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More than ever, apps have more features (and thus more complications) for you to figure out. But at times, when you want to use an app for its core purpose, you don’t care about those additions.
On a notes app, for instance, all you really need to do is add or read notes. Color-coding or dividing into precise lists are secondary. Here are ten minimal alternatives to everyday apps that keep it simple.
1. Thoughts / Simplenote (Notes)
Many have attempted to supercharge the common notes app to suit a digital lifestyle. But if you’re someone who likes to keep their workspace clean, you probably aren’t looking for an extreme version of something as elementary as taking notes.
For a minimal notes environment on Android, your best bet is Thoughts or Simplenote. Both offer a straightforward ad-free interface, dark themes for late-night thoughts, the ability to search, and fundamental editing tools. The only major difference between these two is that Simplenote works across multiple platforms, while Thoughts is restricted to just Android.
2. Google Tasks (Tasks)
For your to-dos, Google has a sophisticated yet clutter-free app called Tasks. Google Tasks quickly lets you add tasks and has the majority of extra features you need, such as subtasks and due dates.
In addition, Google Tasks is part of G Suite, which means it seamlessly integrates with other productivity services by Google like Gmail, Docs, and others. On your desktop, you can view and edit Google Tasks from a sidebar available on those services’ web apps.
Download: Google Tasks (Free)
3. Evie Launcher (Launcher)
Launchers were an Android enthusiast tweak for some time. But since phone makers have aggressively modified stock Android, alternative launchers have become a necessity for fluid performance. And the best one for someone who doesn’t want to deal with lots of customization is Evie Launcher.
Evie Launcher works great out of the box and even has a universal search accessible by a simple swipe-down gesture. It features a stock theme, but if you do want to personalize some of its elements, there are plenty of options for that as well. You’ll find many more reasons to switch to Evie Launcher if those didn’t convince you.
Download: Evie Launcher (Free)
4. Kiwi Browser (Browser)
Among the dozens of browsers available on the Play Store, the one a minimalist should download is a Chromium-based app called Kiwi Browser.
Kiwi Browser is an app for people in search of a no-frills quick browsing experience. The browser comes with the necessary features you’d expect, plus a few more supplementing them. This includes a night mode (optimized for OLED screens), a bottom address bar, cryptojacking protection, and more.
Download: Kiwi Browser (Free)
5. Android Messages (Messages)
There’s a good chance you’re already using a minimalist client for SMS messages. But in case your phone’s manufacturer has supplied an awful alternative, try Android Messages.
Android Messages is made by Google. It comes with a sleek design that’s pleasant on the eyes, plus solid performance. You’ll find all the usual texting features such as a handy shortcut for copying one-time passcodes, GIF support, and a web app if you’d like to check your conversations on a computer.
Download: Android Messages (Free)
6. Google Phone (Calls)
Similar to SMS, if you’re unhappy with your current app for calling, try Google Phone. It’s your standard app for phone purposes, with a dash of Material Design 2.
Google Phone also comes with a range of other utilities you might find useful, including a tab for your favorite contacts, integration with Duo for video calls, and spam detection. For non-Google phones, the Phone is not available on the Play Store but you can easily sideload it.
7. File Manager
File managers are notorious for going rogue and cramming in all sorts of nonsense. But for a basic file manager, you actually don’t need a dedicated app at all.
Since the Marshmallow update, a built-in barebones tool lets you manage your files on Android. On stock Android, you can find it in the app launcher as Files. On other phones, you’ll have to head into Settings, then Storage & Memory. At the end of this page, there’s an option called Explore.
For the majority of users, Android’s native file manager should be enough. It can handle all sorts of files, works with multiple inputs and drives, and lets you perform all the essential actions like compressing, moving, and similar.
8. Overdrop (Weather)
There’s a sea of weather apps available for Android but most of them, unfortunately, are too overwhelming. Enter Overdrop.
Overdrop is a minimalistic weather app that offers a host of widgets and tools, all designed with a snazzy interface. Of course, Overdrop is built to tell you the forecast and that’s what you’ll see when you first launch it. The developer cleverly employs white space to make the information clearly readable.
Overdrop is mostly free but if you want access to more themes and widgets, you’ll need to upgrade to Pro.
9. Read (RSS Reader)
Read is a free and ad-free RSS reader with an onus on simplicity. The app offers the standard tools you need to manage your RSS feed, including the ability to easily add new ones, dark themes, a tab for highlighting your unread stories, and more.
Download: Read (Free)
10. HQ Music (Music Player)
HQ Music is an intuitive music player that employs a set of gestures for a minimal user interface. You can navigate around the app and switch tracks through various gestures and watch the interface move with satisfying animations and gradients.
Apart from that, HQ Music is a standard music player that won’t bog down your phone. Its tiny size won’t clog up your storage either.
Download: HQ Music (Free)
Advancing technology has certainly allowed our devices to be more aware of our needs. But it’s also led to more people adopting a minimalist lifestyle devoid of clutter. Before you dive into this concept, you should understand minimalism and how to practice it thoroughly to avoid any overlaps.
Did you know that you could also do more with the physical buttons on your Android device? Make the most out of those buttons with these apps: