Anyone who has taken the time to find a geocache or followed an alternate reality game can confirm the excitement that goes with figuring out the puzzles involved. Unfortunately once you’ve figured out how to solve a puzzle, you may have to continue working out messages in much the same way. Often this happens with a pencil and a scrap of paper. Enter ARG Tools for iPhone by Netninja.


ARG Tools is a free iPhone app that assembles a number of decoding/encoding tools in a clear interface. The collection of tools include:

  • a Countdown Timer Predictor;


  • a ROT-N, Vignere, Beaufort, Transposition and Substitution cipher tool;


  • letter to number conversion tool;


  • Braille indexes;


  • Semaphore indexes; and among others


  • a periodic table of elements.


These tools encode and decode messages on-the-fly, making it quick and easy to copy and paste encoded passages. Each of the tools is accompanied by an explanation of the theory behind these cryptological techniques. Additionally, there are links to online resources like a Sudoku Step Solver and the Internet Anagram Server.

Since this is an iPhone app makes it easy to solve puzzles wherever you happen upon them. While this app isn’t a Universal Binary (it’s not optimised for iPad) you can still install and use it on an iPad or iPod touch. I am, however, disappointed that the latest version of the app has removed links to ARGNet, Unfiction and the like.