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 the best Android apps. We’ve done the searching for you, and we 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 think we’re missing anything.
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.
Download: Gravity Screen (Free)
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.
Download: Tasker (Free)
MacroDroid is like a simplified version of Tasker. If Tasker seems too intimidating, give MacroDroid a shot.
Visually, it’s a lot more appealing, but it has many of the same functions. You can automate all sorts of things with just a few taps!
Download: MacroDroid (Free | $2.99 for Pro)
Next Lock Screen
Microsoft has so many apps on the Play Store now that it’s getting hard to keep track, but the Next Lock Screen stands out among them. It’s a fantastic, easy-to-use alternative lock screen that offers you shortcuts to several of your apps right from the lock screen
If you don’t like your default lock screen for any reason or just want to use Next’s unique features, give it a try.
Download: Next Lock Screen (Free)
Pixel Icon Pack
Using a custom launcher, you can change your icons to anything you like. The Pixel Icon Pack is a wonderfully simple yet gorgeous icon pack that brings a modern look to your Android phone or tablet. Emulate the look of the awesome Google Pixel, without breaking the bank.
For those who are sick of their default icons but don’t want to go too crazy, check out this icon pack.
Download: Pixel Icon Pack (Free)
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. This keyboard emphasizes customizability: add a number row, add arrow keys, make it your own!
Download: SwiftKey (Free)
As Google’s own browser, Chrome is an obvious choice. If you use Chrome on the desktop, your tabs and bookmarks will always stay synced. It quick and easy to switch through tabs either by tapping the button in the top right or by swiping along the top bar.
Aside from that, it’s just super fast and easy to use. You can’t go wrong with Chrome.
Download: Chrome (Free)
A fan favorite, UC Browser has all kinds of features. There’s a night mode, seamless downloads, gestures for watching videos, and a quick Facebook mode.
If Chrome isn’t your cup of tea and you want a solely mobile browser, go for UC.
Download: UC Browser (Free)
If you use Firefox on the desktop, you might as well use it on Android too. All the features of a great browser are here — incognito mode, intuitive tab switching, bookmark syncing.
But Firefox goes a step further by allowing for Add-ons, with which you can tailor your browser to your personal demands. For a customizable browser, go for Firefox.
Download: Firefox (Free)
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 MK Explorer a shot.
While other file managers get bogged down with extra features, MK Explorer keeps it simple and has a nice modern interface. Get through the files you need and move them around as you see fit.
Download: MK Explorer (Free)
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.
Download: AirDroid (Free)
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 with 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?
Download: Google Drive (Free)
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.
Download: Google Fit (Free)
7 Minute Workout
“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 kickstart a healthier routine by interrupting your long periods of sitting with short, intense workouts. Give it a try; you’ll be glad you did.
Download: 7 Minute Workout (Free)
Map My Hike
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.
Download: Map My Hike (Free)
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.
Download: Nova Launcher (Free | $4.99 for Prime)
Google Now Launcher
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.
Download: Google Now Launcher (Free)
There’s a good chance this app came pre-loaded on your Android device, but it’s well worth downloading even if it didn’t. At it’s most basic, it’s just an attractive gallery app, but it actually offers so much more.
Google offers free unlimited storage of photos under 16MP — which is amazing. Just setup automatic backup and never worry about losing photos again!
Download: Google Photos (Free)
If you’re not a fan of Google’s offering, go for Piktures. It’s an intuitive gallery app that makes viewing all your pictures a breeze.
You can even protect photos with a PIN or sort by a calendar view! It’s way more useful than your phone’s built-in gallery app.
Download: Piktures (Free)
Do you ever watch videos on your Android device? If so, VLC should be your default media player. It has way more features — like swiping to change the volume — than your default media player app, and it can handle all kinds of file types.
VLC already dominates the desktop market, and this mobile app firmly positions it as the best in the mobile sector too.
Download: VLC (Free)
Google Voice for Android existed in a weird wasteland for years while Google left it neglected and not updated — but it’s back with a vengeance.
The new Google Voice is revamped, revitalized, and still the best way to get a free US number that you can use from anywhere.
Download: Google Voice (Free)
You’ll only be sending text messages here, but you can set them to self destruct and be confident that no one else is peeking in on your conversation.
Download: Telegram (Free)
WhatsApp is the notorious leader of the messaging world, even after being bought by Facebook. With over a billion monthly active users, Whatsapp has done well establishing itself as the go-to messaging app.
If you want to keep in touch with friends around the world, WhatsApp is probably the best option you have.
Download: WhatsApp (Free)
Google Play Music
Simply put, Google Play Music is the best music player on Android. You can upload your own songs to Google’s servers, listen to free music with ads, or pay $9.99 a month for ad-free music and a YouTube Red subscription. Plus, it has a gorgeous and easy-to-use interface.
It’s simple, quick, and everything you need to play music.
Download: Google Play Music (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.
Download: Spotify (Free)
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 Premium, like the other paid music subscriptions in this list, costs $9.99 a month. Give it a shot if you just want to listen to radio designed for you.
Download: Pandora (Free)
If you’re using an Android device already, there’s a good chance it came with Google Maps installed. Google Maps is the gold standard of mapping, and the app lives up to that reputation.
It has all sorts of little features in it now, like adding a stop along your route or downloading offline maps, that make it even better than it used to be. Look for no further for the leader of the navigation world.
Download: Google Maps (Free)
Even though it was purchased by Google a while back, Waze has yet to be folded into Google Maps and still manages to stand out with extra features like warnings about accidents and speedtraps.
The interface is a tad more dated that Google Maps, but many people swear by the app and actually prefer that aesthetic.
Download: Waze (Free)
If you’re trying to live a Google-free life, HERE Maps is probably your best bet. It offers a nice simple interface that manages to not look to much like a Google Maps copycat.
It works internationally and has integrations with a bunch of other apps, like Wikipedia, to offer you information about areas you visit. It’s definitely worth a try if you’re not feeling Google Maps or Waze.
Download: HERE WeGo (Free)
Dialer + and Contacts +
Sometimes, we overlook the most basic functions of our smartphones: being a phone. But when it comes down to it, the phone app on your smartphone is just that — an app. It can actually be switched out for any number of apps; though when we compared the best Contacts and Dialer apps, Contacts + came out on top.
This will improve your phone experience immensely, thanks to the improved navigation, support for gestures, reminders, blacklisting numbers, and more. Give it a try!
Download: Dialer + (Free)
Download: Contacts + (Free)
While this app used to be split up into Truecaller and Truedialer, all of Truedialer’s features can now be found in Truecaller! It’s just one app that can handle all your contacts and your dialer, streamlining everything for you under one consistent interface.
Truecaller is well-known for its crowd-sourced Caller ID system, so you always know who’s calling. Aside from that, it’s just a fluid and nice-looking app.
Download: Truecaller (Free)
As phone manufacturers have moved to create their own customized Phone and Contacts apps, Google has been working to keep Android devices all running the same apps. While Phone and Contacts used to be built-in to Android, they can now be found on the Play Store.
If you’re tired of your Samsung- or LG-themed Phone or Contacts app, try Google’s offerings. They’re simple, they work, and they’re pretty. They don’t have all the features of third-party apps, but they have the reliability of Google.
Download: Phone (Free)
Download: Contacts (Free)
When Android hardware makers tinker with their software, they often mess with the stock camera app, making it clunky, bloated, and less functional.
If you’re unhappy with your stock camera app, try out Open Camera. It’s a powerful, ad-free, open source camera app that might not be the prettiest app in the world, but it gets the job done.
Download: Open Camera (Free)
Camera 360 is probably the most popular alternative camera app out there, and for good reason. It has tons of cool filters, a bunch of different camera modes, and even sharing aspects like its own kind of social network.
If you’re dissatisfied with your current camera app and want something with editing functionality built in, Camera 360’s right for you.
Download: Camera 360 (Free)
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, simple photo editor on Android, Snapseed should be your pick.
Download: Snapseed (Free)
Looking to get a bit more complex? Photoshop Mix takes things to the next level. While it doesn’t quite measure up to the desktop version, it’s still much more powerful than most mobile editing software.
For working with layers or living within the Adobe ecosystem, try out Photoshop Mix.
Download: Photoshop Mix (Free)
For working with video, there’s really no competition. Premiere Clip is by far the best video editor for Android. It manages to make the complex video-editing controls fit on a smartphone screen, and it allows for a surprisingly good editing experience.
If you don’t have access to Premiere Pro on your laptop, Premiere Clip is a good filler!
Download: Premiere Clip (Free)
Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
When Microsoft’s official Office apps are available for free on Android, why use anything else for writing up documents, spreadsheets, or presentations? These apps are packed full of advanced features usually not seen on mobile devices, and because they come straight from Microsoft, you won’t see any compatibility issues.
Download: Microsoft Word (Free)
Download: Microsoft PowerPoint (Free)
Download: Microsoft Excel (Free)
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 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.
Download: Cozi (Free)
Note-taking apps are a dime a dozen, but Microsoft’s OneNote is probably the most full-featured and yet easy to use.
You could use it just for jotting down quick notes, or for organizing massive lists. Whatever note-taking features you need, OneNote can probably handle it, which is what makes it one of the best note-taking apps on Android.
Download: OneNote (Free)
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.
Download: Kindle (Free)
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.
Download: Moon+ Reader (Free)
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.
Download: Feedly (Free)
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.
Download: Titanium Backup (Free)
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!
Download: Root Browser (Free)
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.
Download: Xposed (Free)
Android Device Manager
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!
Download: Android Device Manager (Free)
Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus
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.
Download: Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus (Free)
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.
Download: 1Password (Free)
Ah, the classic Facebook app. Not everybody loves the long list of permissions, but it’s still the default way to update your status, share photos, and keep 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.
Download: Facebook (Free)
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.
Download: Twitter (Free)
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!
Download: Instagram (Free)
If you’re unhappy with your default SMS/MMS texting app, Textra is a feature-packed alternative.
It’s a replacement app for the 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.
Download: Textra (Free)
As a part of Google’s moves to put all the stock Android apps in the Play Store, Messenger is really just the barebones texting app. But if your phone’s manufacturer heavily tweaked your SMS app (looking at you, Samsung), it’s a nice, simple alternative.
Download: Messenger (Free)
Using a VPN is absolutely essential if your goal is privacy. They shield your data from prying eyes so that nobody, not even your wireless provider, can peek in on what you’re doing.
With ExpressVPN, getting this kind of private connection is as easy as pressing a button. And there’s no limit on bandwidth either, like there can be with other VPN providers. You can even choose a VPN location outside your home country to make websites and apps think that you’re there.
The app is free to download, and you get a 7-day free trial. The monthly fee gets lower depending on how many months you pay in advance. Plus, with the link below, you can get 3 free months of ExpressVPN’s service.
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!