The 70 best Android apps in 2018: Get the best from your phone
Best Android apps 2018: Social apps
There’s no escape from the onslaught of social media and instant messaging apps. Perfect for sharing images, making plans or simply having a chat, these social apps are the best of the bunch.
12. Snowball (free)
All your social networks in one handy app
Fed up of juggling multiple social networks across loads of different apps? Snowball helps manage the blizzard of information thrown at your phone or tablet every day.
Notifications are handled in a separate drop-down tray, and you can easily cycle between different networks. Replies can be left without even having to close down the app you’re currently using.
The world’s biggest social network, compressed to fit in your pocket
Ahh, Facebook, the social network standard you can’t be without. Now that Messenger has been spun out into a separate app, you’ll need both to get the full Facebook experience.
Facebook isn’t the most reliable Android app around, but its latest update has sought to fix such issues. Messenger is thankfully more stable, but switching between the two apps still isn’t as smooth as you’d like it to be.
15. Messenger Kids (free)
Peace of mind for the parents, socialising for the kids
You may feel a bit squeamish about your children having instant messenger access at all, but at least with Messenger Kids you will maintain a fair element of parental control. Not only do parents get to approve every contact added, ensuring a safer environment and an absence of stranger danger, but it can be set for use only at certain times, and messages can’t be deleted – meaning you can check in and see exactly what has been said, should you be worried for your child’s wellbeing.
16. Tengi (free)
Instant messaging, but with a chance of winning some of their revenue back
Describing itself as “the chat app that gives back”, Tengi shares many functions with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, letting you text, call and share photos via Wi-Fi or mobile data. Its unique selling point is that it automatically enters its users into a prize cash draw every week, where they can win up to £10,000. The more you chat, the more virtual ‘tickets’ you get, so the better your chances of winning. It’s free to use and there are no in-app purchases to worry about.
17. Timehop (free)
Take a step back in time to see what you did on this day three years ago
Want to remind yourself of how foolish that haircut you had five years ago was? Timehop is here to do just that. But while there’s sure to be plenty of cringe-worthy moments dragged up from the past, Timehop also brings reminders of memories forgotten: that spontaneous road trip, the time you went to the zoo, or perhaps the day you met a loved one for the first time.
Plugging into Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Foursquare, Timehop gives you a slice of your past life every day of the week. Who knew looking back in time could be so addictive?
18. Prisma (free)
Make your selfies into art
Instagram filters are so 2015. Or maybe even 2014 – whenever the damned thing was released. This year’s hottest photography app is Prisma, which – as Tom wrote – “is like Instagram dropped acid”.
It uses artificial-intelligence algorithms and neural networks to make your photographs into strange modern art. It’s all very clever, and quite complex, but the bottom line is it gets weird and wonderful results, just ripe for sharing. So go download it and give it a try.
19. OKDOTHIS (free)
Guided inspiration to improve your photography
Are you stuck in a photography rut? OKDOTHIS will fix that for you by giving you a guided photography challenge for each day – it might give you instructions on the subject, the feel or even the composition. All you have to do is find the moment, snap it and share it with the community.
20. WhatsApp (free)
The world’s most popular messaging apps says goodbye to SMS charges
Finally updated with a new interface, WhatsApp is the instant messenger of choice for any smartphone.
WhatsApp needs little introduction. Make voice calls or send video clips, pictures, audio or text messages. It’s everything you need to replace tired old SMS and MMS services.
21. Textra (Free)
Jazz up your standard SMS with a customisable skin
If you prefer to do things the old school way, then you may find your stock Android SMS app is a little drab, and dull on the eyes. Textra is the answer: customise as many or few of your contacts as you like, right down to the colour of the notification icon you get when messaged. You can also have messages appear as a pop-up in Android, but that’s easy to turn off if you find it too distracting.
22. Skype (Free)
Free calls around the world without fuss
Microsoft-owned Skype has been letting you chat for free over the internet on various different platforms for years – including, back in 2007, the Skypephone. The newly updated Android and iOS apps now include video group calling. This means you can chat to up to 25 friends or family members at once, each with their own onscreen video box (presumably quite small) – in HD, if your phone or tablet supports it.
23. Trusted Contacts (Free)
Never worry about a loved one again
If you want to know your loved ones are safe, then Google’s own Trusted Contacts is the answer. Simply add a bunch of contacts you trust (hence the name) and they get special access to see where your phone is and when you’re active.
At any time, they can send a location request. If all is fine and dandy, you can turn down the request and they’ll know you’re safe. If for whatever reason you can’t reply within five minutes, the app will automatically respond with your location – even if you’re out of battery and without signal. What’s more you can set it to broadcast to a loved one if you’re about to go into a dicey situation – say walking home through a sketchy environment late at night. Simply tap the banner at the top of the screen when you arrive safe and sound, end everyone has peace of mind.