Through every yearly smartphone release, we are left increasingly impressed by what our smartphones are capable of and, in turn, the apps that help them reach their true potential. From the top Android flagships to the best value budget phones, a few taps is all you need to place a takeout order, livestream your local news, or play a new fun game. If you’re looking to get really fancy, you can even call people, too.
Most of these great features aren’t preloaded on your latest Android device, and widgets can’t be expected to do it all, so to get the most out of your phone you’re going to need apps. Which apps should you pick, though? 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 bit daunting. Thankfully, we’ve got your back and have compiled an eclectic set of apps 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 two 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
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.
Sometimes unfairly viewed as the lesser version of Facebook, Twitter is the place where everything seems to happen instantly. Birthplace of the now now-ubiquitous internet facet, the hashtag, Twitter is the best place to be if you like to be on top of the latest breaking news as it happens. Follow your favorite content creators, actors, or crazes, and follow all the news, impressions, and opinions as they roll in.
Google Opinion Rewards
It’s the Play Store’s best-kept secret, but it’s a secret you should know about. Google Opinion Rewards is exactly what it sounds like — it gives you rewards for your opinions. Specifically, it’ll ask you questions about places you’ve been or about yourself, and you answer the questions to earn Play Store credit. If you’re not worried about giving up more of your data, this is a good way to earn a little extra money for apps.
Movies and videos
Netflix isn’t just one of the best video-
If you’re looking for anything from Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, or National Geographic, the only place to go is Disney+. The app allows you to stream everything from the latest Avengers blockbuster to those weird Disney Channel programs you used to watch back when you were a teenager. There’s a seven-day free trial, and it’ll cost you $7 a month after that — though you can pay $70 for a year in advance to save $14.
Hulu’s the place to go if you want to see the latest episodes of thousands of shows or movies, or catch up on some older classics. Running shows are updated as they air, while you can often also catch live sport on here too. 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. If you’re looking to cut the cord, Hulu also offers live TV with DVR starting at $61 a month.
Amazon Prime Video
These days, it seems all the content in the world isn’t enough to satiate those of us who suddenly find ourselves with far more time to watch a new show or movie at home. Amazon Prime offers a number of fantastic originals on its streaming platform, which also serves as a great home base for its extensive catalog. Prime Video also allows you to add all your favorite subscription channels to your feed.
No this isn’t a sushi app, 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 one 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, though they are currently offering a 14-day free trial.
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
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
Bandcamp is the place 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
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.
Though it may seem like a no-brainer, the Google News app is a worthwhile recommendation, thanks to its smart curation and diverse news feed. Google News puts together news from sources all over the world, which makes it likely that you’ll find your favorite news source from back home within its catalog.
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.
If your favorite sports league isn’t in season or back on the air quite yet, then let yourself go down the rabbit hole of e-sports. The Strafe app covers all the most popular leagues and teams from League of Legends to Counter-Strike and everything in between. You can keep up with all the latest tournaments while reading all the most detailed statistics.
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.
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, showcases some real creativity, and while it might not be for everyone, it is blowing up right now, and garnering attention all over the world.
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.
Houseparty couldn’t possibly be more relevant for May 2020. This app allows you to stay in touch with friends by jumping in and out of “always-on” group hangouts. There’s also a great selection of games you can play while hanging out. Perfect for hanging out with friends and family if you can’t hang out in person. Houseparty is a fun way to interact with friends, but you may want to consider turning location data off when using the app.
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.
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.
Zoom Cloud Meetings
Zoom has emerged as a darling of the work-from-home and stay-at-home lifestyle, and rightfully so. Connect with friends, family, and co-workers through simple group video chat features, and amplify your collaborating through file sharing, screen sharing, and instant messaging.
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
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.
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
Audible is the premier place to consume audiobooks on your Android device. There are thousands of audiobooks on offer, from classics to the most recent hits, and you get your first audiobook for free. A $15-per-month subscription gets you a credit per month to spend on any audiobook, and options for playback speed and cross-device syncing make listening even easier. There’s even a car mode for listening on the go.
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.
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
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.
Facebook has decided that now is the perfect time to launch a stand-alone gaming app. Competing with the like of Twitch and YouTube, Facebook is capitalizing on the rise in game streaming by taking it social for its 2.5 billion monthly active users.
Nutrition, cooking, and food
While the world of delivery apps is vast, Grubhub is one of the best. Their seamless integration with local restaurant menus make them one of the most user friendly experiences in food delivery. If you’ve developed a recent taste for ordering in, then check out the options on Grubhub.
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.
Food Network Kitchen
Find thousands of
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 and health
7 Minute Workout
How long does it take to start getting fit? How about seven minutes? The 7 Minute Workout app is a well-known way to get fit, and it crams a bunch of high-intensity workouts into just seven minutes, making it the perfect way to start, straddle, or end your day. 7 Minute Workout offers guidance through 12 exercises that only need a chair and wall to complete.
If you’re trying to jump on the running bandwagon but need a little extra motivation, then try gamifying your workout experience. Zombies, Run! is exactly what it sounds like and precisely what it needs to be. This app runs you through (pun intended) an engrossing story plot as the world gives way to a zombie apocalypse. So, you better run!
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 your progress 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.
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,
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.
Finances and money
Mint is our favorite money management website, but it also has a terrific 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. Acorns also offers retirement accounts like a Traditional IRA, so you can start saving for retirement now.
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
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.
Tripadvisor is the ultimate going out app, with millions of recommendations and reviews from people all around the world, covering the best things to do wherever you are. Plan ahead with Tripadvisor’s tools, allowing you to organize your hotel bookings, restaurant trips, and attractions. You can even book them from the app with Google Pay access. It’s also great when you’re traveling, thanks to support for mobile tickets and bookings.
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.
Foursquare City Guide
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, similar 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
Adobe Photoshop Express
While not as powerful or extensive as the desktop version, Adobe
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
Documents, web, and email
It’s one of the most downloaded apps on the Play Store, and that’s for a very good reason. OfficeSuite is a full-featured alternative for Microsoft Office, and includes tools to view, edit, and create Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents, as well as including support for various PDF operations. It’s an all-in-one solution for your document woes, and it’s free to get most of the features. OfficeSuite Premium gets you the ability to work on password-protected files, 50GB of cloud storage, the ability to export PDFs to other formats, and more.
Dropbox is another cloud saving service, and while you think you have that covered with
Who needs to carry a notepad when you have your phone and
Google Docs is the ultimate free collaborative writing tool, and allows simultaneous usage of a single document with a large number of other people. It syncs with Google’s services almost immediately, which means you’re able to see other people editing and typing in real-time, and it syncs with other platforms as well. An excellent writing tool if you’re working with others or alone.
It disappeared for a little while, but now Google’s Recorder app has returned and is happily back in its position as our favorite recording app. Recorder is more than just your usual voice recorder — it uses Google’s powerful AI to transcribe conversations as you record them, meaning you can reread conversations and even search for specific phrases. While its transcription feature isn’t perfect, it’s still a very powerful tool and worth including in your toolbox.
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 isn’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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