Updated: Best free Android apps 2015

Updated: Best free Android apps 2015

Best free Android apps

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If you have an Android device you really are spoiled for choice when it comes to apps, with the Google Play store being home to thousands of them.

The huge quantity of apps doesn’t mean they’re all quality – far from it in fact. To make sure you never install a duff app here’s our selection of the best 50 you should install right now. Each one has been carefully chosen to ensure that you have the best apps on your device.

1. Periscope

Periscope

Periscope, Twitter’s live video streaming app, has made its way to Android and it’s an essential download for anyone who likes the immediacy of Twitter but craves something more visual.

You can easily create your own live streams or watch other people’s, send comments and hearts in real time and if you miss the action there’s a 24 hour window with which to replay streams. In short it’s simple enough to dive straight into but has enough to it that you’ll keep coming back, whether you’re more creator or viewer.

2. WhatsApp

whatsapp

WhatsApp is one of the most essential apps you can install on your Android device, especially if you have friends and family across the world.

Rather than using up your SMS allowance by sending text messages, WhatsApp lets you send messages over any Wi-Fi or mobile data connection instead. You can also send and receive photos with no size restrictions, and if you’re using Wi-Fi (or you have unlimited mobile data) they won’t cost you any extra to send.

3. Spotify

Spotify

Similar to Netflix, Spotify has been pretty quick to establish itself as the top music streaming service, and the Spotify Music app brings some great features to your Android device, turning it in to a pocket jukebox that delivers your favourite tunes no matter where you are.

Even better you can now listen to Spotify music for free on Android, although if you want to download songs for offline listening and without any ads, then a Spotify Premium account is worth investing in.

4. Evernote

Evernote

Evernote is an excellent app for your Android device that lets you stash and sync all your text notes, voice memos and files on your phone and access them through a desktop computer.

It’s a brilliant productivity tool that lets you organise and search your notes so you always have exactly what you need at your fingertips.

5. Timehop

Timehop

For the most part, social media is fleeting, but Timehop is all about digging up precious memories from the past. You link it to whatever social media services you frequent (and your on-device photos) and it shows you what was happening years ago on today’s date.

6. Pushbullet

PushBullet

Boost your productivity with Pushbullet, which lets you view your Android phone’s notifications and messages directly on your desktop PC. It means if you get a text message you can read it there and then without having to take your phone out of your pocket or bag.

You can also quickly send files from your computer to your phone with only a few clicks, and if you regularly find that you email links to yourself just to open them on your smartphone, then you’ll never have to do that again thanks to Pushbullet’s link sharing features.

7. Snapseed

Snapseed

Snapseed is Google’s own photo editor that’s been designed from the ground up to make tweaking your snaps as easy and fun as possible on a touchscreen Android device.

Although the interface is simple enough to use with just your fingers, there’s also a lot of depth to this app as well. You use tools to tweak and enhance your photographs to make them look the best they ever have, as well as playing around with fun filters that can transform the photos you’ve taken on your smartphone or tablet.

8. Instagram

Instagram

Instagram is the go-to app for quickly taking photos, adding quirky filters to them and sharing them with the world. Over 300 million people use Instagram and thanks to the social aspects and effortless interface it’s easy to see why it’s such a hit.

You’re not limited to sharing your snaps on Instagram either, as you can easily add your photos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more with just a few taps.

9. Google Photos

Google Photos

There are probably hundreds of photo apps around, but Google Photos stands out as it gives you unlimited storage for photos and videos, all for free.

That’s reason enough to jump on board, especially as it works not just on Android but on iOS and computers too.

But with basic editing tools and the ability to make collages and albums this is more than just photo and video storage, it aims to be your first and last stop after taking a picture. To achieve that it will need a few more features, but it’s well on its way.

10. Strava

Strava

If you’re serious about running or cycling then you should be serious about Strava. As smartphone fitness tools go it’s one of the best, allowing you to track your performance, set goals and see daily progress updates.

There are leaderboards and challenges to give it a competitive edge and if you’re ever not sure where to run or cycle you can find user created routes on the app, or share your own. All of that comes free of charge, while a premium version adds even more tools.

11. Pocket

Pocket

Even in 2015 there are still times and places where we can’t get an internet connection, but this doesn’t have to mean you can’t read websites, however, thanks to the excellent Pocket app. It allows you to save articles, news stories, blog posts, videos and much more, letting you read and watch them offline.

You can also synchronise your saved articles across every device you’ve installed Pocket on, allowing you to pick up where you left off and continue reading.

12. Uber

uber

Uber is transforming the way we travel. You can quickly and easily request a taxi using the app and get picked up within minutes and you can compare rates and get quotes, as well as paying with Google Wallet, PayPal or by adding your credit card to a secure Uber account.

The Uber service is available in over 50 countries, and it’s rapidly growing. Give it a try and you’ll never want to hail a taxi the old fashioned way again.

13. Citymapper – Bus, Tube, Rail

Citymapper

Arriving in a brand new city is always exciting but it can also be a little daunting, especially if you need to get around using public transport. Citymapper – Bus, Tube, Rail is a brilliant app that brings you real-time information on public transport for cities around the world.

You can easily plan your route using all kinds of transport and you can be kept up to date with any disruptions or cancellations. An essential app for any city-bound traveller.

14. Google Maps

Google Maps

Google Maps is probably already on your phone, but as the best free mapping option around it’s well worth highlighting.

Transit directions, live traffic updates, voice-guided GPS navigation, Street View and more are all included, making this more feature-packed than even most paid options. Importantly it’s detailed and accurate too, so you’ll never get lost again.

15. Yahoo Livetext

Yahoo Livetext

Yahoo Livetext is somewhat impressive in that it manages to put a new spin on instant messaging. Because rather than just sending messages out to a blank screen the person you’re talking to can see a live video feed of you and you of them.

So it feels more like you’re face to face and you can instantly see their reactions to your messages, yet you’re still typing, there’s no sound here, which means you can easily use it when out and about where it might either be noisy or you don’t have enough privacy for an audible conversation.

In most other ways it’s a fairly standard messaging app. If there’s a downside it’s that you’ll need to convince people to get the app, which could be hard given the huge number of communication apps most people are already using, but it’s a novel experience.

16. Snowball

Snowball

If like us you’ve filled your phone up with hundreds of apps you may find that you’re getting an almost endless stream of notifications, many of which you have little to no interest in. Sure, Android has its own notification management, but Snowball arguably does it faster and better.

With it you can make sure important notifications are always shown at the top, while less important ones are listed below or hidden completely.

Better yet it learns and makes predictions over time and it allows you to reply to many notifications, such as WhatsApp and SMS messages, straight from the notification itself.

17. Twitter

Twitter

A few short years ago if we’d recommended the official Twitter app as the best resource for tweeting from your Android device, we’d have been laughed off the internet.

However a lot of work has since been put into the official app to help it compete and even surpass third party offerings. New features such as being able to embed tweets within tweets for some sort of tweetception shenanigans, as well as uploading GIFs, are all very welcome.

These new features plus a streamlined interface, a lack of superfluous features some of its competitor apps contain and no ads makes this the best app for firing off a quick tweet.

18. VLC for Android Beta

VLC gallery

It might not be quite as glamorous as other media players, but if you want a no-nonsense app that can play pretty much any media file under the sun, then VLC for Android Beta is the app for you.

As the name suggests this app is still in Beta which means there could be the odd bug, but we’ve yet to encounter anything serious and it’s perfectly stable for playing and streaming your media from around your house.

19. Dash Radio

Dash Radio

There are a number of streaming radio apps available for Android but where Dash Radio differs from most of them is that it includes over 60 original stations, with real DJ’s, no adverts and 24/7 content.

It’s not FM so you can listen with or without headphones and there are radio stations covering numerous genres, so it’s easy to find ones you’ll like. It also has daily competitions and supports Bluetooth streaming to external speakers. The overwhelmingly blue interface could use a bit of work but we can’t fault the content.

20. CloudPlayer

CloudPlayer

CloudPlayer, as the name suggests, lets you stream music you have stored in the cloud. This of course is something Google Play Music has been successfully doing for years, but with CloudPlayer you can link up your OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive accounts and access all of them in one place.

It also has both Chromecast and AirPlay support and lets you stream files in lossless quality, on top of which it’s got all the basics you’d expect from a music player, like a 10-band equalizer and playlists. Some features are free but others require a one-time payment to upgrade to premium.

21. Dropbox

Dropbox

Dropbox is probably the best known tool for syncing and sharing your files, photos and videos across all your devices, and its popularity is well earned. Any files that you save to your Dropbox folder on any of your PCs or devices will appear in the Dropbox app.

It took a while for Dropbox to come to Android, and after a shaky start this app is now essential with a number of helpful new features that let you save photos and videos from your device straight to Dropbox, as well as quickly editing your documents from within the app.

22. Boxer Calendar

Boxer Calendar

Standing out as a calendar app is pretty hard, since there are so many and they all do essentially the same thing. But Boxer Calendar just gets it right. For one thing it works with other calendars, such as Google, Facebook, Outlook and Twitter and you can easily choose which ones to sync if you don’t want all of them displayed.

It’s also got an attractive Material Design inspired interface, offers pop-up notifications, multiple calendar views, a widget and if you couple it with Boxer email you can even view and send your availability to someone without jumping between apps.

It could soon be a pretty big deal too, as it’s set to replace Google Calendar as the default calendar for Cyanogenmod OS 12.1, but you can get it for other Android devices as well.

23. Google Keep

Google Keep

Google Keep is the Android maker’s own attempt at muscling in on the clipboard and to-do list app, presenting a versatile corkboard tool that lets users record audio notes, capture photos, create checklists and more.

The star of the show is the resizeable Home screen widget, from which you can access all the features and hit buttons to record clips and take images. Google’s so proud of Keep that it’s become canon – and has come pre-loaded as part of Android’s app set since Android 4.3.

24. Next Lock Screen

Next Lock Screen

Android doesn’t do a bad job of lock screens, but for a platform built on customisation they can be disappointingly limited.

Not so with Next Lock Screen. This Microsoft app gives you quick lock screen access to a large selection of apps of your choice, filtered into categories such as home, work or on the go.

It also gives you quick access to a flashlight, Wi-Fi toggles and more, all of which are customisable too. With music app controls, weather, upcoming calendar events and notifications displayed as well it’s seriously full-featured.

25. Hexlock

Hexlock

You can lock your whole Android smartphone with a PIN or pattern, but out of the box you can’t lock specific apps. That’s where Hexlock comes in. It lets you set a PIN or password and apply it to apps of your choice, so even if someone borrows your phone you can control what they see and access.

Maybe you want to keep your messages private for example, or stop a child accessing the browser or Google Play. To make things even easier you can set up multiple profiles which lock down different apps and switch between them with a tap.

If you want to make things really secure you can even keep Hexlock itself from being uninstalled by unauthorised users.

26. IF

IFTTT

IF was formerly known as IFTTT, which stands for "if this then that" and handily sums up what this app does. It’s a simple ethos that gives you a huge amount of options for making your Android device even smarter.

You can create simple statements such as "if any photo is taken then add them to Dropbox", or "if my location is home, send a text message to my partner saying "I’m home!"" which can also be shared with other IF users. You’ll be amazed how much you can do with such a simple premise.

27. Nova Launcher

Nova Gallery

One of the best things about Android is how customisable it is, and there are loads of apps out there that can help you change the way Android displays and launches apps to suit your preferences.

Out of these Nova Launcher is the best, giving you complete control over your home screen. You can change the icons, themes, colours, layouts and much more.

28. Skype

Skype

There’s a good chance that you’ve heard of Skype, the excellent voice and video service (with instant messaging thrown in for good measure as well). The Android app integrates brilliantly with your device, making it easy to make and receive calls.

Calls to other Skype users over Wi-Fi are free, but you can also make calls to mobiles and landlines as well. You’ll need Skype credit for this, but you could find yourself saving a small fortune, especially if you’re ringing people in other countries.

29. Photoshop Mix

Photoshop Mix

Adobe Photoshop Mix isn’t quite the full Photoshop experience, but it is a slick photo editing app designed for fast and intuitive use on a smartphone.

You can easily crop and merge images, adjust the colours, add filters and do more fine-tuned editing of a specific segment of a picture.

Importantly you can always return to the original image too, so if you create a monstrosity the photo it was based on isn’t lost and when you’re done creating you can share your pictures in a snap as well.

30. Prey Anti Theft

Prey

If you’ve just dropped hundreds of pounds/dollars/kwachas on a new smartphone you’ll probably want to protect your investment and Prey Anti Theft helps you do that.

If your phone is lost or stolen you can use your Prey account to find it on a map, take pictures using the front or rear camera, remotely lock it, remotely trigger an alarm even if it’s on silent or display a tailored message on the screen, increasing your chances of getting it back, or at the very least scaring whoever stole it.

31. Lifesum

Lifesum

Sticking to a diet or exercise regime isn’t always easy. Tracking the calories that you’ve consumed and worked off can make it easier to stay on track but that in itself can be a bit of a chore.

Thankfully Lifesum is here to make it as simple as possible, allowing you to add foods and exercises with calorie estimates, work to specific goals and get prompts as to when you should be eating more or less, all with an attractive interface and an intuitive layout.

You get all that for free, but if you subscribe to a gold membership you can get more detailed nutritional information, sync the data with fitness apps and wearables, follow specialist diets and more.

32. Google Fit

Google Fit

Google Fit is an excellent app for keeping track of your activity and you don’t need any additional fitness trackers; you can just carry your Android phone around with you. If you do have Android Wear-compatible fitness trackers and wearables, then Google Fit gets even better.

Fitness goals can also be set to help you reach the level of fitness you desire, as well as keeping you motivated.

33. Map My Fitness Workout Trainer

MapMyFitness

Map My Fitness Workout Trainer is another great app for keeping tabs on your workout regime. As the name suggests it uses the GPS positioning features of your Android smartphone to log your runs, letting you get an accurate look at your workout regime.

Voice feedback will keep you in the loop even when you’re in the process of working out, giving you information on your pace, the route you’re taking calories burns and plenty more.

34. Slide for Reddit

Slide for Reddit

There’s no shortage of Reddit apps for Android, though curiously there’s also no official one yet, but if there was we’d like to think it would look like this.

Slide for Reddit is one of the most visually pleasing Reddit apps around, making it a joy to use. It’s also customisable, allowing you to change the theme and colours according to your tastes.

It’s not lacking in features either, as you can both read and reply, easily access saved and upvoted content, view user profiles and your inbox, use it in both list and full view modes and much more besides. There are Reddit apps with more features, but none which also look this good.

35. Duolingo: Learn Languages Free

Duolingo

If you fancy learning a foreign language then make sure you download Duolingo: Learn Languages Free, as it’s one of those rare apps that manages to be both educational and fun, ensuring that you’ll keep coming back for more to brush up on your langueage skills.

Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, and English can all be learned, it’s completely free with no ads or hidden fees and it’s one of the best ways you can learn a new language with your Android device.

36. Twilight

Twilight

If you’re anything like us you’re probably glued to your phone, staring at its bright screen well into the night. If you are then you may also have noticed you have trouble sleeping, as the blue light emitted by your device can keep you awake.

Twilight provides an easy fix, by adapting the display colours to the time of day, filtering the blue light after sunset and in turn helping you get to sleep before 4am.

37. Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office? On Android? Don’t worry, you have read that right; Microsoft’s suite of office applications is now available on Android devices and not only is it free, it’s also really rather good.

Word, Excel and PowerPoint are all included, so you can open and edit your documents no matter where you are.

38. Google Drive

Google Drive

If having Microsoft on your Android device feels a little weird, then worry not, as Google Drive has you covered as well. You can view all the files you save to the Google Drive cloud storage service, as well as share them with friends and co-workers.

PDFs, photos, videos and much more can be accessed through this handy app.

39. Google Translate

Google Translate

If you need to quickly and easily find out what something means in another language, then there’s no better way than with Google Translate. You can translate between 90 languages and even converse naturally with speakers of other languages and let Google do the translation.

One of the best features lets you use the camera of your Android device to translate real-world objects such as signposts and posters. Just point, shoot and translate!

40. Office Lens

Office Lens

We’ve seen document scanning apps before, but Office Lens is one of the slickest yet, helped in no small part by the Office integration afforded by being a Microsoft app.

Pictures of documents and whiteboards are trimmed and enhanced and can then be converted into Word, PowerPoint or PDF files and uploaded to OneNote or OneDrive for easy access from other devices. While scanning a business card will turn it into a contact on your phone, ensuring the content is easily accessible and never gets lost.

41. Inputting+

Inputting+

It’s possible to type surprisingly quickly and accurately on a smartphone, but mistakes still happen more often than they would on a proper keyboard and when they do the means of fixing them are somewhat more limited.

But Inputting+ gives you a few extra tools, which would take the form of keyboard shortcuts on a PC. Any time you enter text with Inputting+ enabled a little circle will pop up and if you want to undo, redo or find and replace text you can do so by tapping on it.

It’s still not quite as fast as an actual keyboard shortcut, but it’s the next best thing and should help make text entry on Android error and frustration free.

42. Feedly

Feedly

If you’ve got a huge list of websites and news sources that you like to keep up to date with, then you’ll need to get Feedly. This excellent RSS feed reader collects all the latest news from your favourite sources and brings them together in an elegant interface that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.

43. Kindle

Kindle

Amazon’s Kindle app is a great e-reader, which is seamlessly linked with your Amazon account. Support for magazines and newspapers is limited at the moment, with only a handful of niche publications in Android-friendly format.

But for books it’s great, with plenty of screen and text display options to get it looking a way that hurts your eyes the least. Another exciting new way to collect classic novels you’ll probably never get around to reading because there’s the internet now.

44. eBay

eBay

Another app that’s been out there for a while on Android, the eBay tool has also been updated so much that it’s now a credible alternative to the desktop site.

You can list items that you want to sell direct from the app, while there’s a simple PIN system that makes paying for your winnings via PayPal much simpler and less convoluted than it is on the full blown web site.

45. Tinder

Tinder

Tinder is the dating app that’s taking the world by storm, and it’s easy to see why as it lets you view and connect with people nearby, and its simple interface could net you a match made in heaven.

All you need to do is swipe through the photos of people who are using the app nearby and if you like the look of someone swipe right and if not swipe left. If someone likes you back, you’ll be put in contact with them through the app. It’s also compatible with Android Wear devices.

46. Microsoft Translator

Microsoft Translator

Microsoft Translator ensures you’ll always be understood, no matter where you go. You can get a written and spoken translation for any word or short sentence in dozens of languages and it supports both text and speech input.

There are other similar apps, but Microsoft Translator has a slick interface, Android Wear support and most importantly it works well, almost always understanding what you’re saying to it.

47. Journey

Journey

Journey brings journaling into the smartphone age, making it easy to log your travels and experiences or just your day to day activities with text, images and videos.

A clean design and intuitive interface makes it simple and fun to use and you can easily find past journal entries based on their date or location. You can back them up too, leaving you safe in the knowledge that you’ll still be able to find them in five years, no matter where you are or what phone you’re using.

48. Medium

Medium

Medium is one of many services which gives you a feed full of articles related to your interests, but while most such things are fairly one sided, with you simply reading the articles that catch your eye, Medium lets you be an author too.

You can write and post articles or stories of your own and publish responses to other people’s articles. The social nature means that not all of the stories will be from big names, but there are numerous famous and influential people contributing, while other articles are from, well, anyone who has something to say.

49. Hooks – Alerts for Everything

Hooks

Want to be alerted when your favourite band has a new album out or a new gig in your area? Or how about when a certain Twitter account tweets, or when a new episode of Game of Thrones airs? Perhaps you want to be alerted every time a critically acclaimed game launches for the PS4? Or when there’s a weather warning in your area?

Hooks – Alerts for Everything can do all that and more. Despite the name it doesn’t quite cover everything, but it has options for things as niche as being alerted of when a particular website goes down or when a well-regarded restaurant opens nearby and new alert types are being added all the time.

So just set up alerts for everything you care about and never again worry about missing something or having to hunt for it.

50. Amazon Appstore

Amazon Appstore

There’s a particularly great reason to have the Amazon Appstore on your phone or tablet – free stuff. Amazon is enticing users to stick its alternate Android app store on their devices with the promise of a free app every day, with some classics like Sega’s ChucChu Rocket and World of Goo featuring as previous daily freebies.

The catch is these are unsupported releases, meaning no updates or fixes in the future, but you can’t moan too much about getting some ace freebies every day.


Source: techradar

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