! You can get food delivery from just about anywhere, with every food group covered. The food always shows up quickly – within the timeframe the app gives you, and I’ve never once had my order be wrong. You can pay for your food through a credit/debit card on the app or in person with cash (SAR). Tipping isn’t expected, but generally if the driver goes out of their way to bring the food to my front door, I will give a small tip of about 5 SAR ($1).
If you’re having trouble paying with card on the app… close out of the app, reopen it, click “orders” on the bottom of the screen, select where you’re ordering from, and then your payment should be processed.
So far my favorite orders on Hunger Station have been from Al Baik – the double baik burger is incredible (skip the fries); Mama Noura for chicken shawarma, and Pokai for fresh poki and generally healthier options. While popular, Chick N Bun was greatly disappointing. For more restaurants to order from on Hungerstation don’t miss this post.
Lastly, you can also order things from the market on Hunger Station. This comes in handy if you need water, toiletries, or a few food items to be delivered.
For 10 SAR off your first order use code @EAEON8
Bolt is a rideshare app more widely known around Europe and Asia.
Uber is a rideshare app more widely known around the US.
I suggest downloading both of these apps and compare prices when searching for a ride. I haven’t found one to be cheaper than the other, prices fluctuate depending on the day and where you’re going. The good news is, because Saudi Arabia is rich in oil, rideshares are commonly much cheaper than you would find in the US or other parts of the world.
MUSLIM & QUARAN
Even if you’re not Muslim, this app is a good idea to have handy. A lot of times things will close during prayer times, especially on Fridays, Muslims most holy day. This app lets you know what time prayer time is and how long it lasts so that you can plan your day around it.
Currently, this app is necessary for being in Saudi Arabia. It’s a COVID tracking app that keeps track of your vaccination status and notifies officials of outbreaks in the country. Some places make you show the app to enter, as you’ll either be “exempt” meaning you don’t have COVID and you’re vaccinated. Or non-exempt, meaning you aren’t allowed to enter said establishment.
When COVID was more rampant in 2020-2021, you weren’t allowed to go anywhere in the Kingdom without showing this app verifying that you’re “exempt”. Now (in 2022), I haven’t yet had to show the app anywhere, but if it’s asked for, you’re required to show it.
I would highly suggest a VPN when in the country just so that you can get faster internet service. There are tons of free VPN apps to download, but this particular one I paid for. I suggest trying free ones first and if you like it, great! If not you can upgrade to something that’s paid for that comes with good customer service.
WhatsApp is an encrypted text message/calling app. You’ll definitely need this app if you’re an expat, and I also recommend it if you’re a visitor as this will be how you communicate with tour guides, etc. Plus, if you’re calling someone from another country, WhatsApp uses your phones internet connection than your mobile plan’s minutes.
Xe is a currency converter than can be used offline. What I like about it is that you can add more than one currency (for example, I have USD, EUR, and SAR) and the app will calculate out what each currency is. So when I’m looking at prices in SAR (Saudi’s currency) and want to know the price in USD, I input the number and it spits it out to me in both USD and EUR.
The Absher app is used for a multitude of things (like reporting crimes, applying for jobs, etc), but for exapts it’s where all of your documents will live. This app keeps track of your passport, Iqama (or official documentation in the Kingdom), and more. For nurses, you have to get your fingerprints taken (for me, this was done at HR during work) to access the app.
Carrefour is an incredible (French) grocery store in Saudi Arabia. This grocery store carries tons of different brands from all over the world, guaranteeing you’ll find something that you like. The best thing about this app is that you can get your groceries easily delivered from it, which is perfect for moments when you’re in a pinch and don’t have time to run to the store.
For tips on grocery shopping in Saudi Arabia, don’t miss: A Guide to Grocery Shopping in Saudi Arabia – for Expats!
MySTC is an easy way to pay for your phone bill each month and load more data and minutes onto your phone.
Nahdi is used for beauty products and pharmaceuticals that are delivered right to your door. You can order a variety of things like vitamins, supplements, healthy food, makeup, skin care, hair care, and even prescription medications.
Noon has got to be one of my favorite apps in the Kingdom. Noon is essentially Saudi’s “Amazon” with tons of products at great prices. Plus, there’s even an option for some items to be delivered within 20 minutes which is my favorite part about the app if I ever need something asap.
This app isn’t a necessity in the Kingdom, but as a nurse, I find it quite nice and easy to keep track of my schedule. You download the app, choose the hospital you’re working at, and create your work schedule. If you have friends at the same hospital, you can “friend” them on the app and keep track of their schedule as well so you know when you work together and know which days you have off together.
Saudi Arabia is incredibly advanced and like I said earlier, there’s an app for everything. Visiting and living here has been such a breeze with incredible food availability, groceries delivered to my door, and even medications just a click of a button away. I’m sure that as I spend more time in the Kingdom I’ll find even more apps that are useful to visiting Saudi Arabia and being an expat in the country.
If you’re moving to Saudi Arabia, don’t miss: Opening a Bank Account in Saudi Arabia – A Guide for Expats