Joe Hindy / Android Authority
We use smartphones for a lot of things. We listen to music, play games, watch videos, and talk to one another on social media. Another use of smartphones is to make our lives easier. Thankfully, there are plenty of apps that can do just that. You carry this thing on you all the time, so why not let it make your life easier? The tools listed below should make your life easier in a variety of specific ways. This is a hard list for a new app to crack, so it may be a while before any new apps get listed here. Here are the most useful apps for Android!
The most useful Android apps
Price: Free / Up to $52.99 per month
Adobe has some of the most useful apps out there. Their apps generally range from photo editing to utility and include apps like Adobe Acrobat (PDF reader), Adobe Lightroom and Photo Express (photo editing), Illustrator Draw (drawing), Scan (document scanner), Premiere Clip (video editing), and many, many others. Many of these apps fill niches that other third-party apps simply don’t. In addition, they are all good enough to hold spots on our lists for all of those things. All of them are free to download. Some of them may require an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription to get all of the features, though.
Price: Free / $1.99 per month / $19.99 per year
AirDroid is one useful app. It lets you connect your PC to your Android device and vice versa. You can share files, get notifications, quick replies to a few messaging apps, and more. AirMirror and AirDroid: Remote Support are two plugins that add to the functionality in various ways. This is among the best ways to connect all of your devices together. It also works on Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows. There is a subscription for all of the features. However, you can try the free version first to see if you like it. Pushbullet is a good competitor to AirDroid as well.
Price: Free / $4.99-$6.99 per month / Varies
CamScanner is probably the best document scanner app on mobile. You use the app to scan documents into your phone and convert them to PDF format. You then send that document through email, save it to your device, and you can even fax it for a nominal fee. This is one of the few apps on the Play Store that can do all of those things and definitely the best of those. It seems to hit all the check boxes you’d want in an app like this. You can use most of the features for free or you can pay for a subscription if you intend on using it very heavily. In either case, this is probably the best app in its category. It’s especially useful during tax season and for business people.
IFTTT is easily one of the most useful apps ever. It’s an app that creates commands to carry out a set of basic tasks automatically. What’s great about the app is the sheer number of services, products, and other apps that have IFTTT supports. You can have it turn on your smart lights in your home, save images from Instagram and upload them to Dropbox, and there is even some Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa stuff available. It doesn’t take very long to learn and can automate a lot of otherwise mundane tasks on your phone. The list of things this app is capable of is so long that it’s absurd. It’s definitely useful, trust us. Plus, it’s free!
Google Assistant / Google Search
Google’s app is definitely one of the most useful apps ever. It contains two basic things: Google Assistant and Google Feed. Google Assistant answers basically any question, sets up reminders, turns smart lights on and off, and even pulls up songs or videos for you. Google Feed is, well, a feed with tons of stuff, including weather, news, and news. It slowly curates new stuff based on your search history and interests. You can also tune it to your likes specifically as well. The two together with Google Search in one app is a potent combination that few other developers can even compete with. This single app houses Google Assistant, Google Search, and Google Feed. All of them are useful.
Google Drive suite
Price: Free / $1.99-$299.99 per month
Google Drive and its suite of apps are the most popular productivity apps on Android. The full collection includes Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Keep, and Google Photos. Between these apps, you have a full-fledged office suite complete with a note-taking app, cloud storage, and a place to back up all of your photos and videos for free. Google Drive comes with 15GB of storage for free. You can increase the cloud storage space with a monthly subscription. The whole package are some of the most useful apps we’ve seen.
Google Translate is the go-to translation app available on any platform. It has received a number of updates over the years, including the ability to use your camera to point at something and have it translated in real-time. There is also a neural network powering the platform that helps make the translation even more accurate. It has a slew of additional features as well, including the ability to translate a two-way conversation in real-time. Microsoft Translate and a few other translation apps are getting better, but Google Translate is still king of the roost.
LastPass Password Manager
Price: Free / $2-$4 per month
LastPass is a password manager app. There are many of these in Google Play and most of them work fairly well. However, we like LastPass because it stays current with Android updates and also has a second authenticator app for additional security. The app generates passwords, saves your passwords to various sites, and helps you log in quickly when you need to. It adds a layer of security to your life. The subscription costs are also quite reasonable. There are other really good password manager apps as well. However, we like that LastPass is always among the first to integrate new Android features quickly so it gets the spot for now.
Price: Free / Varies
Microsoft has been killing it on mobile the last couple of years. The company definitely has some of the most useful apps out there. Some of the better ones include Microsoft OneDrive (cloud storage), the Microsoft Office suite (word documents, spreadsheets, presentations), Microsoft Launcher, Microsoft Authenticator (security), Office Lens (document scanner), Remote Desktop, Xbox and Mixer (gaming), Your Phone Companion (phone-to-PC), and several more. Additionally, they have some up and comers like a to do list app that is slowly getting better. They are also working on direct Android screen mirroring on Windows 10 and some other useful things. Cortana exists on this list too, but it’s just average as far as virtual assistants go for right now.
Price: Free / $5.99 per month
Reddit is a very useful app and website. It has a virtual ton of subreddits that cover all sorts of topics. You can find advice, tutorials, and information about basically anything. There are a lot of trashy people and topics on Reddit. However, with a little tact and some patience and you can avoid most of the nonsense. Anyone with an interest should check out the subreddits for that interest. You may find some really cool stuff you didn’t previously know about. There are also a ton of third-party Reddit apps. Many prefer the third-party ones over the official app, but the official app works too.
Price: Free trial / $1.99
Solid Explorer is a file manager and browser that does a great job. It’s built around Material Design and that makes the app very easy to use. On top of the usual file browsing, you’ll also have the option to access your cloud storage services if you use them. On top of that, you’ll be able to access FTP, SFTP, WebDav, and SMB/CIFS clients. There is even root access if you need that. It’s a powerful app that is also simple to use. You’ll have to pay for it after the 14-day trial, but everyone needs a file manager and this one is a good one.
Tasker is one of the most powerful apps. Tasker allows you to create automated activities that do a variety of things. It’s difficult to express what this app can do because it can do virtually anything. The app comes with 200 built-in actions that you can use or you can build your own. There are also a ton of apps with Tasker support along with plugins to expand functionality. There is a large learning curve. This is definitely not the easiest app to use. However, it works great once you figure it out. This is kind of like a power user version of IFTTT. Tasker is also free with Google Play Pass if you have it.
Price: Free / $27.99 per year
TickTick is among the best to do list apps and also one of the most useful apps. You put tasks in and the app reminds you to do them. In addition, you can set it up for things like grocery lists and other stuff. The app also features collaboration. You can share tasks between the members of your household or job if needed. It also comes with a calendar, widgets, and note-taking features. The free version comes with more than enough for casual use. The paid version is really only needed for extreme business use cases.
WiFi Analyzer is an open-source WiFi analyzer. It lets you see your WiFi connection as well as other connections in the general area. There are a number of reasons why you’d need something like this. You can see if your WiFi is sharing a channel with other WiFi networks (which can affect connectivity and speed). You can also identify nearby WiFi networks, graph signal strength, and other activities. This can help diagnose WiFi problems in the event you have issues. This is especially useful for those who stream live TV or use live stream gaming services like Google Stadia.
Price: Free / $12.99 per month
YouTube is probably the most useful app on mobile. Sure, most use it for music videos or product reviews. However, there is a healthy and huge underbelly of tutorials, lessons, lectures, explainers, and other videos. I once learned how to change the headlight bulbs on my 2005 Chevy Equinox with a YouTube video. There aren’t a ton of things that it doesn’t have. The app is free if you don’t mind advertising. You can pay $9.99 per month to remove ads, enable background play, and get a complimentary subscription to Google Play Music. It’s a pretty good deal.