Here it is ladies and gentlemen. The crème de la crème.
The Android apps that stand alone at the top of the pantheon. These apps have
become ubiquitous with Android and if you’re looking for good stuff
it’s assumed that you have some of this stuff already. There are a ton of
amazing Android apps out there. However, their usefulness is usually limited to
the habits of the people using them. These apps shouldn’t have those problems.
Everybody can use these. Without further delay, here are the best Android
apps currently available! This is not a diamond-in-the-rough kind of list.
You should be relatively familiar with all of these.
1Weather is arguably
the best weather app out there. It features a simple, paginated design that
shows you the current weather, forecast for up to 12 weeks, a radar, and other
fun stats. Along with that, you’ll get a fairly decent set of lightly
customizable widgets and the standard stuff like severe weather notifications
and a radar so you can see the storms approaching. Perhaps its best feature is
its minimal design which just shows you the weather (and fun facts, if you
want). The free version has all of the features. The $1.99 charge removes
advertising. Otherwise the two versions work the same way. Most will also
likely enjoy the range of weather fun facts as well. Other great weather apps
include Dark Sky, Weather Underground, and Today Weather.
Bouncer was our pick
for the best new Android app from 2018. It’s a security app with a unique
premise. The app lets you grant temporary permissions to applications. So, for
instance, you can let Facebook access your location long enough to check into a
place, and Bouncer disables the permission once you leave Facebook. This is a
great way to use all of the features of a social media app without digging into
your settings to disable those permissions or giving those apps permanent
access to your information. The app runs for $0.99 and should work on most (if
not all) apps. It’s rumored that this could be an Android Q feature. If that’s
true, then even Google really likes this app.
Google Drive is a cloud
storage solution available on Android where all new users get 15GB for free
permanently upon signing up. You can, of course, buy more if needed. What makes
Google Drive so special are the suite of Android apps that are attached to it.
They include Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Photos, Gmail,
Google Calendar, and Google Keep. Between the office apps, the Photos app
(which allows unlimited photo and video backup), and Keep Notes for note
taking, you have apps for practically anything you need to do in terms of
productivity. Some of the features of these apps include live collaboration,
deep sharing features, and compatibility with Microsoft Office documents.
Microsoft Office has a similar setup with OneDrive and Office. That makes them
a great alternative for Google Drive. However, Google’s solution is just easier
Google Maps and Waze
Google Maps virtually
owns the navigation apps scene and it remains of the best Android apps ever. It
gets frequent, almost weekly updates that seem to only add to its incredibly
generous list of existing features. Aside from the very basics, Google Maps
gives you access to places of interest, traffic data, directions to things like
rest stops or gas stations, and they even let you have offline maps now (albiet
temporarily). If you add to that the Waze experience, which includes tons of
its own features, and you won’t need another navigation app. Ever. Google also
owns and operates Waze. It’s unique and fun in ways that Google Maps isn’t and
we also highly recommend it.
Google Assistant / Google Feed / Google Search
This is one seriously
powerful app. It also works on most Android devices. You simply download the
app and then enable it. From there, you can ask it whatever you want. It also
supports a variety of commands. You can control lights, ask about population control,
and it can even do simple math problems for you. There are a variety of
products like Google, Bose QC II Bluetooth headphones, Home and Chromecast that
extent the functionality even further. There is also a second Google Assistant
app for those who want a quick launch icon on the home screen. The hardware
stuff costs money, but Google Assistant is free. Amazon Alexa is another
excellent app in this space, but it doesn’t support Google Android quite as
much as we would like, yet.
Google Play Music, YouTube Music, and YouTube
We don’t typically
recommend streaming services to people. Everyone has their preferences and
saying that one is better than another is a matter of opinion at this point.
Except for Google Play Music. The app can read both your local files and the
music you like online. Additionally, you can upload tens of thousands of songs
to the service for free. YouTube is kind of a given. There’s more content there
than a human person can watch in several lifetimes. That includes music videos,
educational videos, news videos, reviews, video game let’s plays, and a whole
lot more. YouTube Music should replace Google Play Music eventually. This
collection is the best music and video streaming package on mobile as long as
they remain tied together. Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal are also great music
streaming services, especially if you want better sounding music.
LastPass Password Manager
LastPass is one of
those must-have Android apps. It’s a password manager that lets you save your
login credentials in a safe, secure way. On top of that, it can help generate
nearly impossible passwords for you to use on your accounts. It’s all
controlled with a master password. It has cross-platform support so you can use
it on computers, mobile devices, tablets, or whatever. There are others, but
LastPass always feels like it’s one step ahead. Additionally, the premium
version is cheap. You can also grab LastPass Authenticator to go along with it
for added security. There are other great options like 1Password, Dashlane,
KeepassDroid, and others that are just about as good. However, LastPass feels a
little more friendly and secure (usually), especially with its extra
Initially, we weren’t
going to put any launchers on this list. Nova Launcher seems to be extend
beyond what normal launchers are. It’s been around for years, it’s been
consistently updated, and thus it’s never not been a great option for a
launcher replacement. It comes with a host of features, including the ability
to backup and restore your home screen set ups, icon theming for all of your
Android apps, tons of customization elements for the home screen and app
drawer, and more. You can even make it look like the Pixel Launcher if you want
to. If you go premium, you can tack on gesture controls, unread count badges
for apps, and icon swipe actions. Those looking for something simpler may want
to try Lawnchair Launcher, Hyperion Launcher, and Rootless Launcher as well.
Those who enjoy
podcasts probably have the easiest decision in regards to which podcast app
that should use. The answer to that question is Pocket Casts. This insanely
stable and good looking app allows you to download or stream various podcasts
for your enjoyment. It features both audio-only and video podcast support so
you can catch up on just about anything. There is also a light and dark theme,
a sign-in feature so you can sync your podcasts across devices, and a pretty
decent recommendations function. It underwent a redesign in 2019 that is a bit
polarizing, but it’s still an excellent podcast app.
Pulse SMS or Android Messages
There are a ton of
great SMS apps. However, two stand above the rest. They are Pulse SMS and
Android Messages. Pulse SMS features theming, GIF support, password protected
conversations, a blacklist for spammers, dual-SIM support, and more. Android
Messages is a little more basic but it’s simple and it gets the job done. Both
of these apps also offer SMS messaging from your desktop. Pulse charges either
a monthly subscription or a single $10.99 charge while Android Messages is
free. Pulse SMS uses a server structure while Android Messages live streams
your messages. Both methods have their pros and cons, but they’re both still
excellent options. These are the SMS apps we’d recommend to everybody. Those
who don’t care about texting from a computer can still use these and people
seem to like Textra a lot as well.
File browsing is
something everyone inevitably has (or wants) to do, so you might as well do it
with a capable, fantastic file browser. Solid Explorer is pretty much as good
as it gets in the file explorer apps realm. It features Material Design,
archiving support, support for the most popular cloud services, and even some
more power user stuff like FTP, SFPT, WebDav, and SMB/CIFS support. It looks
great, it’s incredibly stable, and it just works well. There is a 14-day free
trial with a $2.99 price tag at the end of it. This is, by far, the best file
manager on Android for most people.
SwiftKey Keyboard is
one of the most powerful and customizable third-party keyboards available. It
hit the market several years ago with a predictive engine unlike anything any
other keyboard had and the app has grown a lot of over the years. It’s a free
download and you can purchase themes for it if you want to. Other features
include a dedicated number row, SwiftKey Flow which allows for gesture typing,
multiple language support, cross-device syncing of your library and much more.
It’s about as good as it gets in the keyboard space. It’s true that Microsoft
now owns SwiftKey, but so far they have managed not to mess it up. Gboard,
Google’s keyboard app, is also exceptionally good and is an excruciatingly
close second place here.
Tasker and IFTTT
Tasker is a glorious
application if you have the patience to learn how to use the app. What it does
is allow users to create custom made commands and then use them in various
places. There are many apps out there that have Tasker support and you can even
use Tasker to create very complex commands for NFC tags. It’s difficult to
truly explain what this app can do because it can do so many things. Between
the apps supported, plugins you an add, and the sheer volume of stuff that you
can do, there aren’t many apps out there as useful as this one. IFTTT is
another excellent automation app. In some cases, it may even be better than
Tasker thanks to its simplicity and wide range of uses.
TickTick isn’t as
popular as other to-do list apps. However, it may be the best one. It covers
the basics like recurring tasks, reminders, push notifications, various
organizational features, and categories. The app also lets you share tasks and
entire categories with other people. This makes it great for family use, small teams
at work, or other such groups. It’s also great for stuff like grocery lists.
The to-do list app is full of excellent choices, like Todoist or more
professional options like Asana or Trello. However, TickTick just seems to
strike that perfect balance of functional while still being easy to use.
Todoist is perhaps the most fashionable option because it’s a lot flashier.
However, it hides all reminders behind a paywall and TickTick doesn’t. Sorry,
Last, but certainly not
least on our list is Zedge. This is a wallpapers, ringtones, notification
tones, and alarm tones app that gives you an unbelievable number of options to
customize the most basic parts of your device. On top of having an exhaustive collection
of things, Zedge also promotes various items during holiday seasons making it
easy to theme your phone up for Christmas, Halloween, and other holidays. It’s
not 100% perfect. It does have the occasional bug and some irritating
advertisements. Zedge Premium is a new initiative to provide premium content at
a reasonable price. You watch ads or fill out surveys to earn Zedge credits.
You can buy them as well with in-app purchases. It’s a good way to support the
developer and the artists. We also recommend Walli (with an i) for wallpapers.
ExpressVPN is one of the most trusted, secure brands in
the virtual private network industry, and that’s for good reason. It’s super
fast and extremely safe, boasting an SSL-secured network with 256-bit
encryption and, get this, unlimited bandwidth and speed. ExpressVPN has servers
in 94 countries (including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and others) in over 145
locations around the world, so there will always be a locatoin near you to give
you the best experience possible. What’s more, the service even has stealth
servers in Hong Kong. They are to evade the GFW specifically. It doesn’t even
look like you’re using a VPN!