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The Google Play store offers up more than 3 million apps. Some are masterpieces, some are duds. Our guide, which covers some key categories, will lead you right to the ones that deserve a place on your Android phone or tablet
Android phones and tablets are marvelous handheld devices that are capable of so much more than snapping selfies and posting social media updates. With the right app, you can transform your Android devices into a movie theater, graphic design canvas, mobile workstation, or nearly anything else designed for work or play. Downloading the apps is easy; finding them is the challenge. That’s why we’ve stepped in to offer a helping hand.
These recommended apps are organized into categories, including music, productivity, security, and utilities, so it’s easy to find ones that suit your mood. Need an entertaining streaming video service? There’s an app for that. In search of a dependable word processor that’ll keep you productive while on the go? There’s an app for that, too. Note that we don’t include any games in this roundup: For those, check out our separate list of the best Android games.
If this is your first time with an Android device, Some apps might be overwhelming. If so, take a look at our list of 10 must-have Android apps to cover the basics. If your wallet is feeling a little light, know that many of the entries in both lists are free.
Each recommended app is excellent in its own way. Taken together, our collection is a snapshot of the Google Play Store’s best apps at the time of writing. So explore and enjoy.
Brave Privacy Browser
Brave Privacy Browser offers many features aimed at protecting your security and privacy on the web. For instance, it includes built-in blockers for ads, pop-ups, scripts, and third-party cookies. It even implements the HTTPS Everywhere extension, so you can ensure that your connections
Firefox is lickety-split fast, and has a clean design that is a joy to use. Mozilla makes a big point about how it doesn’t collect your data, and we are pleased to see that the app comes with a full complement of security settings—including an option to protect your information from advertisers and a private browsing mode. Like the desktop version, Firefox for mobile has a robust plug-in selection, excellent tab management, and a dynamic start page for bookmarks and the latest headlines. You can even sync settings, history, and tabs with the
Microsoft Edge lets you easily sync web pages, bookmarks, and browsing history between your Android device and the Edge browser on your desktop. Top features of the mobile browser include an integrated reading view, news ratings (handled by NewsGuard), and a content blocker (powered by Adblock Plus). You can search with Bing using your voice or by selecting a photo, as well as earn points via the Microsoft Rewards program. Both Microsoft Edge’s dark and light themes look elegant and are easy to navigate.
Privacy stalwarts, rejoice! Tor now has an official (and modern-looking) Android app. The Tor project operates under the principle that “internet users should have private access to an uncensored web.” Make sure to read the overview of how Tor works before you start using it, as it addresses specific types of privacy threats (and does so very well). The Tor browser may perform more slowly than other browsers, given its complicated inner workings, but that drawback should be negligible for the users who appreciate and rely on its protections.
If you’re looking to learn another language, Duolingo gamifies language learning with bite-sized lessons and a friendly interface. Starting with simple vocabulary and building from there, Duolingo is your guide to learning a new language or brushing up on one you already know. The more you use the app, the more you unlock and—with practice—the more you learn. This free app currently supports Danish, Dutch, French, German, Irish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish. Or more practical choices, like Esperanto and Klingon.
The problem with most mobile messengers is convincing your friends to sign up. That said, there’s a good chance that most people you know are already on Facebook. This is handy, because the Facebook Messenger app is fantastic. It’s simple, clean, and easily handles voice and video calling. Check out our feature on Facebook Messenger to discover its other capabilities.
Many people fear not being unable to communicate with people from another country while traveling. Google Translate takes a bit of the edge off, quickly translating either written text or spoken words. You can even use the app to do the speaking for you, and input text through your camera or handwriting. The app can translate 103 languages with a data connection and 52 when you’re offline. It can’t handle Tamarian, but it’s sure to be a handy tool here on Earth. Another option is Microsoft Translator, which offers 60 offline languages, travel phrasebooks, a real-time conversation mode, and klingon.
Most people are probably familiar with LinkedIn as a service only visited in times of desperation—after being laid off, maybe, or after a day in the office so bad that you’re just not going to take it anymore. The LinkedIn app aims, however, to be a companion to the LinkedIn web service that you check every day. Sure, there’s the all-important profile pages showing off your work experience, and the handy tools for networking, but the service now includes visitor metrics and a newsfeed for a decidedly more social feel. It’s sometimes the easiest way to reach out and make a business connection. It’s like Facebook for grown-ups
With Snapchat, you quickly snap and exchange photos with one or several friends. The app also supports video snaps, as well as voice and video calling. The catch is that whatever you post vanishes after a day. It’s just a fun and ephemeral way to share the world
There are many apps that pay lip service to security and privacy, but Signal was built from the ground up with the goal of letting people easily communicate without having to worry about being overheard. The Signal app is a complete phone and SMS client replacement (though it works just fine as a standalone app, too) for sending and receiving encrypted calls and messages. The app’s look and feel continues to improve, too.
Textra is an excellent alternative to Messages on Android. The app includes numerous customization options that you won’t find with the stock messaging app, including custom contact colors, text bubble styles, and notification icons. Additionally, you get extra features such as text scheduling, the ability to blacklist contacts, and the option to rename group conversations. Textra also has excellent light
In a world rife with messenger apps, WhatsApp is among the most successful, boasting an enormous and dedicated user base. Add to that an integrated web version that lets users take their chats to the desktop. This Facebook-owned app is bolstered by encrypted messaging provided by the minds behind Signal. It might just be the largest secure messaging service out there.
Your Phone Companion
Microsoft’s Your Phone Companion app lets you link your Android phone and text from your Windows 10 PC. As a bonus, you can also quickly access photos from your camera, as well as manage your device notifications. The app setup is easy, and it’s certainly more comfortable to type out longer responses on a physical keyboard than craft a message on your phone.
If you don’t want to think about buying ingredients, but still want to cook, Blue Apron is an excellent option. With reliable deliveries and great meals to choose from, this food delivery service lets you skip the trip to the grocery store. The sleek mobile app allows you to manage your account, schedule your deliveries, and save any recipes you want to revisit.
Cookpad connects you with a vibrant array of recipes. Easily add favorite recipes, manage shopping lists, and find new recipes you’ll love based on those you already like. Once you start using it, you’ll have one less excuse to eat out.
Remember the bad old days of ordering food? You needed takeout menus, knowledge of the terrain (“will they even deliver out here?”), cash, and faith that the person jotting down your order got it right. Seamless takes care of all that, even letting you pay via credit card from your Android. The only drawback? It’s not available in every city (or even every state), though it has expanded its range dramatically since it was first included on this list.
Untappd helps you record each brew you try along with a rating and tasting notes. Think of it as Swarm for beer! No more staring at a tap list, trying to remember which ones you’ve had before. The app also has a vibrant community of beer drinkers that can point you toward new discoveries and an extensive list of beers. It’s also a handy way to find your favorite brew near your current location. While it’s not perfect, it can change the way you think of beer.
It pays to be a little skeptical of crowd-sourced reviews, but Yelp tells you a lot more than just what people thought of a bar, restaurant, or just about any other place where you spend money. Many locations list hours of operation, contact information, and menus, making it easy to find the perfect spot in your neighborhood or a new city.
HEALTH & FITNESS
Adidas Running by Runtastic
The Adidas Running app, formerly called Runtastic PRO, can do much more than just track your favorite running routes. This excellent fitness app keeps track of all sorts of useful data and can return information-rich maps to help you plan future outings. Use it for cycling, hiking, and walking, too.
Menstruators the world over will rejoice over Clue, a simple app with a beautiful design for tracking your period and predicting when the next will occur. Using the data you enter about your cycle—and other factors—you can use Clue to plan ahead, whether it’s for pregnancy or just to keep ahead of your cycle. Reminders and a handy calendar tool can help take the guesswork out of life. Best of all, it’s totally gender-neutral, and not the expected pink.
Tracking your period isn’t just about knowing the cycle, but also the other factors surrounding it. Eve by Glow lets you track physical and emotional states, which can lead to some important insights when you take the time to interpret your own data. Eve also boasts a vibrant community and a wealth of information about sexual health built right in.
You might know Fitbit from its popular fitness trackers, but the app that powers those devices works well on its own, too. Using your just your smartphone (assuming you meet the minimum hardware requirements), this fitness app can count steps and log activities to help you achieve daily goals. There are also social features, so you can compete against your friends. It’s a must-have (really, you must have it) for Fitbit users, but also a smart choice for anyone looking to be more active.
This calorie counter and exercise tracker aims to help you lose weight the old-fashioned way—expending more calories than you take in. With its smart design and an extensive library of foods, it makes quickly logging the calories you take in and what you burn while exercising a snap. A barcode scanner makes it even easier to log that post-workout snack. This fitness app also plays nice with other such apps, so your data won’t be tied up in just one place. MyFitnessPal won’t give you a whole workout regimen, but it can make you more aware of your habits.
Zocdoc makes it easy to research nearby doctors on your health insurance plan and book appointments from your phone. When you first sign up for the app, you can enter your insurance information manually or scan your card to get started. The app itself looks slick too, with a modern, bright design that makes the experience of scheduling visits less stressful. Zocdoc even saves your history of appointments and makes recommendations for future ones, so you can stay on top of your health history.
MUSIC & PODCASTS
If you want to record your own podcast, Anchor is likely one of the easiest ways to do it. This app lets you record by yourself or with friends and build out entire podcast episodes entirely from your phone. Anchor even implements some basic audio editing tools for perfecting each clip in the app. Recently, the service announced a monetization program for creators on the platform.
Filled with both up-and-coming and established acts, Bandcamp is one of the most exciting music marketplaces there is. The app was initially built around streaming songs you’d already purchased on Bandcamp, but now it’s a one-stop-shop for digital and physical band merch. If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of music, this is an essential app.
Streaming services are all the rage, but if you still keep music locally, BlackPlayer is worth your attention. We particularly like the Discover option, which shuffles through 10-second previews of seldom-played tracks in your library continuously, until you decide on what to listen to next. There’s also a built-in tag editor and a ton of customization options for button styles, fonts, themes, and now notifications
While Pandora may have introduced the world to streaming radio, LiveXLive has refined it. You can listen to what the service thinks you’ll like, or try out one of its human-curated channels and playlists. It also has hyper-specific playlists that appeal to particular tastes and moods, such as Yacht Rock. If you aren’t ready to subscribe to LiveXLive quite yet, you can try out its free version.
Android has struggled with podcasts (they don’t call ’em “Droidcasts,” after all), but Pocket Casts is here to help. This highly customizable app is great for chilling out with an episode of your favorite casts, and it can also sync among different devices so that you can pick up right where you left off. Time to start listening.
Songkick is the bridge between the music in your digital collection and concerts in your area. Once installed, Songkick scans your device for tunes and then lets you see when and where your favorite artists are playing. If you see a show you’re interested in, you can also purchase tickets all from within the app. Add multiple locations to Songkick to catch concerts when you’re on the road.
With its huge inventory of music, Spotify has become a mainstay for free, legal music streaming. You can shuffle through smartly selected songs, find your favorite albums, or explore one of the service’s excellent playlists. Close ties with artists means that new tracks are sometimes available the same day they hit the shelves in record shops. Those still exist, right? Spotify also offers a limited free version.
Though its interface is a bit tricky, Stitcher connects you with just about every podcast out there. Podcasts are organized by subject, or you can just search for a familiar title. Shows can, in turn, be organized into playlists for a continuous stream. Once you’ve exhausted all your favorites, let Stitcher recommend something new. With a special emphasis on sources like NPR, CNN, and ESPN, Stitcher has a little bit of everything.
Adobe Lightroom is a powerful photo-editing app for mobile that retains many of the features from its desktop counterparts, Lightroom, which earned a three-and-a-half star rating, and Lightroom Classic, a five-star Editors’ Choice winner. Some of its standout tools include raw camera file profiles, noise reduction, profile-based lens corrections, and advanced color and lighting sliders. Lightroom also notably syncs all these edits between the mobile and desktop apps.
Remember Flickr? The venerable photo-sharing service is an Editors’ Choice web service, and the Android app has a lot to recommend it, too. It’s more about the art of photography than the meme- and selfie-packed Instagram. Offering a well-designed interface and excellent photo and video editing tools, Flickr is more valuable than ever. Plus, the app connects you to the vibrant community of photographers on the service. Best of all, it can automatically back up photos from your phone. Free users can upload up to 1,000 photos and a $50 per year subscription gets you unlimited online photo storage.
Google Photos puts the search giant’s powerful (and sometimes creepy) image magic into your phone. It can identify faces, even as they age over the decades, as well as animals, places, or objects. You can also search for photos from specific dates or locations. The impressive built-in Assistant can detect clutter or even create collages or animations on its own. The app is rounded out with editing tools and unlimited cloud storage if you make some minor compromises on upload quality. Google Photos also extends to photo prints; you can digitize physical photos with the built-in Photo Scan or even order a custom photo book. The companion Google Lens app can even report back information related to your images or photos by scanning them.
It seems like just yesterday that Facebook-owned Instagram was adding video. Then direct messaging. Then advanced photo editing put it on par with Photoshop Express for image correction and manipulation. Instagram Stories is now far more popular than Snapchat’s similar feature. And anti-bullying fea
PicsArt Photo Studio
With tons of effects, controls over layers, drawing tools, and collages, PicsArt Photo Studio can contend with Photoshop and is one of the best photo editing apps for Android. If you think it’s just a lowly Instagram clone, you’re wrong. When you’re looking to take your smartphone snapshots to the next level, seek out this app.
Don’t get us wrong, some of us love Instagram. But if you want more control than Instagram affords, try Google-owned Snapseed. This app straddles the line between full-fledged image editor and filter app, all in a sleek and attractive package. Best of all is the amount of control it gives you over how filters and effects are applied to your images. It even lets you make non-destructible edits to raw camera files and make adjustments to exposure and detail levels.
Asana is the 800-pound gorilla of task management for teams, dwarfing other popular services like the capable Trello. Asana is all about workflows and checkbox tasks that can be assigned to individuals. The Android app lets you take your tasks on the go and offline, syncing your progress when you’re back on the network. It’s a powerful tool with an excellent interface, and new features are added regularly.
The hardest part of scheduling a meeting is getting everyone to agree. Jeff is free Monday and Wednesday. Jill is available Monday, but not Tuesday. And the other dozen people have their own schedules to contend with. Doodle lets you suggest times, and then see which work best for everyone. It’s an invaluable planning tool.
Once you start using Evernote, this note-taking app becomes a powerful tool for organizing just about everything. Notes can be anything—text, images, audio, or a mix—and are organized into notebooks. One of its killer features is optical character recognition, which makes the text in images searchable. Cloud-storage makes it the perfect tool for organizing the little pieces of a project into a finished draft.
Faxing isn’t dead quite yet, but fax machines can safely be left behind thanks to online fax services. Fax.Plus’s app is well designed and easy to use. It notably offers a digital signature tool and a contact manager. We like how mobile fax apps allow users to snap a picture of an attachment, attach a fax cover sheet, and send a fax off to a recipient in a few quick actions. Fax.Plus makes this process seamless.
IFTTT, which stands for “if this, then that,” helps you create custom automations between various online services and devices without any coding experience. The mobile app makes it simple to set up these Applets (previously called recipes) on your own or implement any of the community-created ones. IFTTT is particularly great for controlling smart home devices.
Avoid paying for expensive textbooks and use Khan Academy instead. With lessons and videos for Arts & Humanities, Computing, Economics & Finance, Math, and more, there’s no shortage of topics you can learn or review. The app is easy to use, and you can resume lessons wherever you sign in to your account.
Microsoft Word is, simply put, the alpha and omega of word processing, and one of the key apps in Microsoft Office 365. You’ll find it on every kind of computer in every kind of setting, and now it’s available for free on Android. Word plugs into Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure to keep your documents in order, but its main selling point is that this really is Word. What you make on your phone will look exactly the same on the desktop. For the worker on the go, it’s essential.
Mint is a fantastic online service to keep track of your finances, and it really shines on Android. Once you’ve entered all your information, you can easily check up on your finances on the fly. Mint keeps you on track for your goals and a new bill paying feature makes sure that you never miss a payment. Be sure to try out the app’s excellent widgets, too.
Nine is a very reliable email client designed to work with all of your accounts. The clean interface and the optional conversation view make reading and replying to email intuitive. One of the coolest features is the ability to customize the notification actions, including an incredibly useful “Mark as read” option. It isn’t cheap, but it’s only a one-time $14.99 charge for a much-improved email experience that also integrates calendar, contacts, notes, and tasks functionality.
Slack has gone from the new hotness, to controversial productivity tool, to essential office tool faster than you can say “hot take.” With a familiar, instant messenger feel, it’s easy to get started with Slack. But the service became popular because of its wealth of advanced features, like customizable alerts and a Do Not Disturb function. You can even host VoIP calls through Slack with your coworkers. A free account will get you started, but a monthly fee unlocks even better search tools. And be sure to install the Giphy plugin for maximum productivity.
If you like to keep your life organized with various to-do lists, then you definitely need to download Todoist. This app lets you keep track of the tasks you need to get done; you can assign them different priorities based on their overall importance or organize them across different projects. It also has a functional, clean design and works across many different platforms. Anyone can get started for free, but seriously organized individuals should upgrade to the $28.99 per year premium plan to set up task labels and reminders, upload files, and view productivity charts.
TurboTax Tax Return App
Everyone needs to file their taxes every year. Most people will probably have an easier time using dedicated tax software (and some might still enjoy preparing them by hand), but more ambitions filers or those with simple tax returns can get away with using a mobile app. Intuit’s TurboTax Tax Return App is the best one we reviewed this year. Among its top features are an excellent user interface, support for all major tax forms, and innovative help options. If you get stuck at any point, you can just open up the Virtual Assistant, which keeps a running dialogue of the help topics you searched for, or use SmartLook to connect to a tax expert via video chat.
Check and install the app which will be beneficial to you and thank me later.
Source : pcmag.com