New Android Phone? Here Are The 4 Apps You Must Install Right Away

Guy McDowell 13-01-2014

Were you the lucky recipient of a new Android phone over the holidays? If you were, you are in for a real treat. What you are holding is a device with more computing power than NASA had for the space shuttle program. Just think of what you could do with it! (Disclaimer: I don’t think that’s true. I just made that up, because it sounded good.)


First, you’ll need to install some Android apps to help you harness that power and put it to work in your everyday life. Here is a breakdown of 5 Android phone apps that you must install right away! Enjoy.

1. avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus – Free

You wouldn’t go on the Internet without having security software installed on your desktop or laptop, would you? So what’s so different about your Android phone then? It’s a computer, and all computers have vulnerabilities to viruses and malware. Avast! is arguably the best security app out there for the Android and it’s free, so there is no excuse to go out without protection into this big old scary world.


According to testing by AV-TEST done in November 2013, Avast! detected 100% of their test viruses, with zero false-positives. It doesn’t get any better than that. Add to that accomplishment, features such as Anti-Theft, Call Blocking and Message Filtering and you’ve got one sweet deal for free.
Lookout Mobile Security – Download, Review
360 Mobile Security – DownloadReview Is 360 Security for Android One of the Best-Looking Security Tools? Considering downloading 360 Mobile Security? Read our full review of it first. Read More

2. KeePassDroid – Free

In keeping with security being the number one concern with computers, KeePassDroid – the password management tool, is the second Android app you should install. Especially if you are already using KeePass to manage your passwords on your desktop or laptop. By combining your desktop KeePass, KeePassDroid, and a cloud drive service like Dropbox or Google Drive, you can have secure access to any of your username and passwords anywhere that you have Internet access.



Plus, if your phone should happen to get stolen, your password list is heavily secured by the KeePassDroid application. Even sophisticated computer users aren’t going to be able to get your most important information.
Alternatives: Dashlane – Download, Review
Pocket – Download Pocket - A Handy, Free Personal Information Safe With A Desktop Counterpart [Android] Pocket, is a free information “wallet” for Android, and one of the most recent entries in our Best of Android page. Pocket can be used for managing passwords, but also other information. It has built-in... Read More , Review Pocket - A Handy, Free Personal Information Safe With A Desktop Counterpart [Android] Pocket, is a free information “wallet” for Android, and one of the most recent entries in our Best of Android page. Pocket can be used for managing passwords, but also other information. It has built-in... Read More

3. WhatsApp Messenger – Free

Since the Android phone is about communicating with others, an instant messaging app is an ideal third choice for a must-have app. WhatsApp is free to use for the first year, then costs 99 cents a month after that. By installing an app like WhatsApp, you get the benefit of text messaging all of your friends for free (though data charges may apply), chatting with groups of friends, and sharing media without incurring MMS message costs. Staying in touch and saving money is always a top priority for anyone.



Setup is a breeze – WhatsApp imports all of your contacts from your phone and any other service you choose, like Facebook or Gmail. Chances are many of your friends are already using it, so why not you? Even better than regular text messaging Better Than Text Messages & Free - WhatsApp For Android Reviewed A moment of introspection, please: What do you do more often - call people using your phone, or text them? I would bet it's the latter. For many people, texting is more convenient than calling.... Read More , you can also have group chats. That makes planning the night out a lot easier.
BlackBerry Messenger – Download,
Viber – DownloadReview Viber 4.0 For Android & iOS Introduces Push To Talk & Sticker Market Read More

4. Trigger – Free

Trigger is a task automator to help perform different repetitive tasks, like turning off mobile data when you connect to WiFi. Even more importantly, Trigger makes good use of  your Android phone’s NFC capabilities. What’s NFC? What Is NFC & Should You Buy a Phone That Has It? [MakeUseOf Explains] If you’re in the market for a new phone in 2013, you’re probably going to hear about something called NFC, and how it’s apparently changing the world. Don’t be fooled by the sales talk though.... Read More The short answer is Near Field Communication – a method of making special tags and other NFC-enabled phones communicate with your phone when they are in close contact with each other. Trigger (formerly known as NFC Task Launcher) helps you use NFC to create any number of responses to different NFC tags and phones. Set up an NFC tag in your car, so your phone’s Bluetooth automatically turns on and your WiFi turns off. Set up another one at home so it automatically turns Bluetooth off and WiFi on. These two actions alone add a world of convenience to your phone AND save battery life.


Trigger can also detect other events such as the presence of a Bluetooth or WiFi signal, making it even more powerful and programmable. You can also use Trigger in conjunction with Tasker NFC Task Launcher: Make Your Phone Smart And Location-Aware [Android] For me, a big part of a smartphone being "smart" is about automation - my phone should know when to switch Wi-Fi on and off on its own; it should be smart enough to be... Read More to do, well, almost anything really.
Llama – Download [No Longer Available], Review
TaskBomb – Download, Review How To Automate Your Android Smartphone To Do Just About Anything Having a smartphone can make your life a whole lot more convenient. When you're lost, it can help you find your way home. When you're in a strange town that you don't know and want... Read More


Summing It Up

There are roughly 2 bazillion apps for Android phones and devices that are both wicked-cool, and honestly useful. Narrowing it down to 5 must-haves was no mean feat, however these 5 will address the primary needs of security and expanded functionality. Beyond that, it’s up to you to decide what you want to put on your Android to make it your flavour. Of course, you can always refer to our list of Best Android Apps The Best Android Apps on the Google Play Store for 2019 Looking for the best Android apps for your phone or tablet? Here's our comprehensive list of the best apps for Android. Read More for some well thought out suggestions.

What are your must-have apps for your ‘Droid? Which ones could you simply not do without? Besides being a phone, what features of your Android are most important and most used by you? Let us hear about it in the comments below. Your comments plus our articles makes for greater knowledge for all. After all, we’re all in this together.

Image Credits:  New Android Phone via PlaceIt.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Caroline W
    April 28, 2014 at 5:37 am

    I couldn't believe what Lookout Security done - they got me to log in, again, said 'Thanks for being with us since August 2013' then, when I went to scan, they told me I had to upgrade as my device had reached its limit with Lookout - I was shocked.

    Anyway, thanks to MUO, again, you've given me what I need which is Avast; Downloading on both my Tablet and Phone as I write.

    One thing I do want to get off my chest is LastPass is absolutely crap on Android. I've used them for years on my Laptop without any hassle. Installed and upgraded to premium (which you have to on a droid) but it is way below par in its functionality: All my categories do not show up; it does not integrate well with any browser unless you use its browser/keyboard. I'd love to switch to KeyPass just on Android, but with the amount of p/w'ds I have - it would take forever.

    Highly disappointed in both services I mentioned. But Thank You for pointing me to Avast. :)

  2. Ruben Schouten
    February 4, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Sorry, I ment Abast of course.

  3. Ruben Schouten
    February 4, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    AVG is great! Not so much for the virusscan, but the firewall is indispensible. About 90% of the apps I use don't need internet access at all. I have blacklisted all apps and whitelist only those that really need internet access.

  4. Kait
    February 2, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Personal preference perhaps, but I find Llama runs rings around Trigger in terms of functionality, not to mention the user interface is nicer (an important factor many overlook when recommending an app or program).

    This list could have been better if the Avast! was removed and replaced with a browser app recommendation (of course you would never please everyone by which one you chose and there would still be complaints!), as you seem to be aiming your list at a newish Android user yet the features of Avast! you're spruiking are for heavier/not so new users.

    No comments on KeyPass as the thought of keeping that information on my mobile phone makes me queasy, but I would have thought a "find my phone/where's my droid" type of app more essential.

    Would love to see a part 2 to this list, perhaps with more than 4 apps as having to keep it so narrow is tough.

  5. Boops Sard
    January 19, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Wow, some harsh comments, think the authors got some good points and made them well. My personal favourites for a new phone, in no order.
    1 ES file manager - has all the facilities needed and more(zip, installer, LAN connector etc)
    2 Avast - agree its brill, has a great SMS, contact and find it facility
    3 Copilot - navigation
    4 Android assistant, I use a Robin, but speaktoit and google r ok
    5 Airdroid - connect to ure PC, download upload your files without wires
    6 Quickoffice -now free and links in with google
    7 dialer+, messenger+ and contacts+ - much better than stock phone, message and contact apps, links in with social media sites
    8 flip board - news etc brilliant GUI
    9 cleanmaster is the ccleaner for your mobile
    10 easy phone tunes -pull that music of your iTunes collection
    11 Dropbox
    12 XBMC and navi x.....if you know how too

    • chris
      January 28, 2014 at 1:44 am

      A problem with ES File Manager--I have yet to run into a version that wasn't infected, including from their own website.

  6. Mohamed zahran
    January 16, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    I have only one comment on putting your important passwords on cloud drive service such as dropbox or google driver, i totally disagree. If you have an important data keep it safe on your local computer and in your own local backup device.

    • Guy M
      January 17, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      @Mohamed zahran That's reasonable advice. Syncing the lists is something that I'd like to see an app do. Perhaps there is one already that does that, but I'm not aware of it yet.

    • Anthony S
      March 15, 2014 at 5:47 am

      I made an account here just to comment on this (and because I find myself on this site a lot) There is an app that does this already. It's called bittoreent sync: [Broken Link Removed]
      Also by using the desktop app and some coding you can make your own cloud backup system akin to G Drive or Dropbox with my setup costing 50usd a year for unlimited storage. There are many tutorials on how to set this up if you are curious!

  7. armina
    January 15, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    SoloLearn apps are available on Google Play. Download our interactive and fun apps designed specifically for mobile phones and tablets. Learn a new skill on-the-go and let us know what you think.

  8. OnlyGeek
    January 15, 2014 at 10:48 am

    I'm wondering, why the hell would someone install Whatsapp instead of a proper texting app. I mean, one that doesn't leak your private data almost every other month, that doesn't sell your metadata and that encrypts the messages in both ends.
    Nah, most likely this article is aimed for those coming from ios and facebook junkies.
    To all other Android users:
    surespot (
    textsecure (

    • Guy M
      January 17, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      @OnlyGeek I wasn't aware of any privacy issues with WhatsApp. Good to know though. I'll check out your other suggestions as well. Thank you!

  9. Kartik G
    January 14, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    i completely agree with you as avast is the best av for android till date.
    in my opinion most imp apps are
    1 .avast
    2. whatsapp
    3. uc browser
    4. temple run
    5. talking tom
    6. facebook
    7. opera mini

  10. edward
    January 14, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    picture of iphone when writing a android article?
    no being consistent

  11. dragonmouth
    January 14, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    If I had an Android smartphone, Whoscall would be one of the first apps I would install. If Whoscall performs as advertised, it is a very usefull app.

    • Guy M
      January 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      I was SO close to putting that one on the list! Unfortunately (or fortunately) I don't get enough calls to really test this app properly. I love the idea though!

    • dragonmouth
      January 14, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      Since I don't own a smartphone, I can't speak to Whoscall's efficacy. However, there was a MUO article on it by Mihir Patkar couple days ago.

      While I can't speak about Whoscall, I can speak about the concept. I was getting a lot of dinner time sales calls. Being on the Do Not Call list did not help. Then I read about It's a database of phone numbers from which robocalls are made. You register your landline number with them and they then intercept, on the first ring, any calls that come from phones listed in their database. After I registered, all sales calls stopped, except from one organization. NoMoRobo allows their customers to update the database. I added the organization's name and phone numbers to the database and I have not gotten one call since.

      The problem with the Do Not Call list is that politicians and certain organizations are exempt from it so, during political campaigns, you still get the calls on behalf of the candidates. Come next elections I will register those phone numbers with NoMoRobo and see if that stops them. :-)

  12. Ankit
    January 14, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    This is a very poorly constructed article, and definitely not by makeuseof's standards.

    You publish this article on a date after AVAST fails its users. Not just that, when there are far better options available, Kingsoft, Lookout.

    And only 4 apps are mentioned of the said 5.

    • Guy M
      January 14, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      @Ankit, I'm not aware of an avast! failure. Please do tell more about it. Yes, there are alternatives such as Kingsoft and Lookout. Lookout is referenced in the article as a viable alternative.

      As for the 4 apps instead of 5, please refer to my apology earlier in the comment queue. When was the last time you got an apology from a tech writer on the web? Just a thought.

  13. Guy M
    January 14, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Good to see that we are getting some constructive comments and suggestions of other applications here. It enforces the view that a smartphone is a very personal device, and as such, what people want out of it is very diverse.

    Based on the suggestions I'm seeing here, there would be no way that someone could compile a true "Must Have Apps" list that would satisfy everyones' needs.

    likefunbutnot, thank you for a well-reasoned and educated response. My only rebuttal is that makes sense for someone who is as familiar with the inner workings of Android as you. Unfortunately, there's not many people like you.

    Those who just want to say that these apps suck - let us know what your choices are, and why you would say that everyone should have your choices. Unless you do that, you're not helping anyone.

  14. Yogita A
    January 14, 2014 at 10:37 am

    I would say please add Facebook and Keep Safe also in the same list. Facebook is because every use this very frequently and Keep safe for hiding your too personal photos from your family and friends.

    • Guy M
      January 14, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      @Yogita A, good suggestions! I looked at KeepSafe as a possible suggestion. An app like that is a good idea. Facebook is definitely extremely popular as an app, but didn't quite fit the criteria of 'need'. Nonetheless, it's a good suggestion!

    • Anonymous
      January 16, 2014 at 1:54 am

      Facebook = data stealer, keylogger, etc.

    • Yogita A
      January 28, 2014 at 3:56 am

      @Guy M - I am glad you like suggestion KeepSafe :)

  15. hakke
    January 14, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Seriously? Been using android for years as have my two sons, daughter and wife. None of us have any of these apps and we're all doing just fine with our phones and tablets. Must have apps? Doubt it. All good apps but no need to use them.

    • Guy M
      January 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      @hakke Strictly speaking, no app is necessary. The phones perform their most necessary functions right out of the box. But this title is much better than saying, "Here's some apps that you should probably use, but don't have to, so whatever." I say that tongue in cheek, but I think you get my point.

      What are the ones that you would recommend to everyone?

  16. Schvenn M
    January 14, 2014 at 9:14 am

    KeePass2Android is actually better than the default KeePass app.

    Total Commander is available for Android as well as PC, so this is a definite must.

    Google Authenticator

    Kingsoft Office for any larger/tablet sized device.

    Llama is the best task automator for Android.

    App Ops Starter or some equivalent to launch the permissions manager, even for unrooted devices, (pre-Android 4.4, of course).

    I can't count to 4.

    • Guy M
      January 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      @Schvenn M Great suggestions! I especially like the suggestions for Google Authenticator and Llama. I'm currently testing Llama and really like it.

  17. Anonymous
    January 14, 2014 at 3:12 am


    You need to root as soon as possible, and here are the apps you need:

    (1) Titanium Backup
    (2) Superuser
    (3) Root Explorer
    (4) Permissions Denied

    • Schvenn M
      January 14, 2014 at 9:56 am

      Strong words. Not everyone wants to root.

      However, if they do, there are many programs far better than Permissions Denied, such as XPrivacy & App Settings with the XPosed Framework, or LBE Security Master without it.

  18. Nguyen H
    January 14, 2014 at 1:33 am

    I believe WhatsApp cost .99/year after the first year, not .99/mo

    • Guy M
      January 14, 2014 at 11:47 am

      You are correct.

  19. Shikhanshu Agarwal
    January 14, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Is this a spam post?
    1. The list is rubbish (these are NOT the MOST important Android apps from any angle)
    2. There is no number 4
    3. The heading for number 5 is in small size and nearly impossible to discern as a separate heading.

    Whatever happened to proof-reading before publishing on a website that half of the world reads?? Damn!

    • Guy M
      January 14, 2014 at 11:51 am

      1. It's not spam.
      2. That was my mistake and for some bizarre reason it slipped past the editor. I take full blame for that error.
      3. Again my fault.

      With the volume of quality articles that we publish, things like this are bound to happen occasionally. Unfortunately, it was me this time. Fortunately, our rate of having errors or omissions is far lower than average for sites of similar size and stature.

      I offer you my apologies and hope you continue to enjoy our site and content.

  20. Jeremy
    January 13, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Tough crowd. Why avast! over Lookout?

    • Guy M
      January 14, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      @Jeremy, depth of user base, number of functions, test results, and it doesn't bog my phone down. There's nothing wrong with Lookout really, it's an excellent option.

  21. Timothy
    January 13, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    In all honesty, with the playing field being quite level among third party messaging applications, I don't think a winner can be stated (Even Whatsapp!) until most people have settled into the use of one third party ecosystem. I speak to different people on each third party app merely because that's the one they use.

    • Guy M
      January 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      @Timothy, I agree. So I went with what I liked most and apparently has a strong enough following to suggest that it is arguably a contender.

  22. CJ
    January 13, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    The #1 item on this list is pure BS!

  23. Karucifer
    January 13, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    I'm aware of what Avast does - but your copy doesn't mention the app scanning, you cite success in spotting test viruses as a reason to use it. The only mention of app scanning is the screenshot.

    And no, they're nothing alike, most of the Android operating system is in regions of storage which are mounted read-only. The only way to mess with them is either via root, or with an unlocked bootloader and some tinkering via adb shell. A user-initiated process can't touch them, whereas on a Mac, an app can wreak havoc on a machine in any number of ways. How is that remotely comparable?

    If anything, Android has more safeguards than OS X, explicitly outlining which permissions a user is giving away when they install an app, if I grab something from the Mac app store I've much less visibility of what it's going to try and do. Sure, Apple has finally made a half-hearted effort to track access via the Privacy pane, but it's far from definitive.

    • Guy M
      January 14, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      1. I didn't mention a bunch of other functions that avast! does. Time and space is limited, contrary to what physics dictates. However, you're already aware of what avast! does so I guess I didn't need to mention the functions in the first place for you. ;)

      2. I did not say Android and Macs were alike. I said the reasoning for not using security software security on Android being that there aren't many exploits is akin to the argument that you don't need security software on a Mac because there aren't many exploits. How many exploits do you need before you think security is a good idea? For me, that number is exactly one. I've said it before and I'll say it again - the only secure computer is one that isn't connected to anything else.

  24. stef
    January 13, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    all of the apps you put in the list are junk.... are you for real? I mean do you really use antivirus on your phone?

    • Guy M
      January 13, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      I am for real, according to my therapist, and I do use antivirus and security software on my phone. The data on my phone is worth a lot of money and I am not about to take chances with it. If someone just uses their phone for Snapchat and calling their mom to ask for a ride, well, then maybe it's not important to them.

      As for the apps being 'junk' - feel free to list some of the apps that you think are a necessity for a new Android phone. We welcome suggestions and reasoned opinions!

    • stef
      January 13, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      if the data on your phone is important you must remember the passwords you and not leave them in the hands off a program, also is the data on your phone is important you shouldn't install app from unknown sources, to decrease the risk of infection with viruses/malware,

      about the app part I think that the usage of a phone is a very personal think and everybody should personalise their smartphone for whatever they are using

      one question - what phone do you use?

      sorry for the long post and for my english

    • stef
      January 13, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      the passwords you use

    • likefunbutnot
      January 14, 2014 at 1:46 am

      @Guy M (and sorry to the parent for MUO's stupid discussion system not allowing replies to replies):

      I don't think Security Software is useful on a mobile device. Yes, you can get hit by Javascript exploits from dubious web sites (and that's true of ANY device that supports Javascript including the Fruit kind), but absent seriously questionable browsing habits, the most likely attack vector for that sort of thing is advertising and I suspect that there's a much greater benefit to just using some form of ad blocking on your device rather that wasting CPU cycles and disk I/O on a heuristics engine that's of dubious value in the first place. Mobile Firefox supports the standard Adblock+ Plug-in, and Adblock Plus can be installed for non-root users from Amazon's app store or directly from its own web site.

      On a personal level, I don't even run Antivirus applications on desktop machines. I view the software environment as entirely disposable, as it is on a mobile device that I can factory reset at will. The trick is having the ability to access my user data independent of any particular computer or device's configuration.

      If you're concerned about the security of your valuable data, it doesn't belong on a mobile device in the first place. Smartphones are by definition mobile data mining factories. Every law enforcement and security agency in the western world can access your device at the drop of a hat and the legal standing of data stored on the device isn't always clear cut.

      What is WhatsApp doing that the native messaging software for an Android device doesn't? If I understand this post, it's an SMS/MMS client with a monthly fee? There are many, many ways to handle SMS forwarding. I don't know very many that need an extra monthly cost. I can't even see a use case for the tool you've described as "essential."

      Finally, a successful attack on a trusted password manager application is probably the greatest personal data breach possible. I don't think they're a very good idea on general principle for anyone who has any real need of data security.

      In short, I think the contents of this list are about as useful as my third nipple.

    • Guy M
      January 14, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      @likefunbutnot Ad-blocking vs. Security Software. I don't use or recommend ad-blocking software, generally speaking. Free content is only free to the user because the ads help pay for the service. There's a whole discussion to be had on that, but not here.

      Not running AV on your desktop then referring to it as mobile is a bit confusing. I presume what you are saying is that your important data is either in the cloud or on an external HDD. Even still, I believe that AV is important. Should you have a security breach on your device, it is possible that your external HDD or cloud storage could be compromised as well. The only secure computer is one that isn't connected to anything.

      Your statement about not having valuable data on a mobile device is exactly correct - assuming that I could have access to that data via a cloud service or remote connection from anywhere that I might need that data. That's not the case for those of us in rural areas, where cell service is spotty at best.

      WhatsApp is in here because I really like it and it is a good messaging app to use when one is connected to WiFi. I like the way it sets up easily and allows for communications between a variety of groups or individuals. Since people really like to 'text' each other, this app can save one a bit of money by using it when connected to WiFi.

      I currently have passwords for over 200 different applications, sites, servers, etc. Each password is completely unique and randomly generated. If you can recall that many passwords, then you are in possession of a fine memory. The two-step verification that I get from KeePassDroid makes my password database far more secure than having a spreadsheet or even relying on my memory. If people are practicing safe passwording, then this app, or one like it, is essential.

      I'm assuming you're a male, so that makes me wonder if your other two nipples are useful. What do you do with them? If your a female, then I apologize for that assumption.

  25. Karucifer
    January 13, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    I really don't agree with the first entry, there's no reason to need AV on an unrooted device, barely any cause to use it on one with root and app 4 is missing.

    • Guy M
      January 13, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Avast! is more than an antivirus app. It also monitors for malicious websites and malware. Let's say you download an app from somewhere other than the Google play store - avast! will hopefully detect if there are any issues with it that would cause your phone problems. That's just one use case.

      Stating that you don't need AV on an unrooted phone is akin to saying you don't need AV on a Mac. Sure, you could probably go years without a virus, but that first one will really ruin your day. I also don't plan on having any house fires and I probably never will, but I have a fire extinguisher anyway.

      The additional features of avast! such as anti-theft make the app worth having, in my opinion.

    • sean
      January 14, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Advertisers man.....advertisers.

    • Mohamed zahran
      January 16, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      I totally agree with you.

  26. Biek
    January 13, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    So ... Unless I'm seriously missing something: What's number 4?

    • Guy M
      January 13, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      Nope. That was an oversight. I'll talk to my editor about me updating this article.