Best Android apps 2024: Great apps in every category

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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 the best Android phones of the year make sure you download all of the best Android apps.

The best smart assistant apps

Google Pixel 7 Pro with LIFX bulb, Kasa Smart Mini Plug, Wyze Cam, Nest Mini

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/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

Google Assistant

From extensive new call assist features to the vast expansion of parental controls and child-friendly voices, 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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa

Alexa has become one of the most iconic assistants in existence, breaking Amazon's image as the top place to go for just your online shopping needs. 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 have it read you audiobooks and even make calls or send messages to other Alexa-enabled devices without paying a dime.

Download from: Google Play Store

IFTTT

IFTTT

IFTTT gives you the power to create various automations between apps and services that are not already available. With more than 700 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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Samsung SmartThings

Samsung SmartThings

Samsung has slowly but steadily improved the SmartThings smart home management app. There are millions of compatible gadgets, switches, bulbs, and all sorts of both first and third-party smart home accessories that can be accessed, controlled, and automated from Samsung SmartThings.

Download from: Google Play Store

Google 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 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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best keyboard apps

Google Emoji Kitchen in Gboard

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi)

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.

Google Gboard

Google Gboard

Gboard continues to dominate the market with an ever-expanding array of features on Android, iOS, and soon on Chromebooks. Considering its amazing features such as the Emoji kitchen, voice typing, custom themes, clipboard, swipe gestures, and built-in translation widget, it is the ultimate keyboard app for Android. Gboard has also added support for hundreds of new languages and the handwriting recognition feature is exceptional.

Download from: Google Play Store

Chrooma Keyboard

Chrooma Keyboard

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard

Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard

SwiftKey has crossed the one billion 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 700 languages, and you can enable up to five different languages at once.

Download from: Google Play Store

Grammarly

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. This Android keyboard also gives you feedback on your tone and suggestions to reword confusing sentences. So not only can you expand your vocabulary, but you can also sound professional when typing.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best internet browsers

Brave Private Web Browser on a Google Pixel 6 held in one hand in an office

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While the Google Search 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 Private Web Browser

Brave Private Web Browser

While ads help keep the lights on for some, they can be a real nuisance when you're just trying to check the news. With a browser like Brave, you're guaranteed to get the best ad-free 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. Payments are made to the built-in  Brave Wallet, a cryptocurrency e-wallet. The browser also includes a firewall and VPN.

Download from: Google Play Store

Google Chrome

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 as well as the ability to copy and send text from your mobile browser to the web.

Download from: Google Play Store

Mozilla Firefox

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. You also get multi-device integration similar to Google Chrome.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best VPN apps

Best VPN

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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. All of our top VPN app picks are free to download, but there are subscriptions to consider if you want to browse everywhere securely.

ExpressVPN

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. If you use our link to sign up, you get three months on the house as well as 49% off your yearly subscription.

Download from: Google Play Store

NordVPN

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Surfshark VPN

Surfshark VPN

Surfshark is the fastest VPN around because it can be used with an unlimited number of servers simultaneously. It is 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 situated outside of the U.S.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best file management apps

Files by Google on a Pixel 4a kept on a wooden table

(Image credit: 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.

Files by Google

Files by Google

Files by Google started as an experimental app, but it's turned into a lightweight and straightforward way to keep your storage from getting filled up. With features like Clean, Nearby Share, Safe folder, and smart recommendations, Files prevents junk files from piling up.

Download from: Google Play Store

Simple File Manager Pro

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

X-Plore File Manager

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

ASTRO File Manager & Cleaner

ASTRO File Manager & Cleaner

Astro has been available on the Play Store for over a decade now 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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best photography apps

Google Pixel 5 camera app pointed at a pathway through trees outdoors

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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. Heck, the best Android camera phones can compete with entry-level DSLR shots nowadays. 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

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Adobe Lightroom

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Google Photos

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. You can make creative collages, easily sort your files, and create shared albums in seconds. Pixel users are in luck as they get access to additional editing tools and features in-app.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best theming and customization apps

Nova Launcher Lloyd Theme on an Android phone

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Compared to the competition, the biggest benefit of Android is the ability to customize and theme 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.

Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher

If you've ever thought about using a third-party launcher, you've probably already installed Nova Launcher. This easy-to-use app makes theming simple enough to understand and accessible to all. You can customize the look and feel of this launcher quite extensively, without losing yourself down the rabbit hole.

Download from: Google Play Store

Backdrops

Backdrops

Looking for unique wallpapers to go with your phone's custom theme? Backdrops has the most stunning collection of high res wallpapers on par with no other theming app out there. Have fun trying all the different illustrations to find the right match for your needs. Can't settle on one? You can change your wallpaper every day, like I do!

Download from: Google Play Store

Icon Pack Studio

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best password managers

Google Passwords for Android on Samsung Galaxy S21

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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

1Password

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Dashlane

Dashlane

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Enpass Password Manager

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best social media apps

Snapchat on a Google Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich)

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

Reddit

From the latest breaking news to the funniest viral videos making their rounds on the internet, Reddit has it all. If you're looking to join a community of like-minded individuals who feel passionately about a topic, this is the right place on the internet for you.

Download from: Google Play Store

Instagram

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Snapchat

Snapchat

Just about everyone you know is on Snapchat, and for good reason since it makes sharing your life easier than before. You get private messaging, free cloud storage, and a slew of different lenses to make your photos and videos absolutely perfect. Meanwhile, the Discover section provides a collection of short videos curated just for you. The main attraction, however, remains to be the disappearing pictures, videos, and messages that you can send and receive.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best messaging apps

Signal, WhatsApp, and Telegram logos on Android phones

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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

Google Messages

RCS chatting! Emoji reactions! High-quality video sharing! It's been a big year for Google's Messages 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 heavy roster of other features more than makes up for it.

Download from: Google Play Store

Telegram

Telegram

Telegram comes with adorable stickers and practical features out-of-the-box. You can delete sent messages for everyone in the chat, add a spoiler filter on top of shared files, start secret chats, and more. There are extensive privacy features available within the messaging app.

Download from: Google Play Store

WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messengers in the world, with encrypted multimedia chat, VoIP voice and video calls, and a drop-dead setup. Although Meta's buyout made people skeptical of the platform, the service itself is still decent, widely used, and in many places is more reliable than SMS.

Download from: Google Play Store

Slack

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Signal

Signal

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Discord

Discord

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best video calling apps

Google Meet video chat on a Pixel 3

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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 Meet

Google Meet

Although it was nearly overshadowed by Zoom, Google Meet is now the most popular video conferencing app out there. This is largely due to Google's amazing cross-platform integration. You can start a Meet video call right away or schedule one for later. Meet calls can be initiated from Google Calendar or even Google Docs. There are plenty of features within the app including a green room, filters, and loads of other communications tools. It supports groups of up to 250 people, and you can record your meetings and have the recording saved directly to Google Drive.

Download from: Google Play Store

Facebook Messenger

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Zoom

Zoom

Zoom exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic's initial stages. Although the hype has now died down and Meet has taken over, 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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best dating apps

Holding a smartphone with the Bumble logo

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / 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.

Tinder

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

OkCupid

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Bumble

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Hinge

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."

Download from: Google Play Store

Best news apps

Google News logo on an Android phone kept on a wooden table

(Image credit: 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

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Feedly

Feedly

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

SmartNews: Local Breaking News

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best reading apps

Sitting and holding the Kindle (2022) outside

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / 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

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Audible

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?

Download from: Google Play Store

Comics & Manga by Comixology

Comics & Manga 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 230,000 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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Moon+ Reader

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 20 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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best sports apps

ESPN app on a phone held up in one hand

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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 pick got injured or if you want to catch the highlights from last night's game, these apps make it possible.

theScore: Sports News & Scores

theScore: Sports News & Scores

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

ESPN

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Yahoo Sports

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.

Download from: Google Play Store

Best video streaming apps

Netflix app logo on a phone

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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+

Disney+

The Disney+ 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.

Download from: Google Play Store