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Smartphones aren’t just the devices on which we take most of our pictures these days — they’re what we use to view them too. The default gallery app doesn’t always make this an ideal experience, but fortunately the Play Store is well stocked with options. Here are four of the sleekest.

First, Some Background

On stock Android, the default gallery app is Photos, which combines the images saved locally with the ones you’ve saved on Google+. It’s not entirely clear which are located where, resulting in an experience many find awkward.

Samsung, HTC, and LG all make their own gallery apps (as a part of their different Android skins Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More ), which function differently from Google’s and come with their own sets of perks. Regardless of whether you love or hate them, each is exclusively available on its manufacturer’s devices only. That means you can’t take the software with you if you switch to a different brand later on.

The following apps are ones you can install regardless of which Android device you buy in the future.

QuickPic

QuickPic is my third-party gallery app of choice, so I’m placing it at the top. The app loads images quickly and has done so for years QuickPic Could Reach The Finish Line As The Fastest Photo Browser [Android] QuickPic Could Reach The Finish Line As The Fastest Photo Browser [Android] Is QuickPic the best photo gallery app out there for the Android phone? Looking at the reader suggestions that came in on our previously published 3 Great Alternative Photo Gallery Apps it certainly seems so.... Read More , back when Google’s own efforts were still finding their legs.

The app’s minimalist interface keeps the focus on images, and out of the box, it just works. The latest versions look right at home on devices running Android Lollipop Android 5.0 Lollipop: What It Is And When You'll Get It Android 5.0 Lollipop: What It Is And When You'll Get It Android 5.0 Lollipop is here, but only on Nexus devices. What exactly is new about this operating system, and when can you expect it to arrive on your device? Read More . Regardless of whether you want to browse photos by date or by folder, this app should fit the bill.

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AndroidGalleryApps-QuickPic

With the ability to connect to Dropbox, Google Drive, and other cloud storage providers, QuickPic doesn’t try to box you in. If you want to change the Material Design-inspired theme, tweak how photos are displayed, or backup images to a remote account, the options are all there.

MyRoll Gallery

MyRoll Gallery looks like Google’s Photos app covered in blue; so if you don’t like the way that app is organized, this probably isn’t the alternative you’re looking for. The interface, with two tabs, is strikingly similar. With the inclusion of a floating action button (which serves as a shortcut to your camera), the app was clearly designed with Material Design in mind Exploring Android L: What Exactly Is Material Design? Exploring Android L: What Exactly Is Material Design? You may have heard about Android L and Material Design, but what exactly is this new design philosophy and how will it affect Android and other Google products? Read More .

AndroidGalleryApps-MyRoll

You can organize photos by events, date, time, and location, but you can’t group things into folders. By automatically sorting your photos into “Moments,” MyRoll can make it easy to relive precious memories without having to make the effort of organizing things yourself. It’s a good option for people who like the Photos app but don’t want to deal with Google.

AndroidGalleryApp-MyRoll-View

MyRoll doesn’t integrate with any of the major cloud storage providers, but it does play along with social networks, making it a decent way to create Facebook albums from your phone or tablet. MyRoll also integrates with Android Wear devices Which Android Wear Smartwatch Is Best For You? Which Android Wear Smartwatch Is Best For You? In the market for an Android Wear smartwatch? Let's compare all the options available now and make the decision easy. Read More , letting you view, access, delete, and share photos from your wrist.

Cyanogen Gallery

The Cyanogen Gallery comes to us courtesy of the CyanogenMod project, the most popular custom ROM How to Find and Install a Custom ROM for Your Android Device How to Find and Install a Custom ROM for Your Android Device Android is super customizable, but to fully take advantage of that, you need to flash a custom ROM. Here's how to do that. Read More that has ever graced an Android device. That said, you don’t need to worry about flashing the operating system to your device How To Install CyanogenMod On Your Android Device How To Install CyanogenMod On Your Android Device A lot of people can agree that the Android operating system is pretty awesome. Not only is it great to use, but it's also free as in open source, so that it can be modified... Read More  to make use of the app. It’s available in the Play Store for anyone to download.

AndroidGalleryApps-Cyanongen-Gallery-View

The Cyanogen Gallery’s interface looks more KitKat than Lollipop Don't Wait: 5 Great Android KitKat Features You Could Get Right Now Don't Wait: 5 Great Android KitKat Features You Could Get Right Now A few of KitKat's coolest features are available right now, either through official APKs or third-party apps. Read More , but considering most Android phones aren’t running lollipop, that’s not a big deal for everyone. The app is stylish nonetheless, thanks in part to its distinctive blue sidebar. It organizes photos by date, album (or folders), and moments. You can browse images saved online, as long as they’re on Dropbox, Google+, Flickr, or Facebook.

AndroidGalleryApps-Cyanogen-Gallery

A+ Gallery

A+ Gallery pitches itself as the ideal combination of Android and iOS, with the app offering a Material Design-inspired interface that borrows from what iPhone users are accustomed to. That’s not to say the experience will feel unfamiliar to Android users. Even if you’ve never used an Apple product, A+ Gallery won’t take long to learn.

AndroidGalleryApps-A+Albums

Like MyRoll, A+ shares similarities with the Photos app, such as the use of a tabbed bar across the top. In this case, there are three: Photos, Sync, and Albums. The first lists images by date. The last lets you browse them by folder. As for the middle, it only applies to Facebook. Don’t come here looking for support for other sites.

AndroidGalleryApps-Sync

One cool feature A+ rocks is the ability to browse photos based on color. The icon in the top right lets you select one and watch as all of the images on-screen filter out except for ones that most closely match your selection. It’s not 100% accurate, but it’s amusing, and it can help you track down photos that are easier to recall visually than by time or place.

AndroidGalleryApp-A+-Color

What Else Is Available?

The list of alternatives doesn’t stop there. Far from it. There are no shortage of apps that all share similar, generic names such as Photo Gallery, Image Gallery, and Gallery HD.

Photo Gallery & Editor comes with, you guessed it, a built-in editor. While most of these options let you do some basic cropping and rotation, this one lets you do a little more without installing a separate app.

Which app do you use for viewing photos? The options are changing all the time, so don’t hesitate to give your favorite a shout out in the comments.

  1. charlie
    October 26, 2016 at 4:17 am

    I prefer 'FOTO Gallery' on android. It's really simple and fast. Sepecially it's organization function is amazing. It support various custom features like sorting, hiding, tagging,changing album cover. There are no ads and background job.

  2. Anne
    December 29, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    I prefere QuickPic as alternative gallery app. However, I think it should go hand in hand with the Rat Pack Challenge. Because this app helps you to sort out all of your pictures. You don't even gain more memory back, you also have a better overview of your pictures in your gallery, like I do in QuickPic.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ratpackchallenge.game

  3. Piina Kansara
    November 19, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    F-stop is good as per my opinion..

  4. John Doe
    May 8, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    I would recommend Quick Gallery:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mobato.gallery

    So many cool features and a built in image editor

  5. Neha Sharma
    March 29, 2015 at 6:29 am

    I would recommend IntelliPic, just search for it on Google Play

  6. rich
    January 29, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Having a HTC One M8, and an Asus MeMo Pad 8, I can say that I like both HTC's and Asus's answer to Photos. But since they're only for their own devices, I haven't really looked at other options. I'll have to give QuickPic a try, as well as Cyanogen's version.

  7. ed
    January 24, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    +100 for QuickPic!

  8. ralph charles
    January 24, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    would like to run google image slideshow with my android device...any suggestions...on my laptop i use islside...love that! thanks for great article!

  9. Travis
    January 23, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Piktures is the one I'm currently using. I quite like it

  10. Peter
    January 23, 2015 at 11:12 am

    As i have a OnePlus One, it has the Cyanogenmod gallery by default. Great product, super phone!

  11. Onix
    January 23, 2015 at 10:30 am

    I really dislike Googles onw „Photes“ with I was forced to use with Lollipop.
    Looking for alternatives I found Cyanogen Gallery. But I noticed that it would not show the full “quality” of the image.
    More a rendered down version.

    So I switched to QuickPic. Really pleased with it.

  12. Marc
    January 23, 2015 at 9:02 am

    IMHO this discussion should have ended after QuickPic. It is rightfully in the first and top spot. It's the best of all worlds and amazingly fast, even with my 5.5gb worth of images.

    But probably the most impressive aspect of this app is the developer. Over the past couple of years I have sent in 6 or 7 feedback emails requesting a change or option and while the developer has never replied to my emails, for 5 of my requests they showed up in the next release. One took a while to show up, the ability to sort by file size, but eventually did.

    It's rare to find such a great app, with years of development behind it, with an active and responsive developer and all for free. Please donate to this dev. Unlike most apps these days, there is no free and pro or even premium version. It's all there for everyone. I've sent a few bucks in and since it's been a while, I'm actually going to send a few more now.

    But whether you donate or not, this is one of the rare true 5 star apps/dev. You'll never go back to Photos or Gallery.

  13. jamieg
    January 23, 2015 at 3:36 am

    Quick pic is my favorite but it can only access my SD card and not both internal and SD.

  14. likefunbutnot
    January 22, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    I use Just Pictures for almost everything. It seems to load up a bit faster than anything else I've tried.

  15. mma173
    January 22, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    I would recommend Kitkat Gallery; search for Gallery KK in the store.

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