Which are the best Android apps? Check out our constantly updating list for some highlights
The likes of Instagram and Spotify may take up permanent residence on your home screen but beyond the usual suspects, it’s sometimes hard to know which apps are worth your time or worth leaving on the virtual shelves of the Play Store.
Here’s our rundown of seven best Android apps that you won’t regret downloading.
- Read our list of the best phones 2019
So hot right now
TikTok landed itself as one of the most popular apps in the world in 2018 and if you’re social media inclined, it’s easy to see why. This short-form video app is home to millions of users and content creators, as well as an impressive suite of creative tools to make fun videos of your own.
A constant stream of curated videos lies at your fingertips every time you open the app and you have the ability to collaborate with anyone making content that you enjoy thanks to the ‘Duet’ and ‘React’ features. Advanced technologies like face tracking let you throw impressive effects onto your creations and there’s a vast library of audio clips and music that you can add to your content too.
Trending hashtags also show what’s popular right now both in your country and amongst the greater TikTok community, just be careful – this app is easy to get lost in.
Ages: 12 and up | Compatibility: Android 4.1 and up | In-app purchases: Yes
The perfect travel companion
Garnering multiple awards, Citymapper turns you into a master route finder and slick city navigator. It boasts a deep understanding of the transport systems at work in the some of the world’s densest metropolises and offers up-to-date travel information, including delay and disruption alerts, so you’re never likely to get caught short, stuck on a sweaty underground train or on diversion on a bus then having to go around the houses.
As well as primary means’ of city transport like the bus, train and tube, Citymapper also provides information on bikes, ferries and trams, as well as services like Uber and Gett. It also grants you access to up-to-date transport maps for your current city).
You can set work and home locations for regular commutes or save specific transport stops and stations. There’s even a journey planner tool that combines multiple means of transport which works offline and social integration so you can share your current trip and location with friends.
Ages: 3 and up | In-app purchases: Yes
Useful and satisfying to use
Whether you just want a capable means of keeping tabs on your workflow or you need to make sure your whole team knows who’s doing what and when, Trello is an intuitive list-based service that effortlessly scales to your needs.
By creating ‘boards’ you can organise and share actions with colleagues, leave comments and assign tasks to specific team members. There’s a running action history on every ‘card’ posted and you can create card-specific to-do lists for those tasks that require a little more detail or explanation.
The ability to archive, rather than just delete tasks when they’re complete is a smart inclusion too, making it easy to search and recall relevant information, should you ever need to refer back to something.
You can also customise the look of your boards with a base colour or background image, making it easy to tell which board or action you’re supposed to be focusing on at a glance.
Add to all this Google Drive, Dropbox, calendar and Wear OS integration, not to mention offline support and the fact that this is all free and Trello is a potent mobile productivity tool indeed.
Ages: 3 and up | Compatibility: Android 5.0 and up | In-app purchases: No
4. Google Podcasts
Clean, simple design
A native podcast app has been part of iOS for years now, splitting off as a standalone experience in 2012. Google, meanwhile, didn’t take the medium seriously until mid-2018, when it finally launched Google Podcasts.
Part of the company’s reluctance to introduce an app of its own may have had to do with the abundance of great third-party options out there, having shelved Podcast’s long-lost cousin, Google Listen, way back in 2012. Fast-forward to the present, however, and we’re mighty glad Google chose to reconsider rocking an app of its own.
Google Podcasts is a wonderfully clean and easy-to-use podcast app that follows the company’s signature Material Design stylings. It supports streaming, offline playback and naturally, boasts deep integration with Android.
Subscriptions and playback synchronise across all your devices, so it’s easy to pick up where you left off, even if you change to a new phone, or start on your smart speaker at home and finish on your smartphone as part of your morning commute.
The simple playback controls are accessible from both the notifications pane and the lock screen on most devices and you also have time-based skip controls, a playback speed dial and even a ‘trim silence’ button.
While it’s easy to search and subscribe or play shows when you know what you’re looking for, Google Podcasts also features machine learning which it uses to offer up new recommendations for shows based on what you’re already listening to. You can even find shows on Google Podcasts via the Google Search app and Google Assistant.
Ages: 3 and up | Compatibility: Android 4.1 and up | In-app purchases: No
5. Adobe Lightroom CC
A powerful mobile photo editor
Adobe has created a robust photo editor for mobile that’s expertly optimised for a touch-driven experience. It arms you with a bevvy of tools which grant an unprecedented level of control over your images, not to mention some decidedly powerful capabilities that are distinctly Adobe.
Like Instagram, there are one-button presets to immediately alter the look and tone of your images, but the level to which you can tweak and fine-tune the changes made is where Lightroom really shines. You can use curves to control aspects such as colour, tone, contrast and exposure, throw on dehazing and other treatments, and you can even save image profiles and apply them to batches of images at a time.
You have the option to import standard shots straight from your device but there’s also support for RAW format and HDR images too. Fork out for the premium version and you can even sync your photos and edits to the Adobe Creative Cloud, as well as gaining access to extra tools like the healing brush, AI-driven image recognition and tagging, perspective adjustment and more.
Ages: 3 and up | Compatibility: Android 5.0 and up | In-app purchases: Yes
6. Insight Timer
Clear your mind
While apps like Calm and Headspace dominate the meditation and mindfulness space, there are other players with huge communities all their own worth considering. Insight Timer’s biggest draw is the sheer number of guided meditation exercises it offers (it’s in the thousands), with its developers boasting that the service features, “the largest library of free guided meditations on earth.”
You’ll find guided experiences as short as a minute, to some that last over an hour, all lead by experienced meditation and mindfulness practitioners, neuroscientists, psychologists and teachers from the likes of Stanford, Harvard and Oxford University. You can even follow teachers that you like so you can always stay abreast of new experience that they might offer.
The app also boasts a powerful search feature, letting you find sessions focussed around specific topics, like sleep, stress, anxiety, pain and love to name but a few. The app even supports sessions in a number of different languages.
As for the timer element itself, you simply set the length of the meditation period you want and then choose the interval and end bells that you want to sound, along with any ambient sounds of music you want playing in the background during your session. Alongside its library of meditations, Insight Timer actually features an impressive music selection to aid you as well.
Compared to the other major services out there, there’s a whole lot extra on offer as part of the free experience here; and if you still want more, the premium service can be had for $9.99 a month or $59.99 a year. Your money grants you extra features like night mode, access to more courses, daily curated meditation practices, offline playback, an improved playback experience and more.
Ages: 3 and up | Compatibility: Varies by device | In-app purchases: Yes
Finding time for fitness
Looking to get fit but never feel like you can give working out the time it deserves? Seven should serve as the perfect remedy, with routines that only take seven minutes out each day to perform.
You can choose an area of focus based on available workouts or choose from tailored programs the focus on aspects like weight loss, strength building or just keeping fit.
The app pushes you to make working out a regular part of your day, rewarding you with an increasing progress bar each time you complete a session. Miss a day and you lose a heart, stunting your progression; complete enough exercises, max out that progress bar and you can unlock new workouts.
Seven features virtual personal trainers with different tones (such as ‘Drill Sergeant’ and ‘Cheerleader’) to help better motivate you. Each activity is also presented on-screen with a clear, easy-to-understand animated video demonstrating the action you’re trying to replicate.
Ages: 3 and up | Compatibility: Varies by device | In-app purchases: Yes