Mobile phones are actually poor survival tools. Their limited battery life doesn’t bode well for prolonged survival scenarios. Additionally, their reliance to a connection to a phone tower pretty much makes it useless out where towers aren’t around. Let’s face it, if you got a signal, you have access to emergency services and GPS to get yourself back to civilization. However, there are a few things that mobile phones can do in a situation like this. The first is prepare you for what’s to come. The second is provide some rudimentary tools. Here are the best survival apps for Android.
Price: Free / Varies
Books remain one of the best sources of survival advice, techniques, and knowledge. There are thousands of books on the subject by a lot of different writers. Amazon Kindle, Google Play Books, and Nook are the best ebook seller platforms on mobile right now. They have a rather huge collection of books, features to read those books, and the ability to download books for offline reading. Part of surviving any situation is knowledge about the situation. For that, books still reign supreme. All three ebook platforms are free. However, actual books on the platform cost money.
American Red Cross apps
The American Red Cross has several good survival apps. There are individual apps for first aid, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and a generalized emergency app. Each app has a variety of tips, tricks, and protocols for dealing with specific emergency situations. These won’t help much out in the wilderness (except maybe the first aid app), but it works wonders for emergency situations where it might be days before help arrives. Plus, all of American Red Cross’ apps support Spanish and they’re also free.
Compass Steel 3D
Compass Steel 3D is a competent compass app with no in-app purchases or advertising. It has a variety of features, including indicators for true north as well as magnetic north. Some other features include a sun and moon direction indicator, sunrise and sunset times, moon rise and set times, and more. It’s quite simple and the calibration process isn’t too difficult. There are many good compass apps out there. However, we like this one because, again, it’s free with no ads and no unnecessary permissions. You do need to give it location permission to detect true north, though.
Flashlight by Ruddy Rooster
A flashlight app may seem superfluous, but hear me out. The quick settings method grants you fast access for finding something lost on the ground. However, a dedicated flashlight app can do more than that. The one we have linked here engages both the screen and the back LED if you want. It can flash in a variety of ways, including SOS signals, morse code, and it can flash in various colors. This can help other people find you in the dark. The app is free and it’s a good tool for your phone.
HERE WeGo is a decent navigation app and a competitor to Google Maps. This one has really good offline maps support. You simply download maps of your area. That gives you some navigation help if you end up without an Internet connection. Offline maps are supported in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Canada, and over 100 other countries. That should make this a good solution for just about everybody. Plus, it’s completely free and and easy to use.
Offline Survival Manual
Offline Survival Manual is easily one of the best survival apps. It contains a bunch of information about various things and situations. That includes basic stuff like building a fire and finding food to more complicated things like the psychological impact of being in a survival situation. Some other categories this app supports includes basic medicine, plants, dangerous animals, situational advice for deserts and tropical areas, and even basic weapon building. The app is completely free with no in-app purchases or advertisements. It’s also open source.
OpenSignal helps find signal. It actually does a lot of things. Its feature list includes tower detection, maps of nearby towers, history of your mobile connection, and an integrated speed test. It’s useful for finding a signal where signal can usually be spotty. That could be the difference between staying lost and getting found. CrisisSignal is OpenSignal’s other app. It’s most useful for emergency situations like hurricanes where spotty signals are common. Both apps are completely free as well.
Price: Free / $2.99
Scanner Radio is a useful app for information. It lets you scan nearby police and fire scanners. That gives you the scoop on things happening nearby. This can include fires, crime, emergency situations, and other stuff. The app features 6,500 stations, a list of the most popular scanner stations, widget support, Android Auto support, Tasker support, and more. The free version comes with most of the features. The pro version records audio, adds themes, and removes advertising. It’s not a bad way to keep up with the latest stuff happening in your area. If you need a two-way radio to communicate with others, we recommend Zello.
Smart Tools is about as good as it gets for tools on a smartphone. The app includes about half a dozen tools in total. They include a ruler, a distance measurement tool, a compass, a sound meter, a light tool, and a unit converter. Each one has several purposes. For instance, the light tool includes a flashlight, a magnifier function, and a mirror function. It’s good for simple handyman work. The app is also relatively inexpensive. It runs for $2.99 with no in-app purchases or advertisements. The developer has a range of other handy survival apps as well.
Price: Free / $12.99 per month
YouTube is good for a ton of things. Survival tutorials is one of them. There are tons of creators on YouTube with tons of how-tos on various things. That includes tying knots, building fire without a lighter, building shelter, preparing food, living off of the land, and other skills. Some of the videos aren’t great. However, there is valuable information here. The free version should suffice for most. Those who want background play, offline video downloads, and no advertising can get YouTube Red for $9.99 per month.
If we missed any great survival apps for Android, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists!