Finding the best Android apps can be tough. There are millions to choose from and many of the best are free and just as many are paid apps. The good news is you can have a full, rich experience with Android with free apps. If you need some help finding such an experience, here is a list of the 25 best free Android apps to help you get started!
First on our list is the highest rated and one of the most popular weather apps out there called 1Weather. The app features a slick, good-looking, and easy to use interface that, obviously, tells you the weather. There are also a few really good widget selections available. So if you need weather and want a good app or widget, this is a great app to start with.
If you enjoy shopping online, there are few apps better than the official Amazon app. Using this app you can browse Amazon’s extensive selection and it works in multiple countries (including India). You can also edit your Wishlists, check Lightning Deals, Deal of the Day, and other special offers. It’ll even automatically recognize that you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber if you are one. Even if you don’t use it every day, it’s a must have free app.
Android Device Manager is a very simple app with a great premise. It essentially tracks down your lost or stolen phone. Once installed you log into the website and from there you can see your device’s location, wipe it remotely, reset your device’s lock screen PIN, and make your phone ring so you can find it. It’s highly recommended that you only use this app with a lock screen PIN so those with malicious intent cannot log into the website under your name and wipe your device. Of course, if you’d like to use a service that’s outside of Google’s purview, there’s also Where’s My Droid.
Cal Calendar recently won our award for Best App Design of 2013 and for a good reason. The interface is very enjoyable to use and to look at. Thanks to its modular interface, it’s one of the easiest calendar apps to use and it’s also colorful and appealing to the eye. It has a lot of fun features like tagging contacts and locations in calendar events and it also has most of the features that you’d expect out of a calendar app.
CamScanner is a nifty app that allows your phone to act as a scanner. You can scan virtually any kind of document into it and then make a myriad of changes to it. You can add watermarks, fill out forms, and even fax the document (for a nominal fee). This is a great tool to have laying around. It’s not an every day app but when you need this app, it’ll be there to help out. It even comes with built in optimizations to make your documents legible and sharp when scanned in.
To open with, Duolingo won Android Authority’s vote for the Best Android App of 2013. That should give you a fairly good idea of how good this app actually is. With it, you can learn various foreign languages in a game-style environment. There are both text and voice lessons and if you miss a question, you lose a life. Lose too many and you have to start the lesson over. It’s a fun way to learn a new language and it’s great for both kids and adults.
Evernote has long been the front runner when it comes to note taking. It has a bunch of features including device syncing, organizational features, compatibility with other applications, and various different types of notes. There is a premium option that adds more functionality but there are millions of people who enjoy the free version of this app. There are many who put this on their list of must-have applications and we’re no different. If you’re looking for something a little more simple, another great free option is Google Keep.
When we don’t include ES File Explorer on best Android lists, people get angry at us. The reason is because ES really is one of the must have apps out there. It is packed with features for both root and un-rooted users, it has a nice interface, and it’s free. It’s better than all of the stock file manager offerings and it’s been a top choice for most people for a few years now. Of course, there are some ambitious upstarts like X-plore File Manager if you’re looking for something different.
One of the world’s most ubiquitous cloud storage services is Dropbox. Practically everyone has heard of it. It’s free to sign up for (and you get 2GB of space to start with) and the app is free to use too. It’s a great way to backup things like your photos and videos as you can set the app to auto-upload them once you take them. More advanced users can set their Titanium Backup or Helium backups to go there and you can even share files (in small numbers). There are a number of devices that have Dropbox as a stock app and there are promotions all the time to get you more storage. It’s one of the best and everyone should have it.
Like Dropbox, Google Drive is an excellent solution for those who want some cloud storage. Also like Dropbox, you can pay to get more storage but you do get 15GB to start with. You can store your backups, photos, videos, and pretty much any other file you can think of. Google Drive also has the added benefit of having a small assortment of office-style applications like a word editor and a spreadsheet editor. You can also work on documents with other people in real time. It has a lot of unique features and it’s worth having.
Sometimes smartphones need a little maintenance. We download billions of apps a year and those apps leave crap behind even if you uninstall them. What Clean Master does is find those files and clean them out to give your device more storage and more memory. It’s been endorsed by many websites, including CNet and The Boston Globe. It’s definitely worth picking up just to get rid of those old files.
Stock Android camera apps are getting better, but sometimes it’s worth taking a peek in the Play Store to see what the alternatives. One of the best alternatives is an app called Cymera. Its a free camera app and photo editor with a boat load of features like filters, borders, various shooting modes and lenses, camera effects, and various editing functions. The list is really quite substantial and it’s a great app for shutterbugs who like to use their phone for taking a lot of pictures. If that’s a little too complicated for you, a fun (and free) alternative is MX Camera.
How many people don’t use Google Maps? It’s frequently updated with new features, constantly expanded, and a best friend to travelers worldwide. Sure there are other options but Google Maps is as good as it gets when it comes to navigation. This is especially true since Google has begun adding functionality from Waze, which they bought out in the summer in 2013. There are simply too many features to list here, so click the button to go read them on the Play Store. This is a must own app.
Google Reader died off last year and that’s sad, but they have at least come up with a solution that’s comparable in terms of quality. Google Play Newsstand is still relatively new in the grand scheme of things but it doubles as both a news reader app and a magazine reader app. So if you have a magazine subscription you’ve been looking to turn digital, you can use this app to do it. It also has a decent, easy-to-use interface and Google’s personal seal of approval. Despite the recent controversy with borrowing content that doesn’t belong to it, Feedly is also a good option for a general purpose news reader that’s also free.
You never know when you’ll run into something or someone that you will have problems communicating with. Enter Google Translate. It’s a must-have app for anyone who travels extensively and just a good app to have around just in case. It can translate more than 70 languages and can translate direct speech, written language, typed language, and even translate things found in photos. If you don’t know what what a phrase means, pop it into Translate and find out.
When it comes to communication apps, it’s hard to find a better free option than Hangouts. You can use it to send SMS and MMS messages but you can also use it for send unlimited Hangouts messages and make unlimited video calls (with up to 9 other people) and it’s all totally free of charge. There are other messaging apps out there, but in terms of what you get for free, nothing out there beats Hangouts. All you need is a Google account to get started and if you can download an app in the Play Store, then you already have one.
iHeartRadio is a must have app for all fans of the radio. Instead of relying on an FM transmitter which not all devices have, iHeartRadio relies solely on data to stream practically any radio station you want. You can find stations that play your favorite music or even stations that have your favorite talk radio programs. Along with having thousands of radio stations at your disposal, you’ll also have recommendations catered to your interests and an alarm that will wake you up with your favorite radio station. Just like those old, cheap alarm clocks no one uses anymore.
When it comes to eBook readers, there are few that are more popular than the Kindle app. It’s connected to Amazon which means you get a fairly good selection and Prime customers have extended features with the book library. If you’re going for an all-free experience, though, Kindle has an impressive library of free books in the public domain such as the original Dracula, Huckleberry Finn, and others. It’s a great way to get back into reading the classics.
No list of free apps would be complete without some office software and Kingsoft is the best free office suite you can get. It comes with Word, Spreadsheet, and Presentation functionality built in and some PDF functions as well. It garners a fairly high rating on the Google Play Store and most people have no problem making it work. It supports over 20 file types, has a build in file manager, and even has gesture functions. Considering you don’t have to pay a dime for it, it’s a really great value.
Pandora is the premiere free music streaming app. In fact, most people reading this probably have either heard of Pandora or already have it downloaded. It’s that popular. For those who don’t know, Pandora lets you create custom radio stations that play music you like. So you can do anything from Christmas music to heavy metal, save the station, and create more. You have to suffer through the occasional commercial and you can only skip tracks so many times, but aside from that it’s a great app and a great way to listen to free music without breaking the law.
Pocket is a very interesting application. Instead of working to provide you with news and content from the internet, it makes the user do it. Here’s how it works. You find a video, article, or some other content online that you’d like to see or reference again. You simply share it to Pocket and Pocket will remember it for you. Consider it like a proprietary bookmarks app, except way better. You tell it to remember things you like and it’ll remember it so you can go back and view it any time. It’s a must have app for people who love to browse the web.
Super-Bright LED Flashlight is one of those apps that everyone has but no one really talks about. The app’s sole function is to use the LED flash on the back of your phone as a flashlight. Even though the app is simple, having a really bright LED flashlight always at your finger tips can be extraordinarily helpful in so many situations. It’s worth having one of these types of apps on your phone at all times. If you don’t like this one, another good one is TeslaLED from the makers of Nova Launcher.
If you’re more into sports, Team Stream by Bleacher Report is a unique and fun app for any sports fan. Not only do you get the content written by the Bleacher Report crew, but it’ll also show you what’s going on in the world of Twitter. It’s a great way to get very latest news from wherever it comes from instead of just one source. It has pretty much all major sports present, including football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer.
If you’re looking for something a little more traditional in terms of sports coverage, theScore is a pretty good app to get. It has coverage for well over a dozen sports and leagues and the app developers have updated the design to make it both look good and work well. It’s rare in sports that an app development team does work this good so when we recommend sports apps, we recommend this one. Of course, if you are in need of more options, ESPN’s Sportscenter app is always a good call too.
The legendary Winamp had a very interesting 2013. The internet tried to kill it but it just would not be killed. As it turns out, it has a pretty good music player app for Android and it’s also totally free. With the app you’ll get your standard music playing support along with all the ShoutCast extras included. You’ll have to pay to get more than that but there isn’t all that much more you need. Another very good option for a free music player is doubleTwist which has most of the same features as Winamp.
If you need some wallpapers or ringtones and you don’t want to pay for them, Zedge is where you want to be. It features hundreds of thousands of ringtones and wallpapers that you can surf through and use. It also recently underwent a total re-design to a new interface that makes it easier to use and look better. So if you haven’t yet, grab up Zedge.
As always, these lists are a team sport. We worked hard to find some of the best but we know there are plenty of other great apps out there. So if you have a favorite free app we don’t have up here, let us know in the comments!
You might also like: Best Android Games
Like this post? Share it!
timely alarm clock
Aww darn I can’t complain about Timely anymore because it is totally free now :P
I had this list written before that happened…maybe I’ll have to update it early :)
Can’t believe they made it free just after I bought it. :)
Oh well, they deserve my monah,
Google Keep, VLC, Feedly, Padgram, G Cloud. The list goes on and on. The ones posted though are good for people who recently received or bought an android device over the holiday season.
X-plore > ES. X-plore may look ugly, but it’s the most powerful file manager (for example: it’s the only file manager that I’ve found that can modify zip files without extracting them)
Solid Explorer > everything else.
Used to be but not anymore. X-plore is completely free with no ads
Thanks for adding ES! I said that a couple articles ago. It may not be the best, but it is my personal favorite. It does everything I need it to do. I also like hangouts and I use drive a lot too. Thanks android authority, great article!
Google Keep is a quiet minimalist gem. Taptu is another favourite
Only thing I can’t stand with ES Explorer is the lack of a dark theme. At night the blinding white background forces me to use File Manager HD instead. Every app should have a dark theme period. Also a lot of Google’s apps such as Keep and Google Drive lack that.
You should check out https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.blackout.updater
Because I use a device with an OLED display I try and use as many apps who have dark themes available. The app I linked to contains links to blacked out versions of many popular apps.
I also thought ES file explorer lacked a dark theme but when i fiddled with menu>themes you can click on default theme and voila I finally found “set background color” You can even use a wallpaper and change font and folder color.
Surprised no mention of browsers… I would add Dolphin Browser and Next Browser to the list.
I still prefer TuneIn for streaming.
>Instead of relying on an FM transmitter which not all devices have
You mean “receiver”.
Close enough, but technically, almost every Android device has FM receiver hardware, in a BT/WiFi/FM combo chip. But most devices disable this in essentially unchangeable hardware, by grounding the FM antenna pin, instead of routing it through 1 cent worth of parts to the wired headset.
TuneIn Radio, another awesome radio app! You should have made reference Joe, it’s really good.
I’d add songza to the list :)
I really LOVE Sliding Explorer! https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ballerapps.slidingexplorer
Mx player, flipboard, airdroid.
Appsales can track which apps is on sale and you can also bookmark any paid apps to wait for it to be sales and appsales will notify you..
That’s an interesting app. Just downloaded it now. Cheers.
A good list, for the things I’m interested in having these are mainly the apps I use. CamScanner says the free version watermarks scans and has ads. I’ve settled on “Scan to PDF” which is more basic but works very well without the nuisances.
Also Dropbox doubled its size recently, too big for my low storage phone, and since I have a Skydrive account with free 25gb I just relocated my Dropbox inside it and use the small, efficient Skydrive app on the phone, while retaining Dropbox service which syncs with Linux and Windows as well.
aCalendar is a very good free lightweight sync with Google Calendar (Cal is not compatible with my phone.)
As a Canadian, I’m more interested in accurate Environment Canada weather than anonymous services, and there’s a fine, simple app called “Canada Weather” by an obscure developer Metsoft that does the trick, free without ads.
I use MXPlayer for video, stock app is fine for stored music files. Streaming services depend on taste – I like Sky.fm and the associated Jazzradio apps.
This app is awesome for vehicle management
Great application for kids
Great list, android got much better free apps than iOS.
Good list of some of the “must have” basic downloads. One of my new favorites for video storage and sharing – free to download with limited storage available but you can upgrade if need be: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.real.RealPlayerCloud&hl=en
Great list of best apps i did not thought you would mention Zedge & Clean Master i like these 2 apps , while i was searching for android apps i found this website . it may be useful for you
thanks and waiting for such great lists of android apps
Zedge is horrible, full of copywritten pictures stolen from deviante
Great List. I have tried some of these free apps. Take a look on Mine lists here http://the-bestselection.blogspot.com