The newest smartphones on the market come loaded with a slew of features right off the shelf, but to get the most out of your new device you’ll have to dive into the vast marketplace of third-party apps. Since the launch of the Google Play Store, apps have been steadily deepening and improving the smartphone experience. There are apps for daily tasks like balancing a checkbook or calculating a tip, as well as crucial work-related apps bringing business communication platforms, all of the top names in social media, and many more to your Android device.
With nearly 3 million apps on the Google Play Store, users are spoiled for choice and it can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve done the work of putting together a list of the best Android apps across several categories to help you pick the best apps for your daily life. And if you’re looking for games, check out our list of the best Android games.
It’s probably the Android app, so it’s likely you have YouTube already — but that doesn’t make it any less essential. YouTube’s mobile app is sleek and intuitive, bringing the entirety of the video-sharing site to the palm of your hand. For those subscribed to YouTube Premium, you’ll have access to all the premium content, as well as special features like audio playback while the screen is off. But even when used as a free app, YouTube is essential.
Sometimes unfairly viewed as the lesser version of Facebook, Twitter is the place where everything seems to happen instantly. Birthplace of the now now-ubiquitous internet facet, the hashtag, Twitter is the best place to be if you like to be on top of the latest breaking news as it happens. Follow your favorite content creators, actors, or crazes, and follow all the news, impressions, and opinions as they roll in.
If you’re spending more time at home than usual, you might finally have the time to get to that connected-home project you always swore you’d do. If you are the proud owner of a Google Home device, then you already know the ins and outs of a digital assistant. The Google Home app takes this one step further, allowing you to control a plethora of connected smart home devices. It also serves as a command central for any native Google-connected device and your Google-connected accounts, like maps, contacts, calendars, and more.
Netflix isn’t just one of the best video-streaming services; it’s the video-streaming service. There’s a huge selection of Netflix movies and TV shows for subscribers and the performance is silky smooth. It’s not just restricted to old favorites either, as Netflix has produced a huge amount of excellent exclusive content — though if you’re anything like us, you’ll just put The Office on again. This is as entertained as you can get from just $9 a month, or $16 a month if you want access to 4K content.
Disney holds possibly the largest library of film and television properties in the world and they are all on Disney+. From Hamilton to The Mandalorian you’ll find something for every member of the family. As theatergoers are slow to return all around the globe, Disney has begun using Disney+ for major blockbusters like Mulan and Soul. You’ll also have access to original television shows like Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. There’s a seven-day free trial, and it’ll cost you $6.99 a month after that — though you can pay $80 for a year in advance to save $14.
With the streaming wars hotter than ever before AT&T wasn’t about to let Warner Media go without a fight. HBO Max launched in the summer of 2020 and brings with it all the HBO content audiences are already familiar with, with the added benefit of original content produced exclusively for the streaming platform. In 2021 HBO Max announced that all Warner property films will launch in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously as studios clamor for return on investments in this new theater-less world, so you can catch blockbusters like Mortal Kombat from the comfort of your living room.
Spotify is probably the first name that springs to mind when you think about music apps — and for good reason as it’s one of the best streaming services out there. There’s a massive selection of music on offer, from the latest huge releases to up-and-coming acts. Spotify also now offers video support for some of the best podcasts on their platform. There’s a free version if you want to try it out, but if you want ad-free listening, to download music, play any song, and have unlimited skips, then you’ll need to subscribe for $10 a month, though Spotify does offer a generous three-month free trial. Spotify also offers a family household plan for $15 a month, a student account at the reduced cost of $5 a month, and a “Duo” account covering two people in the same household for $13 a month.
With over 350 channels covering a wide spectrum of genres and categories, there is something for everyone on SiriusXM. Users can listen to channels streaming a single artist or covering a specific sports league. From personalized Pandora stations to not one but two Howard Stern channels, SiriusXM hosts a world of content available within the app.
The Wall Street Journal
During these harrowing financial times and in a volatile macroeconomic environment, you’d be well served to stay up to date on the goings-on of our economy, markets, and financial news. The Wall Street Journal app places all this information in your pocket as well as the multifaceted award-winning journalism that’s been printed there since 1889.
The official app of National Public Radio provides a steady stream of straightforward reporting in both print and audio. Users can listen to news reports and various NPR staples such as All Things Considered and Radiolab.
Get the same industry-leading coverage you can expect from Fox Sports television right on your smartphone. Track your favorite teams, players, and leagues, and watch it all unfold live from inside the app. The Fox Sports app offers a complete experience with bonus cams and angles of the game you caught on television, as well as up-to-date sports news.
Having the official ESPN app installed is a no-brainer for any die-hard sports fan, especially if you have ESPN+. You can quickly get the latest news on your favorite teams and leagues, including MLB, NFL, NCAA, MLS, NHL, and more.
Essentially Vine for a new generation, TikTok is the home of short videos that are amusing, meme-laden, and just generally fit for easy consumption. What started as the app Musical.ly, geared at miming songs while dancing, has bloomed into one of the fastest-growing social media apps in the world. Its algorithm has become legendary as it curates content for you based on what you like and interact with, and there is now content on the app for all generations, hobbies, backgrounds, and interests.
Instagram is ubiquitous in photography now, so you might as well have it on your phone. Owned by Facebook, the social network centered on photos offers great filters and connectivity with others. Instagram has also been angling for a younger market share with its TikTok competitor called Reels.
In today’s privacy-minded world, Signal provides an encrypted way to share messages and video calls. Whether you’re sharing sensitive work info or traveling abroad in a place with more prying eyes, Signal allows you to communicate privately and worry-free.
The Google Play Store has no shortage of messaging apps, but WhatsApp’s secure end-to-end encryption and feature-rich interface mark it as one of the best. This cross-platform app lets you send and receive messages, pictures, audio notes, and perform video calling for free. A must-have for messaging addicts, travelers, and anyone with loved ones abroad.
Hugely popular among PC gamers and office workers, Discord is a place for messaging, image sharing, voice, and video calls. It features an intuitive interface that makes it easy to communicate and share with friends and co-workers. Discord is also home to countless communities where members with shared interests can hang out digitally.
Tinder is the ultimate dating app for mobile users, thanks to its location-centric features. Regardless of what its reputation may be, it’s still a great way to meet people. Your next match could be a swipe right away.
Hinge is the app “designed to be deleted.” By highlighting our most personal values, future plans, wants, and needs, Hinge focuses on bringing people together looking for serious relationships. The company also enforces a zero-tolerance policy on harassment, abuse, or any untoward behavior against their terms of service. Hinge sets out to provide an alternative to the fast-casual nature of many other dating apps and according to the company, four out of five users go on second dates.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle — you can still read your ebook directly on your smartphone. From best-sellers to the classics, it’s all here, with more than 900,000 titles in Amazon’s store.
Audible is the premier place to consume audiobooks on your Android device. There are thousands of audiobooks on offer, from classics to the most recent hits, and you get your first audiobook for free. A $15-per-month subscription gets you a credit per month to spend on any audiobook, and options for playback speed and cross-device syncing make listening even easier. There’s even a car mode for listening on the go.
Steam is the biggest and most prolific community and storefront for PC gaming. Through the Android app, users can access the Steam community, browse the store, and purchase new games.
Roblox deserves a spot as an essential app because it is so much more than just a game. With over 160 million active users and representing more than half of all children under age 16 in the United States on the platform, Roblox has ballooned into an online universe reminiscent of the “metaverse” that purports to be the future of online life and interaction. Roblox is itself a platform for game development and is responsible for millions of children gaining an interest in coding and software development.
While platforms like Facebook Gaming try their best to compete, Twitch remains the preeminent option for video game streaming and sports a growing roster of celebrity streamers. With the power of Amazon behind it, it’s unlikely Twitch will be dethroned anytime soon.
While the world of food delivery apps is vast, Grubhub is one of the best. Its seamless integration with local restaurant menus makes it one of the most user-friendly experiences in food delivery. If you’ve developed a recent taste for ordering in, then check out the options on Grubhub.
The viral recipe videos we’ve all seen on social media are available on a convenient app. The Tasty app houses over 3,000 recipes with step-by-step instructions so users can create delicious meals for friends and family. Recipes on the app are sorted by occasion, difficulty, dietary need, and more. From healthy meals to indulgent dinners, Tasty has something delicious for every user.
The fitness sensation of Peloton is certainly hard to ignore. While the price of its bike or treadmill may be out of reach for some folks, its app offers a thorough library of workout videos with great production value and neat organization by fitness subject. The Peloton network also offers live classes by lively instructors and allows close health tracking to help keep you motivated. Peloton currently offers a 30-day free trial, and a full membership for the app without the bike will run you $13 a month, though compared to a private trainer or gym membership, it’s a fitness app that seems well worth it.
GoodRx can help you save on your prescription medicine costs by helping you find coupons for your most important prescriptions accepted at most pharmacies. The app also offers a medicine tracker and pill reminder to help track your daily health routine. Before you pickup a prescription, check GoodRx to save some money.
Looking to save a little more money? Acorns helps you invest by rounding off your credit card or debit purchases to the nearest dollar. Once you’ve accumulated a little money, it’s easy to transfer the funds to your bank account. Acorns also offers retirement accounts like a Traditional IRA, so you can start saving for retirement now.
Mint is our favorite money management website, but it also has a terrific app. Mint can keep track of multiple bank accounts or credit cards to help you stay on budget and out of the red. Mint also helps you track your credit score.
Fidelity Investments brings the power of the brokerage and financial services company Fidelity into your pocket. Open a retirement or taxable account and handle your trades and portfolio right from the app. Fidelity allows you to buy fractional shares, and execute trades with $0 commission fees on U.S equities or ETFs.
There’s very little that you can’t buy or sell on eBay. The app is full-featured and much easier to use than the website. Bid on items, track your orders, and sell all of your unwanted stuff right here.
There’s no more essential a shopping app than Amazon. Practically anything you need, anywhere you live, and anytime you want, Amazon has it. With the Amazon app, you can order groceries through Amazon Fresh, and all your essentials through Amazon Prime.
The easiest online checkout method is on your smartphone. You’ll be able to manage your PayPal account, send and receive payments, and more. The app can also notify you of transactions, offering handy reminders and alerts when you use PayPal as a payment method or have an upcoming bill due.
Duolingo offers a free and approachable way to learn a new language. Through a mix of gamification, read and repeat, and a challenging but engaging skill system that the user has to climb through as they learn the new language of their choice. Duolingo offers a plethora of languages for English speakers, as well as some languages for native speakers of other languages.
If you need to get somewhere and don’t have wheels of your own, hop in someone else’s ride. Uber allows you to call upon a private driver in your city who will help you get to where you need to go. It’s all the ease of a taxi, at a lower cost, and without the fumbling for cash at the end.
Forego the headache of trying to find and book a hotel, and instead find an open room or home to stay at on your travels. Users can search for accommodations, communicate directly with hosts, and book, all without leaving the app.
Translate speech or text between more than 70 languages with this app. It can act as your interpreter, enabling you to decipher signs and menus and enable two-way conversations. You can download translation files if you know you’ll be without a data connection, and it can even translate signs with Google Lens.
Tripadvisor is the ultimate going out app, with millions of recommendations and reviews from people all around the world, covering the best things to do wherever you are. Plan ahead with Tripadvisor’s tools, allowing you to organize your hotel bookings, restaurant trips, and attractions. You can even book them from the app with Google Pay access. It’s also great when you’re traveling, thanks to support for mobile tickets and bookings.
Let’s face it, gas prices are extremely elevated. GasBuddy is the answer. This app will help you find the cheapest gas prices in your area with up to date pricing supplied by its loyal userbase. GasBuddy even offers a fuel card if you really want to maximize savings.
OpenTable is the leading platform to get a table for date night at the new hot restaurant in town. With the OpenTable app, you can find your favorite eatery and make a reservation as well as add special requests and share the reservation with your invited friends. If you’re looking to discover a new place to grab a bite, OpenTable features reviews from thousands of businesses so you know where to go and where not to go. This app makes it easy to make, manage, cancel, and change your reservations right from your phone.
Never get caught off guard by a car accident, broken traffic light, or speed trap again. Waze harnesses all the power of user summited information to help drivers avoid the common pitfalls of their daily commutes or long road trips. Waze is designed to get you where you’re going as quickly as possible by using up-to-the-minute live information to navigate. It will even help you find the cheapest gas along your route.
Adobe Photoshop Express
While not as feature-filled or extensive as the desktop version, Adobe Photoshop Express still offers an impressively wide array of tools for editing and creating images directly on your Android device.
One of the original players in the photo editing space, VSCO sparked an entire movement and brought an iconic photo aesthetic to a generation of social media users. The VSCO photo editor offers a variety of presets, vintage filters, and texture effects. VSCO also supports video editing for those longer video posts.
It’s one of the most downloaded apps on the Play Store, and that’s for a very good reason. OfficeSuite is a full-featured alternative for Microsoft Office, and includes tools to view, edit, and create Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents, as well as including support for various PDF operations. It’s an all-in-one solution for your document woes, and it’s free to get most of the features. OfficeSuite Premium gets you the ability to work on password-protected files, 50GB of cloud storage, the ability to export PDFs to other formats, and more.
Dropbox is another cloud-saving service, and while you think you have that covered with Google Drive, Dropbox is still useful to download and use, because it often works with many third-party apps Drive doesn’t. It only gives you 2GB for free, but if you use it primarily for smaller files you should be okay with that amount.
Grammarly has grown above and beyond its key use case of email writing assistance and has grown into an integrated extension and app offering grammar and spelling suggestions or corrections for not only emails, but across all apps on your smartphone. Whether you’re composing a LinkedIn message, a text, or a Yelp review, Grammarly will help you maintain composure by perfecting your composition.
Khan Academy is a multifaceted platform offering thousands of hours of educational material across every topic imaginable. If you’re working from home or find yourself with a lot of time on your hands, then Khan Academy should become your new go-to. Simply redistribute your TikTok hours to Khan Academy and you’ll be a rocket scientist in no time.
LastPass remains the pre-eminent password manager across your devices. If you’re struggling to remember dozens of passwords, or wondering how you might pass on all those passwords to someone else, LastPass is the answer. LastPass will securely store all your usernames and passwords as well as automatically sync with any devices on which LastPass is installed — as long as you have Premium access, that is. Premium access for use across all your devices is just $3 per month, and allows you to sync passwords across all devices, not just between the mobile or desktop apps (a new limitation on the free tier).
Slack remains one of the biggest communication tools for businesses everywhere. Organize your teams and employees into channels to help with team productivity. Slack’s intuitive layout and ability to integrate workflows with other popular productivity apps such as Google Drive, Salesforce, and Dropbox make it a powerful tool to help get work done.