Android is the world’s most popular mobile operating system and has more than two million applications on Google Play Store, so it is very hard to find the essential apps, the ones that truly enrich your experience in a meaningful way.
That’s what this selection of must have apps aims to do: help you find apps that you might use on a daily basis.
This is not a conclusive list, but I’ve found that over the years after using hundreds, if not thousand, of apps I keep coming back to these exact apps. The one thing that makes these apps truly special is that all of these apps get updated regularly and have passed the test of time.
Solid Explorer is a file manager for Android. It allows you to explore internal and external storage of the device to locate and manage files. You can also use this app to manage your cloud storage such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive etc.
The app has a clean material user interface and allows you to customize it using various icon sets, color schemes, and themes. Solid Explorer also allows you to hide and protect files/folders using a password or fingerprint.
Main features of Solid Explorer are:
- Material Design
- Rich customizations.
- Manage Cloud Storage: Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive, Sugarsync, Copy, Mediafire, Owncloud, Yandex, FTP, SFTP
- Root Directory Access (Root required)
- Hide files and folders
- Read, extract and create compressed files (including encrypted files)
Google Keep is, hands down, one of the best Android app I have ever came across. It has a clean material UI and is useful for taking notes, creating lists, time-based reminders and voice memos. You can organize notes using different labels and/or colors.
Google Keep also allows users to add collaborators to notes and send notes via different apps. On top of that, this app is completely free and is available for all major operating systems (Android, iOS, and Windows).
You can also use Google Keep on a web browser which helps you become more productive. I use Google keep all the time for creating lists for my website and taking notes.
Two-step verification is something I recommend everyone to use. 2-step verifications improve the security of your account and prevent it from getting hacked easily. You can learn more about 2-step verification here.
Google Authenticator generates 2-step verification codes on your phone without the need of an internet connection and can be used as a code generator for different accounts such Google, Microsoft, Twitter or any other provider that supports two-step verification.
To set up verification codes for an account, you just have to scan the barcode provided or enter the key. You can create time-based or counter based codes using this app.
Image Viewer: Piktures
Piktures is a gesture based gallery app which manages your Photos and Videos in folders. The app is very fast, simple to use and has a beautiful user interface. And, on top of that, the app is free on the Play Store and it server zero ads.
The app also has a secret drive feature which lets you hide photos and videos in a secret drive which can be protected using a password or fingerprint.
Main features of Piktures include:
- Location view
- Gallery Cover with Parallax effect
- In-built video player
- Cloud storage access
- Chromecast Support
WPS Office is an all-in-one free office suite app that you can use to view, edit or create office documents. It is fully compatible with Microsoft Office and allows you to manage documents easily. It supports Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Text, PDF and many other office file formats.
You can also connect it to a cloud drive for accessing files from your cloud storage. This app is very useful for editing and viewing office documents on-the-go.
Features of WPS Office:
- Full compatibility with MS Office
- Create, Edit and View different office files
- Convert Office files to PDF format
- Ability to manage files saved on cloud storage
- Encrypt documents
- Compatible with USB and Bluetooth keyboards
WordWeb is a completely free offline dictionary app. This app does not serve any adverts and has a quite large database. You can look for words simply by searching in the app. The app also has different search features like spelling suggestions, alphabetical listing, pattern matching etc. The intelligent word entry suggests possible correct spellings as you type, as well as listing words that sound the same or are often confused.
There is also a separate audio edition of this app which has audio pronunciation of the words.
Features of WordWeb Dictionary:
- Large Database with over 285K Words and over 225K definitions
- Synonyms and related words finder
- Spelling suggestion for search
- Pattern matching
- Bookmark and History support
Photo Editing: Picsart
PicsArt is a photo-editing app for Android. It has hundreds of pre-made awesome filters, effects and tools that you mostly find in professional photo editing programs. Anyone can easily create artistic looking photos with PicsArt without any instructions or training.
The app also has a global community where you can share your edited images or collaborate with other people to edit images. You can also create a gif or video of the walkthrough of editing an image and share it with others like a walkthrough or editing guide.
RSS/News Reader: Feedly
If you follow multiple blogs that serve you daily news and updates about the things that matter to you then you will definitely find this app useful. Feedly is an RSS reader where you can follow different websites and read updates from them at one place.
With this app you will not have to go to different website to read new articles, instead you can just open Feedly app and you will see new articles from all the website you have added.
The app has a simple user interface. The home screen shows updates from websites you follow. It also allows you to save articles to read later and has integration with social media websites so you can easily share stories you like. There is also a web client if you want to use feedly in your web browser.
VPN or Virtual Private Network creates a creates a secure network connection over a public network such as the Internet and make your browsing more secure. It hides your internet activity from your ISP and protects your identity from websites and apps.
Opera VPN is a free VPN service which blocks ad trackers and lets you change your location virtually. It is one of the fastest free and reliable VPN service. It has super fast VPN servers and does not have any data cap. The built-in ad blocker helps block advertisers from accessing your web history.
The app also has a WiFi security analyzer which analyze the WiFi network you are connected to and determines its security level, encryption and protection from threats.
The inbuilt video player if your smartphone can only play some formats and does not have any features other than playing a video. MX Player is a very popular and free media player which can be used to play almost any video and audio format.
Features of MX Player:
- Ability to play almost all video formats
- Ability to play videos in background
- Hardware acceleration and multi core decoding
- Pinch to zoom in video
- Easy customizations
SHAREit allows you to share files with nearby Android or Windows device using WiFi direct. The file sharing is about a lot faster than a Bluetooth connection and it does not require an internet connection.
The app can be used for cross platform file sharing. It supports Android, iOS (iPhone and iPad), Windows PC, Windows Phone and Mac OS.
The WebShare feature, which turns your device into a server and any device (that does not have SHAREit installed) can easily download files shared by you. And, the CLONEit feature allows you to replicate your old smartphone’s data to your new device with just one click.
Wanna suggest an app or add something to this list? Comment below! I’m eager to hear your thoughts.