New Android phone? Now what? If you find yourself in this situation, the usual thing to do is to open the Android’s app store, Google Play, and start filling up your phone. But wait, with over 3.5 million apps in the store, how can we know which one is worth installing and which one is not?
Having that in mind, we have made a list of more than 40 essential apps to install on your new Android phone. We will show a bit of everything and ignore those that come pre-installed on most phones, such as Gmail, Google Maps or Chrome, even if they seem essential.
It is hard to please everyone, which is why you will be in favor of some of our recommendations and against some others. Take what interests you and ignore the rest. We tried to keep the list relevant in general terms, but we would love for you to share on the comments section which apps are missing or are irrelevant according to your opinion.
First, we will get the most prominent apps out of the way. Despite its great popularity, WhatsApp does not always come pre-installed, so you need to open Google Play and download it. It really is an app that does not need an introduction: it is the preferred messaging app of 1,300 million users.
With WhatsApp, you can send messages, photos, videos, voice notes and locations, make calls and video calls, and basically get in touch with your acquaintances in a single tap. All of this through a lightweight and fast interface, without problems.
Following WhatsApp, we have its archenemy: Telegram. This is another messaging app that has a really small number of users, but in return it provides a series of additional advantages and features. For example, it has a real client for Windows and the chats are synced on the cloud so you never miss any message.
If nobody around you uses Telegram, you can probably skip this recommendation, although the truth is that you can take advantage of it even without friends. It is one of the best ways to send files between the PC and the phone, and you can also join thematic groups to talk to random people about any topic.
Instagram is another prominent app that does not usually come pre-installed. Being one of the few apps that have struck one billion downloads without coming pre-installed, it shows that many people indeed end up installing it on their new phones.
For those who do not know Instagram, it is mainly a social network based on photos, although lately it has made a turn towards communication in an attempt to outshine Snapchat. So, now you can share your photos and videos but also broadcast live, send private messages to your friends and publish stories that expire 24 hours later.
Google Translate does not usually come with your phone, so if you want it, you will have to download it. We can say that it is certainly the best translation app for Android, which is also legitimate, free and ad free.
Google Translate keeps improving its compatibility by adding new languages, and it has some very interesting tricks up its sleeve, such as the translation of conversations or the translation of images in real time through the camera. This is one of the apps that it is worth having for when you need it even if you do not use it every day.
A few years ago, I would not have included Google Keep on this list because it is an incredibly simple app. However, since Google stepped up its game by adding the possibility to sync it with Google Drive, collaborative notes and tags, its shares skyrocketed: it is nowadays an excellent option for a note-taking app.
There are better and even more beautiful note-taking apps than this one, but Google Keep lands in the middle, as it fulfills what it promises seamlessly. The fact that you can edit your notes on the web with your PC is a plus.
Something happens with Android launchers because you either have one that is too plain and without options or have one that is extremely overloaded on your new phone. So, the first thing that some people do with their new phone is to download Nova Launcher.
Phones change, customization layers change, but Nova Launcher remains the same. This launcher has continued to evolve for six years in order to stay on top; it combines customization with stability.
If you like music, you can have it all in your phone for free with Spotify for Android. With certain conditions, of course, like the fact that you cannot choose exactly what song to play and that it has ads, but even that is still more than what the competition gives you.
The only thing that you will have to keep in mind is the data consumption because the offline mode is exclusive to the Premium version. Another brilliant feature of the Spotify app is that you can use it to control the playback on other devices remotely (Chromecast, TV, PC, etc.).
If you’re interested in Spotify for streaming music, you would probably be interested in Netflix for movies and series. Well, it is not free (except for the first trial month), but its quality catalog attracts more and more people.
It is always good to have your app for streaming series and movies at hand if you want to get rid of a state of pure boredom. We have chosen Netflix, but if you are subscribed to HBO GO, Movistar+, Amazon Video or any other service, we obviously recommend you the one that you use frequently.
If you are one of those who have trouble remembering passwords, you need a password manager. 1Password is one of the best, as it remembers the username and password that you use in each website and app.
However, keeping your passwords safe will cost you extra money. The monthly subscription is around $2, although you can try all its features for 30 days at no cost. If you are still left unconvinced, the other options are Dashlane and LastPass.
Virtually every phone has tools for editing and touching up your photos, but they often are too basic: trimming, brightness, rotating and hardly anything else. Snapseed is a box of well-rounded tools that you can use to turn a normal photo into a masterpiece.
It takes full control of your photos with advanced tools in order to touch up the color, brightness and contrast, correct the perspective, add filters, include texts with designs, add a smile and a lot of extra features that make the app more of an “Android’s Photoshop” than the actual Photoshop app.
Your new Android phone will certainly come with some type of video playback app, but they often are very basic. If you watch a lot of videos, you deserve nothing but the best, which equals to VLC Player.
VLC Player for Android is a video player that looks nice and supports many video formats, and it has a feature to download subtitles, folder overview and the possibility to connect to network drives. By the way, it has a PiP floating window even if you do not have Android Oreo.
If you want be kept up to date with the pieces of news of any possible topic, one of the best ways to do it is with Feedly. First, you must find sources to subscribe to (like our RSS feed) and then you will receive the headlines in Feedly to read them easily.
Those of you who have used RSS before will not need any further explanation, but for the rest of you it is similar to subscribing to a webpage using you e-mail. You will receive all the content, so you decide whether to open and read it or go to the next topic. Feedly includes its own search engine, and using it to find websites to follow is extremely easy.
Everyone has their preferred weather app. There are people who prefer Weather 14 days, those who are faithful fans of Accuweather or those who pay for the excellent Weather Timeline. I suggest Yahoo! Weather, although the previously mentioned apps are just as good.
You could see the weather in Google, but nowadays weather apps virtually have a double purpose of information and decoration through its widget. Yahoo! Weather is visually stunning and it has all the information that you could ask for in this type of apps, so it is a good option.
How many times have you gone grocery shopping but forgotten half of the things you had to buy? Or worse yet, you wrote a thorough shopping list on a piece of paper and then forgot it at home. Bring is a visual way to make your shopping list.
The best part is that you can add other people to help you make the list or add things to it last minute when you are already in the store. Another interesting feature is that you can save “templates” of items to buy, and you can use them again later on.
You will not find this app on Google Play, but it is in fact one of the best free and ad-free file managers for Android. Since ES File Explorer went to the dark side, MiXplorer is one of the best apps that fill in for it.
If you want to manage your phone’s files easily, you will need an app like MiXplorer to copy and move everything more easily than with Android’s elusive built-in file manager. We can connect it to network drives and multiple cloud-based storage services.
Your bank’s app
Everyone has their own bank, so you will be the one to choose the right app. Using the bank’s app on the phone means that you can control your finances wherever you are without having to depend on a branch or an ATM, which is really useful and highly recommended. Here you have some examples:
Your mobile phone operator’s app
Likewise, installing your mobile phone operator’s app means that you will have first-hand information about how much data you have consumed, how many calls are left in your plan and how much your bill will be. If you do not want any surprises later on, this is a highly recommended app, especially those that notify you about any excessive consumption and so on.
If you have ever found yourself having no idea what you are going to eat, the answer may be found on your phone. There are more and more apps for ordering food through your phone, and installing one or several of these apps will save your day.
Lastly, the other apps that should always be on your phone are those related to transportation. Those times of going out into the street and raising your arm to get a taxi are over; now just a tap is what it takes for the taxi to pick you up. If you do not like taxis, then I suggest you to search for apps related to public transport in your city, to check incidents and routes, etc.