The Best Android Apps

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The Google Play Store is home to a massive number of apps and continues to grow every day, so how are you to know which are the best? We’ve got you covered with our list of best Android apps. We’ve done the searching for you, and narrowed it down to the three best apps in each category.

No matter what your need, you’ll find it here. Enjoy, and let us know if you feel we’re missing anything.

Automation

Gravity Screen

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Never use the power button on your smartphone or tablet again! With Gravity Screen, your device turns the screen on and off exactly when you need it. It’s just like magic.

A few of the features have to be unlocked via in-app purchase, but for the most part it can be used to its full potential for free.

Tasker

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For the power to automate everything on your phone, you need Tasker. It costs $2.99, but it’s worth every penny. You can automate virtually every task on your phone based on a long list of variables, from time of day to location to everything in between. Never manually turn on your WiFi or Bluetooth again.

Tasker combined with IFTTT (another incredible automation app that nearly made this list) makes for a killer automation duo on Android.

Llama

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Don’t want to shell out $2.99 for Tasker? Then Llama should be right up your alley. The best free all-in-one automation app is goofily themed around llamas, but it’s no joke.

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It’s nearly as full-featured and useful as Tasker. Set your WiFi to turn on when you get home, turn your call volume to silent during class, and more.

Communication

Google Hangouts

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The newest version of Google Hangouts beats every other messaging app by far. Integrating the ability to send and receive SMS/MMS messages, regular Hangouts-to-Hangouts text messages, voice calls and video calls, Hangouts is all your messaging needs rolled into one. With Google Voice integration, you can make and receive calls within the US for free.

Textra

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If you want to keep your SMS/MMS messages in a separate app, Textra is the one you should be using.

It’s a replacement app for your stock texting app, and it’s beautifully simple yet fully functional. Quick-reply from the notification shade and a Material Design look make this the best texting app out there.

Telegram

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For the privacy conscious, Telegram is one of the best encrypted messaging services. It’s free, ad-free, open-source, and it cares about your privacy.

You’ll only be sending text messages here, but you can set them to self destruct and rest assured that no one else is peeking in on your conversation.

Customization

Locker Master

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Did you know that you can replace your lockscreen on Android? It’s an incredibly useful and often overlooked form of customization, but it can make a world of difference.

Locker Master is a sleek lockscreen replacement app that gives you quick access to the apps you want, all wrapped up in a gorgeous and modern interface.

Moonshine Icon Pack

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Using a custom launcher, you can change your icons to anything you like. The Moonshine Icon Pack is a wonderfully simple yet gorgeous icon pack that brings a modern look to your Android phone or tablet. For those who are sick of their default icons but don’t want to go too crazy, check out this icon pack.

SwiftKey

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As one of the most-used aspects of your Android device, the keyboard is incredibly important. Swap out your stock keyboard for SwiftKey and you’ll never look back.

It has advanced text prediction algorithms, hundreds of emoji, gorgeous themes and it’s lightning fast. Its best aspect is customizability: add a number row, add arrow keys, make it your own!

File Management

OI File Manager

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Some Android devices come with a file manager, but not all. If you’re without one, or you just don’t like the stock one, give OI File Manager a shot.

While other file managers get bogged down with extra features, OI File Manager keeps it simple. Get through the files you need and move them around as you see fit.

AirDroid

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Want to move files from your Android to your computer or vice-versa without a cable? AirDroid is your app.

On top of that, AirDroid has tons of other amazing features like texting from your computer, sharing a clipboard between your phone and computer, the ability to backup everything on your device, and more. AirDroid is a necessity for those who like to live the wire-free life.

Google Drive

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With 15GB of free storage, you wouldn’t want to miss out on Google Drive. Backup all your important files to the very modern-looking app, share them to others for easy collaboration, and save them offline for those long plane rides.

If you’re on Android, you’re already using the necessary Google account, so why not?

Health

Google Fit

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As the best all-purpose fitness-tracking app for Android, Google Fit should be an instant download for anyone focused on fitness and health.

It allows you to track your exercise using the sensors in your smartphone, make goals, and it integrates with all the fantastic Android Wear devices currently available.

7 Minute Workout

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“I just don’t have the time to workout.” It’s a common excuse, but it doesn’t hold water. Do you have 7 minutes? Great, then you have time to exercise.

This app can make you much healthier by interrupting your long periods of sitting with short, intense workouts. Give it a try; you’ll be glad you did.

Map My Hike GPS Hiking

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It may say hiking in the name, but this app is actually fantastic for all sorts of athletics: running, cycling, walking. With the ability to track your route with your phone’s GPS, this app can tell you all kinds of stats about your journey from your speed to the elevation you climbed and more.

There’s a pro version for $2.99, but most users will do just fine with the free version.

Launchers

Nova Launcher

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The all-around best launcher for Android is easily Nova Launcher. With an insane amount of customization options as well as blazing fast speed, there’s no reason to keep your stock launcher.

Best of all, it’s free, though you can unlock some extra features with the $4 Prime version.

Themer

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One of Android’s biggest bragging points is homescreen customization, and Themer takes that to the next level.

Instead of hunting down individual launchers, themes, icon packs, widgets, and fonts, Themer collects all of that together for you and lets you choose from their list of hundreds of incredibly unique themes. For the most unique homescreen, choose Themer.

Google Now Launcher

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While it lacks in customization, it’s fast as can be and straight from Google. Scroll all the way to the left to access Google Now, so the search giant’s personal assistant is always at your fingertips.

If you aren’t looking for frills and just want a simple launcher that’s nicer-looking than your stock launcher, go for the Google Now Launcher.

Music

Google Play Music

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Simply put, Google Play Music is the best music player on Android. You can upload up to 20,000 of your own songs to Google’s servers, make use of Google Play Music All Access for $9.99 a month, and it has a gorgeous and easy-to-use interface.

It’s simple, quick, and everything you need to play music.

Spotify

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Spotify is a powerful streaming music service, and its Android app is no exception. Listen to radio for free, shuffle songs from any artist, and do it all for free.

Spotify premium can get rid of the ads for $9.99 and allows you to play music offline. For listening to specific kinds of music without buying it, Spotify is the way to go.

Pandora

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This streaming radio service is unique in that it utilizes the Music Genome Project to alter the songs it plays to better suit your preferences. It’s got a nice tablet interface, tons of content, the ability to look up lyrics and artist info, and it’s free.

Pandora One, the premium version that removes ads, only costs $5 a month. Give it a shot if you just want to listen to radio designed for you.

Photography

Google Camera

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When Android hardware makers tinker with their software, they often mess with the stock camera app, making it clunky, bloated, and less functional.

For that reason, Google has released their official vision for an Android camera app on the Play Store for all to enjoy. It’s simple, gorgeous, and has some fun lens blur and other effects.

Snapseed

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After you’ve taken your photos and it’s time to edit them, you’ll be glad you’ve downloaded Snapseed. It’s a powerful, yet easy-to-use photo editing tool, and since being acquired by Google, it’s been getting more and more baked into Google’s services.

For the best free photo editor on Android, Snapseed should be your pick.

Cymera

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Cymera is a multi-purpose photography app that tries to combine the best of Google Camera and Snapseed. If you aren’t satisfied with Google’s offerings, give it a try.

It’s got several lenses to emulate a DSLR when taking photos, as well as a large number of editing options after you’ve taken the photo. This could be your all-in-one photo app.

Productivity

WPS Office

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There are a lot of fantastic office suites for Android, but WPS takes the cake for being free, ad-free, compatible with all the necessary Microsoft formats, and having all the proper formatting and font customization you could need.

To get some real work done on your smartphone or tablet, WPS Office is a must-have.

Cozi

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For all the to-do list apps, calendar apps, and grocery list apps that there are in the Play Store, Cozi does the best job of bringing them all together into one cohesive app. Plus, as it’s designed for families, it’s easy to share with all the members of your household.

This is the all-in-one organization app you’ve been searching for, especially if you’ve got a family to keep organized.

Google Keep

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Note-taking apps are a dime a dozen, but Google’s offering keeps it simple yet functional.

Set reminders in notes, organize checklists, share notes with friends or family members, change the color of your notes, and archive the notes you’re done with. To avoid all the frills that bog down apps like Evernote, go with Google Keep.

Reading

Kindle

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As the king of the eReader and eBook market, Amazon’s Kindle app is an obvious contender here, and for good reason. With the Kindle app for Android, you have access to Amazon’s massive eBook collection, seamless syncing, and advanced bookmarking, note-taking, and customization features. If you’re a fan of eBooks and Amazon, this is a must-have.

You can even send your own eBooks, documents, and articles to the app.

Moon+ Reader

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If you’re not fond of the Amazon approach, Moon+ Reader is another of the best eBook readers available. It can read formats from ePub to Mobi and everything in between, has vast customization options, and it even allows for syncing with Dropbox.

For reading various formats of eBooks in a highly customized way, Moon+ Reader is the way to go.

Feedly

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Reading the news is Feedly’s domain. It’s one of the best news readers for Android, and it makes it super easy to gather all of your news and RSS feeds together in one place.

It has a modern interface made better with day and night themes, the ability to save articles for later, and the ability to share articles to your other apps.

Root-Required

Titanium Backup

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Titanium Backup is a must have for any root user, simply because of the massive backup capabilities it possesses. Plus, you can use it to delete all the undeletable bloatware that is clogging up your device.

Most of the features are available for free, but power users need to shell out $5.99 for the Pro version.

Root Browser

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If your device is rooted and you like tinkering with it, you’re likely going to run into times where you need to access sensitive files. That’s where Root Browser comes in. It asks for root permission when you try going past a certain point in the file system, and it allows you to tinker with files most users never see.

It can be extremely useful, but be careful not to delete anything vital!

Xposed Framework

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This is an app that you download straight from the Xposed website, rather than the Google Play Store. This app allows for an unprecedented amount of customization thanks to downloadable modules that can tweak nearly every aspect of your phone.

Forget custom ROMs, you really just need the Xposed Framework.

Security

Android Device Manager

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Google’s version of the “Find my iPhone” feature allows you to track down your device if it’s been lost or stolen. Track your device using its GPS signal, make it emit a loud noise, lock it remotely, or even erase all your data.

It’s a lightweight, simple solution to what do if your phone or tablet disappears. Just remember to download it before that happens!

Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus

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Android gets a lot of flack for being prone to viruses, and while it isn’t as insecure as the hype builds it up to be, it doesn’t hurt to have a free, full-featured antivirus suite.

Avast takes the cake in this arena, offering a whole host of features and even more via in-app purchases. Keep this app installed if you really want to make sure you’re running virus-free.

1Password

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Passwords are rather insecure, hard to remember, and all of us have way too many of them! 1Password solves all of this by giving you a safe place to keep your complex passwords.

Never lose a password to an account again, and rest assured that no one is going to guess any of your passwords. In this digital age, it’s a necessity.

Social

Facebook

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Ah, the classic Facebook app. Not everybody loves the long list of permissions, but it’s still the default way for updating your Facebook status, sharing photos, and keeping in touch with your friends.

The newest version is quick, responsive, and just as useful as the desktop version. If you’re a Facebook user, have a look.

Twitter

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The official Twitter app may be looked down upon by some who own paid Twitter clients on Android, but for a free app it certainly holds its own.

Post tweets and pictures, retweet and quote others, send private messages, and update your own profile. For following your friends, news outlets, and everything in between, the Twitter app is where it’s at.

Instagram

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Bought by Facebook a while back, Instagram is the Twitter of pictures. Snap some cool pictures of your surroundings (or selfie it) and edit your pictures with the built-in filters.

It’s an extremely visual and fun-to-use social network; give it a try!

What Are Your Favorite Apps?

Out of the thousands of apps out there, we did our best to narrow down the best of them, but we’re sure to be missing some.

Which apps could you not live without? Let us know in the comments!

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22 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Purandar

Great list with just enough explanation to each of them. Thanks.

Some of the other apps which I use, like –
1) iHeartRadio – very good app with live radio streaming, alarm feature to wake up based on song/radio selected instead of boring same alarm everyday.
2) greader – works as feedly with podcast support, needs to purchase premium version of app for complete features.
If you are going for free version then other features such as downloading podcast is available via other free app – beyondpod
Free but you will have to maintain/circle between the two apps.
3) cm security – good free any virus app with ability to kill background unwanted tasks helping to boost phone, CM group also has application locking app, works flawlessly.
4) tinytunes – free mp3 song streaming plus download capability.
5) Team viewer – desktop/laptop screen sharing app and it’s free, takes minutes to set up.
6) clean master – cleans unwanted junk helping to boost RAM space.

What are your favorite apps?

Reply

Ed

ES File explorer for file management.
Dolphin browser for internet browsing.
Blue Mail for email.
A Better Camera for a camera alternative.

Reply

Ray

Try FBreader for a great free alternative to moon reader pro

Reply

Pulkit

How to reach out these app developers?

Reply

likefunbutnot

Hangouts pisses me off since it requires Google+ to get functionality that used to be present in Gchat. I can’t send an image through an IM session any more, for example. I’d switch everything to Skype, but Skype is a huge battery hog on every platform where I’ve tried it. Since I don’t use SMS and I don’t want the social networking features, Hangouts replaced a good, functional IM tool with something that’s largely without merit.

There’s no such thing as essential social media and Pandora and Spotify are similarly worthless for me since neither is able to properly handle the sort of music I enjoy.

So what are essential apps?

ES File Explorer. It talks to File Servers. It talks to all the major Cloud Storage Serverice. It handles local file access. It has a tabbed interface. What’s not to love?

Play Music and Play Books are both high on my list since both allow uploads of content not purchased from Google, but I’d give the media player nod to Doubletwist Premium since Airtwist is easy enough to explain to people who can’t handle using ES File Explorer to transfer files on to a device.

BeyondPod. Actually, BeyondPod version 3. Version 4 is an abortion that requires twice as many taps to do anything thanks to stupid Lollipop theming, but version 3 was/is a perfect application for handling podcasts.

K9/Kaiten. I have problems with the native Gmail application. Threaded conversation view, inability to default to proper inline replies and now the insistence on the chunky, candy-color, information-sparse theming and “priority inbox” that I don’t want. K9 is a proper IMAP client that works the way I want my Email to work.

Plex. I have a few Plex Servers set up. It’s nice to be able to access them.

Firefox. Two words: Adblock Plus. I find Chrome to be surprisingly crashy and I see more glaring rendering issues. I make use of many open tabs and I find that Firefox handles that use case better. Still, I’d rather use the stock Android browser (called “Internet”) than Chrome.

Rooted Android users have all sorts of tools for ad-blocking, but any Android device can run Firefox, even without access to the Play Store.

Addons Detector: Shows what ad networks mobile apps are using. This is great for figuring out where the most annoying ads on your device might be coming from. Very helpful after someone lets their kids have free reign to download games or something.

Andmade Share: Allows uses to edit their Share To list. This is incredibly helpful for cleaning up useless entries.

JustPictures: A faster and more useful photo viewing application.

Drive Autosync: In my case, this tool syncs pictures to my Google Drive account and certain documents to my phone. There are similar tools for other services, but it’s handy enough that I put it on everything.

Wifi Analyzer: I use this tool a lot to see what’s going on with local wireless networks. It’s very handy for doing site surveys or explaining to people why their equipment is mis-configured or inadequate.

Reply

likefunbutnot

Also: Nova Launcher, for devices that have crappy default launchers. Which is most of them, now that I think about it.

Reply

Yash

Man you cannot cannot make a best of android list without including pushbullet and pocket!!!!

J

+1

Reply

Automotive News Reader

Please check autonewsreader.com – Android App for car lovers.

Reply

WinDork

+1 for ES File Explorer, Cozi and Google Keep. Need need need!

Reply

LinkeLoetje

Ehm hello, how can you not mention award winning Buzz Launcher?

Reply

Ben S

It’s amazing how a list of the best apps can be so long, and with many more left out. Fantastic stuff!

Props for including Moonshine; I love that icon set and the developers are really good about adding new apps to it regularly.

As someone above said, I think that Pushbullet has risen to “essential” status, as it’s incredibly full-featured and receives lots of updates that make it even better. Shazam or an app like it to ID music is also a great one for any Android owner. And Pocket has cured my crazy desire to read tons of articles when I’m trying to get work done.

Reply

Doc

If you can set up a SMB (Samba)/Windows share, Ghost Commander + SMB addon makes it easy to move/copy files from an Android device to or from a Windows machine.

ADWLauncher is old but a terrific launcher.

Can’t say enough good things about Moon+ Reader or Avast.

jetAudio Plus is a terrific music player.

SystemCleanup works great, and even better with root – if you’re afraid to remove “system” apps, like Chrome, you can clean up your device by “rolling it back” to “stock,” then use SystemCleanup (with root) to “freeze” it so it won’t take up space on your device or SD card, or remove it entirely; with Titanium Backup, you can back it up, *then* remove it…the best of both worlds!

Google now owns QuickOffice, and it’s now free.

Reply

Daniel Escasa (@silverlokk)

<quote>
Scroll all the way to the left to access Google Now
</quote>

Or, drag the home key up. At least on my ASUS Fonepad

Reply

Daniel Escasa (@silverlokk)

Addendum: the official Facebook app?! Isn’t that widely reviled? Have heard good things about Tinfoil, although I’m using Fast at the moment. A few quirks, but when I manage to get into the familiar FB interface, I’m satisfied

Reply

Keith Bird

You might want to know there’s a great alternative to Google Now Launcher. Install the KK Launcher instead, which has EVERYTHING GN has, without that annoying (to me) Google widget at the top of the home screen. As best as I can tell, GN won’t let you get rid of it. I’ve tried other launchers before, and KK is the best.

Reply

Amanda

A great email app you can add to that list is MailWise. It’s got a clean threaded message view, great integration with Exchange corporate email accounts and supports multiple accounts. And it’s just prettier than the stock Gmail app. You can check it out on: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.syntomo.email&hl=en

Reply

Fanny

Some of Google’s own apps are pretty good:
Chrome & Chrome beta
Google+
Keep

And others such as
Multifunction led flashlight
ES Filexplorer
Light Flow Lite

Reply

Savio

Good apps. Came across another Notes and Password lock app for Android.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.noname.allinone

Reply

YoN

I like this one: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hearanyway.hearanyway

It’s about your phone telling you, and reminding you what to do.
And you can share reminders with others (make their phone talk).

Super cool !

Reply

Techiey

I checked in here to find apps for editing or trimming videos on the go. Or mp3 cutting. File sharing apps : Zapya : ios to android transfer.
The list is very good. I’m using KeePass Droid, will definitely try 1Password as it is recommended here.

Reply

Glen

Maven Player for music
Twicca for Twitter
CM Browser…by far the best & I’ve tried
Contacts + for phone/text
CM Locker

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