Google Maps virtually owns the navigation apps scene and it remains of the best Android apps ever. It gets frequent, almost weekly updates that seem to only add to its incredibly generous list of existing features. Aside from the very basics, Google Maps gives you access to places of interest, traffic data, directions to things like rest stops or gas stations, and you can download maps for offline use.
The best Android apps in 2022
Over the years, we’ve seen many quality apps released on the Play Store, and so we here at Android Police have decided to round up our favorites, the best of the best, the absolute standouts that are clutch for everyday use. So much like our best Android games roundup, today’s app list covers everything you’d need to hit the ground running as a new user, and we haven’t forgotten our longtime readers either, as we’ve also included a few lesser-known apps too.
Let’s start off easy with Google Maps. It’s an app that I’m sure most of us have used and are familiar with, but that doesn’t discount the usefulness of this listing. Google Maps is a staple, not to mention the go-to map software for mobile devices, and for a good reason, this is still one of the best maps and navigation software currently available.
Google Maps is an excellent app for hunting down food to eat, gas stations to stop at, and you can even review the places you’ve visited. Plus, the navigation aspect is sublime. While I know people love Waze, there’s no denying that Google Maps is used by more people, allowing its crowd-sourced content to continually grow at a much faster clip than any other mapping software out there. So whether you’re looking for a rideshare, the closest biking path, or simply want to know how long of a walk it is to the grocery store, Google Maps is more than likely the place you’ll be looking for this info.
Duolingo: language lessons
Learning a new language is challenging, but there are plenty of apps that can help with this, with Duolingo as a standout that covers 35+ languages through easily-digestible bite-sized lessons. Essentially, the company gamified learning new languages, and unsurprisingly this method helps to keep users motivated. You can even track your own progress to ensure you are hitting your goals.
Keep in mind if you choose to use the app for free, the content is limited. There is an optional subscription that’s $6.99 a month, and the first 14-days with full access are free, so you can check everything out before going out of pocket. So if you have the urge to learn a new language or simply want to pick up a few helpful phrases for your next trip, Duolingo is certainly handy in a pinch, thanks to its accessible lessons.
Google Drive is a cloud storage solution available on Android where all new users get 15GB for free permanently upon signing up. You can, of course, buy more if needed. What makes Google Drive so special is the suite of Android apps that are attached to it. They include Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Photos, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Keep. It just covers so many bases and it’s so cheap that it’s impossible not to recommend it to just about anybody.
Some of the features of these apps include live collaboration, deep sharing features, and compatibility with Microsoft Office documents. It’s easy to use, you get 15GB of free storage for your documents, and the cross-platform support is pretty good. You can find more cloud storage apps here and more office apps here if you want something different.
With Bitmoji’s help, you can create your "personal emoji" that look like you and more effectively communicate whatever you might be thinking or feeling. It’s a neat and popular app that works in Snapchat or anywhere else you’re communicating with others.
Track, budget, and manage your finances all in one place so you can see where you’re spending and where you can save. Keep track of your savings, checking accounts, and credit or debit cards, input transactions, and set reminders for things like bill payments to avoid late fees.
It might feel a little dry and dull itemizing and tracking your expenses and purchases, but it can make a real difference in your budgeting, and the Mint app helps by putting your budget and spending information in clear and readable graphs and charts.
The best free Android apps include a versatile, all-in-one media player that’ll play just about any file format that you can throw at it VLC for Android is the mobile version of the popular desktop media player.
VLC is designed to play just about any file format out of the box, from ubiquitous .mp3 and .mp4 files to more unusual formats such as .mkv and .flac. In addition to playing local files, VLC for Android also supports network streaming and media library organization.
Tanto la Google Play Store como la App Store están repletos de aplicaciones gratuitas que son descargadas por una gran cantidad de usuarios y gracias a la cuales sus creadores consiguen grandes beneficios cada año, pero, sin lugar a dudas, el caso más curioso.
Google app No. 1: Voice Access
Android’s long been exceptional at letting you control your phone by voice — dating back to well before the formal debut of Google Assistant, even — but with a little help from an out-of-the-way Google app, you can take your phone’s hands-free potential to totally new heights.
Plain and simple, Voice Access lets you control practically every part of your phone-using experience simply by speaking. Once you fire up the system, you can tell your phone to go back, go home, or adjust more or less any element of your phone’s settings. You can ask it to long-press an item, scroll in any direction on an item, select or unselect text, and place your cursor anywhere you want. It can even handle text editing and let you get around apps and websites without ever lifting a single sticky finger.
Google app No. 4: PhotoScan
Further blurring the lines between our physical and virtual worlds is PhotoScan, which lets you capture impressively high-quality and glare-free images of physical photos with your phone’s camera and then save ’em as digital files. PhotoScan directs you through the process of capturing multiple angles of the print and then does all the dirty work of cropping it, straightening it, and generally just making it look good.
Action Blocks makes it as simple as can be to create your own custom home screen buttons for starting Assistant-connected actions or combinations of actions — things like adjusting allegedly smart devices around your home and/or office, hopping directly into specific functions within apps, or doing most anything else Google Assistant can manage.
Building the app for release
Warning: Recently, the Flutter team has received several reports from developers indicating they are experiencing app crashes on certain devices on Android 6.0. If you are targeting Android 6.0, use the following steps:
Build an app bundle
This section describes how to build a release app bundle. If you completed the signing steps, the app bundle will be signed. At this point, you might consider obfuscating your Dart code to make it more difficult to reverse engineer. Obfuscating your code involves adding a couple flags to your build command, and maintaining additional files to de-obfuscate stack traces.
Test the app bundle
Offline using the bundle tool
Online using Google Play
Build an APK
If you completed the signing steps, the APK will be signed. At this point, you might consider obfuscating your Dart code to make it more difficult to reverse engineer. Obfuscating your code involves adding a couple flags to your build command.
Removing the –split-per-abi flag results in a fat APK that contains your code compiled for all the target ABIs. Such APKs are larger in size than their split counterparts, causing the user to download native binaries that are not applicable to their device’s architecture.
Install an APK on a device
Publishing to the Google Play Store
After updating the version number in the pubspec file, run flutter pub get from the top of the project, or use the Pub get button in your IDE. This updates the versionName and versionCode in the local.properties file, which are later updated in the build.gradle file when you rebuild the Flutter app.
When should I build app bundles versus APKs?
The Google Play Store recommends that you deploy app bundles over APKs because they allow a more efficient delivery of the application to your users. However, if you’re distributing your application by means other than the Play Store, an APK may be your only option.
What is a fat APK?
A fat APK is a single APK that contains binaries for multiple ABIs embedded within it. This has the benefit that the single APK runs on multiple architectures and thus has wider compatibility, but it has the drawback that its file size is much larger, causing users to download and store more bytes when installing your application. When building APKs instead of app bundles, it is strongly recommended to build split APKs, as described in build an APK using the –split-per-abi flag.
What are the supported target architectures?
How do I sign the app bundle created by flutter build appbundle ?
How do I build a release from within Android Studio?
The newest smartphones on the market come loaded with a slew of features right off the shelf, but to get the most out of your new device you’ll have to dive into the vast marketplace of third-party apps. Since the launch of the Google Play Store, apps have been steadily deepening and improving the smartphone experience. There are apps for daily tasks like balancing a checkbook or calculating a tip, as well as crucial work-related apps bringing business communication platforms, all of the top names in social media, and many more to your Android device.
Best new Android app
This is the latest Android app we’ve chosen to feature, refreshed every few weeks. Our choices are usually new apps or apps that have recently received a major update, but occasionally hidden gems and other essentials will also be highlighted.
Whatever you use the internet for, a VPN is well worth having, as by disguising your location it can keep your privacy intact. Plus it can also secure your data through encryption and unlock access to region-restricted services.
An obvious example of that is video streaming services, some of which might not be available in your region, or might show different content there. So with a VPN you can get around that. VPN’s can also be handy if you’re in a country with more restrictive internet practices, or if you’re traveling abroad and want to access streamed content from your home country.
Whatever the case, there are lots of perks to a VPN, and ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) is easily one of the best. We’ve actually written a full ExpressVPN review, awarding it five stars. That’s down to it having 160 locations across 94 countries, good performance and support, and clients for almost every platform.
That of course includes Android, and the ExpressVPN app is seriously slick. It includes a widget to speedily connect or disconnect, the ability to choose certain apps that will or won’t use the VPN when it’s active, the ability to automatically connect to a VPN when using an untrusted Wi-Fi network, and more.
It’s a simple, speedy and powerful app, backed up by one of the best VPN services in the business. The monthly price isn’t especially cheap, but there are discounts for committing to six months or a year, and sometimes there are further sales too.
It’s probably the Android app, so it’s likely you have YouTube already — but that doesn’t make it any less essential. YouTube’s mobile app is sleek and intuitive, bringing the entirety of the video-sharing site to the palm of your hand. For those subscribed to YouTube Premium, you’ll have access to all the premium content, as well as special features like audio playback while the screen is off. But even when used as a free app, YouTube is essential.
Sometimes unfairly viewed as the lesser version of Facebook, Twitter is the place where everything seems to happen instantly. Birthplace of the now now-ubiquitous internet facet, the hashtag, Twitter is the best place to be if you like to be on top of the latest breaking news as it happens. Follow your favorite content creators, actors, or crazes, and follow all the news, impressions, and opinions as they roll in.
If you’re spending more time at home than usual, you might finally have the time to get to that connected-home project you always swore you’d do. If you are the proud owner of a Google Home device, then you already know the ins and outs of a digital assistant. The Google Home app takes this one step further, allowing you to control a plethora of connected smart home devices. It also serves as a command central for any native Google-connected device and your Google-connected accounts, like maps, contacts, calendars, and more.
Movies and videos
Netflix isn’t just one of the best video-streaming services; it’s the video-streaming service. There’s a huge selection of Netflix movies and TV shows for subscribers and the performance is silky smooth. It’s not just restricted to old favorites either, as Netflix has produced a huge amount of excellent exclusive content — though if you’re anything like us, you’ll just put The Office on again. This is as entertained as you can get from just $9 a month, or $16 a month if you want access to 4K content.
Disney holds possibly the largest library of film and television properties in the world and they are all on Disney+. From Hamilton to The Mandalorian you’ll find something for every member of the family. As theatergoers are slow to return all around the globe, Disney has begun using Disney+ for major blockbusters like Mulan and Soul. You’ll also have access to original television shows like Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. There’s a seven-day free trial, and it’ll cost you $6.99 a month after that — though you can pay $80 for a year in advance to save $14.
With the streaming wars hotter than ever before AT&T wasn’t about to let Warner Media go without a fight. HBO Max launched in the summer of 2020 and brings with it all the HBO content audiences are already familiar with, with the added benefit of original content produced exclusively for the streaming platform. In 2021 HBO Max announced that all Warner property films will launch in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously as studios clamor for return on investments in this new theater-less world, so you can catch blockbusters like Mortal Kombat from the comfort of your living room.
Best Productivity Apps
Even though smartphones have been blamed for causing people to be hooked to them for hours, there is no denying that they can also be used as tools for increasing productivity. The Google Play Store is filled with several apps that let you be more organized and productive. But how do we separate the best from the rest? Well, that’s what we are here for! Listed below are the best productivity-centric apps across various categories
Best calendar app: Google Calendar
This one wasn’t a hard choice. Google Calendar is a great app and even people who do not really like Google sort of agree to this. The main advantage of Google Calendar – especially if you are deeply entrenched into the Google ecosystem is that you need to do very few manual entries to set your schedule. Google Calendar syncs information and data across several Google apps and does it all in a seamless manner. We can not, therefore, help but recommend Google Calendar over the other options available in the market.
Best email app: Blue Mail
Blue Mail is a universal email app that has received wide acclaim for being user-friendly and for having a clean UI. It supports several email services including Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL, iCloud, and Office 365 and gives you the ability to view all your emails in a single, integrated inbox. It also gets its own integrated calendar that syncs with data from across your email accounts allowing for the ability to access your Calendar events right within Blue Mail.
Best note-taking app: Evernote
Evernote has been the hot favorite among fans of note-taking apps for a really really long time now. Its popularity stems from the fact that it has a very simple, clean, and easy-to-use interface despite offering a large number of functions.
Best to-do apps: Todoist
Todoist is arguably among the most popular to-do apps on the Google Play Store and claims to have a user base of over 20 million. The app has a lot of features that appeal to those of you who take your to-do list very seriously. It has several additional features like the ability to remind you about deadlines and recurring tasks. You can also set priority levels for each to do and even have it sync up with your email accounts.
Google Play Store alternatives
Well, that sums up our article about the best Android apps across several categories. You will notice that all these apps can be downloaded from the Play Store. But did you know that there are Google Play Store alternatives from where you can download apps as well? Among the most important ones I can think of are the following: