The 70 best Android apps in 2018: Get the best from your phone
Knowing what the best Android Apps are for your Android phone or tablet is no easy task. The Google Play Store is chock-full of games and apps, all organised according to what Google thinks will interest you most – or what’s tickling the fancy of other Android users.
When you’ve just bought yourself a brand-new Android device, finding the right apps can seem daunting and those algorithms don’t always help you spot something new and interesting unless it’s already sailing up the charts. Thankfully, we’re here to help navigate you through the forest that is dodgy and questionable apps.
We’ve listed the best Android apps any phone could want, sorted by type from social and entertainment to fitness and travel apps. You may notice that there are no games on the list. That’s not an oversight, it’s because we have the best Android games listed elsewhere. To be clear, we’re not saying you should download every one of these – it’s just that, if an app sounds appealing, it shouldn’t disappoint.
74 best Android apps 2018: Essential apps
1. Google Opinion Rewards (free – and actually earns you money!)
Get paid for super-quick surveys from Google
While many are free, some of the best Android apps in this list require you to pay actual money. If you’re a skinflint, that’s a problem, which is why you should definitely have Google Opinion Rewards installed.
Complete short surveys for Google and you’ll be given credit to spend on the store. Sometimes that could be 50p, sometimes 10p, but it all adds up and no survey takes longer than a minute or two. Seriously, download this now.
2. Gboard – the Google keyboard (Free)
Ditch your stock keyboard. This is the ultimate
Gboard is the ultimate keyboard for Android. That’s partly because its borrowed the best features from elsewhere – Glide Typing is remarkably similar to Swype for example – but it’s more than that. Google search is built right into it, meaning that wherever you in Android you can quickly search for things. Someone wants to know where you’re meeting? Get the address without leaving the chat window. Want to drop a GIF in to show your frustrating at Googling on their behalf? Google a GIF and send it right back…
Voice typing and keyboard themes really round off the package. It’s hard to imagine using anything else, for me.
3. Solid Explorer File Management (£1.50; with two-week free trial)
A less painful way of managing your phone
Yes, it’s dull, but have you ever found an Android phone to have a sensible way of navigating your files like you’d find on PC or Mac? I certainly haven’t. This is where Solid File Explorer comes in. It uses Google’s own Material Design style for an easy to use experience, which makes moving your files around and reclaiming space a doddle. What’s more, it links up to cloud storage systems so you can easily move files to and fro, and the latest version lets you lock important files with a fingerprint, should you wish.
It’s £1.50 to unlock, but you can try it out free of charge for 14 days to see if you get the use from it. For me, it was a total no-brainer.
4. Gallery Doctor – Photo Cleaner (free)
Automatically manage your snaps
Let’s face it: we all take a lot of photos, and not all of them are world beaters. The trouble is with limited storage, your phone can quickly become overrun with mediocre snaps. Yes, you can manually delete and back them up, but with the help of Gallery Doctor, that process can be entirely automated.
Gallery Doctor hunts down duplicate images and highlights them for deletion, but better still it knows what makes a good photo and can highlight your weaker efforts for deletion. Don’t worry, you can check its working to make sure you’re not deleting any classics – but it’s a helpful extra critical eye when trying to reclaim precious space.
5. Avast Antivirus & Security (free; with in-app purchases)
Keep malware from your handset with AV protection
Avast Antivirus & Security is a powerful antivirus app that you can trust; its PC counterpart is one of the best free antiviruses. For those who want comprehensive cover, plenty of additional features are available as in-app purchases, including geofencing and remote data recovery. For those who just want basic protection, however, you’ll find this does everything you need for free.
6. LastPass Password Manager (free)
Complex security you don’t have to remember
We all know the rules about password security, but we also know it’s really, really boring to be good. Fortunately, LastPass takes away the hard work, making it easy to be secure. And it’s free, to boot.
You’ll need to spend a little time setting it up, but once you’re done on desktop, you’re good to go on mobile. LastPass will generate long and hard to crack passwords unique to each site. The beauty is that you never need to memorise it. The app will detect a login screen, you sign in with your master password or thumbprint and it will automatically fill in your details. Security for the lazy!
7. Greenify (free)
Make sure your battery isn’t draining unnecessarily
Getting the most from your phone’s battery is always key. Lollipop may have its own set of battery-saving tools, and many phones now offer power-saving modes, but these should be seen as a last resort.
Greenify sits in the background helping to regulate how much battery various apps are using. It freezes the apps you tell it to when you’re not using them and instantly defrosts them when you need to gain access.
8. Clean Master (free)
Keep that ‘clean install’ feeling
Nobody likes having a slow device, and Android somehow manages to grab digital detritus like a magnet in a junkyard. Clean Master is the mop and bucket you need to scrub your phone or tablet clean.
Clean Master’s Junk File Cleaning feature scans your Android device and chucks out any unwanted cache and residual files.
9. Tasker (£2.99)
Automate your phone’s functions for an easy life
If you really want to tinker with Android, Tasker is a brilliant way of automating many of the functions you’d normally do manually. It takes a little getting your head around, but the scope here is enormous – especially if you have root access on your phone.
You can train your phone to open Spotify when you put your headphones in, for example, or automatically respond to texts with your street address. If you can feed it the instructions, Tasker can automate the rest.
10. Opera Max (free)
Supercharge your web browsing
Unless you’re lucky enough to have unlimited data on your phone, or a bottomless wallet, you’ll want to get the most out of your data package.
This is where Opera Max comes in. It crunches down the size of images and videos, speeds up website load times, and typically saves you from around a third to almost half of your general data use. You can restrict some apps to only ever connect via Wi-Fi, and temporarily turn off connections if you want to save some data for the end of the month.
11. WifiMapper (free)
Track the best Wi-Fi spots in the world
If you don’t have a generous mobile data plan, you’re going to want to use Wi-Fi as much as possible, but finding good, free Wi-Fi isn’t always that easy. WifiMapper is the solution. Crowdsourced maps where the community shares where to get free Wi-Fi, you should never have to rely on your data again.