Aren’t smartphones just amazing? There’s almost no limit to what your Android phone can achieve. From the top Android flagships to the best budget phones, a few taps is all that’s needed to order takeout, watch live news, or hail a cab. If you’re looking to get really advanced, you can even call people too.
But a lot of these features don’t come preloaded, so to get the most out of your phone you’re going to need apps. But which apps should you pick? There are millions of apps to choose from on the Google Play Store, and deciding which to download and install on your Android phone or tablet can be a tricky task. Thankfully, we’re here to help with a tantalizing menu that combines a solid core of apps everyone should find useful, with a few lesser-known apps that you might want to try out. You’ll find 100 apps in all, neatly divided into different categories for your consideration.
Can a billion people be wrong? The biggest social network on the planet has a decent official app. Keep up with your friends and family, jump into instant chats, and stay informed with push notifications. Best of all, Facebook isn’t just a place to share content stolen from Reddit and Twitter, as the world’s biggest social media site has also pushed out into sections for dating, shopping, and videos. Pair it with Messenger for the ultimate double-act.
Alright, you probably have YouTube already — but that doesn’t make it any less an essential. YouTube’s mobile app is sleek and intuitive, bringing the entirety of the video-sharing site to the palm of your hand. For those subscribed to YouTube Premium, you’ll have access to all the premium content, as well as special features like audio playback while the screen is off.
The Google Play Store has no shortage of messaging apps, but WhatsApp’s secure end-to-end encryption and feature-rich interface mark it as one of the best. This cross-platform app lets you send and receive messages, pictures, audio notes, and video messages for completely free. A must-have for messaging addicts, even if the U.S. hasn’t fully embraced it yet.
Google Opinion Rewards
Who doesn’t like free money? Google’s Opinion Rewards app is willing to give you Play Store credit in exchange for answering surveys. Surveys will be sent to you around once a week, sometimes more often, and will usually revolve around places you’ve been and things you’ve seen. Answer them and you’ll quickly build up credit to buy the apps, ebooks, and movies you love.
Movies and videos
Netflix isn’t just one of the best video-streaming services, it’s THE video-streaming service. There’s a huge selection of movies and TV shows for subscribers and the performance is silky smooth. It’s not just restricted to old favorites either, as Netflix has produced a huge amount of excellent exclusive content — though if you’re anything like us, you’ll just put The Office on again. This is as entertained as you can get from just $9 a month.
Hulu offers thousands of movies and TV shows — many which are updated with the latest episodes after they air. Hulu offers various subscription models, including one that opens up the entire streaming library for $6 a month, and another that removes midstream ads for $12 a month.
HBO Now & HBO GO
Both HBO Now (HBO’s stand-alone service for $15/month) and HBO Go (a streaming app available to HBO cable subscribers) have apps that allow you to watch all of HBO’s streaming content directly on your phone.
Whether it’s a guilty pleasure, full-on obsession, or anywhere in between, anime is exploding in popularity across the world. If you love to dive into the latest series — or are just curious — Crunchyroll is your gateway to anime paradise. It has the latest anime episodes, streamed just 1 hour after Japan, and there’s an enormous range of series to pick from. A monthly subscription for ad-free access and the latest episodes is just $8 a month.
Music and audio
Spotify is probably the first name that springs to mind when you think about music streaming. That’s for a very good reason — it’s probably one of the best streaming services out there. There’s a massive selection of music on offer, from the latest huge releases to some seriously obscure genres — parrot-fronted death metal, anyone? There’s a free version if you want to try it out, but if you want ad-free listening, to download music, play any song, and have unlimited skip, then you’ll need to subscribe for $10 a month.
If you’re looking for an all-you-can-eat buffet of sound with no ads and no subscription fees, you’ve found it. You can discover new music and stream it from the cloud, but this is no Spotify replacement — most of the music on Soundcloud is from relatively unknown artists, and if you’re not able to find it on Spotify, you can probably find it here. Listening is free, with the pro versions of SoundCloud mostly being for the artists themselves. It’s not just about music though, as you’ll find a lot of podcasts on here too. A great complement to another music streaming service.
Bandcamp is the palce to go if you’d rather directly support your favorite artists. Bandcamp’s mobile app allows you to stream and play the music you’ve purchased from the artists who make their livings on Bandcamp, and you can browse and buy new music as well. If you’re a fan of a specific Bandcamp artist, this is also a great way to keep tabs on them.
Google Play Music
Google’s official streaming service is a worthy competitor to Spotify. Not only does the app provide a vast library of content, but it also allows users to upload up to 50,000 of their own songs for online storage. So if you’ve got a collection of MP3s from before the days when streaming was the normal way to consume music, upload them to Google Play Music and stream them from any of your mobile devices. Be warned though, it’s not long for this world.
If you use a Mac or iPad on top of your Android phone, you may be better served with Apple Music over Google Play Music or Spotify. Apple Music offers access to Apple’s massive library of music, as well as Apple’s Beats 1 radio station, which plays both current hits and up-and-coming music. The celebrity DJs and exclusive album streams are a plus, but you’ll have to subscribe before you can listen. There’s no free tier, so you’ll have to pony up $10 a month.
The New York Times
One of America’s most hallowed publications also has one of the best news apps. The New York Times app arranges the publication’s content in a clean format and allows users to customize their newsfeed, and it comes with breaking news alerts to bring you the biggest news as it happens.
If you prefer journalism that leans toward gonzo, Vice offers its robust library of written and video content in an app that is elegant and easy to navigate. The app includes estimated reading times, so users with a time-crunch can prioritize articles to suit their schedules.
The official app of National Public Radio provides a steady stream of straightforward reporting in both print and audio. Users can not only listen to news reports but also various programs such as All Things Considered and Radiolab.
The Washington Post Select
One of America’s most noteworthy papers has a beautiful mobile app, with vivid images and colorful menus. The content is also top-notch, particularly the incisive political reporting. The app requires a subscription though.
If you love curated news and updates, Flipboard is the perfect app. It allows you to follow publications and topics you’re passionate about. Throughout the day, Flipboard updates with the best stories, allowing you to flip to find whatever you’d like to read. Its redesign makes it look slicker than ever.
Ever feel like there’s just too much news to keep up with? Nwsty might well be the app for you. It’s aimed at those who don’t often read the news and makes it easy to keep up with the daily headlines without spending too much time on them. Each day, you get six to 10 headlines in your digest that you can quickly and easily read in a matter of only a few minutes.
Whatever gets you excited, from NASCAR to the NFL, theScore will have you dancing in victory or crying in your beer. It brings you all the latest touchdowns, goals, and home runs as they happen.
Having the official ESPN app installed is a no-brainer for any die-hard sports fan. You can quickly get the latest news on your favorite teams and leagues, including MLB, NFL, NCAA, MLS, NHL, and more.
Not only does the CBS Sports app have the latest news, standings, and scores for all major league sports, you can also watch live games and events like NCAA basketball and the PGA Tour, as well as CBS Sports original programming, like Fantasy Football Today.
Yahoo! Fantasy Sports
Whether your league is football, baseball, hockey, or basketball, the Yahoo! Fantasy Sports app will give you everything you need to indulge in your fantasy play, including mock and league drafts, advice from experts, and easy management tools.
Essentially Vine for a new generation, TikTok is the home of short videos that are amusing, meme-laden, and just generally fit for a certain demographic. It says it’s there for raw, 15-second storytelling — but we know most people are there for the memes and song mimers. It’s fun, and showcases some real creativity — but it’s probably not for everyone.
Instagram is ubiquitous in photography now, so you might as well have it on your phone. Owned by Facebook, the social network centered on photos offers great filters and connectivity with others.
Twitter’s microblogging platform brought about the now-ubiquitous internet facet, hashtags. Connect with your friends, share your new favorite content, follow celebrities, and get breaking news as it happens.
Pinterest is the go-to social network for finding and sharing inspiration on creative projects, hobbies, fashion, and more. The app features the same functionality as the website, allowing you to “pin” and “repin” posts from other users to various boards, so you can share and save new ideas.
The original VOIP service is now owned by Microsoft and boasts more than 250 million users. Free international voice and video calls via your data or Wi-Fi connection are hard to pass up.
Messenger & Messenger Kids
Facebook’s best feature is arguably its built-in messaging. Facebook now offers its messenger service as a stand-alone app, enabling you to chat with your Facebook friends and anyone in your contacts with the app installed — without having to be signed into Facebook or even have Facebook installed on your phone at all.
If you’re a parent, then Messenger Kids is a must-download on your child’s phone. Messenger Kids might seem like it’s built for kids, but it’s really built for parents. With the app, parents have control over their kids’ contact list, and messages can’t be deleted — meaning that parents can check in to take a look whenever they want. Of course, there are some pretty sweet features for kids, like kid-appropriate stickers, GIFs, emojis, and so on.
So good it was named Google’s App of the Year for 2019, Ablo allows you to connect with other social butterflies from around the world. Sign up and you’ll be connected with a new friend from somewhere else in the world. Ablo’s automatic translations whips away any language barriers, translating text and video calls live. It’s free to download, there are no restrictions on the number of chats you can have, and there are even in-app challenges.
Snapchat is all about sharing photos, short videos, and conversations that expire automatically after they’ve been viewed. You can use filters, decals, and effects to enhance your photos and videos, and take your Snap game to a whole new level.
Tinder is the ultimate dating app for mobile users, thanks to its location-centric features. Regardless of what its reputation may be, it’s still a great way to meet people. Your next match could be a swipe right away.
Coffee Meets Bagel
This app is geared toward those who are looking for a real relationship, rather than a quick hookup or short fling. Every day at noon, you get sent a prospective match based on a specific set of criteria. You can Like them or Pass on. If you like them, you’ll be set up with icebreaker questions; if you pass, the app will learn your preferences and try again tomorrow.
Happn connects you with others you’ve passed in real life, making that shared glance at a coffee shop into a potential date. You can browse profiles of those you’ve crossed paths with, and if you both “like” one another, you’ll be able to begin a conversation.
The dating app of choice for gay, lesbian, bi, trans, and queer people of all sorts, Grindr is one of the biggest dating apps around. Using it is simple — let the app know your location, and you’ll be matched with other nearby members so you can chat, swap pictures, and hopefully meet up in person.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle — you can still read your ebook directly on your smartphone. From best-sellers to the classics, it’s all here, with more than 900,000 titles in Amazon’s store.
Google Play Books
If you’re not a fan of Amazon, then Google’s Play Books is an excellent alternative. Google has a massive database of books to choose from, including all the classics — and you can even buy and play audiobooks too.
Comixology’s free app is a window into a staggering library of more than 40,000 titles, including all the big names from Marvel and DC. It’s the biggest comic book reader out there right now.
While primarily a comic book reader/library management app, Perfect Viewer also functions as a PDF viewer, ebook reader, and image viewer. It can be connected to Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive to access your library, and is one of the best options for side-loading your digital comics and books.
Medium is a high-profile yet minimalist blogging platform that anyone can use. Due to its popularity and presence, it draws numerous well-known journalists, authors, actors, and other personalities to the platform, meaning you’ll have a stream of high-quality articles and essays to read whenever you want.
The Tumblr app makes it easy for you to share anything from anywhere. You can post any kind of content to multiple blogs, save drafts for later, schedule posts, and then join in the discussion.
This app mirrors the functionality of your WordPress blog and helps you create and edit posts. It’s a simplified version that’s easy to use, and it also displays reactions to your latest articles.
Steam is the biggest and most prolific community and storefront for PC gaming. Through the Android app, users can access the Steam community, browse the store, and purchase new games.
PlayStation Network can be accessed on your Android via the official PlayStation app. You’ll be able to sign in to your PSN account, interact with friends, make purchases, and even schedule downloads for your PlayStation 4.
Microsoft’s Xbox app not only brings your Xbox Live account and console interface to your phone, but it also opens up your gaming experience, with many games offering special, second-screen features, such as maps and bonus content.
Through Twitch’s Android app, you’ll be able to watch your favorite streamers, view past broadcasts, and browse through all available streams to catch the latest high-profile Dota 2 matches and tense speed-running marathons right on your phone.
Our first stop for esports-related news, Strafe covers pretty much every competitive game out there, from Rocket League to League of Legends, from Hearthstone to Dota 2. There are exhaustive stat breakdowns and live map updates for applicable games, and there’s even an in-app betting system, offering another layer to your viewing.
Nutrition, cooking, and food
You can set your location, the type of food you want, and your budget to find suitable local restaurants. There’s also a handy shake feature to get a random suggestion if you just can’t decide.
MyFitnessPal Calorie Tracker
If you want to lose weight and get in shape, then you need to start counting those calories, and this app, from MyFitnessPal, is an easy, accessible, and completely free way to do it.
Find thousands of recipes from your favorite food network chefs and personalities, including recipes featured on their TV shows and specials. How-to videos and shopping list features will equip you with everything you need to make a great meal.
Tracking your macros is an important aspect of fitness. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain mass, or maintain your body composition, eating the right balance of protein, fats, and carbs is key. The macro tracker lets you set your preferred macro ratio, and track the foods you’ve eaten.
Fitness & health
Adidas Running App by Runtastic
Runtastic is a smartphone staple, with a simple interface that doesn’t sacrifice advanced features. The no-frills app uses your smartphone’s sensors to track metrics, such as your distance and relative pace, as well as calories burned and your heart rate. A few extra features, such as 3D mapping and a workout diary, only complement the app’s wearable integration. Runtastic is now owned by Adidas, adding an extra element of branding to the app, but it still functions much the same way as before.
Strava Running and Cycling GPS
Strava is an excellent tracking app that monitors your runs or cycling routes via GPS. It gamifies your cardio workout and pairs with leaderboards, achievements, and challenges, bringing a competitive spirit to your routine. It also has Android Wear support.
Sleep as Android
Sleep as Android is one of the biggest sleep tracking apps on Android, and there are a bunch of reasons it’s popular. You can track your sleep, movement, and snoring, you can play soothing noises to put you to sleep, and it syncs data with quite a few other apps and devices, including Google Fit and Philips HUE smart bulbs.
Yoga is unbelievably powerful. It strengthens your core, increases flexibility and focus, and decreases stress. Plus, it can help you lose weight and stay healthy. This app will guide you through daily yoga routines of varying difficulty and length, and step-by-step, HD videos showing exactly how to do each pose.
Turn your phone into a personal trainer and track your runs via GPS. You can get detailed stats on your workouts, listen to music, get audio cues to spur you on, and share your progress.
Taking a moment of calm can be crucial for your mental health, and Calm is one of the leading meditation and sleep-promotion apps in the Play Store. It has guided meditations, breathing exercises to reduce anxiety, sleep stories, and more. There are guides for beginners and experts alike, and while you’ll need to pay to get access to most, there’s still a lot here for free users who aren’t sure if they’ll enjoy it.
Whether you’re looking to learn something new for work or just for yourself, Udemy probably has a course to help you. With over 130,000 video courses taught by expert instructors, you can use Udemy to pick up skills with coding languages, Photoshop, yoga, and even more. You can download individual lessons to learn on-the-go, and there’s an audio-only mode if you’d rather learn in places like the car. Most courses will cost you money, but there are deals and discounts available for many.
Anyone looking to learn a language should start here because it’s fun and accessible for all ages. It has free courses for Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, English, and more.
Fabulous — motivate me!
With science-based coaching as its backbone, Fabulous – Motivate Me! Will help instill healthy, positive habits and routines into your life — everything from better sleep, sticking to a morning routine, finding time for creativity, daily meditation, losing weight, and more.
There’s an art to sleeping well, and if you often find it hard to drift off, an app like Relax Melodies could be the key. There’s a variety of music and sounds to listen to that can help you clear your mind at bedtime and guide you into sleep. The free version only gets you a limited selection of tracks and locks off background listening, but it’s still good enough to fall asleep to.
Finances and money
Mint is our favorite money management website, but it also has a kickass app. Mint can keep track of multiple bank accounts or credit cards to help you stay on budget and out of the red.
Looking to save a little more money? Acorns helps you invest by rounding off your credit card or debit purchases to the nearest dollar. Once you’ve accumulated a little money, it’s easy to transfer the funds to your bank account.
Venmo allows users to send money for free. The transactions can be sent to any bank and occur overnight. This makes paying back your friends simple and quick.
Create your “Cashtag” and you can receive payments for just about anything. Formerly known as “Square Cash”, Cash App lets you quickly transfer money between other users for free, using a passcode of your choosing and 128-bit encryption as an added security measure.
Mobile payments are slowly becoming commonplace, and Google Pay is Google’s latest attempt at a mobile payment app. Using Google Pay, you can purchase items at any NFC-capable payment terminal, provided you’re in a country that supports Google Pay and have previously set it up on your NFC-capable phone.
Depop’s ultra-minimal, online marketplace takes little more than a photo to get started. Once captured, share it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter before striking a secure deal with a host of potential buyers via the built-in chat function.
There’s very little that you can’t buy or sell on eBay. The app is full-featured and much easier to use than the website. Bid on items, track your orders and sell all of your unwanted stuff right here.
Amazon Prime Now
While the selection on Amazon Prime Now may not be as good as what you find on Amazon, the upshot is free delivery within two hours. If you’re in a real-time crunch, some products and locations offer one-hour delivery available for a small fee. With Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon Prime Now even offers a decent selection of groceries.
The easiest online checkout method right on your smartphone. You’ll be able to manage your PayPal account, send and receive payments, and more. The app can also notify you of transactions, offering handy reminders and alerts when you use PayPal as a payment method or have an upcoming bill due.
Travel and events
Google Maps has been stopped us from getting lost for fifteen years now, and it’s never been better. Get voice-guided navigation for trips, different instructions for driving, walking, cycling, or taking public transport, and search for anything you need. If you’re using some Pixel phones, you can even get AR-based walking directions, which is pretty neat.
If you need to get somewhere and don’t have wheels of your own, hop in someone else’s ride. Uber allows you to call upon a private driver in your city who will help you get to where you need to go. It’s all the ease of a taxi, at a lower cost, and without the fumbling for cash at the end.
Lyft is another private cab service, that helps you to find a — well — lift whenever you need one. Basically an alternative to Uber, you can hail a cab and pay directly in the app, and can even split the tab with a friend easily.
Forego the headache of trying to find and book a hotel, and instead find an open room or home to stay at on your travels. Users can search for accommodations, communicate directly with hosts, and book, all without leaving the app.
Translate speech or text between more than 70 languages with this app. It can act as your interpreter, enabling you to decipher signs and menus and enable two-way conversations. You can download translation files if you know you’ll be without a data connection, and it can even translate signs with Google Lens.
Craving a decent microbrew, a breakfast burrito, or a good latte? Yelp will help you scratch that itch. It’s packed with user reviews, directions, and tips for almost every place around, making it invaluable for almost every trip out.
StubHub allows you to buy and sell tickets to virtually any event, from sports to concerts. StubHub protects its users with its “FanProtect Guarantee,” meaning you can buy and sell tickets on their app without risk.
A streamlined glance at your local theater listings with trailers and reviews of all the top releases, this app can also work as a mobile ticket at participating cinemas. Check times, select seats, and pay, all within the same app.
YP – The Real Yellow Pages
YP is a robust tool to help you find local businesses, venues, and restaurants. You’re able to browse menus, book tables or tickets, and you can even check out the local gas prices, so you can plan your next outing with ease.
With over 60 million quick reviews of the best (and worst) places to eat, drink, and more in any city all over the world, you’ll know exactly where to go — and where to avoid — while you’re out and about.
This comprehensive package includes malware protection, privacy advice, anti-virus scanning, filtering to block nuisance calls, and anti-theft tools. There’s even a firewall for rooted devices.
Files by Google
Google’s Files app is an all-around excellent utility app that allows you to find files quickly and free up space on your phone. You can also easily exchange files with other people close by with Files, similarly to Apple’s AirDrop. While there are other similar Android apps on the market, Files is less cluttered and not bogged down with ads.
Google Find My Device
Google’s official phone tracking service helps you locate your phone, remotely erase its data, and reset the screen lock PIN, and it works with any device associated with your Google account.
There are many keyboard apps out there, but Gboard is generally considered one of the best. Coming straight from Google, Gboard is loaded with a tonne of features, including swipe typing, inbuilt Google search, GIFs, and emojis.
Photo editing and management
Lightroom, a program built upon Photoshop, is a powerful photo editing tool for photographers. The mobile app takes the features of the desktop application and puts them on your Android device.
Adobe Photoshop Express
While not as powerful or extensive as the desktop version, Adobe Photoshop Express still offers an impressively wide array of tools for editing and creating images directly on your Android device.
VSCO Camera has become one of the most popular photography apps, thanks in part to its powerful editing features that include impressive present lens settings, post-shot tweaks, and before-and-after comparison shots.
The official app for one of the most procrastination-friendly sites on the internet. Browse through near-endless GIFs and images from almost any topic you can imagine.
A centralized location for all your photos. Google Photos will automatically backup your photo libraries on your phone to your Google Drive, saving them in a special folder that only you can access.
Documents, web, and email
This app is one of the most downloaded apps on the Google Play store, and for good reason. It’s a very robust and fully featured Office solution for Android. Create word documents, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, and more.
The natural choice for anyone invested in Google’s apps and services, the streamlined Google Drive app lets you store up to 15GB of files and access them wherever and whenever you need to.
Maybe Google Drive isn’t for you. You might already be an avid Dropbox user, for example, and not interested in making the switch to a new ecosystem. If that’s the case, Dropbox’s official mobile app is the way to go. Using the app, you’ll be able to access all your files, and you’ll get 2GB of space for free.
Here’s an elegant solution for all your note-taking needs, from simple to-do lists, to voice reminders, to notes with supporting photos. Tag, sync, and organize for a real productivity boost.
Combined with Google Drive, this is an excellent choice for collaboration, especially given how feature-rich the mobile and web apps are. Once you create a document, you can add people to it, so that they can collaborate. Once they accept the invitation, you can create a multitude of documents — similar to what you can do with Microsoft Office — and have your team collaborate in real-time.
Android hasn’t had a built-in voice recorder since… well, since ever. However, Recorder makes up for that. The Google-built app uses machine learning and voice recognition to automatically transcribe conversations as it hears them, and it comes with searchable audio too, so you can jump straight to a particular point. You can even share your recordings easily.
Adobe Scan eliminates the need for you to have a dedicated scanner in your home or office — simply take a photo of the document, and the app will crop it and make it look like a scanned document.
Box recently launched revamped web and Windows apps to better tackle online collaboration. Box takes things a step further by offering an overhauled web app that you can access through any browser by logging into box.com.
This app doesn’t bring Google Assistant to your phone if you don’t have it, but it does allow for a much easier way to access Assistant — by adding a shortcut to your home screen. If squeezing the edge, long-pressing the home button, or using a dedicated key aren’t your style, you can add the shortcut to your home screen easily thanks to this app.
CloudCal offers one of the most unique ways of showing you how busy you are on any given day. The Android exclusive uses a system it calls Magic Circles, which turns the days of the month into clock faces and shows different colored circles, or segments of a circle. We also like that you can attach photos, audio files, and Dropbox files to specific events.
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