Mobile phones have always had a way to keep track of your phone calls and text messages to some extent. In fact that was one of the key advantages of these phones when they started: the ability to display who was calling you and to keep a history of recent calls. As awesome as this sounded in the beginning, what a smartphone can do today far exceeds these capabilities, letting you use the phone to do things you could not have imagined just a few years ago.
Among the hundreds of thousands of things Android apps let you do today, a good few let you keep track of virtually any aspect of your life. From keeping track of virtually limitless incoming and outgoing calls and text messages, to maintaining a gym workout diary and managing your finances and health. The possibilities are endless. In this roundup, let’s look at a whole bunch of apps to do just that — and more.
If you have ever wanted a deeper insight into your calling and texting habits, Phonalyzr is for you. It uses the phone and SMS logs from your phone and generates usage summaries and graphs to show you precisely how you are using your phone.
Not everyone uses an unlimited calling and texting plan, which means for a lot of us, it is important to know how we are doing with the number of minutes we talk, text messages we send or the amount of data we use. Call Meter NG does just that. The app tells you how you are doing with the monthly limits on your plan.
With just about every carrier moving away from unlimited data plans, this is a good time to start being worried about having to pay those enormous overage charges that come with exceeding your bandwidth limit. 3G Watchdog Pro keeps a tab on your data usage and can even predict how quickly you are going to run out, so that you can take action accordingly.
My Data Manager is another way to keep track of the data usage on your phone, but it goes a bit deeper to understand where and how you are using your data, and provides a visually richer analysis. It can break down the data usage across apps or segregate it between your own network and roaming access.
If recording all your calls and going back to review them later is your thing, Record My Call is for you. It simply records everything that goes through the microphone though, which means you need to put the phone on speakerphone mode to be able to record the voice from the other side.
This is by far the most minimalistic app in this section. SMS Counter does exactly what its name suggests, and nothing more – it counts the text messages you send and receive, and lets you see the count for the day, week, month or overall.
Consider this as your all-in-one tracking app for all kinds of outdoor sports. With real time GPS tracking for time, distance, speed and calories burnt, this app provides you all the information you need to analyze your running, cycling, skiing or whatever else you do to keep fit on the move.
Calorific Calorie Counter calls itself the easiest diet app you have ever used. For those keen on keeping a tab on what they eat and how it affects their body, this app tells you exactly how many calories you have consumed and lets you keep track of the overall calorie intake, leading to healthier eating habits.
I remember being totally blown away by the innovative way Instant Heart Rate uses to check your, well, heart rate. You simply place your index finger on the camera lens on the back of the phone, and the app checks for changes in the blood color to identify your heart rate. Although there is a free version of the app, you need the Pro version to keep a history of your readings.
This one is strictly for the women. OvuView tracks and predicts your period, ovulation and fertility, using sophisticated sympto-thermal methods (STM). With a breathtakingly beautiful interface and a basketful of features, this is one of the most feminine apps you can find on the Android market, and for good reason.
This one is another niche app that helps soon-to-be parents track their pregnancy progress and provides critical information along the way. BabyBump Pregnancy Pro comes with visual analysis on the status of the baby (based on information you provide it), information gathered from trusted sources on the web and even a countdown widget.
Good sleep is essential for overall good health. Unfortunately, most find it difficult to track and analyze the way they sleep. Sleepmeter attempts to bridge that gap by tracking your sleep habits and presenting a statistical analysis of the findings to help you improve how you rest.
As it turns out, what (and how) you let out can say a lot about what’s happening inside your body. The PooLog app takes this ancient belief, couples it with authentic medical information and some tongue-in-cheek humor to finally give you something to do with poo that doesn’t sound gross (unless, of course, you have already logged off).
One of the first rules of productivity is to note, complete and track the things you need to do. Todo list apps on the Android Market are a dime a dozen and I won’t go into the details of each one. Remember The Milk is my favorite way of managing the things I need to get done, with perfect sync between the phone and web apps, so that I have all my task list wherever I am.
If a full-featured task manager is not your thing and you’re looking for something simple and functional, Do It (Tomorrow) might be for you. What you get here is a gorgeous interface with a notebook for today and tomorrow. You add tasks on either page, or move them around as necessary. And with their web app, everything you note is synced and available wherever you are.
Another intrinsic part of being productive is the ability to keep track of all kinds of information. That’s where a flexible note taking app like Evernote comes into the picture. The app makes it easy to note down pretty much anything, capture stuff from web pages and have it available virtually anywhere with its web, desktop and mobile apps. Check out our full review of Evernote for Android.
For anyone working on multiple projects at a time, keeping track of where you spend time is pretty important. Dr. Timer is a full-featured time tracking app that lets you set timers to capture time you spend on various activities, attach notes to each entry and generate reports as tables or charts.
For a minimal approach to time logging, Time Recording is a free app that simply lets you check in and out of tasks and tracks the time you spend on each. You can also set a task as billable with an hourly rate attached.
Out of Milk is a dedicated shopping list, pantry and to-do list app that has everything you need to stay on top of your kitchen needs. You can create multiple shopping lists for different categories or stores and keep an inventory of the pantry. All this, packaged in a beautiful interface to boot.
Going beyond just shopping lists, Cozi Family Organizer is the mobile front-end for the web app of the same name. Cozi is a free organizer that helps you keep everyone in the family on the same page with collaborative shopping and todo lists, calendars and a family journal.
Life360 tries to be the ultimate safety app, providing all necessary features to help you and your family stay safe wherever you are. It lets you track your family’s location at any time using GPS, provides a list of safety resources in your vicinity and alerts family members if someone is in trouble.
Family Tracker allows you to track your family members across Android and iOS devices, and send free messages within the group to stay in touch. As an added advantage, the app also lets you find stolen or lost devices thanks to its ability to find the location through a web interface.
Parenting is a tough job. Baby Care Plus tries to simplify it by helping you keep track of how your baby eats, sleeps and grows. The app lets you note down parameters like weight, height, etc. on a regular basis and creates charts to see how the growth is and how it stacks up against average values. You can also take photos and record voices along the way.
There are tons of apps on the Android Market that help you keep track of your income and expenses. My personal pick is EasyMoney for its rich yet accessible feature set, clean interface and intuitive controls.
If managing all your bills every month feels like a hassle, you might want to gove My Bills a try. This free app connects with a huge number of service providers in the US and gives you a consolidated dashboard to review, pay and track all your bills in one place.
For anyone who does a fair bit of traveling for work, managing travel expenses can be quite a task. Concur is an Android app that makes tracking your travels and expenses simple. With Concur, you can manage your receipts on the go and save time on generating detailed reports at the end of a trip.
Track Money is another neat little app to help you keep track of your income and expenses on the go. With a very different yet usable mobile interface, the app lets you set a budget, create income and expense accounts and provides a visually rich set of reports to help you make the right financial decisions.
Investing in the equity markets, but having trouble staying on top of the ever-changing scenario? Wikinvest Portfolio brings all your investments in one neat package on your mobile phone, and provides real time updates, news and tips to make the most of the markets wherever you are.
If you often find yourself bidding for stuff on eBay but losing out simply because you can’t keep track of the bidding, Myibidder Bid Sniper is for you. The app keeps track of an auction for you and allows you to snipe in at the last moment by placing a bid right as it ends.
For frequent flyers, keeping track of their flights can be quite a hassle, especially during peak hours and holidays when delays are a norm. FlightTrack provides real-time flight status and map tracking for flights across the world, keeping you abreast of any delays and cancellations as they happen.
Now that you can keep track of all flights around the world, how about bringing that to your travel plans? Pageonce Travel manages all your travel details with real-time itineraries, reservations and more. You can check your entire itinerary at a glance and get notified about weather reports, delays, car rental information, etc.
With the fuel prices heading towards the sky, keeping an eye on your car’s mileage is becoming more important by the day. FuelLog is a free app that can help you do just that. Apart from the fuel consumption, you can also use FuelLog to keep track of all kinds of other expenses related to your vehicle.
aCar is a step ahead from FuelLog, letting you keep track of all kinds of details about your car and other vehicles. Track mileage, set maintenance reminders, view statistics and more. You can track all of this information for as many vehicles as you want.
Ever wanted a simple and functional way to keep track of a trip to refer back later, or simply to share it with friends and family? Trip Journal is a handy little app that lets you track your route; capture photos, videos and notes; and then share all the details via Facebook, Google Earth, Flickr and more.
All-in-One Tracking Apps
We have covered niche, specialized apps for tracking various aspects of your life. The last few apps though, are generic ones that attempt to focus on the tracking aspect and can be used in a wide variety of scenarios. They all do a lot of things, but take very different approaches to doing it. Try them out yourself and see which one sticks in your context.
Rather than focusing on one specific category of information, TrackerSavvy lets you keep tabs on your weight, water intake, finances and time on projects all from a single interface. You can also set reminders for things like drinking water through the day.
Every year on the first of January, we all make a bunch of resolutions, simply to forget all about them in a matter of weeks. If you are serious about keeping some of them though, Routinely can help you do that by tracking your progress on a daily basis and helping convert tasks into habits.
Habit Click is similar to Routinely in some ways, but brings a much more vibrant and interface and a slightly different approach to converting new tasks into habits. It does this by letting you set daily targets for each goal and tracking how you are doing on each goals over time.
Another generic habit tracking and goal management app, Task:Life lets you set and achieve life goals by breaking them down into micro tasks, tracking the percentage of days you succeed in those tasks and comparing it with your targets.
Friday takes a different approach to all-round tracking than the other apps. It is completely automated, without the need for adding any input. Friday uses the logged information on your phone to analyze calls, text messages, e-mail, photos and more. Check out our in-depth review of the alpha version of the app here.
That’s a huge list above, isn’t it? And I know at least some of you will try a big chunk of them and then get rid of the ones that don’t make sense to you. The thousands of free apps on the market do afford us a great deal of trial and error with choosing the right apps for us. But then who keeps track of all the muck that gets accumulated on your phone’s storage when you remove apps? That’s where SD Maid comes in. On rooted devices, SD Maid can find and clean up the junk that apps leave behind after being uninstalled. Note the ‘root only’ tag though. If you, like me, have been looking around for a reason to root your phone, maybe this is it.
Of course, there is much much more you can track, visualize and analyze with your Android phone. The list I covered is merely the tip of the iceberg and my own personal set of recommendations from dozens of similar apps in each category. Feel free to add your own experiences and recommendations in the comments below. Happy tracking!