Best Apps For Phones

Are you sick of looking at your phone and seeing the same old apps over and over again? Are you tired of wasting time scrolling through the app store, trying to find something new?

We’ve searched through all the nooks and crannies of the app store to find you some fun and exciting new apps that are sure to spruce up your phone. Check out our favorite finds below!

Best Apps For Phone

So you just bought yourself an Android phone. Or maybe some generous relative gave you one as a gift. Lucky you, because whether you’re unwrapping the Samsung Galaxy S21, Google Pixel 6 or OnePlus 9 Pro, you can’t go wrong with one of the best Android phones.

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But what do you with it next? Well, the good news is that even if you have a budget model, you’ll still get access to all of the treats in the Google Play Store. The only trouble is that with so many apps to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start.

That’s where we come in, with this guide to the one must-have app you need in each category — whether that’s photography, music streaming, productivity, travel or anything else. So read on for our starter guide, in A-Z order, and once you’re done you can also check out our full list of the best Android apps overall.

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Note: We’ve left Google apps out of this list because they’ll most likely be pre-installed. Many of them are essential though — we particularly recommend Maps, Chrome, Photos, Calendar, Drive, Google Pay, Home and Lens, all of which are either the best or close to the best in their respective categories.

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Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus ($14.99/year)
best android cleaner app: bitdefender

(Image credit: Bitdefender)
It may not be very exciting, but ensuring your new Android phone is protected from threats is nonetheless vital. And while there are plenty of decent free security apps out there, we think it’s worth a small outlay to pay for one of the best Android antivirus apps.

Bitdefender Mobile offers excellent anti-malware protection for your phone, and automatically scans apps and websites for possible threats. With extras including a VPN, anti-theft features, secure App Locker, and even a tool that keeps an eye on your email address, it’s well worth the reasonable price.

Download BitDefender Mobile Security & Antivirus

Canva (Free)
best android apps canva

(Image credit: Canva)
Whether you’re looking to level up your social media game, creating a birthday card or designing an event invitation, Canva can help bring out your creative side.

It’s packed with free templates but also comes with plenty of tools if you want to start from scratch, and though it’s powerful enough to create professional looking results, it’s incredibly easy to pick up. It comes with a library of photos and illustrations — although you can just as easily upload your own — and it offers easy sharing via email or social platforms.

Download Canva

Carrot Weather (Free)
best free Android apps: Carrot Weather

(Image credit: Grailr)
There are loads of great weather apps available, and as you’d expect most offer much the same experience; it’s not an area that lends itself to creativity.

Well, Carrot Weather would beg to differ, providing your weather reports with a healthy dose of sarcasm and wit to make your day that bit brighter even if it’s pouring down outside.

But don’t go thinking it’s all attitude over accuracy: Carrot Weather takes its data from Dark Sky, meaning you can trust its current, hourly, and 7-day forecasts, while infographics give you the most useful information in an easy-to-digest format. A premium version is also available and unlocks extra features.

Download Carrot Weather

Contacts+ (Free)
best free android apps: contacts plus

(Image credit: Contacts Plus Team)
Your contacts list can quickly descend into a mess of duplicates, never-used and who-are-they-again? entries, with the odd useful card hidden among them. Enter Contacts+, an address book replacement that helps you get organized.

It automatically imports information from linked social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so you have everything in one place, can pull in cover photos from Facebook and even display recent communications from each contact. We rate it as one of the best contact apps, and wouldn’t be without it on a new phone.

Download Contacts+

Flipboard (Free)

(Image credit: Flipboard)
Obviously you get all your news from Tom’s Guide, but let’s pretend you also want to read about topics we don’t cover, and in an attractive magazine-style format that’s expertly personalized to your own interests? Look no further than Flipboard.

The basic idea is simple: you select various topics — for instance politics, art, dogs, food and science — then Flipboard serves them up for you, regularly refreshing your personal magazine so that there’s always something new to read. You can also follow other people’s magazines, save stories and easily share them with others. And yes, TG is on it, don’t worry.

Download Flipboard

IFTTT (Free)
best free android apps: IFTTT

(Image credit: IFTTT)
Smart home tech is great, but the routines available aren’t always as clever as they could be. That’s where IFTTT can help.

Its name stands for If This Then That, and the app essentially allows you to create custom routines that can carry out surprisingly complex tasks without the need for any expertise beyond a little logic.

For instance, you could set it up so that it automatically turns on your smart lights, heating and music when you get home, or backs up photos when you take a new one, or messages your family when you’re near the grocery. The possibilities are almost endless and it’s fully compatible with almost every smart home platform on the planet.

Download IFTTT

JustWatch (Free)
best android apps justwatch

(Image credit: JustWatch)
Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Peacock, Amazon Prime Video… the trouble with TV these days is that there’s just too much of it, spread around multiple streaming platforms. You can easily spend so much time browsing for shows to watch that you run out of time to actually start anything.

Fortunately, JustWatch is here to simplify things, telling you exactly where to find the TV (and movies) you want to settle down with, across 37 streaming services. You also get movie trailers and showtimes, plus one-click bookings for your local movie theater.

Download JustWatch

LastPass (Free)
best free Android apps: LastPass

(Image credit: LogMeIn)
We’re always being told to make passwords more complex and not use the same one across multiple sites and services — and with good reason. But unless you have the memory of an elephant, that can leave you having to frequently reset your logins as you repeatedly forget which password is for which site.

That’s why you need a password manager, and our favorite is LastPass. It acts as a password vault that encrypts and stores your logins and automatically fills them in when you sign in, and it can also generate strong passwords from scratch. Plus it works on all platforms, so will sync nicely between your phone, tablet and computer.

Download LastPass

Microsoft To Do (Free)
best free Android apps: Microsoft To-Do

(Image credit: Microsoft)
There are many to-do list apps out there, but Microsoft’s To Do has been developed nicely over the years and is now one of our favorites. It’s easy to use, with a sleek and distraction-free interface, but also smart enough to offer up suggestions based on upcoming deadlines or even long-term patterns.

It’s also highly customizable: you can add color coding, descriptions, categories and more, or just stick to brief notes. And if you also use Microsoft’s Office 365 suite you’ll find it integrates well there, too.

Download Microsoft To Do

Mint (Free)
The best budgeting apps

(Image credit: Mint)
It’s easy to lose track of your finances, but Mint doesn’t want that to happen. In fact, its mission is to help you track, budget, and manage your money all in one place. And it does so brilliantly, making what is usually a dull and lengthy task into one that’s slightly more approachable. But still dull; it can’t work miracles.

As well as helping you to track your incomings and outgoings, it’ll let you set reminders for bill payments and subscriptions — so you don’t get caught out by the end of those free trial periods — and everything is presented in clear, attractive charts and tables that make a mundane subject much more accessible.

Download Mint

Moon+ Reader (Free)
best free android apps: moon plus reader

(Image credit: Moon+)
We could just suggest the Amazon Kindle app here, but chances are you already know about that. Plus, great though Kindle is, Moon+ Reader offers several advantages, not least the ability to handle formats such as EPUB and MOBI.

It’s another highly customizable app, too, with options for everything from line spacing to font scale to the overall theme. And of course it’s proudly brand agnostic: you can use Moon+ with almost every online library out there, rather than being tied to one service.

Download Moon+ Reader

Niagara Launcher (Free)
best android apps Niagara launcher

(Image credit: Peter Huber)
We named Niagara Launcher the best Android app in our Tom’s Guide Awards 2021, and if that isn’t enough of a recommendation then we don’t know what is.

How essential it is will depend on what device you’re using, because if you’re on a Pixel, for instance, you may prefer to stick with vanilla Android. But for everyone else — or just those who fancy a change — Niagara is a must.

It offers a clean, minimal interface that puts your apps front and center in an alphabetical list and lets you read and respond to notifications from the home screen. You can also customize it (of course) and you won’t find an ad near it, even in the free version.

Download Niagara Launcher

Pixtica (Free)

(Image credit: Perraco Labs)
There are more camera apps on the Play Store than there are grains of sand on all the beaches in the world (probably), but if we had to pick just one it would be Pixtica.

It offers complete control over every aspect of photography, from ISO to shutter speed to focus, while live filters, panorama, HDR, stickers and hyperlapse modes give you plenty of creative options to play around with. And while most of these features can be found in other camera apps, too, it’s rare to get them all in one place — and in a gorgeous, user-friendly package that is a joy to use. A paid version adds more filters and higher resolutions, and unlocks various other options.

Download Pixtica

Pocket Casts (Free)
best android apps: pocket casts

(Image credit: Podcast Media)
Google’s own Podcasts app is pretty decent, and we also like the super-powerful Podcast Addict, but our favorite is the excellent Pocket Casts. It nails the balance between functionality and accessibility, offering tons of ways to listen, multiple playback options, cloud syncing and more, while dressing it all up in a gorgeous skin that makes it easy to navigate.

A premium subscription for $0.99/month or $9.99/year gives you extra features including a desktop app, but the free version is enough to keep most people very happy indeed.

Download Pocket Casts

Reddit (Free)

(Image credit: Reddit)
Got a spare minute? Then dip into Reddit and see what you land on. But be warned; you could easily find yourself down a rabbit hole that leaves you surfacing several hours later with a brain full of both useful and useless information.

Reddit has been around for years, of course, but it’s just as engaging as ever, with its mix of viral posts and videos, AMAs and genuinely interesting threads guaranteed to keep you entertained for however long you choose to spend on it. There are also groups for every interest under the sun (some of which are seriously niche) and it can be a fantastic place to seek advice on a subject. Just be aware that you’re never far from a NSFW post.

Download Reddit

Sky Safari (Free)
Sky Safari

(Image credit: Sky Safari)
Ever looked up at the heavens and wondered what that really bright star hovering just above the horizon is? Point your phone at it and Sky Safari will not only tell you that’s it’s Vega, but also that it’s the fifth brightest star in the sky and lies within the constellation Lyra, 25.3 light years away.

In short, it’s a toolkit for the night sky, using GPS to accurately pinpoint your location and identify what you’re seeing, then giving you info, images and data about it. It’s an essential download if you have even the slightest interest in the cosmos.

Download Sky Safari

Solid Explorer File Manager ($1.99)
best android apps solid explorer

(Image credit: NeatBytes)
One thing people like about Android is that you can easily access the files stored within your phone — so long as you know where to find them. There are dozens of free file explorer apps that let you manage your device’s external storage, but many are hampered by ads and bloatware.

Instead, we’d recommend spending a very reasonable $1.99 on the excellent Solid Explorer, a premium file manager free from ads but packed with features. You get drag-and-drop controls, a multi-tab and multi-pane interface, compressed archives and support for network and cloud storage plus more advanced features such as a root explorer.

Download Solid Explorer

Songkick (Free)

(Image credit: Songkick)
If you’re a fan of live music then Songkick is an absolute must. It serves up personalized concert listings based on what you listen to on Spotify, avoiding the need to wade through Ed Sheeran and Adele gigs so you can get straight to the good stuff. You can also get reminders when events go on sale, and even purchase tickets via the app. It’s a one-stop shop for music lovers.

Download Songkick

Spotify (Free)
best free android apps: Spotify

(Image credit: Spotify)
Speaking of Spotify, it’s still the best music streaming app out there thanks to its vast library, slick UI and integration with smart speakers. As well as having the entire back catalogs of almost every artist who you’re likely to care about, it’s increasingly hot on podcasts, while its personalized playlists can make it easy to discover new favorites — or resurface old classics.

The free version is fine if you don’t mind ads, but you won’t be able to listen via Echo, Google or Sonos devices (among others) or save songs for offline listening. Those features alone make it well worth shelling out for the $9.99/month Premium subscription.

Download Spotify

Strava (Free)
best free android apps: strava

(Image credit: Strava)
Though Strava is our pick as the best running app, it’s every bit as essential if you prefer cycling, swimming or even just like a nice walk now and again.

Its USP is in the way it combines fitness tracking with a social feed and gamified features that let you compete with others — whether friends or strangers — over set routes. Even if you’re not usually the competitive type, it’s hard to resist the allure of trying to move up the table from 389th to 388th by recording a slightly better time over that lap of the local park.

Integration with multiple fitness trackers, Wear OS and Apple Watch is another bonus, and there’s a premium subscription which adds exercise goals, more detailed analytics and other treats.

Download Strava

Tasker ($2.99)
best android cleaner apps: tasker

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While IFTTT, earlier on in this list, is an excellent tool for setting up smart home routines, Tasker really excels when it comes to phone-based automation.

Want to automatically turn off data when you get home? You got it. Wish your phone would go into do not disturb mode when you turn it face down? No problem. With 350+ actions to choose from, if you can think of it, Tasker can almost certainly make it happen.

Install it on a rooted phone and you’ll get even more options, making it well worth the single $2.99 payment.

Download Tasker

Transit (Free)
best android apps transit

(Image credit: Transit App)
While Google Maps is great in this regard, if you live in a city, Transit is a must for navigating public transport. Tell it where you want to go and it’ll offer up routes using trains, buses, and even bike sharing, while also factoring in short walks to each stop and wait times. Real-time data on arrival times and service disruptions are another bonus, and with 300 cities now supported there’s a decent chance you’ll be able to use it on your commute.

Download Transit

VLC (Free)
best free android apps: VLC

(Image credit: Videolabs)
VLC has been around for years, but it remains the most powerful and flexible video and music player, handling any file format that you can throw at it from .mp4 files to .mkv and many, many more. It’s totally free, doesn’t have ads, is open source and frankly we don’t need to say any more: just download it.

Download VLC

best free android apps

The best free Android apps give you loads of things to do without costing anything upfront. Whether you’ve picked up one of the best cheap phones or you pay big bucks for the latest flagship, you get the same experience.

And if you do buy the latest and greatest Android phones these days, you’re paying more for your device. Even with Samsung lowering the prices on its new Galaxy S21 models by $200 from the Samsung Galaxy S20, phones like the Galaxy Note 20 still start at $999, and some devices easily blow past the four-figure mark. Throw in a monthly data plan, and it’s easy to understand why you’d want to slash spending from your mobile budget.

Why not start to save money by opting for some of the best free Android apps? After all, not every app available at Google Play comes with a fee. The true challenge is sorting the must-downloads from the ones that will just waste space on your phone.

Whether you’ve got a new Android device to load up with apps or you’re just looking for new additions to your old phone, here are some of the best free Android apps we’ve found on our trips through Google Play.

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The best free Android apps you can download right now
Niagara Launcher
Niagara Launcher

(Image credit: Niagara Launcher)
If you’re looking for a fresh new way to experience your Android phone’s home screen, then look no further than Niagara Launcher. It shirks the traditional app drawer paradigm, instead opting for a minimalist group of favorites with an alphabetical list as the app drawer replacement. The end result is clean look with intuitive gestures for navigation.

Of course, you can pay a small fee to unlock the full experience, but the core part of Niagara is free. It’s my go-to launcher now and it won our Best Android App award for this year. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Download Niagara Launcher

Moon+ Reader
best free android apps: moon plus reader

(Image credit: Moon+)
Outside of the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook apps, the absolute best ebook reader on Android is Moon+ Reader. It is a fantastic app and I can’t say that enough. As someone who runs a Calibre ebook server at home with hundreds of ebooks (obtained mostly through Humble Bundle), Moon+ Reader is my choice for reading any one of those books on my phone.

Simply put, Moon+ Reader can handle any format, like EPUB and MOBI. There are a ton of ways to customize it to your liking, like line spacing, font scale, themes, and much, much more. It has a great and easy-to-use bookshelf and you can connect a lot of online libraries. Like I said, if you’re running Calibre in your home, this is the app for you.

While you may be locked to Kindle or Nook for your ebooks, Moon+ Reader gives you the option for your DRM-free books.

Download: Moon+ Reader

best free android apps: Notion

(Image credit: Notion Labs)
Notion aims to be your personal and team productivity hub, allowing users to create custom private or shared workspaces. From there, you add versatile “blocks” that can act like text snippets, bookmarks, images, toggle links, files, code snippets, discussion sections, and more.

This approach means you easily customize your workspace, and you can still drag and drop individual blocks of content to where you need them without disrupting an entire document. Whether you’re taking notes, crunching spreadsheets, or building a Kanban board, Notion’s powerful building blocks make things a snap to set up.

The free version of Notion allows you to save and sync up to 1,000 blocks of content, while premium subscription plans remove that content limit and add admin tools, permission settings, and other features.

Download: Notion

best free Android apps: Recorder

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)
When the Pixel 4 debuted in 2019, one of the best things to come with it was Google’s Recorder app. Recorder not only filled one of the big missing gaps on Pixel phones — which previously didn’t feature a built-in voice recorder — but did it in style. Recorder could transcribe your recordings in real-time, even as you were speaking. And all that transcription work was done locally, without sharing your recordings to the cloud.

Recorder was so good, Google hasn’t restricted it to just the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. The app is available to all Pixel phones, and updates have added editing features introduced with the Pixel 5. Even if you carry around a different Android phone in your pocket, there’s a workaround to install Recorder on your Android device. You’ll need to be running either Android 9 or Android 10, and some features may not be supported on all phones, but it’s still a great way to experience one of the best free Android apps we’ve ever seen.

Download: Recorder for Pixel

Best free Android Apps: Canva

(Image credit: Canva)
A past Google Play Awards winner, Canva is a quick, user-friendly photo editing app that’s designed with social media use in mind.

The app comes with a variety of ready to use templates, filters, fonts, and other tools that you can apply to images in your device’s gallery or in Canva’s selection of free and premium images, which you can then easily share to your favorite social network or media platform. You can use Canva to quickly set up a cover photo or account avatar for Facebook or create crisp and clean Instagram stories, Twitter banners or the perfect Youtube thumbnails.

There’s a wealth of free material and templates you can work with, as well as a selection of premium templates, images, and more that you can access with in-app purchases.

Download: Canva

PicsArt Photo Editor
best free Android apps: PicsArt Photo Editor

(Image credit: PicsArt)
If you want one of the best free Android apps that’s better geared toward proper photo editing, consider PicsArt Photo Editor, another past Google Play Awards winner (from when the app was known as PicsArt Photo Studio.)

PicsArt puts a ton of editing tools straight to the palm of your hand, from standard editing tools that stretch, distort, and crop images, to filters, beautifying tools, cutout tools, collage makers, double-exposure mixing tools, masking selections, drawing tools, and more. In short, it’s a collection of tools that’s useful for everything from cleaning up quick snapshots to making a share-worthy social media piece.

While you already get a good selection of features for free, a PicsArt Gold premium subscription provides a wider array of tools along with more filters and fonts and video editing; the subscription also removes ads.

Download: PicsArt Photo Editor

best free android apps whisk

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Whisk can bring order to your kitchen and meal planning without costing you a dime. The recipe organizer lets you pull recipes from the web or other cooking apps, adjusting ingredients and serving sizes to your specification. Then, just one button converts that recipe into a shopping list that you can use for in-store or online grocery shopping.

In addition to recipe management and grocery shopping features, Whisk also boasts a community of home cooks who can share recipes that inspire you to try new meals. And a meal planning feature lets you plot out what you’ll be serving all week long. That’s a lot of features to pack into one of the best free Android apps we’ve seen.

Download: Whisk

best free Android apps: Woebot

(Image credit: Woebot Labs)
Woebot channels chatbot technology for good, building on proven principles and techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and dialectical behavior therapy to help with emotional self-care and help you process difficult emotions and life events.

Don’t confuse Woebot with a good — and human — therapist. Instead, the app aims to help you self-assess your state of mind, checking in with you regularly and helping you practice mindfulness exercises to try to help center yourself and improve your mental and emotional well-being.

Download: Woebot

best free Android apps: Transit

(Image credit: Transit App)
Because Transit is a fantastic aid to your commute, it earns a spot on any list of the best free Android apps. Transit helps you plan out the fastest public transport routes to your destination.

The app provides routes that combine numerous transportation methods — such as trains, buses, and bike sharing — while also factoring in short walks to each stop and wait times. Transit can provide real-time data on arrival times of your bus or train, compare routes, step-by-step navigation, and notifications for service line disruptions. You can even book an Uber or reserve a car2go from within the app if public transport has failed you.

Download: Transit

Google Home
best free android apps: Google Home

(Image credit: Google)
Initially designed as a hub app for Google’s Chromecast device, Google Home has since grown into a handy smart appliance command center, offering compatibility with devices like the Google Home smart speaker, as well as smart lights, internet-connected thermostats, home security devices, smart plugs, and more. (We’ve got a complete look at the best Google Home-compatible devices.)

Rather than having to continually shuffle between dozens of device-specific apps, you can turn the Google Home app into an all-in-one command center and a true central hub for your smart home.

Download: Google Home

Adobe Acrobat Reader
Best free Android Apps: Adobe Acrobat Reader

(Image credit: Adobe)
While your Android phone probably has some support for the basics of opening and viewing PDF files, if you want anything more capable, you’ll want a dedicated PDF reader app, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The mobile version of Acrobat Reader is a capable reader, with configurable view modes, support for page search, cloud storage, bookmarks and tables of contents. It also includes annotation features for your marginal notes, comments, and even digital signatures. (You can also check out our picks for the best free PDF editors if you need to make more substantive changes.) In-app purchases and subscriptions unlock professional and productivity-oriented features.

Download: Adobe Acrobat Reader

Microsoft To Do
best free Android apps: Microsoft To-Do

(Image credit: Microsoft)
Born from Microsoft’s acquisition of Wunderlist, Microsoft To Do is a smart, no-nonsense to-do list app that presents a sleek and distraction-free interface, while intelligently suggesting tasks based on long-term patterns, upcoming deadlines, or stuff that you weren’t able to see to in the past days.

Users can keep task descriptions simple, or add detailed descriptions, color codes, categories, and more. While the app is free, cross-platform, and works perfectly fine on its own, it also plays well with the rest of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of productivity tools.

Download: Microsoft To Do

JetAudio HD Music Player
best free android apps: JetAudio

(Image credit: Team Jet)
If you want to amp up the music player on your Android device, give JetAudio HD Music Player a try. The free version of the app features a 10-band graphics equalizer and a number of playback features including crossfading, playback control, and automatic gain control.

JetAudio supports a wide variety of formats including .wav, .mp3, .ogg, .flac, .m4a, .mpc, .tta, .wv, .ape, .mod, .spx, .opus, and .wma (though that last one depends on your device).

For even more features, including a 20-band graphic equalizer, and to ditch the ads that come in the free version, you can upgrade to JetAudio HD Music Player Plus for $3.99, though the free app offers enough features for most users. In fact, this free version isn’t just one of the best Android apps, it’s also one of the best Android music players available.

Download: JetAudio HD Music Player

Adobe Photoshop Sketch
best free Android apps: Adobe Photoshop Sketch

(Image credit: Adobe)
Adobe Photoshop Sketch is a free app that provides users with a set of expressive drawing tools. Users can choose from utilities that mimic a graphite pencil, ink pen or marker. The app supports a variety of Bluetooth styluses on the market such as those by Wacom and Adonit.

Sketch aims to replicate the analog drawing experience, augmented with a few digital flourishes such as a color picker and an undo history and is best suited for phones with bigger displays.

Users can import assets from other Creative Cloud tools such as custom brushes and colors, and your creations can also be exported into Creative Cloud as layered PSDs to Photoshop, or to Illustrator.

Download: Adobe Photoshop Sketch

Nova Launcher
best free android apps: Nova Launcher

(Image credit: TeslaCoil Software)
Tired of your stock launcher, looking to optimize your home screen performance, or just looking to customize your device’s UI? Nova Launcher is among the best Android launchers, offering loads of cosmetic and utility customizations with minimal performance overhead, letting you set your home screen just right without slowing down your phone.

There are a lot of options to work through, from color themes to icon packs, scrollable docks to app drawer customizations, folder settings and infinite scrolling. The Nova team is never content to rest on its laurels, continuously adding new features, such as Sesame Shortcuts, animations, new adaptive icon shapes and other improvements geared toward recent Android versions.

While many customizations are available in this best free Android app, others such as gesture controls are gated behind the premium version.

Download: Nova Launcher

best free android apps: strava

(Image credit: Strava)
In addition to being a top-notch running and cycling tracker — we think it’s the best running app you can download — Strava adds gamified features to give the usual run-tracking recipe a competitive edge, whether you’re monitoring your runs, bike rides, or swims.

The app records your running speed, distance traveled, time and course taken, but also combines it with leaderboards, achievements and challenges. Strava supports a variety of running trackers, in addition to Wear OS and Apple Watch.

A premium subscription improves on the formula with filtered leaderboards, the ability to create exercise goals and view more detailed analytics and more. But the free version is enough for basic tracking.

Download: Strava

best free android apps: Castbox

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Podcasting platform Castbox combines a clean and navigable interface, a good selection of podcasts, and powerful podcast audio searching to deliver an excellent mobile podcatcher and one of the best free Android apps.

Users can sign in with Gmail, Facebook, or Twitter, and then search and subscribe to podcasts, download episodes for offline listening and sync their subscriptions across multiple devices. You can stream podcasts through Chromecast or Amazon Echo.

A premium tier of Castbox removes subscription limits, allows for homepage customization, and puts you on priority for customer support and new features.

Download: Castbox

best free Android apps: AccuWeather

(Image credit: AccuWeather)
Now that Dark Sky is gone from Google Play, AccuWeather provides Android users with timely and detailed weather forecasts, from 15-day outlooks to the hyperlocal MinuteCasts. Forecasts come with animated weather info, radar maps, detailed summaries, and push notifications for extreme weather alerts in the US.

Extra features include AccUcast, a system for crowd-sourced warnings on hazardous weather and road conditions, as well as customizable forecast details, weather-related videos, and Wear OS support so that you can get forecast info at a glance on your smartwatch.

Download: AccuWeather

Carrot Weather
best free Android apps: Carrot Weather

(Image credit: Grailr)
For a bit more snark with your weather report, check out Carrot Weather. This free Android app delivers the forecast with a hefty side order of biting commentary.

Carrot Weather pulls data from Dark Sky to provide current, hourly, and 7-day forecasts leavened with sarcastic humor to cushion even the gloomiest outlook. Infographics put useful information in quick reach, with more detailed meteorological data available as you tap and swipe. You can even configure Carrot’s sense of humor to be friendly, snarky, or murderous, with the ability to set how political the AI’s jokes can get.

While you can enjoy Carrot Weather for free, a Premium Club subscription removes ads and unlocks features like a Weather Time Machine and widgets.

Download: Carrot Weather

best free Android apps: Waze

(Image credit: Waze)
Waze is a godsend to many motorists, providing accurate, time-saving turn-by-turn navigation that takes advantage of traffic data and crowdsourced incident reports.

You select your destination, and then Waze uses mapping data and traffic information pulled from a variety of sources including official data as well as your fellow Waze users to automatically create a recommended route, complete with turn-by-turn directions.

The app is remarkably adaptive, automatically adjusting routes based on the latest traffic info, as well as shifting routes on the fly should you miss a turn. In addition, Waze can display crowd-sourced incident reports, the cheapest gas stations along your route and other extras.

Download: Waze

best free android apps: IFTTT

(Image credit: IFTTT)
If you find yourself wasting a lot of time with repetitive internet tasks, or just want to automate tasks on your phone, try IFTTT. The app comes with a variety of pre-built “applets” that automate tasks like backing up photos to cloud accounts, messaging your roommate or family if you’re near the grocery, or having your smart lights turn themselves on when you return home from work.

In addition to the pre-built applets in this best free Android app, users can also build custom tasks from these applets and services, combining multiple tasks and triggers in an “If This, Then That” structure (from which the app takes its name).

Download: IFTTT

best free Android apps: LastPass

(Image credit: LogMeIn)
Passwords and login credentials are a peculiarly internet age hassle. Thankfully password managers such as Lastpass can keep that hassle in check, serving as a mobile password vault that encrypts and stores your logins and automatically fills them in when using apps or signing on to websites.

In addition to keeping track of your logins, Lastpass can generate strong passwords and store encrypted data; it also supports fingerprint scanners. Cross-platform syncing is free to all users, so you can sync your password vaults between your Android phone or tablet and other devices such as your PC, Mac, or iPhone.

Download: LastPass

best free android apps: Bitmoji

(Image credit: Bitsrips)
Looking for something a bit more appealing than the standard emoji that come with your Android smartphone? Bitmoji is the app for you.

With Bitmoji’s help, you can create your “personal emoji” that look like you and more effectively communicate whatever you might be thinking or feeling. It’s a neat and popular app that works in Snapchat or anywhere else you’re communicating with others.

Download: Bitmoji

The best budgeting apps

(Image credit: Mint)
Mint is one of the most popular personal finance tracking solutions online, and you can take it mobile with this dedicated app from Intuit.

Track, budget, and manage your finances all in one place so you can see where you’re spending and where you can save. Keep track of your savings, checking accounts, and credit or debit cards, input transactions, and set reminders for things like bill payments to avoid late fees.

It might feel a little dry and dull itemizing and tracking your expenses and purchases, but it can make a real difference in your budgeting, and the Mint app helps by putting your budget and spending information in clear and readable graphs and charts.

Download: Mint

best free android apps: VLC

(Image credit: Videolabs)
The best free Android apps include a versatile, all-in-one media player that’ll play just about any file format that you can throw at it VLC for Android is the mobile version of the popular desktop media player.

VLC is designed to play just about any file format out of the box, from ubiquitous .mp3 and .mp4 files to more unusual formats such as .mkv and .flac. In addition to playing local files, VLC for Android also supports network streaming and media library organization.

Download: VLC

best free android apps: Snapseed

(Image credit: Google)
The latest version of Snapseed combines the old selective area edits with one-touch edit tools and filters, transform and brush editing tools and a powerful layer for working on your image edits. All told, Snapseed boasts of 29 tools and filters including Healing, Brush, Structure and HDR.

Snapseed works with both JPG and RAW images and delivers the kind of depth and flexibility you normally don’t see with free photo-editing tools.

Download: Snapseed

best free android apps: Spotify

(Image credit: Spotify)
Spotify has become synonymous with online streaming music, thanks to its familiar UI, Facebook integration and massive song library of more than 20 million tracks. The Spotify mobile app has been updated to allow for more free music streaming than ever, and a $9.99 monthly subscription allows you to save an unlimited number of songs for offline listening.

Factor in Spotify’s artist radio stations, its growing interest in podcasts and a Browse function for finding playlists, and you’ll likely be hitting Play on this app for a long time to come.

Download: Spotify


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