Best alternatives to pre-installed Google Android apps

Google Pixel XL
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Every Android user out there is used to getting their shiny new Android phone pre-loaded with a slew of Google Apps. From Maps to Hangouts, Google’s apps are central to the Android experience.

But what if you don’t want to use Google’s apps? Maybe you’re not a fan of how they collect your data, or you want to try something new — don’t fret, there are plenty of other alternatives to choose from. Look no further than our list below.

Google Chrome

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Google Chrome is arguably the center of your Google experience on an Android phone, but plenty of people swear by other browsers — and there are some great ones.

Best alternative: Mozilla Firefox

google app alternatives mozilla firefox android

Mozilla Firefox has long been among the better web browsers since its launch in 2002, before Google Chrome was ever existed. It has come a long way since 2002 as well — and the Android version is much improved. Some of the better features on the browser include syncing with the desktop version, an easy-to-use bookmark system, support for casting, and more.

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Runner up: Opera

google app alternatives opera android

Opera is another long-running Android web browser, and it offers a number of excellent features. In fact, the browser is one of the most downloaded Android web browsers out there, and for good reason. It comes with a built-in news feed to help find content, and it also blocks all ads natively. The browser also compresses videos and images, so you save data, and Speed Dial allows you to quickly access your favorite sites. It helps that Opera has a great user interface as well.

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Google Photos

google app alternatives photos android

Google Photos is among the better services Google has put on offer in the last few years — especially since it offers unlimited, free photo storage — but it’s not for everyone. There are some other options for storing and managing your photo library.

Best alternative: Amazon Prime Photos

google app alternatives amazon prime photos android

You may not be aware of this  — not many people are — but Amazon has its own photo storage and management system called Amazon Prime Photos. The app is similar to Google Photos in many ways, and it can be the best option for those who already have Amazon Prime. Like Google Photos, Prime Photos uses artificial intelligence to find people and locations, and you can upload your photos straight from your phone.

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Runner up: Flickr

google app alternatives flickr

Flickr offers a massive 1000GB of free cloud storage for all your photos, so unless you’re a professional photographer, you should have plenty of space for all your snaps. In the Flickr app, you can tweak your photos’ settings quickly and easily, plus you’ll get access to the Flickr community, which is helpful if your a photo-taking enthusiast.

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Google Maps

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Google Maps may well be the best-known mapping software out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best in every situation. Here are a few great alternatives to Google Maps.

Best alternative: Waze

waze app update android

Waze may still be Google-owned, but it’s pretty different from the pre-installed Google Maps on your Android phone. How is it different? Waze is almost like a social network. When you encounter something on the road — a police car tracking speeds, a road closure, or anything else that may affect a ride — you can report it on Waze. Keep in mind that Waze is only for navigation in the car, unlike maps, which offers directions for walking and public transportation.

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Runner up: Here WeGo

google app alternatives here maps android

Here Maps, owned by Nokia, is also a great mapping option. The service is available in a hefty 132 countries around the world, and is far less storage-intensive than Google Maps. On top of that, it allows you to download offline maps for free, and you can access navigation for public transit.

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Gmail

google app alternatives gmail android

While the Gmail app allows you to get emails from other services, many prefer to use third-party email clients, where they can manage all of their emails in one inbox. Here are a few of the best email options for Android.

Best alternative: Alto Mail

google app alternatives alto mail

Ever think you’d download an app from AOL? Alto Mail is a modern take on email built by a pioneer in the email world. The app is clean and simple, and it supports a range of different mail services, including Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and more. You get access to the Dashboard, which allows you to see important information at a glance — similarly to Google’s Inbox by Gmail app.

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Runner up: TypeApp Mail

google app alternatives typeapp

TypeApp Mail, which is also known as TypeMail, is a pretty comprehensive email client. It supports all major email services, and it supports Android Wear, so you can manage your mail from your wrist. On top of that, the app is well-designed, offers a ton of quick-access features, and is super easy to use.

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Google Drive

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Google Drive is used all over the world, but there are plenty of other cloud storage services that are just as good as, if not better than Drive for some uses. Here are some of the best ones.

Best alternative: Dropbox

google app alternatives dropbox android

Dropbox has long been a favorite cloud storage service for many people, and for good reason. It has a nice, clean interface, as well as apps for your Android phone and almost all other platforms that you may need it on. While it only offers 2GB of free storage space, there are plenty of ways to get more without paying money — and even 2GB should be enough for some people. If not, you can pay for more.

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Runner up: Microsoft OneDrive

microsoft onedrive placeholder files on demand one drive android

This one is particularly good for those who use Windows computers, as it will help you better sync your files on your phone and computer. You’ll also get nice features, like notifications when files are shared with you, the ability to share photos and videos, and automatic tagging for your files (so you can quickly and easily find them later on).

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Google Play Newsstand/Google News & Weather

google app alternatives play newstand android

Getting the news in a timely manner can be very important, especially if it’s news that relates to your local area or a national or international event. In case Google Play Newsstand or Google News aren’t for you, here are some great alternatives.

Best alternative: Flipboard

google app alternatives flipboard android

Flipboard has become the default news app for many Android users, and for good reason. The magazine-style layout has inspired plenty of other news-based apps, and it helps make news much more digestible. On top of that, it aggregates all different media — text, video, and social media — into one accessible app.

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Runner up: Inoreader

google app alternatives inoreader android

Inoreader may not be as flashy as Flipboard, but it’s still well-designed and easy to use. The app is RSS-based, so you can pick and choose your favorite news sources and do away with other sources that you may not be so into. Not only that, but you can choose to keep tabs on specific keywords, so you can track particular topics rather than sources or websites.

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