Our phones are pocket-sized supercomputers with professional-grade cameras and battery for days, but without the apps to take advantage of it, what would be the point? There are millions upon millions of Android apps that transform our phones from shiny glass slabs into productivity powerhouses, and over the last year, these are the apps that have seized the day and made our lives easier, faster, and better.
Work smarter, not harder
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.
From Assistant Routines in Google Clock to the vast expansion of Assistant-compatible smart home devices, to the overhaul of visual responses, it has been a busy year for Google Assistant. 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.
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/importing, it's never been easier to share, tweak, and create amazing profiles and tasks for Android (and beyond).
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.
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 a contact faster than ever before.
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.
Whether you need to control your lights, smart plugs, thermostats, or Assistant speakers/displays from the warmth of bed or the farthest corners of the globe, the new Home View in the Google Home app makes it easy. Being able to add Home members to use what you've already set up is a huge step forward for making smart homes more accessible for all skill levels.
Type faster, quicker, and easier
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 if you just need to get your thoughts out. But the great thing is that there's a keyboard app that works for everyone, regardless of what something basic, or if you want to go to the extremes of customization.
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, which include options like making your emoji pack or gifs, may seem trivial, but Gboard has also added support for dozens of new languages, as well as the recent floating keyboard mode that makes filling out forms a breeze.
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 when compared to the competition. You'll also get the added benefits of the gestures that you already know and love.
SwiftKey is creeping on the four million download mile-marker and for 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.
Surf the web
While the Google app makes it easy to quickly search something, your mobile browser handles much of the heavy lifting. Some of 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.
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.
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 also 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.
Google Chrome is the de-facto choice for many and for good reason: it just simply works. Google has worked tirelessly to bring new features to the app, along with keeping a fresh and crisp design. 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.
Protect yourself while browsing
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are used for an array of reasons, including giving you the ability to hide your online identity. Another popular use for a VPN is to stream some TV shows while you are traveling abroad. These apps are all free, but there are subscriptions to consider if you want to securely browse everywhere.
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 to the number of devices that can be connected, and it will even protect your text and instant messages.
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 send 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.
Surfshark excels with speed and because it can be used with an unlimited number of servers at the same time. 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.
Keep your files organized
Although many of us have changed the way we use our phones, there's one thing that will never change — we download a lot of things. I'm not just talking about applications, but also music files, documents, PDFs, or even new wallpapers. It's important to keep your files organized so you know where everything is or get rid of those stale memes.
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 while giving access to microSD cards or USB devices. Plus, there are plenty of customization options to create a theme that suits your desires.
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.
Files by Google started out 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 get rid of with ease.
Social media is great... when tailored
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.
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. Now if only /r/Writing Prompts didn't suck up all of my dinner breaks...
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 like 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.
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. From multiple account support to a super-useful mute system, Fenix 2 aims to be the best Twitter client available. That doesn't even count the customization options that allow you to adjust your layout while giving the ability to make a theme that makes Twitter more enjoyable to use.
Take the best pictures possible
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 unlocks the potential of what your smartphone camera is capable of, which is quite a lot nowadays. The app makes it possible 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.
After you've taken a picture, chances are that you will want to edit it. With Adobe Lightroom, you can make the 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.
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 itself gives users some basic photo editing capabilities, while occasionally giving you "stylized" photos with how Google thinks your photo should look. Plus, you'll get Smart Automatic Albums, Photo Books, and can create shared albums in just seconds.
Customize your phone and make it your own
The biggest benefit of Android, when compared to the competition, is the ability to customize just about every aesthetic aspect of your device. From the widgets that you use to the way your app drawer looks, 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.
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. 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.
Lawnchair 2 gives you that Pixel Launcher feeling, with all of the customizations that you would find in other third-party launchers. There is support for Adaptive Icons, along with new Drawer Category features, and much more. You can use Lawnchair to create the most complex, or basic, launcher on your mobile device.
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.
It can be frustrating when you have found an icon pack that you love, but there are a few apps that 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.
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 the resolution of your smartphone, so that the wallpaper looks crisp and won't stain your home screen.
Some of us don't have time or want to dive through the thousands of icon packs, but just want something that looks great. Whicons isn't flashy (on the surface), but does the job giving you a good-looking icon pack for your Android phone. There are more than 5,500 custom icons, along with included wallpapers to match, and Dynamic Calendar Icon support so your calendar shows the right date.
Widgets are the best
In addition to customizing your phone to your heart's content, you can take advantage of widgets to quickly digest various bits of information. 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 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 that you need about what's going on in the weather world.
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.
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.
Protect your passwords at all costs
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 has not always been "the best" option on the Play Store, but recent updates have upped the ante and pushed it to the tops of the charts. The service gives you a brief trial period before you'll need to sign up for a subscription. And your "vaults" will stay protected while giving you the ability to keep important personal information safe but at the ready.
LastPass does a fantastic job of keeping all of your passwords safe and secure, even if you want to stick to a free account. Then, there are premium options for either a single user or you can get your whole family protected with a specific plan. The service even offers "Security Challenges," which help to keep your passwords updated and secure and out of the hands of the bad guys.
When it comes to Dashlane, you'll 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.
Messaging is the new postcard
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.
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, about the only third-party SMS app that can compete with Messages for 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What's it like outside?
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. There are so many weather applications 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 is an easy suggestion for a great weather app 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.
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.
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 potential storm warnings from the National Weather Service.
Don't miss out on what's happening
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.
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.
Feedly is for those who want to have a news app that is custom-tailored to their interests in the world. The app makes it easy to organize your favorite sources with the power of RSS while integrating with other apps like IFTTT and Zapier. With the Discover section, you can browse different news categories to catch up on different topics you normally wouldn't see.
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.
Dive into a good book (or comic)
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, in this day and age, you can have an entire library of books saved directly on your phone. Whether you want to read a book on your lunch break or catch up on a comic book series, these apps make it easy.
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.
Don't have time to sit and read? 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. Audible is even allowing users to earn $20 in Amazon credit if they have finished three titles by March 3. What more could you want?
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. Now you can start catching up on your favorite comic book series on the go.
Keep up with your favorite teams
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.
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.
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.
Sleeper started out as an app that just gave you the notifications for the most important football news. Then the popularity rose, and it has turned into so much more than that. There are individual topics that you can chat with others about, or you can even use it to host your Fantasy Football league.
Watch anything and everything
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 are pushing 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+ 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.
Netflix is killing the game in original content, providing some of the best movies, documentaries, and TV shows. The company is even working to reboot some classic series, while also being the primary source for some of older sitcoms and movies.
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.
Keep the tunes rolling
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 seems to be trying to take over the world of music, but it's for 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.
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 either Google Play Music or YouTube Red.
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.
Podcasts are the new radio
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.
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.
If you want a simple, no-nonsense podcast player, Google has you covered with its Podcasts app. Google Podcasts makes it easy to just 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.
Podcast Addict does so much more than just give you a beautiful interface to interact with your favorite podcasts. The app includes more than 100,000 radio stations and 20,000 audiobooks, while also providing personalized recommendations based on your subscriptions. You can even set up RSS news feeds and follow YouTube/Twitch channels from the app.
Sleep easier when the time's right
With all the devices booted up around you and the screens that are always ready to turn on, it can be tough to get a good night's rest. However, the Play Store features some applications that can help you fall asleep while analyzing how you sleep and providing ways to improve.
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.
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.
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.
Get back on the market
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 to get started.
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.
Tinder helped to 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.
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.
Keep your finances in order
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.
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.
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.
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.
You don't need to worry about playing the guessing game for when a package is going to 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 glance at to see when the package will be delivered.
If you want an app that you can view and track your financial life, then 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 gives you the ability to create budgets that are easier to stick to, while tracking every penny that enters or leaves your accounts.
Sell your stuff, make some money
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 has been the leader when it comes to quickly and easily selling your old devices, clothes, and just about anything else for years now. 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.
A recent update to the service has brought LetGo on par with the likes of eBay and Facebook Marketplace. 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.
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.
Improve your mental health
Mindless YouTube videos and video games don't do much to keep your mind sharp. At the end of the day, your mind is the most powerful tool that everyone has, 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.
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 spend less time on your phone and more time with those who matter.
Headspace has become a Swiss Army Knife of keeping your mind on point throughout the day. There are standard meditation sessions, but there are also other sessions designed to help you with you specific factors such as stress and productivity.
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. 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.
Who needs a gym when you have these apps
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 lose weight 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 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 recommendations from the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association. There are even personalized coaching tips to help push you closer to being the healthiest that you can be.
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. The app provides different workouts to help you know what you need to do to improve in different areas. And there are personalized workout recommendations that populate the more you workout.
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 that you are eating with more than 6 million options in the database. Just set your weight goal, and the app will calculate how many calories you are supposed to eat per day.
Keep an empty to-do list
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 productivity apps will help to make sure that you keep track of your menial tasks or more in-depth projects.
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.
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, and 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.
Have you ever wanted to grow a tree on your smartphone? With Grow, you can do just that and grow as many trees as you can think of. This habit tracker is simple and straight forward to track and remind you of habits you want to track. Every time you complete the habit, your tree will grow little by little, giving you something to look forward to.
Teach yourself something new
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 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.
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.
It's finally time to reach Inbox Zero
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 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.
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.
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.
Get on the road
Unless you have lived in the same place for the last 15-20 years, chances are that you don't remember 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 and don't want to hail a cab. These traveling apps make it easy to do anything that you need to do, and then some.
When it comes to getting to your destination, there is no app better for navigating than Google Maps. The service is one of the most accurate mapping apps available and includes additional information such as real-time transit updates. A recent update even makes it possible to order an Uber or Lyft if you need a ride somewhere.
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.
The biggest benefit to MAPS.ME isn't the navigation benefits of the app, but instead, 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.
Keep track of those appointments with your calendar
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. These apps can be tailored to your needs, showing you the most important information about how your day is going to go.
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.
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 take a 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.
Unlike other options, DigiCal works with many of the popular calendar services such as Google, Outlook, and others. The app offers the schedule for many popular sports, too, so you'll always know when the next game is. Plus, you can view detailed weather information for each day so you know whether to bring a raincoat.
Don't forget to backup your files
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 computer's 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 is just part of the puzzle that is Google's productivity "get work done" suite of applications. This is where you'll find all of your various documents and can use it as a backup for projects created on your phone or your computer. Then, you'll be able to view your files, regardless of your internet connection.
While you start out 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.
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.
Turn analog into digital in a snap
If you go to an event or have a lot of 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 a contact or saved for use later on.
Office Lens quickly and easily takes those pictures of documents and business cards and turns them into PDF's. 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.
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.
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.
It's time to sit down and just write
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 can be a basic text editor or something that you use to write your first book in. There is an array of tools that you can 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.
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.
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 of course, Android.
Record your thoughts quickly
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.
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 features such as 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.
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.
Have you ever had an idea that was amazing 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.
Who's ready for a road trip?!
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.
Staying focused on the road is the most important object 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.
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 giving users the ability to 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.
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.
Just about every car has a CarFax report available, which not only keeps track of any accidents, but also the services performed. With this app, users will be able to track all auto repair and service history information, along with getting alerts when the car is overdue for an oil change or tire rotation.
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.
A car will rarely last forever, with folks needing to get a new car at some point in time. The 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.
Your phone is an extension of you and your PC
It would only make sense for there to be applications that integrate with your phone and computer so that they work as one. 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.
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.
In addition to providing expected services like file transfer, notification mirroring, and SMS messaging, Join does much more. 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 is truthfully endless.
Connect with friends and family everywhere
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.
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.
Facebook Messenger has become the default messaging platform for many, and for better or worse, the app continues to impress. In addition to acting as a messaging platform, Messenger can handle SMS messages and even video calling. If the video call is taking place with a Facebook friend, you can get up and running in no time.
Skype has been vastly updated over the years and is inching towards the 11 million download marker. Voice calls, video chats, smart messaging, and even SMS are all possible with Skype. Plus, there is cross-platform compatibility so users can take advantage of its features regardless of using their Android phone or the computer.
There's literally an app for everything
When you are 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 categories of 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.
Without applications, our phones would just be phones and where's the fun in that? 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 me or you, that doesn't it will work with your buddy or your grandmother. These are just some of the best apps that you can find today, but we are always looking and hoping for new and exciting apps to hit the Play Store.