The best Android apps of 2017


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Best messenger apps for Android

Studies have shown that smartphone users message each other back and forth much more than they make calls. Users need a good messenger app. It’s a big choice, so here are two of our favorites.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp, the ubiquitous chat app, has been installed on over one billion smartphones. And it’s always improving user experience, adding new features and becoming more secure. What makes it number one? Everyone uses it, simple as that. If you already use WhatsApp, then you should check out our favorite WhatsApp tips and tricks.





WhatsApp Messenger
Install on Google Play

Telegram

No messaging app comes close to the number of users WhatsApp has, but there are some great alternatives out there. Telegram is one of them. The free app has end-to-end encryption, does group chats and is a pioneer of chatbots. Unlike some other messengers, you can use it on multiple devices. Read our full review of Telegram.

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Telegram: a powerful communication tool. / © AndroidPIT





Telegram
Install on Google Play

Best keyboard apps for Android

Typing on mobile can be frustrating or awkward for many of us, and that’s a shame because most users don’t think about installing a different keyboard from the default. A new keyboard can really change your life when it comes to how comfortable you are using your phone.

Fleksy

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. 

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Because of its size, Fleksy is primed for use with two thumbs on bigger phones, if that’s your thing. / © AndroidPIT





Fleksy + GIF Keyboard
Install on Google Play

SwiftKey

Whoever is looking for a very special virtual keyboard for Android will find one here. SwiftKey works wonderfully with tablets, and if you simply want a good Android keyboard, it offers intuitive operation, very good spell check and word recognition.





SwiftKey Keyboard
Install on Google Play

Best weather apps for Android

Morecast

There are plenty of great 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 AndroidPIT 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. 

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MORECAST is a useful weather app and widget, which also looks fantastic. / © AndroidPIT





Morecast USA Weather & Radar
Install on Google Play

Weather Timeline

Available for $1.49 on the Play Store, Weather Timeline could be the best money you ever spend. It brings genuinely useful and interesting features together into a wonderful interface and library of widgets.

The app gets its name from its primary function, which is a card-based timeline of the weather, but there’s a lot more on offer. You can select from five different weather services, and there are notifications that warn you of impending weather changes. Then there’s the moon viewer, so you always know the werewolf forecast, and several radar maps, letting you see visualizations of the cloud and rain to come. On top of all that, there are also several interactive graphs showing data on things like temperature, precipitation and pressure. 

The depth of data and an elegant and simple interface makes this app one of our top choices.

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Weather Timeline is our favorite weather app on Android. / © AndroidPIT





Weather Timeline – Forecast
Install on Google Play

Best photo apps for Android

PhotoDirector

There are plenty of useful photo apps on Android to help you up your picture game, but 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.

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PhotoDirector’s array of features is impressive, to say the least. / © AndroidPIT





PhotoDirector Photo Editor App
Install on Google Play

Google Camera

With a clean layout and intuitive controls, Google’s Camera app has been getting better and better both for beginners and pros alike. But it’s really Nexus and Pixel owners who will get the most of this app since these are the only phones that support Google’s own HDR+ mode. HDR+ adds low noise to it’s processing and is capable of creating some of the most stunning smartphone imaging available yet, even in the darkest lighting conditions.

You can also take panoramic pictures and use Photo Sphere, a walk-in spherical panorama function that makes immersive viewing possible in Google’s Photos app. The Nexus or Pixel motion sensors work wonders but true 360-degree cameras are still better suited for such shots.

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Google camera offers the extensive Photo Sphere function. / © Google





Google Camera
Install on Google Play

Best apps for music

Downloading free music

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. 

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Google Play Music always has a selection of popular tracks for free. / © AndroidPIT





Google Play Music
Install on Google Play

Best music player

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.

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With themes galore, Poweramp can be whatever you want it to be. Just grab a new skin ASAP. / © AndroidPIT





Poweramp Music Player (Trial)
Install on Google Play

Best apps for movies and TV

Hulu

Hulu is an excellent app for watching movies and TV shows for free 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 comedies such as Family Guy, Seinfeld and South Park. 

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Hulu features a number of classic US TV shows and movies. / © AndroidPIT





Hulu: Watch TV & Stream Movies
Install on Google Play

Crackle

Crackle is a hugely popular free app, which is updated monthly with new TV shows and movies. Created by Grouper but later bought by Sony, the app features ads which run at regular intervals throughout the content, the trade-off for which is that you get an excellent selection of media and a well-maintained app.

Crackle, like Netflix or Amazon, has picked up some original content that’s getting more popular. The most famous of these is ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ starring Jerry Seinfeld. It’s on it’s eighth season and has featured some major guests like Will Ferrell, Ricky Gervais and Barack Obama.





Crackle – Free TV & Movies
Install on Google Play

Best security/antivirus apps for Android

Mobile Security & Antivirus from Avast

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. 

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Avast is a well-known name in antivirus, and you can wipe your device remotely if necessary. / © AndroidPIT





Mobile Security & Antivirus
Install on Google Play

Kaspersky Internet Security

Kaspersky is a well-established anti-virus and security package on the desktop, and with its Android app it brings a whole lot of that protection to your mobile. That means you get anti-virus, call and text control, anti-theft, and anti-phishing features.

It can also protect you with real-time, web protection, and a few privacy options, though to get the full package you’ll need to pay for the premium version of the app, which is currently priced at $14.95 for one year. If you need to cover more than one Android device, you can add up to two more at $5 per device, per year.

If you want to test out the premium features, there’s a 30-day trial to activate within the app, but to use some of the features you will need to create an account using your email address. The anti-theft feature, for example, isn’t premium but does require an account to work.

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Kaspersky has a pretty neat UI. / © AndroidPIT





Kaspersky Antivirus & Security
Install on Google Play

Best apps for personalizing your Android

Action Launcher 3

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 homescreen folders. It offers genuinely useful interface improvements and it’s free; download it from the link below.  

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This is the Action Launcher 3 app Quickdrawer. / © ANDROIDPIT





Action Launcher 3
Install on Google Play

Nova Launcher

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.





Nova Launcher
Install on Google Play

Next Lock Screen

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.

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Next by Microsoft brings a whole bunch of functionality to your lock screen. / © AndroidPIT





Next Lock Screen
Install on Google Play

Best dating apps for Android

Online dating has come a long way from the easy punchline it used to be, and nowadays it’s pretty common to meet that special someone on a dating app. However long your connection might last, you need a good app to get started in the dating game. Here our favorites.

Tinder for sheer number of potential matches

For those who wish to jump straight into the larger dating pool, Tinder is a massive app with tons of potential matches available. It’s claimed that 26 million matches happen through Tinder every day. 

Aside from numbers, another advantage is that Tinder uses Facebook authentication to try and keep its potential matches honest. It’s not a flawless system, as it is possible to get a fake Facebook account but it’s more difficult than getting a random email address.

Tinder is mostly free but if you want to get some premium features you will need to pay. These include ‘rewind’ (see a profile you just swiped away), getting a boost to your visibility and getting more ‘super likes’ (get someone’s attention before they see you by chance), but it is entirely possible to use Tinder without these and have a great dating experience for free.

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Tinder shows you local singles using a large database. / © AndroidPIT





Tinder
Install on Google Play

Bumble puts women in control

Bumble offers an interesting take on the dating app format. You swipe through matches in a manner reminiscent of Tinder, but with a twist-men aren’t allowed to message. Women have make the first move. For women who are frustrated with tons of messages by men who barely look at their profiles, or men who get stuck on trying to craft that perfect opening line, this can be a great way to make dating less stressful (of course, for women seeking women, it’s basically online dating as usual, and men seeking men are still best served with Grindr).

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As well as dating, Bumble has additional modes for networking and friendships. / © AndroidPIT

As an additional twist, matches on Bumble expire after 24 hours if they don’t talk, so no one has to spend days wondering whether it’s too soon to send a message, or if you’re going to get one. You get it together soon, or you move on.





Bumble — Meet, Date & Network
Install on Google Play

Best health and fitness apps for Android

Of course, you might want tone up a little for all that dating you’re going to do with the above apps. Or maybe you just need a little help with motivation or organisation when it comes to keeping in shape. Fitness apps are great because you can keep your device close to you while you’re on the move. Let’s take a look at the best.

RunKeeper for a comprehensive experience

RunKeeper has a good reputation, not just for the number of features in its own app but also the number of third-party services it plugs into (it works with both Google Fit and Apple Health). If you’re a keen runner, there aren’t many better options than this one.

You can plot your runs on a map via GPS tracking, monitor distance covered and calories burned, set personal goals, integrate your indoor activities and more. Despite the name, this app can handle bike rides and gym workouts as well as running, so it’s a comprehensive monitoring app.

Don’t underestimate the power of community. There are social aspects to the app as well. You can share achievements with your friends, join and create running groups and use the chat feature to keep each other motivated. The app is free, but also has ads and optional in-app purchases.

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RunKeeper offers maps and statistics. / © AndroidPIT





Runkeeper – GPS Track Run Walk
Install on Google Play

Google Fit for simplicity

Google’s own health and fitness app is no longer so sparse in the features department. It now can aggregate info from other apps, including Nike+, MyFitnessPal, Lifesun, Basis, Withings, Xiaomi Mi bands, and three from this list: Runkeeper, Strava and Sleep as Android. It is tightly integrated with Android and Android Wear, so it’s a convenient option as well. A web interface is available at https://fit.google.com.

Weight, heart rate, steps and activity time can all be logged automatically, and if you have the time to tell Google exactly what you’re up to, you can choose from a long list of activities, from snowboarding to horse riding. You can set simple daily goals as well and get an alert when you’ve reached them. In addition to real-time stats, Google Fit will also give you personalized recommendations and coaching to help you reach your goals.

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Google Fit: Android’s default fitness app. / © AndroidPIT





Google Fit – Fitness Tracking
Install on Google Play

This has been our pick of the cream of the crop when it comes to the best Android apps of 2017, but if you’re still hungry for more, check out one the links below:

What are your favorite Android apps? Any that you think are better than our selection here? Let us know in the comments!



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