Here it is ladies and gentlemen. The creme de la creme. The apps that most people will swear that they cannot live without. These apps have become ubiquitous with Android and if you’re looking for good stuff it’s assumed that you have this stuff already. It’s quite a long list so take your time and go through it. Enjoy the best Android apps that the Google Play Store has to offer.
If you’re into online shopping and eBooks, there are few better places to that than Amazon. They are one of the few shopping apps with international support and they are one of the most trusted online stores in the world. Along with Amazon Mobile (shown), dedicated Amazon Kindle app to read eBooks you purchase on Kindle on your Android device. It has a huge selection, good perks, and awesome deals. you can get the
[Price: Free / $3.99]
There are a lot of great launchers out there, and we’ve covered them before. When it comes to user friendliness, customization, and general popularity, Apex Launcher is simply a must have. It has a variety of customization options, a bunch of add-ons available in the Google Play Store, and comes in both free and paid options. It’s one of the best and has been for a very long time.
[Price: Free / $3.99]
The App Dialer-local T9 app search app is a mouthful to say but it’s actually a pretty simple app. It opens a window on your home screen with a keypad on it. You then use the keypad to type out the letters that correspond with the app you’d like to use. For instance, if you’re looking for the Google Play Music app, you’d type 4-6-6-4-5-3 and all the apps with “Google” in the title will show up. This is a great way to search your app drawer without actually flinging through page after page and it’s an amazing way to find apps quickly. If you use a lot of apps then this is a must have and it’s free!
Beautiful Widgets rose to fame during the days when everyone wanted the HTC Sense clock and weather combo widget. Since then, it’s only gotten better. It has widgets for phones and tablets, weather, clock, and combination widgets. It even has toggle widgets and more. It’s highly customizable with thousands of weather and clock skins to choose from. You really can’t go wrong picking it up.
Even though a little bit of this application is snake oil, it does provide a number of really useful services. For instance, when you download and app and uninstall it, the data folder will stay there. You can use Clean Master to get rid of those empty folders from apps long since uninstalled or otherwise use it to clean out your device. It can free up some space, clean out the cache, and get your phone just cleaned out. It’s also free so there’s no harm in trying it out.
If you’re running Android 4.2 or higher, DashClock Widget is a must have. It’s a widget you put on your lock screen that comes with extensions. These extensions offer virtually unlimited functionality including weather, toggles, notifications, calendar support, flashlight support, and a whole lot more via the Google Play Store. Also, it’s free, so there’s no reason not to have it.
When it comes to cloud storage, Dropbox is pretty much the king. It’s free to use, the app is just fantastic, and you can earn additional space in a multitude of ways. In many cases (i.e. their recent Space Race competition), the additional cloud storage space earned is permanent most of the time. It’s even bundled with a number of devices like the HTC One and the Galaxy Note 3. It’s a great app that serves a great purpose.
File management isn’t something most Android users think about until it’s something they have to do. Thus, it is always a good idea to keep a good file manager around in case of emergencies. That means apps like ES File Explorer have a home on a best Android apps list. It has practically every feature you need in a file explorer from root permissions to built-in archive functions. Also, it’s free and free is great.
Note taking has become an essential function on Android and Evernote is the pinnacle of note taking on Android. It has a boat load of great features including cloud support and a desktop app. You can use the app for free but there is a premium option too if you want Evernote to do more. It’s the most popular note taking app and is rated a 4.7 in the Google Play Store which means even regular users can barely find anything wrong with it.
Mozilla’s Firefox browser is one of the most popular desktop browsers out there. The same can be said for their Android browser offering. It’s a solid selection with a lot more features than pretty much every stock browser offering from Android, Samsung, HTC, and others. It’s quick on most devices and it works well. It doesn’t hurt that it has a name that people trust. An update earlier this year also brought cross-device syncing of things like bookmarks and passwords much like Chrome does and that’s a huge deal. It’s free, check it out!
There are a lot of RSS readers out there. The case can be made that apps like Feedly could be on this list and we agree. However, we felt we could only choose one news reader app and we chose Flipboard. When it comes to absorbing content, Flipboard is simply the best looking reader out there. It has international support, a lot of news sources, and enough customization to make it your news reader.
Google Chrome is pretty much the new stock Android browser. It comes with the always preferable “developed by Google” label and it is packed with features. You get gesture controls, bookmark syncing, a solid browsing experience, and a lot more. There are a lot of great browsers, but Chrome owns the title of being the best on desktop and it can compete in every area for that title on Android. It also comes pre-loaded on most devices these days so chances are that you already have this app.
We expressed earlier that note taking is a now essential activity on Android. Evernote is a great app but some people simply don’t need that much stuff. If you’re into note taking and need something a little more lightweight, Google Keep is there for you. Aside from being colorful, clean, and simple, it also syncs with your Google Drive so you can access it anywhere. It’s a great alternative to Evernote and a good app in its own right.
Okay, so technically Google Play Books, Movies & TV, Games, and Music may all be separate apps but they are all part of a single ecosystem. The Google Play Store has books, games, music, movies, and TV shows and these apps, while separate, are all really just individual interfaces to the whole Play Store. With these apps, you can purchase and access the entire media library that Google has to offer and Google offers an extensive media library. If you’re into marrying yourself to the Google ecosystem, these are must have apps. Thankfully most of these do come pre-installed on most devices these days so you won’t have to search for them.
If you’re looking for something that looks great and smooth, HD Widgets is what you want. Much like Beautiful Widgets, this app works to give you a variety of different widgets including clock, weather, combo, toggles, and more. They run in sizes suitable for phones and tablets. They can be customized to suit practically any theme and there are two add ons (Colourform and Kairo) that gives even more customization options. They’re a great way to compliment your home screen.
[Price: Free / $4.99]
Backing up your device is always important. In fact, backing up any computing device is important, so it’s only natural an app that backs things up be included in a list like this. We chose Koushik Dutta’s Helium app. It backs up your apps, app data, and more to either your phone or your computer (your choice). The best part about this software is you don’t need root to use it. It’s one of the few options non-rooted people have when it comes to backing up apps.
IFTTT is a unique application that allows you to control what you device does by linking actions within applications together. For instance you can favorite an image on Instagram and then set it up in IFTTT for you to save that image to your Google Drive. Once you create the “recipe” (as they’re called) to do that, your device will save any image you favorite on Instagram to Google Drive. There are a metric ton of uses for this app and it’s limited only by your creativity and imagination. You can also find helpful recipes by doing a quick Google search to help give you ideas for good ones for you.
[Price: $12 per year or $1 per month subscription]
LastPass is a password manager application that stores all of your passwords and then uses them to log into your apps and websites for you. This is a great way to keep track of all of your stuff so you don’t have to remember those passwords yourself. This also allows you to create much more powerful passwords because you don’t have to actually remember them. It’s free to try for two weeks but after that you’ll need a $12/year subscription. It’s the best there is in password management and you should have it!
[Price: Free w/subscription]
When it comes to streaming video, one of the name on everyone’s list is Netflix. It requires a $7.99 (soon to be $8.99) per month subscription and offers thousands of titles that you can stream right to your device (and a number of other devices). It’s compatible with practically every facet of the Android experience including Chromecast, tablets, phones, and Android TV. It’s easy to use and one of the best out there if it’s available in your country.
[Price: Free / $4.00]
Nova Launcher is the “go-to” replacement launcher for people looking to get away from the stock offerings. It’s touted far and wide as one of the best and it has a large set of features and add-ons including theme support and a boat load of other customization options. It even has the “Okay, Google” hotword available on your home screen like you get with the Nexus 5. If you don’t like your stock launcher, this is a must have app to fix the problem.
[Price: Free / $4.00/year]
If you like streaming music for free and don’t mind a few advertisements every now and then, Pandora is probably the best app out there. It’s one of the few legitimately legal ways to get free music with nothing more than radio-style advertisements getting in the way. It’s used by millions around the world and it not only lets you listen to music to like but helps you discover new music that sounds like the music you like. You can get the premium service which removes many of the restrictions and the advertisements as well.
If you’re into podcasts, Pocket Casts is simply the best out there. You can use it to view audio or video podcasts, sync between your devices, switch between the dark and light theme, and enjoy its simple to use interface. You can even configure it to automatically download podcasts over WiFi or mobile data so your podcast is downloaded and ready to go when you need it. It’s light, fast, clean, and it does the job.
There are a metric ton of music players out there. Some are free, some are paid, and many come with a bunch of unique features. However, when it comes to solid performance and great features, Poweramp is about as good as it gets. It comes with a slick interface, fast library scanning, and even a built-in, 10-band EQ. You can get a 15-day free trial to check it out, but the app will set you back a few bucks. If you need a flawless music experience for your local content, this is about as far as you need to go.
[Price: Free / $3.49]
Every Android device comes with a calculator and in most cases the basic functions are good enough to get by. However, for high school and college students as well as professionals who need to use more complicated math, they need something more. RealCalc is a fully functional scientific calculator. One may not expect a scientific calculator making a list like this, but there are millions of students and professionals who do need one. You can pick up the free or paid variant. It looks good and it works well.
[Price: Free / $2.99]
There are a lot of great alarm clock apps for Android. When you get right down to it, though, it’s the same functionality wrapped in different interfaces. All except one anyway and that’s Sleep As Android. This app actually analyses your sleep patterns to help you get a better night’s rest. Here’s how it works, you put the phone in your bed with you and it uses the accelerometer to measure how much and when you move. It’s really something different and unique. If you need a better alarm app, check it out.
[Price: Free / $10/month subscription]
Spotify is one of the best music streaming services available period. In a recent move, they made the service free to use on mobile which means you can get the same experience on mobile that you do on the desktop. If you don’t mind the ads, you can find tens of millions of songs that you love, create playlists, share playlists with friends, and just enjoy your tunes. It’s one of the few music streaming options that allows for on-demand play and the subscription service is reasonable if you want to go all out with no ads.
[Price: Free with in app purchases]
Third party keyboards are everywhere and that makes it easy to find the features you need. However, when it comes to the go-to keyboard that everyone recommends, the winner is Swiftkey. It recently went free with a number of themes that you can purchase for an additional charge. With it being free there is no reason not to dub this the winner of the third party keyboards. Some people like others better but generally speaking most people who don’t use the stock keyboards use SwiftKey.
If you like to tinker and play with your phone or you want it to do exactly what you want, then you want Tasker. This app can be difficult to use for beginners but once you get the hang of what’s going on, it’s a truly powerful app. You can make your phone do pretty much whatever you want it to do when you want it. A bonus is many NFC tag apps have Tasker plugins so you can even use this app to program your NFC tags beyond what you normally could before.
Turning your LED flash into a flashlight is another one of those functions you won’t know you need until you actually need it. Many custom ROMs like CyanogenMod (Torch) and OEMs (Samsung’s Assistive Lighting) have flashlights built in but not everyone has it. For those who don’t, TeslaLED is one of the best out there. It has a number of widget options and it’s done by the same people who do Nova Launcher.
Last on our list is Zedge. Zedge is one of the best apps available that can give you both wallpapers and ringtones. It has a huge selection of free ringtones and wallpapers for you to choose from. It’s just a matter of finding the ones you like. It’s free, everything in it is free, and it’s one of those highly rated apps a lot of people have but no one seems to talk about very often.
Even with a list of 25 apps, it’s impossible to cover all the best Android apps out there. People have so many different preferences and usage habits that there are potentially thousands of amazing apps that we simply didn’t have the space to add here. So by all means, if there’s a great Android app you think people should know about, let everyone know in the comments.