11 Must-Have Pinball Apps For Your Home Screen (Plus 5 Games to Avoid)

11 Must-Have Pinball Apps For Your Home Screen (Plus 5 Games to Avoid)
Published on
December 12, 2022
Read time:
4
minutes

Ok so here's the deal. We're drawing up our list of the best pinball apps. You know, the stuff you need on your latest Apple iOS device (like an iPhone or an iPad, but probably not a Watch) or your Android-powered phone or tablet.


But there's a twist.


We will not be covering the best pinball game apps or the best pinball games in a digital format. At least not in this article. Instead, we'll focus on pinball utility apps, pinball community apps, and other pinball apps that are useful to have on hand as a pinball player.


What exactly is the distinction between a pinball game app and a pinball utility app or a pinball community app?


A pinball game app will typically attempt to re-create the pinball experience in digital form, usually for mobile devices like a tablet or phone. While there have been some creative twists and unique play styles here and there, generally the end result ends up something like a virtual pinball experience, minus the tactile appeal of a physical cabinet. While sometimes this can satisfy your pinball itch while on the go, we tend to find it a pretty poor approximation of the pinball experience, which is why we don't recommend them here.


Pinball utility and community apps, however, primarily exist to enhance the pinball player's experience by providing services, information, quality-of-life upgrades, social connection, and more. These apps can be super helpful if you're just getting into the pinball scene, or if you're already an established player and card-carrying Pinball Degenerate.


Now remember that pinball is a niche community, so there aren't a ton of app-based options currently on the market. The most helpful or interesting pinball projects tend to be built around websites instead of downloadable native apps. But we got creative.


So without further ado, our guide to the best pinball apps.

The Best Pinball App: Pinball Map

pinball map pinball app screenshot

The pinball community of players and operators probably owe more than they know to the folks behind the mainstay Pinball Map app.


Pinball Map started as a project focused solely on the pinball hotbed of Portland, Oregon way back in 2008. They've since expanded, gone open source, and now offer the best iOS or Android experience for when you want to find the closest bar or arcade to play some pinball. Info about machines, locations, and even the condition of individual machines at individual locations is all crowd-sourced by the users of the app. So the information tends to be pretty robust and frequently updated, particularly if you have an active local pinball scene.

More Best Pinball Apps

Pindigo

pindigo pinball app ios screenshot

For those that are accustomed to checking into places, logging things, or otherwise storing troves of digital activity logs, there's Pindigo. Pindigo is a free app that offers an experience like Swarm or Untappd, only centered around the pinball experience. Users are able to search for pinball machines and keep a running record of the games they played and the scores they achieved, as well as see other users scores for a particular game or location.


While the pinball community uses Pindigo for a variety of reasons, we specifically like to use Pindigo to track our score progress in order to see if we're getting better at playing a particular game, or perhaps enduring a lengthy cold streak.

IFPA Companion App

ifpa pinball companion app

The IFPA Companion App is the dedicated app experience supporting the IFPA, which is the organization that governs the competitive pinball scene. With this app, you can access your IFPA player profile, see upcoming IFPA-sanctioned pinball tournaments in your location, and see which players are leading various US-based and international leaderboards. If you ever get the tournament pinball bug, this is an app you'll want to have downloaded.

Scorbit

scorbit pinball app images

Historically, Scorbit has filled what was a pretty glaring gap in the pinball marketplace, that of digital connectivity. Before Jersey Jack started offering digital code updates and Stern rolled out Insider Connected, there was Scorbit.


Scorbit has a lofty goal of bringing digital connectivity to almost all pinball machines (essentially everything except for old-school EMs) through a custom stack of hardware and software solutions. Essentially Scorbit is a connected pinball platform that enables real-time broadcasting of scores and other data from pinball machines to the internet. The platform consists of the Scorbitron, a piece of hardware installed in the backbox of the machine that collects data from various sources and communicates it over the internet to the Scorbit platform, and a mobile app called Scorbit that allows players to log in and associate their scores with their player profile. The platform also has features for operators, such as remote machine management and alerts for when things break. The platform is also open, allowing developers to create their own integrations and solutions.


Scorebit now comes fully integrated with all new Jersey Jack machines, like Willy Wonka, Toy Story 4, and Guns n' Roses.

PinGuy

pinguy app screenshot

The concept behind the iOS app PinGuy is simple and easy to understand. It's an app that helps you level your pinball machine, which is an essential component to having your game play well. Although it was built before the iPhone ever had a protruding camera (thus making it not quite level when laid flat), it still offers a decent-enough solution in a pinch, and is good for anyone new to leveling a pin on their own.

The Best Pinball Community Apps

This is where we get creative! All of these apps are available natively on your phone or tablet and have active pinball communities. But maybe not a traditional "pinball app" in the way the first few on the list are.

Facebook

Like it or not, Facebook is the top pinball app when it comes to finding and engaging with the pinball community. Pinball players seemingly can't get enough of the eponymous social media app, with many flourishing Facebook Groups and Facebook Pages, plus the Facebook Marketplace which can be one of the best places to buy a used pin locally or another pinball-related item. The Facebook Events platform can also be a great option for keeping up with local pinball events and tournaments.

Twitch

Twitch, best known as an esports and game streaming haven is also a focal point for the pinball creator community. There, you can watch pinball streamers or live tournament feeds most hours of the day. Some of our personal favorites include DeadFlip, Small Town Pinball, Dalton Pinball, laser_los, inKRETible, Fox Cities Pinball, and many more. Basically, anything in the Pinball Twitch Category is almost always a good hang.

Discord

While not exactly a pinball community mainstay just yet, Discord is starting to make inroads. With groups like Pinball People and the Ray Day Discord, you can find a group chatting pinball around the clock.

Reddit

Reddit checks a couple of boxes. It has a dedicated mobile app available on phones or tablets, and a very active pinball subreddit over at /r/pinball. Plus, thanks to the nature of Reddit, it's easy to stumble upon other pinball-adjacent communities in the arcade and gaming arena, which can help grow your passion for pinball and arcade gaming.

Your Favorite Podcast App

For whatever reason, pinball people love their podcasts. And listening to pinball podcasts is a great way to keep up with community news and trends. For a great starting point, check out whatever The Pinball Network publishes in their feed as it's frequently quality (and entertaining) pinball content.

One Important Pinball App That's Coming Soon

Stern Insider Connected App

stern insider connected pinball app screenshot

As of the initial publishing of this article (December 2022), Stern's Insider Connected platform is the 500lb gorilla in the room of pinball apps. Insider Connected is basically Stern's answer to Scorbit and offers a slew of digital connectivity and socialization features for many of the most modern Stern pinball machines (those currently leveraging the Spike 2 system, from about 2016 to today). Players can create a profile, track scores and achievements, and set up their home machines for automatic online code updates.


While technically, Stern Insider Connected is a website and thus shouldn't belong on this list of native mobile apps, it's been acknowledged by Stern directly that a dedicated mobile app is on the horizon for their Insider Connected program, perhaps coming as soon as 2023. So we'd be remiss not to include it here, so you can prep for its eventual release.

Pinball Game Apps You Can Avoid

Most of the popular pinball game apps are largely avoidable on mobile platforms. Some (like Stern Pinball Arcade and Pinball Arcade) are essentially dead projects and are no longer supported. Others, like Zen Pinball Party, Williams Pinball, and Zaccaria Pinball, can be fun on other platforms (like a console or PC) but are less-than-ideal in a mobile format where the physics can be wonky and the interface controls clunky. It's just not the way you were meant to enjoy a game of pinball!


  • Stern Pinball Arcade
  • FarSight's Pinball Arcade
  • Zen Pinball Party
  • Williams Pinball
  • Zaccaria Pinball