The Google Play Store is bursting with hundreds of thousands of different apps, but it can be hard figuring out which are the must have downloads. After downloading these 10 essential apps for your Android smartphone, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them.
Lookout / Free
Smartphones are expensive pieces of technology, and all owners should be wary about misplacing or losing their phone in public. However, sometimes losing the content and information stored on your phone can be more costly than losing the phone itself. A typical smartphone is linked to several different social and email accounts as well as banking information, and in the wrong hands access to these details can be very dangerous.
Lookout is a mobile security app which can remotely locate, backup and even lock down your phone. Unlike other security apps, Lookout is completely free and comes with a handy virus scanner which automatically scans all downloaded software from the Google Play store.
Tiny Flashlight + LED / Free
Tiny Flashlight may not be the most impressive app available, but it is one of the most useful. The app uses your phone’s flash function to emit a very bright light, and it is much handier (and more effective) than trying to find a torch. The app also has widget functionality so it can be easily turned on and off from the home screen.
Pocket / Free
Pocket is the perfect app for compiling everything that you find interesting on the web. Using the Android ‘Share’ function, Pocket can save web pages, images, videos and even content from other apps.
Saved items can be cached for offline use and tags can be added so that you can easily organise your Pocket savings. The app is much easier to use than clumsy mobile browser bookmarks, and it automatically syncs your account so you can view your pages on other devices.
Unified Remote / Free or £3.00 for full version
Unified Remote turns your Android phone into a powerful and intuitive remote for controlling a Windows PC. Securely connecting to any PC with Internet access, Unified Remote uses your smartphone’s touchscreen to control mouse and keyboard input as well as media software like Spotify, VLC and YouTube. The premium version of the app unlocks Widget support so you can quickly load up your favourite remote from the Android home screen.
WhatsApp / Free
Not everyone has a phone plan that offers unlimited SMS, and many of us still have to keep track of our monthly text spending. WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging system which uses mobile Internet access to send unlimited texts and images. With millions of existing users, it’s likely that most of your contacts are already using WhatsApp for all their messaging needs.
SwiftKey / Free trial or £2.99 for full version
SwiftKey is one of the smartest keyboards apps available. The app’s prediction engine is more intuitive than Android’s standard keyboard software so you’ll be able to type much faster and without errors. Unlike other keyboard apps, SwiftKey has a unique ‘Flow’ feature which allows users to type strings of words by swiping their finger across the touchscreen. With flow enabled, you can type entire sentences without your finger even leaving the screen.
Shazam / Free
It’s always annoying when you hear a song on the radio or in a bar that you just can’t place. Shazam is a handy app which can identify thousands of different songs. Within seconds, Shazam can recognise the song being played by using the phone’s headset microphone, and it even provides a handy YouTube or Amazon MP3 link so you can purchase the song or watch the video.
TuneIn / Free
TuneIn has the largest database of radio stations and podcasts than any other radio app. Whether you prefer music, talk, sports or comedy, TuneIn streams more than 70,000 live radio stations from across the globe so you will never run out of something to listen to.
Adobe Photoshop Touch / £6.99
Smartphone cameras have come a long way, but it can still be difficult getting that perfect shot. Adobe Photoshop Touch offers a quick and easy way to perform a few little tweaks and edits that can make a huge difference to your photographs.
Whether you want to add a filter or perform a quick crop, Adobe have developed the leading photo manipulation app for mobile devices.
Evernote / Free
Evernote is a note-taking app bursting with features. Jot down a quick note, take a photograph or even record audio with Evernote so you can gather your thoughts and remember them for later. The app also organises and synchronises all content so you can easily access it from other devices whenever you want.
These days you can download anything, from a taxi app to a game. However you don’t want to clutter up the home screen of your Android smartphone with apps that you’ll only use a few times, so make sure you install these essential downloads that you’ll use every day.
This article was written by freelance journalist Emma, she specialises in writing about new technology and useful apps.