Best Android AppsSource: Marco Miranda

Our phones are pocket-sized supercomputers with professional-grade cameras and batteries for days, but what would be the point without the best Android apps to take advantage of it? Millions upon millions of Android apps transform our phones from shiny glass slabs into productivity powerhouses. Over the last year, these are the apps that have seized the day and made our lives easier, faster, and better. So now that you have one of best Android phones of the year make sure you download all of the best Android apps.

Best Android Apps

The Best Assistant apps

Google Assistant RoutinesSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Who needs a personal assistant when you have services like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa available wherever you go? These types of apps aim to help alleviate the stresses and pressures of your day-to-day life to make things easier. From automation to smart home products and everything in between, these apps allow you to get work done with some help.

Google Assistant App Icon

With you everywhere: Google Assistant

From Assistant Routines in Google Clock to the vast expansion of Assistant-compatible smart home devices, it has been a busy year for Google Assistant to overhaul visual responses. It feels like a century ago when Android Auto added Google Assistant, but that simple addition made millions of drivers safer, especially during these long, frustrating holiday drives.

Free at Google Play
Tasker App Icon

Automate everything: Tasker

Tasker stagnated a bit in previous years, but since new owner João Dias — maker of the AutoApps plugin suite and Tasker's most ardent fan — took over, the automation app has seen a UI overhaul and major updates. With TaskerNet and improved export/import, it's never been easier to share, tweak, and create amazing profiles and tasks for Android (and beyond).

$3.49 at Google Play
Amazon Alexa Updated App Icon

Alexa by your side: Amazon Alexa

Amazon is no longer the top place to go for just your online shopping needs, as the company continues to expand its grasp on the world. With Alexa, you get a personalized assistant in your pocket, along with integration with Echo devices and the ability to stay connected wherever you go. You can even make calls or send messages to other Alexa-enabled devices without paying a dime.

Free at Google Play
Google Lens App Icon

Quick translations: Google Lens

Have you ever wanted to know the type of flower you see while on a hike? Well, with Google Lens, you can find out quickly just by holding your camera up to the flower. Lens will even translate foreign languages or save business cards to your contacts faster than ever before.

Free at Google Play
Ifttt App Icon

Use the recipes: IFTTT

IFTTT gives you the power to create various automations between apps and services that are not already available. With more than 630 different integrations, you can create your own "recipe" and get an alert when that item on your Amazon wishlist finally goes on sale, for example. If you don't want to create your own, there is a community and library of different recipes to choose from and set up.

Free at Google Play
Google Home App Icon

A smarter home: Google Home

Whether you need to control your lights, smart plugs, thermostats, or Assistant speakers/displays from the farthest corners of the globe, the new Home View in the Google Home app makes it easy. Adding Home members to use what you've already set up is a huge step toward making smart homes more accessible for all skill levels.

Free at Google Play

The Best Keyboard Apps

Best Keyboard Apps LifestyleSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

The keyboard on your smartphone is one of the most used apps daily. It's the first thing to pop up when your friend sends you a message if you need to reply to an email or just need to get your thoughts out. But the great thing is that there's a keyboard app that works for everyone, regardless if you want something basic or if you want to go to the extremes of customization.

Gboard App Icon

The default: Gboard

Gboard's keyboard continues to dominate the market with an ever-expanding array of features on Android, iOS, and soon on Chromebooks. Some of this year's additions, including options like making your emoji pack or gifs, may seem trivial. Still, Gboard has also added support for dozens of new languages and the recent floating keyboard mode that makes filling out forms a breeze.

Free at Google Play
Chrooma Keyboard App Icon

Customize everything: Chrooma

Instead of dealing with the basic stock themes on your keyboard, Chrooma gives you a keyboard with so many customization options that your head will spin. This is in addition to featuring smart AI to provide vastly improved contextual predictions compared to the competition. You'll also get the added benefits of the gestures that you already know and love.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Swiftkey App Icon

Tried and true: SwiftKey

SwiftKey is creeping on the four million download mile-marker, and for a good reason. This custom keyboard gives you complete control. The app itself sports more than 100 different themes, and you can even create your own theme with a picture that you took or downloaded as the background. SwiftKey also includes support for more than 300 languages, and you can enable up to five different languages at once.

Free at Google Play
Grammarly App Icon

Better spellcheck: Grammarly

Many keyboard apps just focus on whether your spelling is wrong. Grammarly takes things to the next level with smart predictions and can even pick from synonyms if you want to sound fancy. So not only can you expand your vocabulary, but your writing will sound professional.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Browsers

Google Chrome LogoSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

While the Google app makes it easy to search for something quickly, your mobile browser handles much of the heavy lifting. These mobile browsers have become so powerful that you can install extensions, while others provide the most private browsing experience possible. And hey, one of our picks even gives its users the ability to make some dough while surfing.

Brave Privacy Browser App Icon

Fast and private: Brave Privacy Browser

While ads help keep the lights on for some, they can be a real nuisance when you're just trying to check out the latest article. With a browser like Brave, you are guaranteed to get the best Adblock browser while getting a fast and secure browsing experience. There's also the added benefit of Brave paying you to browse the web at your pace and how you want to.

Free w/ads at Google Play
Samsung Internet Browser App Icon

Improve with extensions: Samsung Internet Browser

Samsung's browser finally made its Play Store debut a few years back and is much more robust than almost anything else you'll find. In addition to built-in privacy features, Samsung allows you to download third-party applications that act as extensions. And if you already have a Samsung device and are using this browser, you'll get even more features not available elsewhere, such as integration with Gear VR and more.

Free at Google Play
Google Chrome App Icon

Ol' Reliable: Google Chrome

Google Chrome is the de-facto choice for many, and for a good reason, it simply works. Google has worked tirelessly to bring new features to the app and keep a fresh and crisp design. As a result, when using Chrome, you'll get almost all the same features as the app on your computer, including sync capabilities so you can start reading something on your phone and pick it up on your PC.

Free at Google Play
Mozilla Firefox Browser App Icon

Enhanced browsing: Mozilla Firefox

Firefox is already a fan-favorite for desktop browsing, so why not check its mobile browser? There's built-in ad tracker blocking, enhanced privacy controls, and extensions to give you all the tools you'll need.

Free at Google Play

The Best VPN Apps

The Best VPN Services of 2017Source: Android Central

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are used for various reasons, including giving you the ability to hide your online identity. Another popular use for a VPN is streaming some TV shows while traveling abroad. These apps are all free, but there are subscriptions to consider if you want to browse everywhere securely.

Expressvpn App Icon

Best overall: ExpressVPN

With over 3,000 different servers in more than 90 countries, it's easy to understand why ExpressVPN provides a great experience. It's easy to get started, and then all of your web browsing is encrypted, and you can surf safely. After signing up for the service, there is no cap on the number of devices that can be connected, and it will even protect your text and instant messages.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Nordvpn App Icon

Fast and secure: NordVPN

NordVPN is one of the best in the business due to the way that it handles your data. The data passes through the initial server and then sends the same encrypted data to a second server for an added layer of protection. Plus, there are more than 5,500 servers spread across more than 50 countries.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Surfshark Vpn App Icon

VPN's made easy: Surfshark VPN

Surfshark excels with speed and because it can be used with an unlimited number of servers simultaneously. It will be great for just about everything that you would want to do with your devices, but you won't be able to use Surfshark with streaming apps since it is located outside of the U.S.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
IPVanish VPN App Icon

Set it and forget it: IPVanish VPN

With IPVanish, you'll be provided with a secure environment to browse the web, watch videos, and manage your bills. The service provides access to more than 1,400 different servers across 75 countries, along with 24/7 support. If you don't want to stick with this service, you have 30 days to change your mind.

Free at Google Play

The Best File Management Apps

Google Files Home Screen Lifestyle 3Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

Although many of us have changed the way we use our phones, one thing will never change — we download many things. I'm talking about applications and music files, documents, PDFs, or even new wallpapers. Therefore, it's important to keep your files organized, so you know where everything is or get rid of those stale memes.

Simple File Manager Pro App Icon

Keep it simple: Simple File Manager Pro

If you tend to download a boatload of files to your smartphone, you'll need Simple File Manager Pro to keep them organized. This app offers an intuitive experience to access your root files, along with microSD cards or USB devices. Plus, there are plenty of customization options to create a theme that suits your desires.

$1.19 at Google Play
X-plore File Manager App Icon

Turn it up a notch: X-Plore File Manager

Some want a simplistic file manager, but for those who want something a bit more complex, X-Plore File Manager is perfect. This app has an "old-school" Windows look and feel while giving you all the features you could want. You can even set the app up to access and manage the files on your Android phone from your computer's web browser.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Files by Google App Icon

Smart file organization: Files by Google

Files by Google started as an experimental app, but it's turned into a lightweight way to keep your storage from getting filled up. With features like Smart Recommendations, Files will suggest "junk files" that you can download and easily get rid of.

Free at Google Play
Astro File Manager App Icon

A familiar face: File Manager by Astro

Astro has been available on the Play Store for more than 10 years, and it continues to be one of the best file manager options. The app makes it easy to access your files, along with opening those annoying Zip and RAR files right from your smartphone. Plus, you can manage your cloud storage services right from Astro, making it an all-in-one storage option.

Free at Google Play

The Best Social Media Apps

Twitter Spaces on the Pixel 5Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

Social media is a fickle sister. It can be a great source of news and information and an easy way to keep in contact with your friends, but it's also frustrating when the latest trends and memes clog up your timelines. Luckily, there are many different platforms to share your voice with like-minded people or create an awesome community.

Reddit App Icon

Front page of the net: Reddit

I've been a third-party Reddit lurker for years, but this year the official Reddit app breezed past Relay, Boost, and the rest for the top app option. Reddit's new website look has been a source of a lot of small debate, but I've rather enjoyed both the new website look at the continued improvements on the Android app. If only /r/Writing Prompts didn't suck up all of my dinner breaks...

Free at Google Play
Instagram App Icon

Share your pics: Instagram

Instagram's popularity continues to rise, and it seems that there's simply nothing that any competitors can do to stop it. This app is one of the best and easiest ways to share your favorite photos, whether you're tracking your life or just editing goofy pictures. Plus, you'll get features like IGTV from some of your favorite creators, and the app makes it easy to find even more people/brands to follow.

Free at Google Play
Fenix 2 App Icon

Twitter but better: Fenix 2 for Twitter

Let's face it. There are a lot of Twitter apps on the Play Store, and while many of them are pretty good, none of them compete with Fenix 2. Fenix 2 aims to be the best Twitter client, thanks to multiple account support to a super-useful mute system. That doesn't even count the customization options that allow you to adjust your layout while making a theme that makes Twitter more enjoyable to use.

$4.99 at Google Play
Snapchat App Icon

Snap away: Snapchat

Just about everyone you know is on Snapchat, and for good reason since it makes sharing your life easier than before. You'll get private messaging, free cloud storage, and a slew of different ways to make your photos and videos absolutely perfect.

Free w/ Ads at Google Play

The Best Photography Apps

Google Pixel 5Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

After years of potato pictures from mobile devices, we are finally at a point where our smartphones can take better pictures than some DSLR cameras. The Play Store opens the door for many different apps to take, edit, and save these photos, which, in some regards, act as a digital memory bank.

ProCam X app icon

Pro-level controls: ProCam X

ProCam X unlocks the potential of what your smartphone camera is capable of, which is quite a lot nowadays. The app allows you to control various aspects of your image by providing professional controls like ISO, white balance, and even geo-tagging. With this app, you can even take RAW photos, which opens up even better image editing after the fact.

$5 at Google Play
Adobe Lightroom Logo

Edit like a pro: Adobe Lightroom

After you've taken a picture, chances are you'll want to edit it. With Adobe Lightroom, you can make easy edits or step things up a notch and edit like a pro, right from your smartphone. Adobe even has a built-in pro-level camera so that Lightroom becomes your all-in-one solution for your mobile photography needs.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Google Photos 2020 App Icon

Back everything up: Google Photos

For those who care more about backing up their photos and less about "pro-level editing," then the only real choice is Google Photos. The app gives users some basic photo editing capabilities while occasionally giving you "stylized" photos of how Google thinks your photo should look. Plus, you'll get Smart Automatic Albums, Photo Books, and can create shared albums in just seconds.

Free at Google Play
Filmic Pro Play Store Icon

Professional video recording: FiLMiC Pro

Our smartphone cameras are more powerful today than ever before, and we aren't just talking about taking pictures. With an app like FiLMiC Pro, you can take professional-level videos and get complete control over the editing process. Those already familiar with recording video on a DSLR will feel right at home without lugging around the camera bag.

$15 at Google Play

The Best Customization Apps

Nova Launcher Lloyd ThemeSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

Compared to the competition, the biggest benefit of Android is the ability to customize just about every aesthetic aspect of your device. From the widgets, you use to the look of your app drawer and even your settings menu, there's a way to customize everything. These are the best apps that you can use to get the exact look that you want on your smartphone.

Smart Launcher 5 App Icon

Best app drawer: Smart Launcher 5

If at the beginning of the year you told me that the launcher I'd use most was Smart Launcher, I would've laughed in your face. But then, Smart Launcher 5 arrived, and I fell in love. The flexibly-categorized app drawer is better than ever, and with the integration of Icon Pack Studio and a gridless widget system, SL5 makes building and switching themes a breeze.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Nova Launcher

Making a comeback: Nova Launcher

If you've ever thought about using a third-party launcher, you've probably already installed Nova Launcher. However, the app has seen a rejuvenation of sorts in recent months, and the next big version is already in development.

Free at Google Play
KLWP App Icon

Build the perfect theme: KLWP Live Wallpaper Maker

The big brother of Kustom Widget maker KWGT, Kustom Live Wallpaper's one-stop theming has grown on me considerably this year. While SL5's gridless widgets are nice, nothing beats the pinpoint, edge-to-edge widget, and element placement in KLWP. The formulas and menus can be daunting, but KLWP's robust community, especially on Reddit, help make any theme possible.

Free / $4.49 at Google Play
Icon Pack Studio App Icon

Your own icons: Icon Pack Studio

It can be frustrating to find an icon pack that you love, but a few apps aren't included. Sure, you can submit a request to the developer and wait for the update to come, but there's a better solution. With Icon Pack Studio, you can create your own icon pack while customizing every icon to your liking, and it will work with just about any third-party launcher.

Free or $4.49 (Pro) at Google Play
Tapet App Icon

Automatic wallpapers: Tapet

Changing wallpapers has been fun for as long as we've been able to do it, and Tapet has been right there with us for quite some time. With Tapet, you can either select a wallpaper on your own or set the app to automatically generate a new one for you every hour or once a day. Additionally, the app will automatically detect your smartphone's resolution so that the wallpaper looks crisp and won't stain your home screen.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Outline Icons Pixel

Flat and simple: Outline Icons

Outline Icons moves away from the boring white outlines and adds a bit of color and flair to your home screen. These are best viewed when using dark wallpaper since they can otherwise get lost with more vibrant or colorful wallpapers.

$2 at Google Play

The Best Widgets

iOS Widgets on Pixel 4aSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

In addition to customizing your phone to your heart's content, you can take advantage of widgets to quickly digest various bits of information. So whether you're just looking to see what the weather forecast looks like, or you need to see what's on the agenda for today, there's a widget for everything. Then other apps allow you to create your very own widget with any piece of information you can think of.

1Weather App Icon

Weather with flair: 1Weather: Forecasts, Widgets, Snow Alerts & Radar

1Weather is a fantastic weather app by itself, but if you're looking for an even more amazing widget, then this is it. Everything about the widget is customizable while still giving you the important information you need about what's going on in the weather world.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Calendar Widget by Home Agenda App Icon

Clean calendar view: Calendar Widget by Home Agenda

Calendar Widget has been a mainstay for many thanks to how clean it looks on your home screen once it's been set up. You can either create your own custom theme or download one from the community while making it easy to view your calendar at a glance.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
KWGT App Icon

Your widgets, your way: KWGT Kustom Widget Maker

When it comes to creating your own widget, there's no choice other than KWGT Kustom Widget Maker. This "app" gives you the ability to create an array of widgets for your phone, ranging from an analog clock to an astronomy widget and much more. That doesn't even cover the different themed widgets and widget packs that you can download from the Reddit community or Play Store.

Free / $4.49 at Google Play
Another Widget App Icon

Another glance: Another Widget

Are you a fan of Google's "At a Glance" widget but don't like not being able to customize it? Then, take advantage of Another Widget and get the same great view with all the same pieces of information, but themed the way you want it to look.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Password Managers

LastPass S21u LifestyleSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Absolutely, positively, under no circumstances should you have a note on your smartphone with passwords listed. Hackers are better than ever today, and your personal information can be revealed easier than you think. However, if you have a password manager, those passwords can be analyzed, and then you will be informed as to whether the password has been compromised. Then the app can help create a safe, secure, and almost unbreakable password so your information doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

1Password App Icon

Simple and straightforward: 1Password - Password Manager and Secure Wallet

1Password has not always been "the best" option on the Play Store, but recent updates have upped the ante and pushed it to the top of the charts. The service gives you a brief trial period before you need to sign up for a subscription. And your "vaults" will stay protected while giving you the ability to keep important personal information safe and at the ready.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
LastPass App Icon

Simple and complex: LastPass Password Manager

LastPass does a fantastic job of keeping all of your passwords safe and secure, even if you want to stick to a free account. But there are also premium options for either a single user or if you can get your whole family protected. The service even offers "Security Challenges," which help to keep your passwords updated, secure, and out of the hands of the bad guys.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Dashlane App Icon

More than you think: Dashlane Password Manager

With Dashlane, you get access to up to 50 passwords saved on a single device with the free version, but Premium gives you even more. With the Premium subscription, users get access to a personalized VPN, along with credit monitoring and identity theft protection. This is all in addition to being a great place to keep your passwords safe and making it easy to update them.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Enpass Password Manager App Icon

Change your passwords: Enpass Password Manager

Stop using the same password every time you create a new login on the web. Enpass is a simple password manager that works regardless of whether or not you are connected to the web since the data is stored on your device and not on the company's servers. But you can easily sync all your passwords across your devices with the help of popular cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and more.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Messaging Apps

Signal, WhatsApp, and Telegram logos on Android phonesSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

Let's be real. Messaging is the primary way that just about everyone communicates. Thanks to the various apps and services, it's much easier to shoot your mom a text than to call her and sit on the phone for an hour or more. Not everything requires a phone conversation, and these messaging apps open the doors to easier communication with friends, family, co-workers, and others.

Google Messages App Icon

Get on the RCS train: Google Messages

Dark theme! Messages for the web! It's been a big year for Google's SMS app, and while I still miss Mood Messenger and Textra's themes, the only third-party SMS app that can compete with Messages for the web is Pulse's paid SMS-syncing service, which is compatible with more platforms and browsers. Messages' theming might be lacking, but the dark theme is a welcome addition.

Free at Google Play
Slack App Icon

Pros and casuals: Slack

Android Central has Slacked for years because Slack is one of the best chat apps on the market today, for either business or personal purposes. Threads allow us to get into minutiae without spamming the main chat, and everyone can upload custom slackmoji for added flair. All it needs now is a dark theme, so I don't blind my bosses when I ping them at 2 a.m.

Free at Google Play
SMS Organizer App Icon

Next-level texting: SMS Organizer

SMS Organizer started as a "fun" project from the Microsoft Garage team but has turned into one of the smartest apps you can download. While you can still send SMS and MMS messages, SMS Organizer generates automatic reminders from your conversations and even makes it easy to pay your friend back for dinner, right from the app. You can even easily block spam messages, along with customizing notifications and setting specific ringtones for your contacts.

Free at Google Play
Telegram X App Icon

Fastest messaging platform: Telegram X

Telegram was already one of the fastest and most popular third-party messaging clients available, but Telegram X turns things up a notch. With the "X" version of the app, interacting with the app is even faster, and there are even more features, along with an improved interface and a multitude of gestures to use.

Free at Google Play
Discord App Icon

RGB your chats: Discord - Chat for Gamers

Discord is designed with gamers at heart, but more and more are switching to the messaging platform thanks to its integrations and ease of use. You can quickly build a community of users with easy community management while setting up member roles and having invite links at the ready.

Free at Google Play
Signal App Icon

Encrypted messaging: Signal Private Messenger

If end-to-end encryption is the name of the game, then Signal Private Messenger is the best choice. This service guarantees that every message you send is secure, and you can even set the app up to act as the default SMS client on your Android device. You can even make audio and video calls that are guaranteed to stay private, no matter what.

Free at Google Play

The Best Weather Apps

Flux Weather App 2021 AltSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Nobody wants to get caught in a rainstorm at the wrong time, and it's important to know whether you'll need your coat or if it's shorts and sandals time. Unfortunately, there are so many weather apps on the Play Store that it's rather difficult to find the "diamond in the rough." Thankfully, there are a few apps that stand alone from the pack while offering something unique.

Accuweather App Icon

Weather to the minute: AccuWeather Winter weather alerts & local forecast

AccuWeather is an easy suggestion, thanks to its MinuteCast functionality. This gives you the most up-to-date weather alerts, so you know if there's a surprise storm that you don't need to get caught in. Plus, the app includes a live radar of your area, showing you where the nearest storm system is so that you can get prepared.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Today Weather App Icon Google Play

Right where you are: Today Weather

Weather can be annoying, so it's important to have an app that makes the weather forecast manageable. Today Weather excels in that regard with its beautifully designed application and access to any different bits of information you could want. Plus, it's customizable, so you can either view or hide what you want to know and what you don't.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Radarscope App Icon 2021 Update

Look at the radar: RadarScope

Instead of relying on an app to tell you when bad weather could be heading your way, why not see it for yourself? RadarScope gives you a radar view of whatever is going on around you, with up-to-the-minute updates along with potential storm warnings from the National Weather Service.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Yahoo Weather App Icon

Is it Fall yet?: Yahoo Weather

Yahoo Weather has come a long way over the years and now sports a gorgeous design that shows you all of the info you need. For example, you can keep track of up to 20 cities simultaneously or play around with the interactive maps to see where the storm system is expected to pass through.

Free w/ Ads at Google Play

The Best News Apps

Google News Logo LifestyleSource: Jordan Palmer / Android Central

The world is moving at a more rapid pace than ever, and you don't want to miss out on that pertinent news being talked about around the office. There are news apps from dedicated sources, but having an aggregator parses the non-essential news from the essential. You can use an app that lets you aggregate the news you care about from the sources you trust in a clean layout.

Google News App Icon

Digest news quickly: Google News

Having a news app to aggregate what's important to you while also giving you an idea of what's going on in the rest of the world is important. Google News does this with quick access to the top five daily headlines and a "For You" tab so that you can read the news that you care about. Google has even included a "Full Coverage" feature, which compiles a list of sources and more for major stories.

Free w/ ads at Google Play
Feedly App Icon

Tailored to your needs: Feedly - Smarter News Reader

Feedly is for those who want to have a news app that is custom-tailored to their interests. The app makes it easy to organize your favorite sources with RSS power while integrating with other apps like IFTTT and Zapier. With the Discover section, you can browse different news categories to catch up on topics you normally wouldn't see.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
SmartNews App Icon

What's around you: SmartNews: Local Breaking News

If you want to keep track of what's going on in your area, and not necessarily the rest of the world, then SmartNews is perfect. The app provides a section that shows your local news while giving you the necessary notifications and even a widget you can throw on your home screen. Plus, you'll get access to some of the best news sources aggregated in one location for quick access.

Free w/ ads at Google Play
Inoreader App Icon

Just for you: Inoreader

It can be difficult to pick through overwhelming news headlines from various sources. So why not use an app like Inoreader to only pay attention to the sources you know and trust? This RSS reader allows you to curate a personalized newsfeed so that you only get the news you care about.

Free at Google Play

The Best Reading Apps

Google Play Books Z Fold 2 In Hand LifestyleSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

There is something special about holding a physical book in your hand and turning the pages while diving deeper and deeper into a story. However, you can have an entire library of books saved directly on your phone in this day and age. So whether you want to read a book on your lunch break or catch up on a comic book series, the best reading and e-book apps make it easy.

Amazon Kindle App Icon

Library in your pocket: Amazon Kindle

Amazon's Kindle app is simply fantastic at giving users access to a library of books, magazines, and more in their pockets. If you're subscribed to Amazon Prime, the company gives members access to over 1,000 different titles for free. If you don't have time to read, there is built-in Audible narration for many books.

Free w/ ads at Google Play
Audible App Icon

Listen everywhere and anywhere: Audible

Don't have time to sit and read? Then, let Audible read those audiobooks to you. The app gives recommendations based on your library and preferences while providing your first audiobook for free after signing up. In addition, audible allows users to earn $20 in Amazon credit if they have finished three titles by March 3. What more could you want?

Free at Google Play
Comics by Comixology App Icon

Marvel, DC, and more: Comics by Comixology

It's fine and dandy to read comics in boring ebook readers, but Comixology gives you all the comics you could want in a clean interface. There are over 100,000 comics, graphic novels, and manga to choose from, and you can buy them right in the app. So now you can start catching up on your favorite comic book series on the go.

Free at Google Play
Moon+ Reader App Icon

Read it all: Moon+ Reader

While some e-book readers only allow you to read books purchased directly through their app or in only one format, Moon+ Reader is way more open. The app supports more than 10 different formats, including EPUB, HTML, and PDF. As your library grows, you can personalize it and create collections, all while using a single app to read everything.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Sports Apps

ESPN App Alt LifestyleSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Much of the world gets consumed by their favorite sports, from soccer to the NFL and everything in between. Thanks to the selection of apps in the Play Store, you can follow them all. Whether you want to know if your top fantasy pick got injured or if you want to catch the highlights from last night's game, these apps make it possible.

theScore App Icon

Personalized notifications: theScore: Live Sports Scores, News, Stats & Videos

Gone are the days of needing separate applications to track your different favorite sports. With theScore, you can follow an array of sports, stats, and more without switching apps. You can even create a personalized feed to follow specific teams, leagues, or even your favorite player.

Free w/ ads at Google Play
ESPN App Icon

Catch the game anywhere: ESPN

ESPN has been the "Worldwide Leader in Sports" for more than 40 years, and the company continues to bring the best sports content on the go. The app itself makes it easy to stream games from your favorite teams, along with giving you highlights to the West Coast game that you fell asleep during.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Sleeper App Icon

For the football buffs: Sleeper - Fantasy Football Leagues

Sleeper started as an app that just gave you notifications for the most important football news. Then the popularity rose, and it has turned into so much more than that. You can chat with others about individual topics, or you can even use it to host your Fantasy Football league.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Yahoo Sports App Icon

Watch or read: Yahoo Sports

Yahoo Sports is one of the few sports apps that not only lets you read the latest headlines for your favorite team but lets you watch the games as well. If you missed the game, catch all the highlights in a central hub or play some fantasy "pick-em" games if you want to have some fun. With Yahoo Sports, you'll be able to follow all of your favorite teams, along with the likes of MMA, boxing, or racing.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Video Streaming Apps

Battle of the media titansSource: Android Central

Streaming services are the way of the future, and these days, there's a streaming service available for everyone. While the old-time sitcoms and movies are great, these streaming companies push new and original content that takes advantage of 4K HDR playback and tells some of the best stories. Then others give you a platform to make your own videos and share them with the world.

Disney+ App Icon

Ultra-popular: Disney+

Disney+ is the new kid on the streaming service block, and it's an extremely welcome addition to the arsenal. The app gives you quick access to your favorite Disney classics, along with new shows such as The Mandalorian for those who want more Star Wars in their life. The app allows you to create a profile for everyone, and you can download titles directly to your device for easy offline viewing.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Netflix App Icon

Some of the best shows: Netflix

Netflix is killing the game in original content, providing some of the best movies, documentaries, and TV shows. The company is even rebooting some classic series while also being the primary source for some older sitcoms and movies.

Free at Google Play
YouTube App Icon

Videos for everyone: YouTube

Can you go wrong with the YouTube app? Just sign in to your account and watch the videos from your subscriptions, or create playlists so that you can watch them later. You can even get started as a YouTube Creator by editing and uploading videos directly from the app.

Free w/ ads at Google Play
HBO Max Icon Play Store

Endless content: HBO Max

It's no secret that Warner Media has an enormous library of videos, shows, and original content. With HBO Max, you can now access a ton of the content under its umbrella, including stuff from HBO, TBS, Cartoon Network, and more. You can create up to five different profiles and download some movies for offline viewing if you have a trip coming up or just don't want to deal with streaming.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Music Apps

Spotify Apple Music S21 Ultra Z FoldSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Regardless of whether you're on a road trip or just trying to hunker down and get some work done, music makes the world go 'round. These music streaming services give you the largest library of songs that you can imagine and make products like the iPod look like a faint relic of the past. Just open the app, pick the song that's stuck in your head, and belt out the lyrics like there's no tomorrow.

Spotify App Logo

Best for almost everyone: Spotify

Spotify seems to be trying to take over the world of music, but it's for a good reason. The app offers some of the most personalized recommendations and playlists so that you can find new music that you would have never otherwise heard on a smooth interface. If you just want a basic music streaming player, the free version works just fine with some limitations.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
YouTube Music logo

Impressively robust: YouTube Music

Slowly but surely, YouTube Music is becoming what we expected from Google Play Music, and it continues to get better. With "The Hotlist," you can get an idea of what the most popular songs are or find something that's trending before it hits the radio airwaves. But the biggest benefit is that you get access to YouTube Music if you already subscribe to Google Play Music or YouTube Red.

Free w/ ads at Google Play
Apple Music App Icon

Not just for Apple: Apple Music

Apple Music has made great strides since its inception to try and take on the giant in Spotify, and it's largely succeeded. With more than 60 million songs in the catalog, along with exclusives like Beats 1 Radio, Apple Music appeals to everyone and anyone, even if you don't own a single Apple product.

Free at Google Play
Amazon Music App Icon

Included with Prime: Amazon Music

Amazon Music has come a long way from when it was just an add-on for Prime subscribers. The streaming service has up to 75 million songs and has taken the Spotify approach by offering access to your favorite podcasts, too. And there's even a Hi-Fi option available!

Free at Google Play

The Best Podcast Apps

Pocketcasts LifestyleSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Radio stations can be annoying with the ads that come up every couple of minutes, often lasting longer than the show you're listening to. Podcasts give you access to "radio" shows that you care about and make it so that you can either sit back and enjoy a simple conversation or listen to a riveting story that spans multiple episodes.

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Simply the best: Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts is simply the best all-in-one podcast player application that you can get on the Play Store. The app offers easy access to your subscriptions, an array of customizable playback options, and you can find new podcasts easier than ever. Plus, you'll never miss a podcast episode with the different notification options that you can set up from within the app.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Podcast Addict 2019 Logo

Check it off: Podcast Addict

Podcast Addict may not be as aesthetically pleasing as PocketCasts, but it makes up for that with its feature set. In addition to listening to podcasts, Podcast Addict can be used to manage audiobooks, live radio streams, and even RSS feeds. It's the all-in-one podcast app that you've been looking for.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Spotify App Logo

Everything you need: Spotify

Spotify was already arguably the best music streaming service, but the company has been working overtime in enhancing its podcast experience. With Spotify, you'll be able to listen to your favorite songs and then quickly switch over to listen to your podcasts. There are also more than a few "exclusives" that you won't be able to find anywhere else.

Free or $10/month
Google Podcasts App Icon

Simple and enjoyable: Google Podcasts

If you want a simple, no-nonsense podcast player, Google has you covered with its Podcasts app. Google Podcasts makes it easy just to start listening to your favorite podcasts without a bunch of extra frills. And you can use the Google Search app to find different podcasts and podcast episodes while playing them as soon as you find them.

Free at Google Play

The Best Sleep Tracking Apps

Sleep Cycle Pixel 4 App LifestyleSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

It can be tough to get a good night's rest with all the devices booted up around you with screens always ready to turn on. However, the Play Store features some applications that can help you fall asleep while analyzing how you sleep and providing ways to improve.

Sleep Cycle App Icon

Wake up refreshed: Sleep Cycle: Sleep analysis & Smart alarm clock

It can be tough waking up on time, let alone trying to analyze your sleep, unless you have an app like Sleep Cycle. The app will "coach" you to have a better night's sleep regularly while gently waking you up at the right time so you feel refreshed. With the analysis tab, you can view how you slept the night before, check to see if you snored, and get recommendations to sleep even better.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Sleep Sounds App Icon

Fall asleep easier: Sleep Sounds

Waking up on time is a tough task, but falling asleep can be just as tough. With Sleep Sounds, this is made a bit easier. The app includes 12 different nature sounds, works offline, and allows you to set a timer so that the app won't be running all night.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Sleep Time App Icon

Algorithmic analysis: Sleep Time

Sleep Time combines the benefits of a sleep journal, alarm clock, and sleep analysis, all in a beautifully designed application. Different background algorithms will help you get the best night's sleep that you've had in years. Then you can wake up the next day to see how well you slept and for how long.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Sleep As Android Updated App Icon

Sleep better than ever: Sleep as Android

Sleep tracking can be frustrating since you rarely get the same results when using a smartwatch or phone. Sleep as Android does a great job at providing you all the tools you need to get a great night's sleep with the ability to connect with your favorite wearables. Then, your data can be viewed easily from the Sleep as Android app, or you can take advantage of Google Fit and Samsung's S Health applications.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Dating Apps

Tinder App Pixel 4 LifestyleSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Breakups are tough to get through for everyone, but there comes a time when you'll want to strap on your boots and get back in the saddle. These dating apps make it easier than ever to meet new people, and regardless of whether you are looking to find a new friend or build a new relationship, these apps help you get started.

OkCupid App Icon

Have the perfect date: OkCupid

OkCupid excels in giving its users in-depth information about potential matches, along with making it easy to get a conversation started. The app even includes different questions so that you'll know whether you're compatible with your matches or not. There are a few ads to deal with unless you upgrade to the premium subscription, but they're not too intrusive.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Tinder App Icon

Just swipe right: Tinder

Tinder helped kickstart the trend of mobile "dating" apps with its simple profile display and the whole "swipe right" wave. The app excels in just getting a conversation started after being matched, getting you even closer to the perfect "first date." There are even more features to take advantage of if you sign up for Tinder Gold, like unlimited likes, Super Likes, and more profile control.

Free at Google Play
Bumble App Icon

More than just dating: Bumble

Bumble is unique as it's not just designed to help users get a date but can also be a great source to meet some friends in a new city. On the dating side of things, users create a profile and can just swipe through. After a match is made, the conversation can start, or the match will expire within 24 hours if nothing is said.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Hinge Dating App Icon

Try something different: Hinge

Instead of just trying to throw yourself out there to everyone, Hinge offers a different way to meet new people. There's more of a focus on creating better matches with other Hinge users, answering unique questions so that the app can learn "your type."

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Apps for Finances

New Google Pay App HeroSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Credit Karma Updated App Icon

Free credit checks: Credit Karma

Since just about everything today revolves around your credit score, it's important to keep track of it. Credit Karma makes it easier than ever to check your score and get personalized approval odds for credit cards or loans without paying a penny. Plus, the app offers free ID monitoring against identity theft and credit monitoring for TransUnion and Equifax.

Free w/ ads at Google Play
Robinhood App Icon

Invest without Wall Street: Robinhood

For many, stock trading can be cumbersome and overwhelming, but Robinhood makes things easy, and you don't have to throw down a boatload of cash. The Robinhood app allows you to invest in an array of stock options, and you can even dive into the world of cryptocurrency if you're feeling adventurous.

Free at Google Play
Monefy App Logo

Track your pennies: Monefy - Money Manager

Some folks need to operate on a budget, and Monefy makes it easy to track your daily expenses with just a few taps. Then you can see where all of your money is going, along with how close you are to paying off your credit card or saving up for a new toy.

Free / $2.50 at Google Play
Venmo App Icon

Pay your half: Venmo

Gone are the days of figuring out how to split the check. Venmo, backed by PayPal, allows you to easily split the bill with your friends while giving the ability to send funny notes on each payment. And if need be, transferring money from Venmo to your bank account can happen in seconds with Instant Transfer.

Free at Google Play
Deliveries App Icon

Find the package: Deliveries Package Tracker

You don't need to worry about playing the guessing game for when a package will be delivered if you have the tracking number. After you enter the number into Deliveries Package Tracker, you will get regular notifications as your package travels the country. There's even a widget you can use to see when the package will be delivered.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Mint App Icon

Track all the accounts: Mint: Budget, Bills, & Finance Tracker

If you want an app to view and track your financial life, you can't go wrong with Mint. After signing up and adding your different financial accounts, you can view all of your money, including your bank account, car loans, credit cards, and more. The app also allows you to create budgets that are easier to stick to while tracking every penny that enters or leaves your accounts.

Free at Google Play

The Best Apps for Selling

Facebook logo on a Pixel 4 XLSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

Time marches on, and that new toy that you bought a year ago has started collecting dust in the corner. Should you recycle it? In some instances, that's correct, but as the saying goes, "one man's trash is another man's treasure," and there's an opportunity to make some money back. These apps allow you to list your old clothes, electronics, and even cars so that they can get put to use and give you some extra green in return.

eBay App Icon

Sell and save: eBay

eBay has been the leader when it comes to quickly and easily selling your old devices, clothes, and just about anything else for years. After creating an account and taking some pictures, you can create a new listing in just a few moments. Plus, you'll get the added benefit of finding some awesome deals for yourself.

Free w/ ads at Google Play
OfferUp LetGo App Icon

Anything you can think of: OfferUp: Buy. Sell. Letgo. Mobile marketplace

With OfferUp, you could already sell your old clothes that didn't fit anymore, but now you can even sell that car that's been sitting in the driveway. Plus, you can quickly chat with whoever is interested in your items without checking emails or giving away your phone number.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Facebook App Icon

Just in the neighborhood: Facebook Marketplace

Unfortunately, there isn't a dedicated app for Facebook Marketplace, but you can still access it from the Facebook mobile app. This gives you a look at items available for sale around you while also allowing you to sell to someone local and remove the worry of shipping.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Craigslist App Icon

The OG: Craigslist

For years, Craigslist has been the go-to website for so much more than just selling your old items and clearing out your house. You can find a new home, score a job interview, or even find a car right from the app.

Free at Google Play

The Best Mental Health Apps

Habitica Z Fold 2Source: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Mindless YouTube videos and video games don't do much to keep your mind sharp. But, at the end of the day, your mind is the most powerful tool, and it's important to keep it sharpened. These tools let you step away from your phone or work as an extension to help keep your mind at ease.

ActionDash App Icon

Stay off your phone: ActionDash: Digital Wellbeing & Screen Time helper

Launched by the creator of Action Launcher, ActionDash takes Digital Wellbeing and turns it up to 11. With this app, you can view a dashboard of exactly how you are using your phone, including the average time of your sessions. This gives you all the information you'll need to help you spend less time on your phone and more time with those who matter.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Headspace App Icon

Meditation and mindfullness: Headspace

Headspace has become a Swiss Army Knife for keeping your mind on point throughout the day. There are standard meditation sessions, but other sessions are designed to help you with stress and productivity.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Daylio App Icon

How you're feeling: Daylio - Diary, Journal, Mood Tracker

The idea of journaling every day can be exhausting. Daylio helps to change that mindset. It gives you a series of prompts to answer versus just giving you a blank piece of paper. Then, as the days roll by, you can take a step back and review how your days went with the dashboard showing your mood chart and more.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Habitica App Icon

Play an RPG: Habitica

Habitica takes a unique approach to the habit-building process — it turns it into a video game! Habitica is designed to play like an RPG, featuring quests, unlockable armor, customizable characters, and more. You progress through the game and level up by completing your tasks/habits.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Workout Apps

Google Fit Journal Ticwatch ProSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

One of the most popular New Years Resolutions is to start hitting the gym to either bulk up or lose some weight. However, some apps make it, so you don't even have to step foot in a gym if you want to go at your own pace. And what better way to do so than with the help of some ultra-powerful applications that are tailored to your needs.

Google Fit App Icon

Meet your goals: Google Fit

Google Fit has slowly become a fan favorite for fitness tracking users who want a no-nonsense way to keep an eye on their health. The app offers customizable health goals based on the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association recommendations. There are even personalized coaching tips to help push you closer to being the healthiest that you can be.

Free at Google Play
Nike Training Club App Icon

Personalized workout recommendations: Nike Training Club - Workouts & Fitness Guidance

Gone are the days of needing to worry about paying an arm and a leg for a personal trainer, especially with the Nike Training Club app. Instead, the app provides different workouts to help you know what you need to improve in different areas. And there are personalized workout recommendations that populate the more you work out.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Calorie Counter Myfitnesspal App Icon

Track what you eat: MyFitnessPal

Perhaps the biggest hurdle when trying to lose some weight is your food intake. MyFitnessPal makes this easy as you can quickly search and find the foods you are eating with more than 6 million options in the database. Then, just set your weight goal, and the app will calculate how many calories you are supposed to eat per day.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Strava App Icon

Track your workouts: Strava

Strava is an all-in-one running app that'll appeal to triathlon athletes. The app tracks not only your running workouts, but also bike rides and swimming while showing you new places to explore.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best To-Do Apps

Todoist / Google Keep Android LifestyleSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

It happens all the time. You start adding items to your to-do list, but they still end up being forgotten, and then you have to rush and do everything at once. Or maybe you just need a way to take a quick note for easy access later. These to-do apps will help to make sure that you keep track of your menial tasks or more in-depth projects.

Todoist App Icon

Robust task managing: Todoist

Keeping track of your various tasks and projects can be a real pain, but with Todoist, all of your concerns can be put to rest. The app makes it easy to quickly enter a task while providing the ability to create projects, tags, and more so that your to-do list is always organized. Todoist even makes it possible to integrate with apps like Gmail, Slack, and more so that you can add the necessary tasks as soon as they come up.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Google Keep Logo

More than just notes: Google Keep

Keep your Evernote and your TickTick, Google Keep is with me to the end of the line, and it is 100% free. Keep is yet another Google app to see a visual update this year. While I'm still waiting on a dark theme, the expanded 12 color options, addition of subtasks to checklists, and improved Drive integration make Keep the only task manager and inspiration board I use.

Free at Google Play
Ticktick App Icon

Check it off: TickTick

TickTick is one of the few apps that serve as more than just a task management application. There are habit tracking features built-in along with a Pomodoro Timer so you can keep your focus on whatever current project you're working on. Plus, you can organize your lists as complicated or as simple as you want.

$1.99 at Google Play
Any.Do Icon

Organize everything: Any.do

Any.do is an app that aims to keep you organized through to-do lists and delivers a beautiful experience while doing it. You can build multiple lists and customize each one with the tasks you need to complete.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Learning Apps

Blinkist App Pixel 4 LifestyleSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Along with keeping your mind sharp, you'll want to keep training your brain and yourself to learn something new all the time. Regardless if it's learning a new language or trying to figure out exactly what Quantum Physics is, there's an app for that. Or maybe you just want to have an informative book condensed into a 15-minute session, giving you the most important points.

Duolingo App Icon

Learn a language: Duolingo

Duolingo is one of the more powerful apps on the Play Store as it will teach you how to speak and understand a new language in no time. The app is free and offers more than 30 different languages to learn while helping to push the limits of what you can already speak.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
WolframAlpha App Icon

Learn about anything: WolframAlpha

There's Wikipedia, and then there's WolframAlpha. The mobile app provides "instant" knowledge and even computation for just about anything that you could want to know. The categories range from basic math all the way to Quantum Physics and even geology.

$2.99 at Google Play
Blinkist App Icon

Condensed reading: Blinkist - Nonfiction Books

Some people are so busy that they don't have time to sit down and read a book by the window. With an app like Blinkist, you don't have to worry about finding time, as the service distills the highlights of different books and provides audio versions.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Mimo App Icon

Have fun with coding: Mimo: Learn coding

Just by taking 5 minutes out of every day, you can learn how to code faster and more efficiently than ever before. Mimo allows you to learn programming at your own pace while learning various programming languages ranging from Python to HTML, PHP, CSS, and so much more. Then, you can start building your own apps and websites in no time.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Email Apps

Dark Mode in OutlookSource: Android Central

Emails are simply the worst form of communication. Instead of getting the spam flyers in your mailbox, you now get ads and spam in your email inbox. However, some rely so heavily on email that it's become a way of life. And those folks need an app that makes organization and consolidation of emails easy so that you can finally achieve the fabled "Inbox Zero."

Gmail Updated App Icon

Google's client: Gmail

Gmail is one of the best apps, regardless of what platform you prefer. Google has figured out how to do email the right way with its Gmail application, and you get many different tools at your disposal. And you aren't even limited to just using your Gmail account in the app, as there is no support for the likes of Outlook, Yahoo, or other IMAP/POP accounts.

Free w/ ads at Google Play
Microsoft Outlook App Icon

Better than expected: Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook was once thought of as an afterthought, but no more, as Microsoft has put in the time to make this app great. The Focused inbox lets you worry about the important stuff while including a calendar client and OneDrive file manager in a single app. Outlook makes it easy to keep your day organized and making sure you'll never miss a thing.

Free w/ ads at Google Play
Newton logo

Smarter email triage: Newton Mail

Newton Mail has had an up-and-down history after being purchased multiple times, but now it's back with new (and private) owners. The app is fantastic at handling your email with a minimalistic approach and has quite a few useful features to triage those pesky and annoying emails.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Spark Mail App Icon

One of the best: Spark Mail

The email inbox has become a way for spam to make it into our lives and prevent us from seeing important emails. With Spark Mail's email prioritization, those concerns have been removed, and it's easier than ever to reach the ever-elusive Inbox Zero.

Free at Google Play

The Best Apps for Driving

Google Maps Dark Mode PixelSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Unless you have lived in the same place for the last 15-20 years, chances are you don't know the right road to take to get somewhere new. Or maybe you need to get a ride from the train station to the hotel, and you didn't rent a car. These traveling apps make it easy to do anything that you need to do, and then some.

Google Maps App Icon

Navigate where to go: Google Maps

There is no app better for navigating than Google Maps when it comes to getting to your destination. The service is one of the most accurate mapping apps available and includes additional real-time transit updates. A recent update makes it possible to order an Uber or Lyft if you need a ride somewhere.

Free at Google Play
Uber App Icon

Call a ride: Uber

With almost 7 million downloads, it's easy to understand why Uber has taken over the world of ridesharing. The service is available in more than 600 cities, and it's easier than ever to have someone pick you up without hailing a cab or taking the bus.

Free at Google Play
Maps Me App Icon

Offline mapping: MAPS.ME

The biggest benefit to MAPS.ME isn't the navigation benefits of the app, but the ability to download all your apps for offline usage. You won't be able to see traffic flow in real-time, but you can get wherever you need to go. MAPS.ME even works for taking public transportation in an unknown city.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
MapQuest App Icon

Old school but new: MapQuest

Everyone remembers the old days of having to load up the MapQuest website and print off directions. Those days may be behind us, but MapQuest is still hanging around with a super useful Android app for all of your navigation needs.

Free w/ Ads at Google Play

The Best Calendar Apps

Any.Do Calendar LifestyleSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Nobody wants to miss that important doctor's appointment, but if you don't have it written down somewhere, it's a possibility. Having a mobile calendar makes it possible to quickly and easily organize your day while being reminded about that important meeting. In addition, these apps can be tailored to your needs, showing you the most important information about how your day will go.

Google Calendar Updated App Icon

Appointments, tasks, and more: Google Calendar

Google Calendar by itself is already a great way to keep track of your daily, weekly, and monthly appointments. Then, add in the integration with Gmail, and you'll get events from your email inbox automatically added. Google also integrates reminders, so you never miss a task, and you can even add personal goals that will be automatically scheduled.

Free at Google Play
aCalendar App Icon

Powerful calendar management: aCalendar

aCalendar's interface is one of the best and most beautiful that you can find. Add that to how intuitive it is to quickly add events and look at different views, and you have a home run. The only downside is that you'll have to stick with Google's calendar services to take advantage of aCalendar.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
DigiCal Calendar Agenda App Icon

Flexible and customizable: DigiCal Calendar Agenda

Unlike other options, DigiCal works with many popular calendar services such as Google, Outlook, and others. The app also offers the schedule for many popular sports, so you'll always know when the next game is. Plus, you can view detailed weather information each day, so you know whether to bring a raincoat.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Any.do Calendar App Icon

See it all: Any.do Calendar

Any.do already provides one of the best to-do apps on the Play Store, but the developers also have released a pretty awesome calendar app. with different views at your disposal, Any.do Calendar makes it easy to figure out what you need to get done, so you don't miss those appointments. Plus, you can see an overview of your calendar events alongside your to-do lists for an all-in-one productivity tool.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Apps to Backup Files

Backup icon on an Android phoneSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

You don't want to be stuck in the dark trying to find that file that you could have sworn you downloaded but has been buried. Our smartphones are literal pocket computers, and it's important to keep those downloaded files neatly organized. Plus, it's always nice to be able to have an app analyze your files and photos and offer to delete them without you going through them one-by-one.

Google Drive Updated App Icon

Google's Office: Google Drive

Google Drive is just part of the puzzle that is Google's productivity "get work done" suite of applications. First, this is where you'll find all of your various documents. Then, you'll be able to view your files, regardless of your internet connection or whether you used Drive on your PC or phone.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Microsoft OneDrive App Icon

Better with a subscription: Microsoft OneDrive

While you start with just 5GB of storage, OneDrive automatically upgrades its Office 365 subscribers to a whopping 1TB of storage. This is perfect for backing up all of your documents, spreadsheets, and even your photos. Just turn on Camera Upload, and you'll get automatic backups for your photos taken on your Android device.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Dropbox Updated App Icon

Still great: Dropbox

Dropbox was one of the first cloud storage options to be made available for the masses, and the company is still rolling along. The starting storage limit of 2GB is a bit on the low side, but signing up for DropBox Plus ($9.99 per month) gives you up to 2TB of storage space. There are apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac so that your files will sync and be available everywhere.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
MEGA Storage App Icon

Encrypted cloud storage: MEGA

There are many ways you can upload files and pictures, but not all of those options are great with encryption. That's where MEGA stands apart, thanks to its user-controlled method for encrypting those private files. Without paying a dime, you'll get 50GB of storage for free, or you can go all the way up to 16TB of cloud storage for everything and anything you would ever need.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best PDF Scanner Apps

Microsoft Office Lens ScanningSource: Android Central

If you go to an event or have many meetings with new business associates, chances are you end up with a lot of business cards that go in a drawer. With these PDF scanners, you can snap a quick picture and then instantly have a digital business card that can be added to your contacts or saved for use later on.

Microsoft Lens Updated App Icon

More than just PDF's: Microsoft Office Lens

Office Lens quickly and easily takes those pictures of documents and business cards and turns them into PDFs. Then, you can save them to your OneDrive account or even just to your device directly. Once converted, your images can be edited and tweaked, or annotated until the end of time.

Free at Google Play
Adobe Scan App Icon

Intelligent scanning: Adobe Scan

Adobe has its hands in many different pots, and with Adobe Scan, you can scan just about anything and have it converted to a PDF. With Intelligent Scan, the app can recognize contact information and make it possible to remove unnecessary scribbles or search for something specific.

Free at Google Play
Camscanner Updated App Icon

Optimized digital documents: CamScanner

CamScanner made a name for itself just by being great at what it does and just working. Simply scan a document with your camera, and the app will automatically crop the image into an editable PDF. This works with business cards, documents, or even drawings that you make, giving you a way to save everything.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Simple Scan App Icon

Just scan it: Simple Scan

Simple Scan is one of those PDF scanners that has been available on the Play Store for years. The app is one of the easiest ways to scan and share documents without jumping through a bunch of hoops. Scan your document, convert it to PDF, and then share it or back it up to Dropbox, Google Drive, or other cloud services. You can even use Wi-Fi to send the document to your computer.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Writing Apps

Google Docs Poetry LifestyleSource: Samuel Contreras / Android Central

It doesn't matter if you're an author or just an office grunt. You'll need to put words on paper for some reason at some time. Some apps allow you to do just that while keeping those pages stored for reference later. Or maybe you're already an author and want to learn more about the world of Markdown writing without any extra distractions. Regardless of the situation, there's an app available that lets you simply sit down and write.

Google Docs App Icon

Start with a blank sheet: Google Docs

Google Docs can be a basic text editor or something you use to write your first book. There is an array of tools to tweak your documents to fit the format you are looking for. And the best part is that every letter or character that you type is saved automatically as you move along.

Free at Google Play
Microsoft Office 2020 App Icon Cropped

Better than ever: Microsoft Office

Not only do you get the power of Microsoft Word on your mobile device, but the app also acts as a mobile PDF reader. With the new Microsoft Office, you can create, edit, and view all of your various Microsoft documents from the likes of Word, Excel, and more. Best of all, you won't have to worry about having a plethora of different apps installed.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
iA Writer App Icon

Free from distractions: iA Writer

When it comes to finding the right Markdown editor, the choices are somewhat slim, but iA Writer makes everything easier. Get rid of all the distractions and just let your mind put words to paper without anything bothering you. Plus, there is cross-compatibility with different platforms such as Windows, Mac, and Android.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Jotterpad App Icon

Write your first book: Jotterpad

It can be tough to find a no-nonsense text editor, but Jotterpad fits the bill quite nicely. You can change up the typography, providing a more personalized experience while writing. Plus, all of your work syncs in the cloud, making it so you can pick up right where you left off when an idea comes into your head.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Voice Recorder Apps

Pixel 4a Alex RecorderSource: Alex Dobie / Android Central

Nobody likes forgetting that idea or thought or reminder to get something done. Or maybe you want to brainstorm some ideas verbally instead of putting them in something like a Google Doc or task manager. Voice recorders make it easy to start them up and just start talking, and some of them even cut out the silence during your breaks.

Google Recorder App Icon

Just for Pixels: Google Recorder

With all of Google's advancements in AI technology, it would make sense for the company to release the "smartest" voice recorder. This new app is limited to certain Pixel devices but includes real-time transcriptions while offering suggestions for tags. There even could be an update in the works that allows users to record calls for use later on.

Free at Google Play
Smart Recorder App Icon

Skip the silence: Smart Recorder

Smart Recorder from SmartMob is one of the best options on the Play Store if you want just a clean voice recorder. The app records in the highest audio quality possible while skipping silence in recordings without needing to fast-forward. Then, the recordings are safely stored in a tidy interface where you can edit the title and add notes to them.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Idea Note App Icon

Before it's gone: Idea Note - Floating Note, Voice Note, Voice Memo

Have you ever had an amazing idea, and then it just disappeared before you could type it out? Idea Note helps to solve that problem with a floating widget that provides quick shortcuts to setting a reminder, recording a note, and more. With Idea Note, the app even lets you take a quick picture, providing easy access to it whenever you're ready for it.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Samsung Voice Recorder App Icon

For Sammy owners: Samsung Voice Recorder

Similar to how Google released its own Voice Recorder app for Pixel devices, Samsung has done the same for its Galaxy devices. The app records your voice, then shows your recordings in a list view. It even makes it easy to convert your speech to text.

Free at Google Play

The Best Road Trip Apps

Android Auto Aftermarket Head UnitSource: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central

Let's jump in the car and get ready for that road trip we've been planning all year. But before you get on the road, you'll want to make sure you are prepared to keep your eyes on the road, are up to date on your oil change, and find the cheapest gas wherever you are. Or maybe it's time to find your next road trip-mobile and get a new car to bring home, and you can do so easier than ever.

Android Auto App Icon

Stay focused: Android Auto

Staying focused on the road is the most important objective while driving, but it's made even more difficult by all of the notifications on our phones. Android Auto removes the distractions, giving users the ability to focus on the road and their destination while reading out the important notifications. You don't even need a dedicated Android Auto head unit to take advantage of this, as your phone can be mounted and uses the same interface.

Free at Google Play
Gasbuddy App Icon

Cheaper gas: GasBuddy

Nobody wants to pay an arm and a leg for gas, let alone run out of gas at the wrong time. GasBuddy finds the cheapest gas stations in your area while allowing users to join different rewards programs. After signing up, users can join "Pay with GasBuddy" and save up to 15 cents per gallon on the first fill-up and up to 5 cents per gallon on visits afterward.

Free at Google Play
Fuelio App Icon

Track expenses: Fuelio

Whether you are traveling for business or just want to keep track of your vehicle maintenance, Fuelio does everything. The app provides inputs to track car expenses, service appointments, mileage, and so much more. The trip log functionality uses the built-in GPS tracker so that the information is as accurate as possible.

Free at Google Play
Car Maintenance by MyCARFAX App Icon

Time for an oil change: Free Car Maintenance myCARFAX

Almost every car has a CarFax report available, which keeps track of any accidents and the services performed. With this app, users will be able to track all auto repair and service history information and get alerts when the car is overdue for an oil change or tire rotation.

Free at Google Play
SpotHero App Icon

Prepaid parking: SpotHero

After dealing with traffic, finding a parking spot can be one of the most frustrating aspects of driving in the big city. SpotHero alleviates these concerns by making it possible to book a parking spot in advance and giving users directions on how to get there. In some instances, users can save on parking fees by booking with SpotHero instead of paying after arriving.

Free at Google Play
Cars Updated App Icon

New car time: Cars.com – Shop New & Used Cars & Trucks For Sale

A car will rarely last forever, with folks needing to get a new car at some point in time. Cars.com makes finding your next car easy by showing you deals based on an array of pieces of information. Regardless of whether the car is new or used, users can compare models, find the right dealership, calculate payments, and much more.

Free w/ ads at Google Play

The Best PC Extension Apps

How to use Link to Windows on your Galaxy S20 Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central

It would only make sense for there to be applications that integrate with your phone and computer so that they work as one. For example, instead of having to pick up your phone every time a notification comes through, you can get the same notification on your computer so that you can stay focused on what you're doing.

Your Phone Companion App Icon

Basic phone management: Your Phone Companion - Link to Windows

Microsoft is pushing the envelope when providing fantastic options for its userbase. With Your Phone Companion, users can now view all notifications, respond to SMS messages, and view recent photos taken without picking up their phone. This is not as robust as other apps, but it gets the job done, and it does it well.

Free at Google Play
AirDroid App Icon

Leave your phone alone: AirDroid: Remote access & File

AirDroid does everything one could want to do when syncing a phone to a computer. After it has been set up, users can transfer files, manage SMS and contacts, and even make or answer calls from the computer. There are even remote access capabilities so that you can leave your phone in the other room but check for something.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Join App Icon

Better with Tasker: Join

Join does so much more and provides expected services like file transfer, notification mirroring and SMS messaging. The obvious benefit is the Tasker integration as Join is made by the same developer as Tasker. But after being set up, the possibilities of what users can do without needing their phone are truthfully endless.

Free / $4.99 at Google Play
Pushbullet App Icon

Old reliable: Pushbullet

Pushbullet has been around for so long now that it's easy to forget it was the de-facto choice for those who wanted to text from their computer or send links between devices. The app is still kicking around and will mirror your notifications from your Android phone to your PC while making it easy to reply to those text messages or group chats.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play

The Best Video Calling Apps

Google Duo Pixel 4Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

How long has it been since you've seen your family after you moved away? With video chat applications, you can pick up the phone and see your family and friends even though you are miles and miles away. Some apps offer extra benefits like seeing who's on the video chat before answering, while others are just basic and get the job done.

Google Duo App Icon

Great video quality: Google Duo

Who wants to be in the middle of a video chat, and the picture turns into something from 2008? Google Duo ensures its users have the best video quality possible, along with other benefits such as Low Light Mode, Knock Knock for previewing calls, and end-to-end encryption. And if you don't want to do a video call, you can convert the call to audio so that you can still have the conversation.

Free at Google Play
Facebook Messenger Updated App Icon

Everyone uses it: Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger has become the default messaging platform for many, and the app continues to impress for better or worse. In addition to acting as a messaging platform, Messenger can handle SMS messages and even video calling. So if the video call is taking place with a Facebook friend, you can get up and running in no time.

Free w/ IAP at Google Play
Zoom App Icon

Better for business: Zoom Cloud Meetings

Zoom exploded in popularity over the last year. However, the company has adapted and is integrating more and more features to remain one of the best video conferencing apps. For example, you can hold group calls with up to 300 people, but many other features are limited to the paid version.

Free at Google Play
Google Meet App Icon Render

Just use Google: Google Meet

Although Allo has kicked the bucket, Google Meet is still hanging around and is a fantastic way to have video meetings at work or chats with your friends and family. With Meet, there is support for groups of up to 250 people, and you can record your meetings and have the recording saved directly to your Google Drive.

Free at Google Play

There's literally an app for everything

When browsing the Play Store, you'll find thousands and thousands of applications that look interesting and different from the "regular" ones. There are many different applications to discover, and we are always looking for that next cool and "hip" app to check out. It can be tough to go through and find all of the best applications for every situation, but we are grateful for the options provided. Some of these apps can even improve the best cheap Android phones and make that Pixel 4a feel like a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Without applications, our phones would just be phones, and where's the fun in that? So whether you love mobile gaming, getting things done, or just want to sit back and catch up on your favorite show, there's an app for that. And while some applications may work for you or me, that doesn't mean it will work with your buddy or grandmother. These are just some of the best apps you can find today, but we are always looking and hoping for new and exciting apps to hit the Play Store.

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