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Do Android phones finally have better apps than the iPhone? The iTunes App Store has historically been the first choice for developers, but things are changing. There is now a large number of Android-exclusive apps that will make any iPhone owner jealous.

The Google Play Store and the Android developer community is growing faster than Apple’s ecosystem now, ending 2014 with 1.43 million apps compared to iOS’s 1.21 million, according to a recent report. And these aren’t just fluffy numbers full of unwanted apps. Android increasingly has quality software you won’t find on iOS.

AirDroid (Free)

If we had to nominate one app that makes Android superior to iOS, it would be AirDroid. The recent AirDroid 3 update made it easier than ever to manage your Android from your PC How Do I Manage My Android From My PC? Meet AirDroid 3 How Do I Manage My Android From My PC? Meet AirDroid 3 For a seamless connection between your Android and your PC or Mac, you've got to try AirDroid 3. You can even mirror your device's screen to your computer! Read More .

It’s a web-based client for your phone, so anywhere you are, you can fire up AirDroid in a browser and access your phone’s contents, copy-paste files, reply to texts, and do almost everything you’d want to do. If you have a rooted phone (how to root any phone Take Control: Android Rooting Guide Take Control: Android Rooting Guide As of the writing of this guide, approximately 80% of the world's population owns their own cellphone. Out of those, 1.08 billion are smartphones. Read More ), you can even mirror your Android’s screen to your Windows or Mac. It’s just brilliant.

Closest iOS Equivalent: Honestly, there’s nothing. Continuity What Does Continuity Mean for Yosemite & iOS 8? What Does Continuity Mean for Yosemite & iOS 8? OS X 10.10, better know as Yosemite, is a major Mac update that offers numerous features never seen before in an operating system. One of the most important is Continuity. Read More , a set of features introduced in the most recent Mac OS X update What's New In OS X 10.10 "Yosemite"? What's New In OS X 10.10 "Yosemite"? OS X is evolving both in terms of looks and features, and just like last year's Mavericks update, Yosemite will be another free download. Read More , is somewhat comparable, but it’s not really in the same league.

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Google Keep (Free)

To-do lists are a dime a dozen, but Google Keep sets itself apart by how smart it is and how easy it is to add items. Keep works with Google Now to let you add notes on the go by talking Simple Notes On The Go: Google Keep For Android Reviewed Simple Notes On The Go: Google Keep For Android Reviewed There are some amazing note-taking apps out there, but here's one that merits a closer look: Google Keep, a note-keeper which has both a great-looking Android app and a slick webapp. Read More , and couples it with reminders based on time or location. Plus, you can colour-code these notes and lists to make them easy to identify.

Closest iOS Equivalent: TurboNote is an unofficial iOS client for Google Keep, but it’s still not as good as the real thing.

Unclouded (Free | $1.99 for Premium)

Best-Android-Exclusive-Apps-Unclouded

In the simplest terms, Unclouded is a disk space analyzer for your cloud storage. Sign in with your Google Drive or Dropbox and it will figure out how much space you have used, whether you have duplicate files, where the space is getting filled (like Google Photos or Gmail), and so on.

It’s a dashboard of how you are using your cloud storage, so that you can finally start cleaning it up.

Closest iOS Equivalent: We didn’t find anything like this app on iOS, but if you know of any, drop a line in the comments!

DashClock Widget (Free)

Best-Android-Exclusive-Apps-Dashclock-Widget

There are some things Android users take for granted that iPhone users just can’t do. Customization is at the top of that list, especially in how your homescreen and your lock screen looks. More than just a lockscreen replacement for Android 3 Best Free Lockscreen Replacement Apps For Android 3 Best Free Lockscreen Replacement Apps For Android Calling all Android tinkerers! Are you tired of looking at the same, boring screen every time you wake up your phone from sleep? Why not customize it and breathe new life into your phone? Read More , DashClock is the best app for any lockscreen DashClock Widget: Get Notifications From Your Lock Screen Clock Widget [Android 4.2+] DashClock Widget: Get Notifications From Your Lock Screen Clock Widget [Android 4.2+] Read More .

It’s a widget that works with most lockscreens, serving up notifications from your phone in a beautiful, yet functional way. DashClock extensions let it hook up with most of the popular apps out there, letting you interact with them in meaningful ways without ever unlocking your phone.

Closest iOS Equivalent: Nothing. You can’t customize the lockscreen in iOS.

SwipePad (Free)

SwipePad is probably the longest-lasting app on my phones. It’s the fastest way to multi-task and launch apps on Android SwipePad - A Stylish Quick-Launch Utility For Your Android Phone SwipePad - A Stylish Quick-Launch Utility For Your Android Phone SwipePad, in its simplest form, is a quick-launch pad (for Android 2.1 and above). It constantly runs in the background (and takes up a line in your notification area). When you touch one of the... Read More . Mark any side of your phone as a trigger point, and when you swipe inwards from there, you’ll see a grid of your favourite apps.

All of this is done without removing your thumb from the screen, which makes it quick and convenient. There are other such quick launchers 5 Super-Quick Ways To Launch Your Favorite Android Apps 5 Super-Quick Ways To Launch Your Favorite Android Apps News flash: People want to launch their favorite apps quickly. Shocking, indeed -- and where there is a need, developer creativity often shines. Read More , but nothing like SwipePad.

Closest iOS Equivalent: You can only multitask in the default manner on iOS, i.e., by double-tapping the Home button.

Yahoo Aviate Launcher (Free)

Changing your home screen is one of the best Android tweaks without rooting The Best Tweaks You Can Make To Your Android Without Rooting The Best Tweaks You Can Make To Your Android Without Rooting Customizing your Android device isn't only for the tech savvy. Learn how to get the most out of your unrooted Android phone or tablet! Read More , and Aviate Launcher is one of the best home screen replacements out there. Aviate intelligently recommends apps depending on your needs Aviate: A Unique Launcher That Changes Throughout The Day [Invites Inside!] Aviate: A Unique Launcher That Changes Throughout The Day [Invites Inside!] Whereas most launchers seem to emulate the stock Android launcher while adding additional customization options, Aviate has reinvented the experience from the ground up. Read More , and lets you categorize them for easy access. It takes a little getting used to, but about a week into it, you’ll fall in love.

While Aviate is great, it might not be for everyone. The Google Play Store has such a wide variety of options, you should figure out which Android launcher is best for you Which Android Launcher Should You Use? We Compare The Best! Which Android Launcher Should You Use? We Compare The Best! Given the huge number of launchers available, there's something for everyone. Here are the best app launchers for particular needs, depending on what kind of user you are. Read More .

Closest iOS Equivalent: Nothing. You can’t customize the home screen in iOS

ES File Explorer (Free)

Best-Android-Exclusive-Apps-ES-File-Explorer

Yet another thing the iPhone can’t do, unless it is jailbroken, is let you browse around its file system. No such problems on Google’s OS, and ES File Explorer is the best file manager for Android ES File Explorer - The Best File Manager For Android [Android] ES File Explorer - The Best File Manager For Android [Android] Android doesn’t come with a file manager. Google thinks file managers are part of the past – a complicated tool that we shouldn't need when our data is stored in the cloud and retrieved on-demand... Read More .

You can do almost anything that any file manager on Windows or other operating systems will let you. In fact, you can also link cloud-based drives like Dropbox, letting you run multiple Dropbox accounts on the same phone.

Closest iOS Equivalent: There are plenty of apps for jailbroken iPhones, but there are compelling security reasons not to jailbreak 4 Compelling Security Reasons Not To Jailbreak Your iPhone or iPad 4 Compelling Security Reasons Not To Jailbreak Your iPhone or iPad Read More in the first place.

Zikk (Free)

You probably know someone who needs help with their phone. Zikk makes remote assistance easy. Just install the app on both phones and the expert can access the novice’s essential settings.

You can control the other’s WiFi settings, display settings, location services, contacts, and even remotely remove or install apps. It’s a game-changer for those who are used to getting a tech-help call from family or friends.

Closest iOS Equivalent: There is nothing like Zikk on iOS.

Link Bubble (Free | $3.99 for Pro)

When you are scrolling through Twitter or Facebook, you probably see a lot of interesting links. But tapping usually means being taken away from your timeline to a browser. It’s a silly system, but Link Bubble makes it better. Tap a link and it will open in a floating browser Stop Waiting For Links to Load: Link Bubble For Android Saves You Time Stop Waiting For Links to Load: Link Bubble For Android Saves You Time Some first-world annoyances are so subtle that we hardly notice them. But once you see one, it's hard to ignore it. Read More , collapsed into a floating icon.

This icon has a loading bar to let you know when you the page is done loading. This way, you can return to your timeline, keep scrolling, and go back to links when you’re done or when the pages are done loading.

Closest iOS Equivalent: We couldn’t find any similar app on iOS, but if you know of any, drop a line in the comments!

Press ($2.99)

Anyone who thinks the most beautiful apps are always on iOS needs to take a look at Press. This Android-exclusive app is the most beautiful RSS reader we have seen, and it has gotten better since we last reviewed it Press: An Impressive Google Reader Client [Android] Press: An Impressive Google Reader Client [Android] Google Reader is an important part of my daily routine. It's how I keep on top of news and blogs I care about. In fact, Reader has many fans in MakeUseOf. But what if you... Read More . It imports data from Feedly, Feedbin, Feed Wrangler and Fever, and puts it all in an interface that is easy on the eyes. The focus here is minimalism and readability, along with gestures for easy actions.

There are plenty of other cool RSS readers on Android What Is The Best News Reader App For Android? What Is The Best News Reader App For Android? Android devices are perfect for consuming news articles, but how do you choose an app for that? Let's run through the best options! Read More too, several of them also on iOS.

Closest iOS Equivalent: There are some beautiful RSS readers on iOS too, like Unread. But Press still tops it.

Bonus: Tasker ($2.99) [Root Required]

Best-Android-Exclusive-Apps-tasker-1

 

Root access lets users do things on Android that are impossible on iOS. The best app to explore all the possibilities is Tasker, which lets you set up if-this-then-that rules for almost anything on your phone 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

For example, triple-clicking your power button can activate Silent mode, or you can set your phone to start your calendar app as soon as it connects to your office WiFi. The possibilities are endless. In fact, you can pair it with IFTTT for the perfect automation duo Tasker and IFTTT: The Perfect Automation Duo For Android Tasker and IFTTT: The Perfect Automation Duo For Android Tasker automates anything you can think of on your Android device and IFTTT automates Web services. Used together, there's nothing you can't do. Read More .

If Tasker isn’t your scene, there are other automation apps like Llama Use Llama To Automate Your Android Phone With Location Profiles & More Use Llama To Automate Your Android Phone With Location Profiles & More On a scale of one to ten, how smart is your smartphone? It may be smart enough to handle email, or help you navigate unfamiliar urban landscapes. But is it smart enough to turn off... Read More . The Play Store is full of such options.

Closest iOS Equivalent: Workflow is a similar app for iOS, but it still doesn’t do half the things Tasker will let you.

What’s Your Android-Exclusive Favourite?

This is not a comprehensive list by any yardstick. So tell us, if there is one app that makes you choose Android over iPhone 5 Reasons To Choose Android Over iPhone [Opinion] 5 Reasons To Choose Android Over iPhone [Opinion] If you’re looking at buying a smartphone, you’re probably going to buy an Android device or an iPhone (sorry, Microsoft). What’s the difference, and which should you choose? We recently gave the pro-iPhone side of... Read More , which one is it?

  1. Doug Roberts
    March 24, 2015 at 2:13 am

    WTF? I use Google Keep on my iPad all the time.

  2. Anon
    March 1, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    iOS has "GoKeep" which is the equivalent of Google keep on android
    not sure if anyone mentioned already

  3. Pravin
    February 11, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Hi Mihir,

    Lux Dash is missing. It is one of the most useful apps.

  4. Tal
    February 10, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Another Android app like Airdroid is Mobizen (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rsupport.mvagent) only you don't need pro in order to mirror.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 11, 2015 at 7:21 am

      Thanks Tal, does it require root though?

    • Tal
      February 12, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      It only requires root if you want to connect using the USB method.
      Wireless connection does not require root.

  5. Sue
    February 1, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Automagic has pretty much the same functionality as Tasker, and no root required.

    Droid@screen will display Android on a PC or Mac, also no root required.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 2, 2015 at 11:26 am

      I haven't tried Automagic actually, I'll check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

  6. Zhong
    January 31, 2015 at 5:05 am

    Gaming wise, I still believe iPhone has a larger audience and while Google Play offer some exclusive games to their users, many high profile companies are porting their app to the Apple Store.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 2, 2015 at 11:26 am

      I agree, when it comes to gaming, the priority for most developers is till iOS.

  7. Henrik
    January 31, 2015 at 3:06 am

    Tasker doesn't require root, but to use root feature you'll have to download plug-ins that do. I've switched to Automate, it's far superior, free and a lot of root features are already included:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.llamalab.automate

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 2, 2015 at 11:25 am

      I'm a fan of Automate too!

  8. Britontour
    January 30, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    I paid for link bubble, but I find the free version of javelin browser to be more reliable and usable.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 2, 2015 at 11:24 am

      I really like Link Bubble. It's one of those apps which I don't use all the time, but when browsing through my Twitter timeline, it's invaluable.

  9. Kannon Y
    January 30, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Great article!

    I used to use Press -- it's one of the top two best RSS readers. I found another app called FeedMe, which allows users to use an external browser. I used FeedMe with Link Bubble and Javelin and it's a lot like multi-tabbed browsing.

    It's also a lot faster and supports gestures.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.seazon.feedme

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 2, 2015 at 11:24 am

      Oooh nice! That's a good recommendation, Kannon, thanks!

  10. benie
    January 30, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    I use Tasker without being rooted. I wish I can root my phone though. Moto X im stuck!

    • Norm
      January 31, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      My Moto X is rooted....

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 2, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Tasker without rooting, I'm not a fan. Have you tried Llama Automate? It's really good and does more things without root than Tasker. If you're going to root, then Tasker takes your choices to the next level.

  11. John
    January 30, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    That wasn't my point. I'm just pointing out how the apps listed do indeed have iOSalternatives. I'm not bashing Android. Just reminding the authorthat jailbreak does exist & does offer alterbatives to most of these apps.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 2, 2015 at 11:22 am

      Except the point of this list is to give tools that a majority of users can install. Most users don't jailbreak their iPhones or root their Androids. I'm not getting into the "which is superior" war either. Just trying to explain that this article has a specific approach: we don't want to talk about the technical possibilities if you're willing to do X, Y and Z. It's about simple downloading of apps from the Play/App stores.

  12. Paul Werner
    January 30, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    You can use Tasker without root but some of the features are limited

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 2, 2015 at 11:20 am

      Yeah, I find it to be too limiting without root. Llama Automate is better for that.

  13. John
    January 30, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    The article is misleading. Jailbreak tweaks are totally ignored when suggesting iOS replacements, which is surprising since you feature a root-only app. Here are a few examples you ignored:

    Lockinfo/IntelliScreen (Dashclock replacements)
    Auxo/Zephyr/LastApp with Activator (SwipePad replacements)
    iFile (Es File Explorer replacement)
    Veency/TeamViewer Support (Zikk replacements)
    Activator (Tasker replacement)

    • Mihir Patkar
      January 30, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      There's only one rooted app, man, and that's because Tasker is superior to all the alternatives. You can still use Llama or Agent without root.

      Sorry if you think it's misleading, but I disagree with you there.

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