Best Android apps of 2016: 28 apps you must try
Searching for the best Android apps is daunting. Whether you need a great weather app or a new browser, there are always dozens available. Here at Flux, we’ve spent hours curating the top Android apps for every purpose, and compiled them into one list. Here are the best Android apps of 2016, which now includes our current favorite productivity and job search apps.
Best file manager app for Android
In light of the turn ES File Explorer has taken, we’ve tested out a few alternatives in search of a replacement.
The app we’ve settled on is Solid Explorer. It’s feature-rich and highly accessible thanks to a crisp Material Design UI. It also houses a very handy double-panel display that lets you navigate to two separate folders and drag a file across from one to the other. Integration with cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive, as well as FTP servers, make it a formidable all-in-one solution for managing your files.
Some of its other features include hidden folders, ZIP and RAR archive extraction, and customization through icons, color schemes and themes.
The app is free to try out for two weeks, and then you have the option to pay $2, so you’ve nothing to lose by trying it out and seeing what you think.
Best productivity app for Android
Manually typing passwords takes a lot of time and remembering them all is difficult. Everybody has forgotten a password or two at some point in their lives. Enter Dashlane, the app which saves all of them so you can easily copy and paste these into online forms when necessary.
A common concern with password manager apps is whether you can trust their security service. Dashlane uses encrypted codes and regularly monitors them to ensure you have peace of mind.
What’s more, Dashlane streamlines and secures other types of data used in online forms, like credit card information. You can save financial details and quickly copy them onto your online shopping portal of choice. And it automatically saves the receipts of all your purchases so you can track your spending.
Best job search app for Android
Searching for a new job used to involve hours of looking through classified ads in newspapers and many different job posting sites. Now with sites like Indeed, job perusing has improved and you are able to narrow results and streamline this process.
Indeed’s mobile app for Android lets you search for a job when you’re on-the-go so you can find your next employment adventure, anywhere, anytime. You can narrow the results for specific geographical regions, salary expectations or type of employment (full-time, part-time, etc.).
The Indeed app tracks your search history so you will only see the results you haven’t viewed yet. You can also upload your resume if you want make it easier to apply for job you’re interested in. Employers can then view your uploaded resume and see if you’re a good fit for the position.
Best weather app for Android
There are plenty of weather apps available that are more accurate and better looking than the ones that come pre-installed on your Android device.
MORECAST is our current favorite weather app here at Flux because it has one of the best-looking interfaces, with a clear and sensible layout. It’s also one of the most advanced apps of its kind, featuring such options as side-by-side weather comparisons for two cities, and accurate weather information for a particular route or journey. MORECAST is the right way to make a smartphone weather app, and best of all, it’s free.
Best launcher app for Android
Launchers offer a simple way to customize the look and feel of your Android phone. They often combine new icons, a new app drawer layout, a new homescreen and new wallpaper to make your device fit a certain style or theme.
You have to try them out to appreciate how fun they can be and the one we recommend right now is Action Launcher 3. This is an excellent introduction to launchers because it provides clear and intuitive interface changes without adding so many that it becomes off-putting.
With Action Launcher 3 you can perform simple tweaks such as changing the app drawer layout, changing app icons, and even altering the way you use your home screen folders. It offers genuinely useful interface improvements and it’s free; download it from the link below.
Best fitness and lifestyle app for Android
Whether you want to lose a few extra pounds or just improve your energy levels, the 7 Minute Workout app is a great entry point into Android-assisted health and fitness.
The 7 Minute Workout focuses on a short, high-intensity routine, which is scientifically proven to aid weight loss and improve cardiovascular function. For people who find the idea of picking up a gym membership or going cross-country running intimidating, this app provides the perfect jumping off point, thanks to the brevity of its workouts.
Unlike many Android fitness apps, the 7 Minute workout doesn’t ask for your height and weight or track your overall progress, but what it lacks in features, it makes up for in simplicity. You just look over the exercises, hit the start button and away you go. Begin your healthier lifestyle today with the free 7 Minute Workout app.
Best security/antivirus app
Android security is a contentious subject and arguments about the safety of the system crop up frequently. If you are in the market for an antivirus app, our current favorite is Mobile Security & Antivirus from Avast.
Mobile Security & Antivirus keeps you safe from malware threats with its excellent virus detection software, which can search through your browser history, microSD card, and internal storage space. What’s more, it employs anti-theft features such as location tracking and remote data wipe, which work even if your device is not currently in your possession.
As far as free mobile security is concerned, Avast’s app is about as comprehensive as it gets.
Best Android browser app
As a Google product, Chrome is the perfect browser for Android and, since it comes pre-installed on most phones, it’s something that most people are familiar with. Chrome Beta is our current best Android browser app because it’s just the, ahem, better version of the browser we already love.
Chrome beta is Chrome of the future, it’s what the standard Chrome app will become once Google applies the latest changes, fixes and improvements it is working on. Chrome beta users get to experience these things before the masses.
The price paid for quicker access to new features is that, of course, sometimes there are bugs or issues that need to be ironed out. None of these will cause any damage to your phone or its software however, and these browser crashes and stutters very rare.
Best Android podcast app
Podcast Addict is a beautiful app because it piles an excellent free service on top of free service — that is, listening to awesome podcasts. Podcast Addict itself is a free download and it lets you search for, download and listen to podcasts (with its integrated audio player), as well as create playlists of the upcoming shows you want to tune in to.
What’s more, it houses a neat “trending” search feature so you can see what else is currently popular in the podcast world, providing a simple entry point for newcomers. While it’s not always the easiest to navigate, it does everything a good Podcast app should do and it does it well.
Best Android keyboard app
This keyboard is one of the best for fast, accurate typing and it’s our new company favorite. Many of us have adopted Fleksy because it’s big, it’s clever and once you use it for a couple of hours, you realize how useful some of the smaller details are.
For example, most keyboards use a “press and hold delete key” gesture to delete words, Fleksy uses a super-quick backward swipe. Be sure check out some of the extensions like invisible keyboard too — it works surprisingly well. Download it from the Play Store for free now.
Best app for downloading free music on Android
Google Play Music is our favorite app for downloading free music right now. Though there are many music download apps available in the Play Store, they are often quickly removed because of their copyright-impinging functionality. Google Play Music provides you with a totally legit, ever-changing list of free tracks from major artists to download.
Spotify has an excellent paid subscription service, and SoundCloud has a multitude of tracks readily available to stream, but for actually downloading tracks to your phone, Google Play Music is as good as you can get.
Alternatively, head to the link below for some less common free music downloading apps.
Best app for watching TV and movies on Android
Hulu is an excellent app for watching movies and TV shows on Android. It’s a free service that relies on ads, but there are some great shows available. You need to pay a subscription fee to access all of the content, but there is a range of excellent shows available without subscription, including classic US comedies such as Family Guy, Seinfeld and South Park.
It’s currently restricted to the US, but hopefully we’ll see Hulu appearing in more territories soon.
Best camera app for Android
Camera360 Ultimate made its way onto our best Android camera apps list because it offers so many features, including more than 200 filters, NFC photo sharing and tons of one-touch fixing tools. These adjustment options are both powerful and easy to use, making Camera360 Ultimate a great choice for new and experienced photographers. It’s a comprehensive free app that ensures you get the best out of your Android camera.
Best image-editing app for Android
PhotoDirector is the whole package. It has everything you could possibly need to edit your photos. The tools range from simple text bubbles and filters, to more complex things such as HSL and curves, and they’re all heavily adjustable, helping you get the best out of your photos. It’s for messing around on and seeing what you end up with.
The app is developed by CyberLink, a large Taiwanese multimedia software company, so they have the money to splash on an app, and it shows. Highly recommended for novices and pros-on-the-go alike.
Best video app for Android
The default video player on your Android phone will probably ‘do the job’ and play most standard video formats without much fuss. But if you’re playing niche formats or enjoy tinkering with the video settings to get the perfect picture, then you’ll need to branch out.
VLC for Android supports a huge number of video formats and has a slew of adjustable settings to create the viewing experience you desire. You can also use hardware acceleration to take full advantage of your smartphone’s processor. The gestures are simple and intuitive, and the audio player is also highly capable. Check it out.
Best education app
Khan Academy is a portal to a higher educational dimension, and is the place to go if you’re interested in learning pretty much anything science-, math- or physics-related. The app is still pretty fresh-faced – although Khan Academy itself has been going strong for almost 10 years – but it puts more than 10,000 videos at your fingertips, covering all learning levels in an admirably approachable way.
There are also courses on art history, economics and more. It’s all completely free, so we highly recommend you give it a go.
Best GPS and navigation app
HERE is Nokia’s own map app, which it used on its devices once upon a time. It provides everything you’d expect, including turn-by-turn navigation, search and satellite imagery, but the main draw is its offline feature. You can download maps of entire countries and use them almost exactly as you would online, without wasting precious MBs.
This is really an indispensable app if you travel a lot or frequently find your data usage going over the limit. The only downside is that you have to register to download maps, but it’s totally free, and once you’ve done it, you can go nuts and download the world.
Best Android-exclusive app
iOS is a fierce rival to Android and offers a range of great apps and features, but it doesn’t offer everything that Android does. Nova Launcher is one of our favorite Android-exclusive apps because, in many ways, it underlines what is so great about Android.
Nova is an alternative launcher compatible with Android 4.1 onward. It lets you customize the entire look and feel of your operating system, from changes to font size, to the number of apps that can appear on the lock screen, to the way in which your app drawer scrolls. Nova Launcher is a prime example of how Android can be molded to suit individual tastes and preferences, in a way that iOS cannot.
If you wish you could make a few simple changes to your current interface, then give the free version of Nova a try. Nova even lets you adopt the look of any other phone – Galaxy, Xperia, HTC, LG, even iOS if that’s your thing.
Best Android app for kids
There are a whole bunch of educational apps, games and books that you can download on your Android phone or tablet, you just need to hit the ‘categories’ section in the Play Store and select an age group, or subcategory such as ‘education’.
Once you’ve installed some suitable apps, we recommend downloading Kids Place. This app allows you to assign the particular apps and games you want to give young ones access to, and restricts them to a screen that shows these apps only (until a PIN code is entered).
Kids Place also prevents children from sending messages or purchasing other apps while using the device, and you can set a time limit for how long access is granted; think of it as temporarily putting your phone or tablet in safe mode.
Best app for musicians on Android
Do you find yourself bobbing your head along to the rhythm of the train when you’re sitting on it, or composing silent melodies in your head that you know would sound amazing if only you could record them at that moment? Then you should check out Caustic 3, the latest version of the popular mobile music-making machine. Using this powerful tool, you can use one of 14 different synthesizers, vocoders and drum machines to create that perfect sound on the move. Caustic 3 is a deep and complex app, so be prepared to put some time into, but the results are great.
Caustic 3 is a music-making app for enthusiasts.
Best app you won’t find in the Play Store
Sometimes you have to venture beyond the Play Store to find the best apps. From our collection of favorite apps found outside the Play Store, our number one was Videoder. Using this app, you can download YouTube videos to your device in various formats and resolutions – including 1,080p.
Anything you download will automatically be saved to the video section of your gallery, and be instantly ready to watch, stream to Chromecast or otherwise do with as you please.
Best unknown Android app
Ask Me Anything, brought to us by Reddit AMA, is a unique and surprisingly low-key app which lets you read the latest celebrity AMA interviews, and also send over questions that you’d like to ask those celebrities. You can also vote on questions other people present, and help decide whether those questions get asked to famous faces from the worlds of film, sport, science, and more. Strange that an app involving celebrities wouldn’t be very popular, right?
Best cloud storage app for Android
Cloud storage is so commonplace now that its name doesn’t sound quite as mystical and ethereal as it did a few years ago. That doesn’t make it any less useful, as storing your personal data online is – for the most part – much safer than keeping it on a fragile old hard drive.
We’re prepared to accept accusations of bias here, as our favorite cloud storage app is Google Drive. it’s baked into most Android devices, Google is always giving extra GBs of storage space away for free, and it’s synced up with the handy Google Docs office suite. It’s the undisputed champ.
Best messenger app for Android
There are some obvious contenders for ‘Best messaging app’ on Android – WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to name a couple. To suggest something a little different, Dasher is often at the forefront of the messenger universe, introducing unusual features before any other app.
It lets you transfer money to contacts, and you can share and play YouTube videos and GIFs in the app itself, to name just a few of the features.
Best offline app for Android
When you don’t have a Wi-Fi or data connection it’s too late to download one. We’ve got the best of the best of offline apps for Android for your offline enjoyment. One of the very best offline Android apps of all is Pocket, and offline reader app that saves text and images for reading later on. No more bookmarking, link sharing or copy pasting when you’ve Pocket in your pocket.
Best lock screen app for Android
Lock screen apps are awesome – you can do things on your smartphone or tablet without even having to unlock it. From checking notifications, calendar reminders, music controls, missed calls, Quick Settings and more, Next Lock Screen lets you take control of your locked phone. Next will even suggest apps based on your location.
Best alternative to the Play Store
The first thing you should know is that the Google Play Store is not the only place you can get Android apps. Sure, it’s the biggest and the most official, but there are lots of apps out there that never quite made it to Google Play or that simply exist elsewhere (like in the Amazon app store for example).
Our favorite Google Play Store alternative is Humble Bundle, which offers pay-what-you-want bundles of high-end games. The games are for Android and PC, and all the money made is split between the developers, the site itself and a variety of charities.
Best music player app for Android
The Walkman and the iPod are as good as dead, because our smartphones have taken over as powerful music players. While the default music apps on your Android device probably do a fine job, if you want to crank up the bass or other aspects of your music, you’ll need something more.
One of the best music player apps for Android is Poweramp. It’s a great way to enjoy your favorite music, with a ton of options and support for almost any type of file. You can’t go wrong with Poweramp.
We are at the end of our list of the best Android apps, but if you’re still hungry for more, check back soon for:
- The top 5 Android apps iPhone users are dying to try
- Best new Android apps
- Best new Android games
What are your favorite Android apps? Let us know which you think the best are in the comments below.
June 7, 2021