Background to ‘The Secret Of Systems’. Now, this will be more of a personal reflection rather than any detailed historical analysis. If you have an observation or an objection, please use the comment form below as I am more than interested in other people’s ideas – just as long as they are intelligent and well […]
15 best Android apps of 2016
Here it is ladies and gentlemen. The crème de la crème. The apps that most people will swear that they cannot live without. These apps have become ubiquitous with Android and if you’re looking for good stuff it’s assumed that you have this stuff already. Without further delay, here are the best Android apps of all time!
If you want to keep your Android device safe on sketchy public Wi-Fi, you’ll need a solid VPN, and 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 78 countries (including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and others) in over 100 locations around the world, so there will always be a location near you to give you the best experience possible. It’s definitely one of the best Android apps!
[Price: Free / $1.99]
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 is the completely full version and the $1.99 in-app purchase only removes the advertising. Most will also likely enjoy the range of weather fun facts the app offers as well. It’s one of those must-try Android apps!
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
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, and Google Keep. Between the office apps, the Photos app (which allows unlimited photo and video backup), and Keep 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.
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. Download Google Maps using the button below and get Waze by clicking here.
Google Now is arguably the most powerful Android apps available anywhere. It first debuted a few years ago and has since grown into an always-on personal assistant that will tell you the weather, give you news articles about your relevant interests, manage things like plane flight information, and give you access to quick information via voice searching. It’s being constantly updated by Google to give you more information even faster than before. Alongside that is Google Now Launcher, which allows you to put Google Now right there in the home screen queue for even faster access. It’s a combination that many Android enthusiasts swear by! You can check out Google Now using the button below and you can get Google Now Launcher by clicking here.
[Price: Free / $9.99 per month]
Google Play Music is a special case. Sure there are music apps out there that let you play local content and there are streaming apps out there that let you stream content. Do you know how many apps combine these two concepts? Not many, and the best by far is Google Play Music. The service lets you upload up to 50,000 of your own (non-DRM) songs to Google’s cloud for streaming wherever you are. That functionality is totally free. On top that, for $9.99/month, you get a very above-average streaming service with over 35 million songs, playlist support, and various Internet radio options. When you add in YouTube Red, which gives additional features including the removal of ads from YouTube, and you have a truly amazing experience. Of course, YouTube itself is one of those must-have Android apps even if you don’t purchase the subscription.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
LastPass is a password manager that has always seemed like a step above the others. A recent update has made mobile use entirely free with a premium subscription service charged for syncing from mobile to desktop and back. Since we log into everything on our mobile devices now, having LastPass is a good idea. It can save passwords and keep them save all while auto-filling passwords for sites and apps that you use regularly. There is also a password generator that generates hard-to-hack passwords just for you. It’s worth checking out for sure. It was recently purchased by LogMeIn which has brought its share of ups and downs. However, it remains one of the best Android apps out there.
[Price: $49.99 per year]
CloudMagic burst on to the scene a couple of years ago and has grown to be one of the best Android apps ever. Then, in 2016, it became Newton. This is an email client where you create an account and then log into all of your email addresses. From there, to log into all of your emails, all you have to have to do is log into Newton and the rest is done automatically. It also includes a variety of productivity features, including direct integration with apps like Google Calendar, Trello, Evernote, Todoist, Zendesk, and others. The only caveat is that this is a paid-only app. If you’re not super serious about your emails, you may need to look elsewhere.
[Price: Free / $4.99]
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. If you go premium, you can tack on gesture controls, unread count badges for apps, and icon swipe actions. There’s not much else to say. It’s just that good.
Admittedly, Pocket is a bit more of a power user application but it’s one that we’d recommend to virtually anyone. Pocket lets you take a webpage you’re viewing and stash it away for later. This is great for when you’re browsing the news or you find funny stories from your Facebook/Google+/Twitter feed that you want to read later. It’s extremely easy to use and many of our staff swear by its usefulness. It also works with news apps like Flipboard, social media apps like Facebook, and you can share from Pocket to other apps as well. It’s totally free to use and there are even browser extensions so you can use it on a computer 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’s the last podcast app you’ll have to download and one of the best Android apps out there.
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. You can get a 14-day free trial, but ultimately the app costs $2.99 which isn’t a bad price. It’s one of those Android apps everyone should have.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
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.
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. Our writer Jonathan Feist has an extensive collection of tutorials on how to use Tasker and more are coming in the future. It’s one of the most powerful Android apps ever.
[Price: Free / $4.99 per month / $49.99 per year]
Wunderlist is among the best Android apps for getting things done. It’s a to-do list app that helps you keep track of various tasks that you want or need to do. It’s great for basic stuff like remembering to take out the trash or more complex things like tasks that need done at work. Unlike most, the free version supports the basic functions, like reminders, while the pro version is made for more business-oriented individuals. It’s a versatile app and you can even use it for grocery lists if you get creative enough. It’s a free download which is also nice.
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 the most perfect app and the advertisements are very irritating. On top of that, their wallpaper selections may not be great for higher resolution displays (you can find better ones here). However, if you can get passed that, you’re looking at one of the last really good ringtone Android apps out there.
Related app lists:
- Don’t forget to load up on the best Android games!
- Best free Android games with no in-app purchases
- Best Apple Watch Apps
Making a list of the best Android apps is difficult because there are so many opinions on what makes an app either great, useful, or both. With that said, we would love to hear about which Android apps you consider to be the best ones in the comments below! To see our complete list of Android apps and games lists, click here!