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There are two million apps in the Play Store. There are addictive games 10 Best Free Android Games of the Year 10 Best Free Android Games of the Year Did you miss out on an Android game that you should be playing? Our end-of-year roundup is a handy checklist to know what your thumbs should be tapping on. Read More , essential productivity tools 7 Amazing, Unique Email Apps for Android You Need to Check Out 7 Amazing, Unique Email Apps for Android You Need to Check Out Bored of the official Gmail app, or want a better email app for whatever email provider you have? This is the list for you. Read More , and great ways to customize your phone Want To Customize Your Android Device, But Not Sure Where To Start? Want To Customize Your Android Device, But Not Sure Where To Start? Android’s openness is one of its greatest strengths and makes it possible for most devices to be modified in a number of ways. Customizing your device can add new features and make it feel like... Read More .

There are also apps that will completely change how you use Android. Some enhance the user interface, some automate common tasks, and some take popular features in the operating system and make them even better.

Let’s take a look at ten of the best.

1. Flynx

Most of us use social media as a way of finding cool stuff to read How to Convert Twitter Lists Into RSS Feeds How to Convert Twitter Lists Into RSS Feeds There are many benefits to turning a Twitter list into an RSS feed, but the process can be complicated. Here's a simple but effective method. Read More on the web. But whether you’re using Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or anything else, it’s not handled very efficiently on a phone.

On the desktop, you can open links in their own background tab, queueing up several pages to read when you are ready. In mobile apps you need to open and read one link at a time.

flynx

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Flynx solves that problem. The app intercepts links and loads them in the background. When you’re ready, each link can pop up on top of your current app so you can read it and dismiss it, with virtually no interruption to what you were doing.

With a Pocket-style save for later Pocket 5 For Android: A Polished Way To Save Content To Read Later Pocket 5 For Android: A Polished Way To Save Content To Read Later The Web is full of cats. Seriously, they're everywhere. So are other silly memes and many other things conspiring to steal your attention. So how do you make time to read the good stuff? Read More feature, Flynx is a revolutionary way of browsing on mobile devices.

Download: Flynx (Free) on the Google Play Store

2. flippr

flippr

Widgets are awesome 8 Unmissable Widgets For All Android Versions (Even If Your Phone Is Old) 8 Unmissable Widgets For All Android Versions (Even If Your Phone Is Old) Android 4.0 has been out for some time now yet, according to usage studies, a large number of devices still run version 2.x. This can make buying widget apps frustrating. The latest and greatest may... Read More , but they have their limitations. You can only place them on the homescreen, and you can only access them when your homescreen is visible.

flippr makes them accessible everywhere via a small bubble tucked away on the edge of the screen. Tap the bubble and your chosen widgets will open. Want to control your music while typing in a document? No problem. Check the sports scores while playing a fullscreen game? Done.

flippr puts Android devices one step closer to having full multitasking capabilities.

Download: flippr (Free) on the Google Play Store

3. Notif

notif

Android’s notification shade is great for showing you what’s happening in your apps, but you can use it to create notifications for your real life too.

Notif is a twist on the to-do list app 9 Best Apps For Managing To-Do Lists On Android 9 Best Apps For Managing To-Do Lists On Android If you need to keep track of what to do next, these Android apps could be a life saver. Read More , which you use to make lists, reminders, voice notes, and more, and set them as actionable notifications. Tick off items as you complete them, or swipe the notification away when you’re finished with it.

The icon for each notification, placed permanently in the status bar, serves as a kind of digital knot in the handkerchief that constantly reminds you of the jobs you need to complete.

Download: Notif (Free) on the Google Play Store

4. MacroDroid

Take the pain out of the common tasks you perform every day by turning them into macros, a series of commands that happen automatically.

MacroDroid is similar to Tasker, the most famous and loved of Android’s automation apps. But Tasker has an incredibly steep learning curve Tasker For Android: A Mobile App That Caters to Your Every Whim Tasker For Android: A Mobile App That Caters to Your Every Whim When it comes to device automation, there's just one 900-lb gorilla in the Android space, and that's Tasker. True, Llama is an awesome free automation app, but it doesn't aim for Tasker's full power. Tasker... Read More , and MacroDroid is an app you can install and start using instantly.

macrodroid

The app needs you to configure as few as two settings — just an action that will be prompted by a trigger. So, plugging in your headphones could be the trigger, and the corresponding actions could be the automatic launch of the Spotify app and adjustment of the volume level. Or you could have your phone switch to Airplane Mode (the action) at night (the trigger). Or your text messages could be read aloud when your phone’s in a car dock.

You can add optional constraints to fine-tune the conditions under which your macro can run. This gives the app even more power, and your macros can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be.

Download: MacroDroid (Free) on the Google Play Store

5. IF

if

If MacroDroid is perfect for on-device automation, then IF does the same for web services. The official IFTTT app enables you to create “recipes” that connect two internet-based services or devices, with your Android phone as the central hub.

The possibilities are almost endless IFTTT Now Connects to Anything: Introducing the Maker Channel IFTTT Now Connects to Anything: Introducing the Maker Channel The potential uses for IFTTT are endless. But until now, it's been difficult to interface it with your own hardware projects. Today, that's all changed. Read More . You can use IF to automatically tweet, to get SMS alerts The Ultimate IFTTT Guide: Use The Web's Most Powerful Tool Like A Pro The Ultimate IFTTT Guide: Use The Web's Most Powerful Tool Like A Pro IFTTT is an automation that will enable you to connect 2 services so that, when something happens with one service, a trigger goes off and an action takes place automatically on the other. Read More for your Google Calendar appointments, or to get notifications on price drops IFTTT Recipes That Help You Save Money IFTTT Recipes That Help You Save Money IFTTT can be used to do nearly anything, and saving money is no exception. Here are some of the best recipes to help you live more frugally. Read More  for products you’re looking to buy. Once you get it up and running, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

Download: IF by IFTTT (Free) on the Google Play Store

6. Pie Control

pie control

Phone screens are getting bigger, and it’s a mixed blessing. A larger display is great for things like gaming and video consumption, but it makes one-handed control of your phone almost impossible.

Pie Control addresses this fact by placing a pie-shaped control panel at the bottom corner or edge of your screen. It contains buttons for common interface controls, as well as a configurable panel of app icons. It pops up and disappears when you need it, and it places the most used parts of your phone within easy reach of your thumb, just like the old days.

Download: Pie Control (Free) on the Google Play Store

7. MightyText

mightytext

Spend any amount of time sitting at your PC throughout the day, and SMS Text Messaging from MightyText becomes an essential app.

It syncs with your PC, Mac, or Linux computer via a browser extension and gives you full access to your SMS messages on the bigger screen. You can read, reply, or create new messages, and you can also view notifications from all your other apps. You’ll hardly need to pick up your phone again.

Download: SMS Text Messaging by MightyText (Free) on the Google Play Store

8. Universal Copy

universal

Copy and paste on Android How to Improve the Copy & Paste Functionality on Android How to Improve the Copy & Paste Functionality on Android Ever wanted to copy and paste more than one thing at a time? Wish you had quick access to certain phrases you could paste? These apps have got you covered and then some. Read More is mostly fine, until it doesn’t work. Some things just don’t support it — tweets, for example, or YouTube or Instagram descriptions.

With Universal Copy you can copy and paste almost anything, from any app. It integrates seamlessly with the system — a long press is all you need for the option to copy your chosen text to the clipboard.

Download: Universal Copy (Free) on the Google Play Store

9. Better Open With

better open

We love the fact that you can replace the default Android apps How To Remove, Change, Or Set Default Apps In Android How To Remove, Change, Or Set Default Apps In Android The default way of changing your default apps can be annoying, but this app makes it super simple. Read More with any others of your choosing. But sometimes you want to use more than one app to handle particular types of file and link.

With Better Open With, you can. This app replaces the standard “Open with” screen with something that is more powerful for two reasons. First, you can choose which apps you’ll be offered to open a link with — reducing an often cluttered list to just one or two options.

Second, Better Open With works on a timer. It opens on tapping a link, but switches to the default after a couple of seconds, if you don’t want to make a choice.

Download: Better Open With (Free) on the Google Play Store

10. Nova Launcher

nova

The single best way to customize your Android phone is to install a new launcher 5 Awesome Free Launchers You May Not Know About [Android] 5 Awesome Free Launchers You May Not Know About [Android] I'm an Android user because I love to tinker with my phone and change it up every once in a while. Android lets me do that easily right out of the box because it was... Read More . There are a huge number to choose from, the best of which is Nova.

It’s small, fast, very stable, and infinitely customizable. The default settings are perfect, but it also comes packed with extra features that you might not know about. These range from support for icon packs to the ability to resize any widget.

But the built-in gesture controls beat everything. These enable you to assign functions — from activating settings, to navigating the interface, to launching apps — to a series of taps, swipes and pinches.

If you’re a power user, Nova’s gestures will fundamentally change how you interact with your device.

Download: Nova Launcher (Free) on the Google Play Store

Your Favorite Apps?

There are so many apps that can change how you use your phone. We haven’t even touched on root apps like the Xposed Framework Customize Your Phone Without Flashing a ROM With The Xposed Framework Customize Your Phone Without Flashing a ROM With The Xposed Framework It is common knowledge that the best way to customize your Android device is to flash it with a new ROM. It is also wrong. Read More , which offers even more ways to customize Android 12 Best Xposed Modules for Customizing Android 6.0 Marshmallow 12 Best Xposed Modules for Customizing Android 6.0 Marshmallow These Xposed modules can seriously customize and improve your Android phone or tablet, even if it's running the newest Android 6.0 Marshmallow! Read More .

Now it’s over to you. Which apps have you found that have changed how you use Android? Join us in the comment section to tell us about the tools, utilities and interface enhancements that you couldn’t live without.

  1. Brad Fehrenbach
    June 19, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    One app that I love to use for texting from my computer is "My Phone Explorer", you can use it to back up your texts, your email, a built-in note taking, task making and you can sync your calendar, it also has a built-in file browser and you can backup your apps.
    For a launcher I really like Nextlauncher.

  2. K Roth
    May 14, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Geez, I love you guys! I have learned that the minute I start craving an Android app that does a specific something I'll find it reviewed on MUA. Sometimes I don't even know quite what I want until I check your articles. A big "MUAH!" to MUA for making my life so much Leeza frustrating. xxxx

    • K Roth
      May 14, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      Arg, "less" frustrating; who's this Leeza person?

  3. Chris
    May 6, 2016 at 5:00 am

    Nova launcher is one of the apps I've actually paid for. Normally I'm satisfied with free versions with ads, but the added functionality of the paid version was worth it.

    I'm going to try IFTTT now.

  4. Ron Ablang
    May 6, 2016 at 4:50 am

    I decided to try Universal Copy thanks to this article. Still haven't heard of any of these apps.

  5. Ben
    May 6, 2016 at 3:29 am

    Personally, I find AirDroid's web service to be a better alternative to MightyText and PushBullet.
    The UI isn't on par with the first two, but it has much more functionality than either. I constantly use it to manage and transfer files back and forth, organize folders on my phone, install apk's, and so on.

  6. me
    May 5, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Can only get macrodroid to log the start of a phone, and it doesn't set the end time/duration correctly.

  7. unknown2070270179
    April 25, 2016 at 2:25 am

    thanx

  8. Sedhadi
    April 23, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Cool post.
    Thanks

  9. Karl Moon
    April 22, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    7 and 8 are both possible with Pushbullet (as well as many other things)

    My favourite app on Android.

    • Swaminathan Venkatesh
      April 24, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      Universal Copy of PB is different from what Universal Copy does...

  10. Jen
    April 22, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Notification hasn't been updated since 2013. Check out Collateral same concept with a active developer. Material design is a plus to.

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