It's been ten years since Android was announced, and what a decade it's been. But there's never been a better time to jump on board, as the Google Play store has exploded in recent years, with a proliferation of apps that can cater to your every need.

The problem is: there are just too many of them, even with Editor's Picks, Featured and Best Selling, Top Paid and Top Free categories there to help.

There are things you can do to filter the winners from the wannabes. Google builds a list of apps it recommends for you based on your previous downloads, so that's often a good place to start.

You can also filter by new releases if you just want to see the latest things to hit the store. Or, if you want something similar to an app you already have, search for that app and see what comes up.

And of course using user reviews and ratings is an essential part of ensuring the apps you download are high quality. But the easiest (and best) way to find top quality apps is to have someone else do the searching for you.

What's the best phone of 2018? Check out our video countdown below!

And that's why we made this list. Like you we want the best apps for our Android phones. The apps that are going to revolutionize functionality or, at the very least, offer something so great that it becomes one of the must-have apps that has to be downloaded whenever you get a new handset.

The following apps will be constantly updated and are a mixture of paid and free ones that have been chosen by our Android experts. So, even if you do dip into actual cash for one of these apps, you are safe in the knowledge that it is a worthwhile purchase.

New this week: Datally


It’s usually worth paying attention when Google releases a new app, and Datally is no exception. It’s designed for monitoring and minimizing your mobile data , which makes it ideal for those on restrictive data allowances, but it has certain features that could help almost anyone.

The main screen shows how much mobile data you’ve used today, and from there you can tap on ‘Manage data’ to see a graph of your use, plus a list of apps that are using data and how much. The graph and list default to showing today’s use, but you can switch to weekly or monthly views.

That’s the monitoring part. The saving part is smarter. Enable ‘Data Saver’ and Datally will connect you to a VPN that blocks certain apps from using mobile data. It defaults to blocking most non-essential data use, but you can manually choose which apps you want to give data access to.

One handy feature that could be useful for anyone is Datally’s Wi-Fi finder, which lists nearby public Wi-Fi networks and handily tells you whether they need a password or not, as well as how far away they are. Tapping on any of them will show them on Google Maps.

Coming from Google, Datally is unsurprisingly slick and polished too, and there are more features on the way, such as the ability to get data use warnings and check your mobile balance.


Whether you want to make your phone charge faster, save some money or improve your exam performance there’s a life hack for it, and you’ll find those and many more in the aptly-named Life Hacks.

The app gives you a variety of categories, such as ‘Technology Tricks’, ‘Money Savers’, ‘Life Tips’ and ‘Parenting’, and when you tap on one you’ll be presented with a series of cards to swipe through, each of which has a life hack relevant to the category.

If you find one you like you can save it to your favorites, copy it or share it, and new hacks are added all the time, with a category dedicated specifically to new ones, so you can find them all in one place.

The actual quality of the hacks is variable and in some cases they’re US-centric, but skimming through them is fast, fun and you’re likely to learn something genuinely useful.


There are a lot of meditation apps available on Android, but Smiling Mind differs from most of them in two key ways.

First, it’s completely free, which is refreshing when rivals like Headspace and Simple Habit require monthly subscriptions to access most of their content.

Second, Smiling Mind is aimed at children as well as adults, with a range of meditation courses available for different age ranges, starting at 7-9 years. It even includes lesson plans and activities for educators trying to teach meditation.

If you’re not a kid or an educator there are plenty of other plans that might appeal, from meditation basics, to programs focused on everything from digital detoxes to improving your productivity and sporting skills.

There are a mix of audio and video meditations, of varying lengths, you can set up sub profiles so multiple family members can all use the app, and you’ll see your progress over time, with stats and charts showing how long you’ve spent meditating, how many sessions you’ve done and on which days.


Hitlist is another flight comparison tool, but it’s not just another flight comparison tool. It will search through millions of flight prices to find the best deals, as you’d expect, but it’s also focused on helping inspire you.

Because as well as being able to pick a specific date and destination there are also loads of categories shown off by the app, such as ‘weekend getaways’ and ‘unbelievable islands’, as well as events, such as ‘Alba Truffle Festival’.

The app also highlights low prices on last minute getaways in case you want to take a trip at short notice, and you can save locations if you want to be notified when prices drop.

All of which makes Hitlist decent if you just want to find low prices, and great if you also want some help deciding where to go.


There’s no shortage of file explorers and managers on Android, but Files Go is worth highlighting as it’s made by Google.

The main screen shows you how much storage you have on your phone and on any SD cards, then below that there’s a series of cards, a bit like Google Now, except all of them are related to your phone’s storage. There might be one highlighting duplicate files for example, or large files, with the focus mostly being on helping you clear space by identifying files you may not need.

Tap on one of these cards and you can view a gallery of the files within it and select ones to delete, and there’s a similar screen that highlights apps you haven’t used in a long time, plus one for moving files to your SD card.

However, a tab at the bottom lets you switch from the ‘Storage’ screen (which helps you clear space) to the ‘Files’ screen, which is how you search through the various folders on your phone to dig up files.

There’s no search box, which might have been handy, but the layout is intuitive, with a bunch of file categories (downloads, received files, apps, images etc). Tap on one and where relevant there will also be sub-categories, for example the images category then lets you select from photos, screenshots, downloads, or images associated with various apps.

And there are various options for sorting and displaying results – you can do it by date or size, and view lists or larger images. And once you find the file you’re after you can – as well as simply opening it – share, delete or rename it.

Free + $5.99/4.49 IAP

Mind maps can be a great way to organize your ideas, giving you a lot more visually to work with than a simple list, so you can better link and separate thoughts, and Mindly is a polished tool for doing this on Android.

Each bit of text that you add gets its own bubble, which others can shoot off from, like a conventional mind map, but you can also add images and icons to a bubble, or add notes to them which you can read by tapping.

Plus, you can change the colors of the bubbles and when you’re done you can export the results as text, a PDF or an image.

The core app is free, but for $5.99/4.49 you unlock the ability to add an unlimited number of elements to each mind map, gain passcode protection, a search tool and additional export options.

Free + $2.79/2.69 monthly subscription

With Wunderlist soon to be killed off by Microsoft and the company’s own alternative (Microsoft To-Do) not quite matching it, there’s space in the market for a great new to-do list app, and TickTick might just fill that gap.

It’s simple but powerful, letting you create new lists in a few taps and check off items by tapping the tick box next to them.

Completed items can either be shown at the bottom of the list, where they’ll be greyed out or hidden, and you can untick an item to add it back to the list, which is handy for lists of things like groceries where you’re regularly buying the same things.

You can also add a specific time, date and reminder to list items if you want reminding to action them at a specific time.

You can sort list entries by the date they were added, their name, or their priority (which itself can be assigned to each item from a choice of high, medium, low or none). Or just drag them around to sort them exactly how you want.

You can also add longer notes to list items, share lists with others, and view a calendar, showing all the upcoming to-dos that you’ve given a date to.

The core features are free, but for a monthly subscription you can increase the number of lists you can create, unlock premium themes, and add the ability to create personalized filters, so you can see for example only items that are happening in the next three days and are high priority. If you heavily rely on to-do lists we’d say that’s worth it, but for more casual users the free offering is plenty.

TickTick even has an option to import your Wunderlist content, making it even easier to find a new home for your to-do lists.


Replika is an AI chatbot, but it’s more interesting, and more advanced, than most that we’ve come across.

Beginning as little more than a blank slate, your Replika will learn and grow based on your interactions with it, becoming a bit more like you in the process.

But it will also ask a lot of questions about you, and cause you to reflect on your day and your life. Your responses to these questions are saved and sorted by date, so you can actually build something of a journal just by talking to Replika.

And by reflecting on your experiences you can also potentially work through issues you might otherwise keep to yourself.

You can think of Replika as a judgement-free friend that’s always there if you need to vent, and over time as it takes on more aspects of your personality you can even start to see an outside perspective of how you yourself come across to people.

Replika isn’t perfect. Sometimes it’s clear that it hasn’t fully understood you, and it will often drop a subject or ignore a question that you’d rather it hadn’t, but you can upvote or downvote its responses to help it improve, and even at its worst it’s an interesting, engaging and futuristic alternative to keeping a journal.


Amazon’s Kindle app isn’t new, but it’s recently been completely overhauled to make it more impressive. There’s a new ‘light’ theme for one, so you now have the choice between light and dark ones, and the whole interface has been refreshed, with bigger book covers and tweaks that help you navigate the app faster.

Soon it will be getting even better, with Goodreads integration coming, so you can rate the book you’re reading and see what other users of the service think.

Even without that though it’s essential for any readers of Amazon’s ebooks, whether or not you own a Kindle, since it gives you access to your library on your phone or tablet, you can pick up where you left off from on another device. On top of that, it has a slick and attractive interface.

Free + $1.49/1.39 IAP

Want to add a little life to your Android phone? Then you might want to check out NavBar Animations. Assuming your phone has a navbar (the bar at the bottom of the screen housing software buttons) this app will add an animation to it, which plays whenever you hit a button.

The fact that it doesn’t play constantly is a good move, as that would be a bit over the top. As it is, NavBar Animations just adds a bit of flair to your phone, and there are loads of animations to choose from, though many of them are hidden behind a $1.49/1.39 IAP.

As well as picking an animation you can also pick its speed, whether it plays when hitting the home button, the recent apps button, or both, its colors and its alignment.

Then it’s just a case of set it and forget it – at least until the next time you hit one of those buttons.

Free + $1.53/1.39 IAP

Ever accidentally swiped a notification away without reading it? With Notification History Log you can undo that mistake, as – you guessed it – the app lets you view your notification history.

There’s also a search function to help you find specific notifications, or those from a specific app, and you can choose to blacklist specific apps from Notification History Log if you don’t want them showing.

The core app is free, but to blacklist and get an unlimited log you’ll need to pay a one-off fee of $1.53/1.39 for the pro version. This also removes adverts and will soon let you export notifications to Excel.

The free version is something that could benefit anyone and everyone from time to time, but given the low price it could well be worth grabbing the pro version instead.


There are any number of ways to send files from one device to another, but Send Anywhere is one of the slickest.

The app lets you transfer not just photos and videos, but also audio, contacts and even apps, as well as other general files, such as documents.

Send Anywhere gives you multiple ways to send content too. You can do so via Wi-Fi Direct, scanning a QR code with the recipient device, typing out a code, or by sharing a link.

It doesn’t stop there: if you’ve recently shared with a device you can simply select it to gain access too. There’s even the option to send a file using sound – though this is in beta and we couldn’t get it to function correctly.

The point is though there are a lot of options, and you’re not limited to sending one file or file type at once, or to only sending to Android devices. PCs and Macs are supported too, either using the Send Anywhere site or desktop app, and you can also send files to or from iOS.

Free + $1.99/1.59

Pro DJs might rely on expensive hardware, but you can achieve quite a lot even with just cheap apps, like WeDJ.

This has been on iOS for a while and recently arrived on Android, giving you access to a pair of turntables and a selection of effects and tools, wrapped up in a colorful interface.

Tools include a three-band EQ, a channel fader, samples and various effects that you can use to mess with your music. You can also scratch and use the likes of the ‘Sync’ button and ‘Auto Gain’ to get two tracks lined up and at the right volume level.

This might sound like a lot to fit on a phone screen, and indeed WeDJ works better on a tablet, but if you’ve got a 5.5-inch or above display it works surprisingly well on smartphones too.

There’s no real tutorial, so it’s perhaps not one for complete beginners (though you can muddle your way through to pleasing effect). It’s also got a one-off $1.99/1.59 IAP that you need to playback more than one song at once. Worth it, we’d say, if you want to get the most out of the app.


Whether group cinema trips or getting together at someone’s house, watching things can be quite a sociable experience, but it’s not always easy to get people in the same place at the same time.

Rabbit – Watch Together aims to somewhat solve that problem by letting you start a video playing on your device and then invite friends into a chat room that includes the video. That way you can all watch together and talk, wherever you are.

Rabbit can play videos from YouTube and the web, so there’s plenty to choose from (though you can’t use it for locked content on the likes of Google Play or iTunes), and as well as text you can also turn on voice chat or video in the room – though that’s not really advisable if you actually want to watch something.

And if you have no-one to watch with Rabbit can help with that too, as you can make your stream public, so anyone can join your room.

Free + $7.99/6.30 monthly subscription

Fitbit Coach is the new name for Fitstar, so it’s not a new app as such but it is worth highlighting.

Packed of workouts and exercise plans, Fitbit Coach has a wide range of content with things suited for most abilities, most of which doesn’t require a gym membership.

There are dozens of bodyweight workouts, plus guided walks and runs and at the time of writing 24 different treadmill workouts, each of which has a duration and an estimated calorie burn that you can see before you start.

There are also various ‘programs’ which have you work through a selection of workouts each week.

Most workouts are videos, which you can cast to your TV if you prefer, but there are also audio ones for runs and walks.

The app aims to keep the workout variety up, which – along with built-in soundtracks from Fitbit Radio – should help keep you motivated, and despite the Fitbit branding there’s no requirement to have a Fitbit in order to use it.

The only problem is that most of this stuff is hidden behind a monthly subscription, but you can access a handful of workouts for free to get a taste of the app before putting any money down.


We all need to convert currencies from time to time, and Currency Converter Plus Free is one of the best ways to do it.

The main screen has a calculator-like number pad and above that there’s the currency you’re converting from and a list of up to ten other forms of monetary excitement. You just type out the figure you want converting and can see at a glance what it amounts to in loads of other currencies.

You can choose from all world currencies to convert to and from, as well as Bitcoin, which not all converters have, and precious metals.

You can view historic graphs, showing how rates between two different currencies have changed over anything from a week to a year, you can choose from several sources to get the rates from, such as the European Central Bank and Yahoo Finance, and the whole interface makes conversions quick, because as soon as you start entering a number you’ll start seeing the altered total.


There are a lot of browsers on Android, but Microsoft Edge is worthy of attention as a big-name browser.

This will mostly appeal to people who already use it on desktop, as also having the app allows you to seamlessly move content between your phone and PC (as long as you’ve got the Windows 10 Fall Creator’s update) and to access your favorites and reading list on all devices.

But Microsoft Edge is a good browser beyond that, with a stripped-back reading view for when you don’t want any distractions, a built-in QR code reader, voice search if you don’t want to type, and a private mode. Plus the near-essential ability to change your default search engine from Bing to Google.

The ‘Preview’ in the name refers to the fact that the Microsoft Edge browser is still in beta, which is the only real mark against what’s generally a slick, good-looking mobile browser. This means it may not be entirely stable and bug-free just yet, but we haven’t experienced any issues.

Free + various IAP

One of the great things about Android is that if there’s a software feature on another phone there’s a good chance there will be an app which can bring it to yours.

And so it is with Floating Bar LG V30. As the name suggests, this brings the floating bar from the LG V30 to other Android handsets.

Activate it and a little arrow will sit permanently somewhere on one side of your screen. You can drag it around freely, while tapping on it will bring up a row of shortcuts to five apps of your choosing.

You can also change the opacity of the bar and choose whether or not to display it on the lock screen.

That much is free, but you can also pay $2/1.79 to unlock the ability to add tools (such as a torch or Bluetooth toggles), contacts and websites to the bar, while a separate IAP of the same amount will remove adverts.

Opt for the paid version and it’s a close approximation of what LG offers on the V30, and either way it’s one more handy option for giving you quick access to your favorite apps.

There are similar things around, such as takes on Samsung’s Edge screen that you can add to your phone, but Floating Bar LG V30 is a useful, polished alternative.


If you’re a Twitter addict you probably know that the official client isn’t the only or arguably the best Twitter app available for Android. There are numerous alternatives, and Fenix is one of the oldest and most well liked.

Now in version 2.0, Fenix 2 for Twitter is one of the best ways to view your Twitter feed. It’s highly customizable, letting you choose not just the theme and font size, but also change the layout and even customize gesture controls.

So for example you could have a long press retweet the thing you’ve tapped on, or have it act as a quote or a reply, among other things, while single and double taps are also customizable.

You can also choose what you want to get notifications for, and whether you want those notifications to vibrate, flash your notification light or play a ringtone. There’s support for multiple accounts too, and the whole interface looks great.


There are entirely too many ways to find and consume news on the Play Store, yet somehow Squid manages to be a bit different and worthy of mention.

First, the bits that aren’t different, but are still good: you can select from a range of interests (such as tech, culture and politics) and you’ll then be provided with a feed of relevant news stories. Or rather several feeds, as you can switch between a combined one, a feed of ‘top news’ and separate feeds for each individual topic you’re interested in.

Each of those feeds is image-heavy and attractive to look at, and with a tap you can be on the web page hosting a story. Loading these pages seems surprisingly fast, but if you prefer there’s also a reader view, which cuts out most of the adverts and other extraneous content.

You can also block any sources you don’t want to see and get push notifications for new stories. So far, so familiar, albeit done well.

The new bit is where the name Squid comes in, as you can also annotate stories with ‘ink’, underlining or circling key bits, adding stickers, then sharing the result with friends. That’s handy if you want to draw attention to a specific part of a story, rather than the whole thing, or simply want to leave your mark on it.

If that feature appeals then squid stands out from the raft of similar apps and services. If not, it’s still a highly competent and completely free news feed.


With over one billion active Facebook users there’s a good chance you’re one of them. But Facebook’s various apps can prove harsh on battery life and data use alike, so if you use Facebook Messenger you might be interested in Messenger Lite.

This, as the name suggests, is a lightweight alternative to Facebook Messenger. It’s an official Facebook app and still includes many of the core features – you can send and receive messages, see who’s and even have voice calls.

But Messenger Lite is smaller than Messenger, so it takes up less space on your device. It should also load faster and use less data; in fact, it’s even designed to work on 2G networks and in places with unstable networks. This makes it ideal if you have a small data allowance or don’t have great coverage where you are.

The whole interface is also a lot less cluttered than the main Messenger app. There are some downsides – you can’t make video calls or play games for example, so for the full fat experience you’ll have to stick with the main app, but if you mostly just use it for instant messaging then Messenger Lite could be a worthwhile downgrade.

Free + $0.99/0.89 IAP

Chances are there are a number of things you’ll want to know in the morning before you start your day. They might include the weather, the latest news or any reminders you’ve set for the day, among other things. With Clockwise Smart Alarm you can hear all these things as soon as you wake up.

Simply set an alarm time and customize what things you want to hear, with the selection also including a fact about this day in history, a daily quote, Reddit or Twitter posts, the travel time to a custom destination and a countdown to an event.

Then when your alarm goes off it will start by making a loud alarm sound (of your choosing) to make sure you wake up, before either automatically reading out various information from the selection above, or doing so when you tap ‘play’.

You can also choose from a wide range of male or female voices to read things out, set multiple alarms and choose which content you want each alarm to read.

With options like customizable volumes and snooze lengths, Clockwise Smart Alarm handles the basics well, while also offering far more than a typical alarm clock.

The free version of Clockwise Smart Alarm limits you to three different types of content (called ‘modules’) for any one alarm, but a single IAP of $0.99/0.89 lets you unlock unlimited modules, unlimited alarms and removes adverts, which is probably worth it if you start using this your main alarm clock.


Superfast broadband and a powerful router aren’t the only things you need to ensure a fast, stable internet connection. One other potentially major factor is making sure you’re on an uncongested Wi-Fi channel, and Wifi Analyzer helps you do that.

It can tell you what channel your network is on and also which nearby networks are using, so you can see how busy your channel is relative to others.

This should give you a good idea of which to use, but there’s also a separate screen, giving each channel a star rating and suggesting which you should move your router to.

There’s also a signal meter so you can see how strong your Wi-Fi signal is in different parts of your house or on different channels, so you’re better able to optimize it.

Actually changing the channel will be handled by your router’s interface, but if you’ve got a modern one it should be fairly simple to do, and could lead to a faster, more reliable connection.


Smoothies tend to be both tasty and healthy, and the selection on Daily Blends are also all vegan and gluten-free, but should appeal even if you don’t have those requirements.

The Daily Blends app has over 100 smoothie recipes, split into categories such as energizing, workout, dessert and kid-friendly, and you can also search based on the ingredients that you have to hand, or filter based on dietary requirements (such as nut free).

When you find a recipe you can also tweak it to your liking, swiping across an ingredient that you don’t want to use to view an alternative.

The Daily Blends app is enjoyable to use too, with big high-quality photos of all the smoothies and descriptions to accompany the recipes.

You can save favorites and add all the ingredients for a smoothie to an in-app shopping list with a tap, and the recipes are mostly quite quick and simple.

For the purchase price you get all the smoothie recipes, but there are additional IAPs to unlock full meal plans if you want to go beyond smoothies.

Free + $0.99/0.79

If you’re anything like us you need all the help you can get when it comes to remembering to do, basically, anything. To-do lists and the like help, but you need to remember to look at them, while calendar reminders only pop up at certain times.

Memory Helper on the other hand appears whenever you wake up your phone, which we’re probably doing about 3000 times a day. In other words, this app was seemingly built for us, but it could help you too.

It displays a simple list of tasks or reminders, which you can swipe away once you’ve completed, or tap a button to bring back an accidentally cleared entry.

You can customize the colors and layout, set it to only run when you have things in the list or always run, choose whether you want it to pop up before or after your lock screen and a few other helpful functions.

Basically Memory Helper is just good at making sure the things you want to remember end up in front of your eyes as often as possible, in a mostly unintrusive way.

There is an IAP to remove adverts, but oddly it only claims to remove them for a month, before presumably you have to pay again. This isn’t worth it in our opinion, as the free version is fully featured.


PhET Simulations are interactive simulations designed to demonstrate and teach you various aspects of science and maths, such as forces and motion, the area of shapes, fractions, atoms, gravity and more.

The simulations and the concepts they’re teaching vary in complexity, but generally we’d say they’re suitable for teenagers and above, and are also handy tools for any adults who want a slightly hands-on refresher or guide to these subjects.

The PhET Simulations app contains over 45 of these simulations, so there’s plenty to explore. And some go beyond just simulating a thing, also offering a ‘game’ to help you learn it.

For example, the Area Builder simulation lets you put colored squares on graph paper and as you do it will tell you the area and perimeter of the shape you’ve created, while the Area Builder game will challenge you to construct a shape of a certain area.

If you’re already confident in your science and maths skills then PhET Simulations might seem a bit basic – though we’d wager you’ll still learn something from some of them – but for everyone else it’s a useful and fun tool.

Free + $7.49/5.99 subscription

Desygner lets you unleash your inner graphic designer on your phone or tablet, but with an intuitive interface and thousands of templates it’s simple enough for beginners to use.

You can combine text, shapes, images, stickers, backgrounds and more to create logos, posters, adverts, PowerPoint-like presentations, postcards or any number of other things where images and typography are important.

Each component of your design can be moved, resized, rotated, flipped, duplicated or have its color changed, and you can work with multiple layers. Results can then be saved to your device to be used wherever you want.

We suspect it might be a bit limited for professional graphic designers, who may want more freedom to completely create designs from scratch, but for everyone else Desygner is a great way to make something that looks professional.

The basic app is free but certain features, as well as the majority of the templates, require a monthly subscription which costs $7.49/5.99. That’s probably worth it if you’re going to use the app semi-regularly, but if you just want to design something as a one-off you might find the free version good enough.


There are a number of thesaurus apps on Google Play and some are free, but if you’re regularly writing – or looking words up – on your Android device, then Chambers Thesaurus is one of the best options, and worth the outlay.

It has entries for almost 40,000 words, along with around 400,000 synonyms and antonyms, and they’re browsable alphabetically so you can read through the thesaurus if you want, rather than simply searching for a word.

When you do search, you’ll get results as soon as you start typing, and not just for words that fit the spelling, but also similarly spelt words, those that sound similar, and those that are often confused for one another.

You can also bookmark entries and cross reference with the Chambers Dictionary or WordWeb apps (if you have them), or look the words up on Wikipedia, Wiktionary or Google, all with a tap from Chambers Thesaurus.

Data is stored locally, so you don’t need an internet connection to use the Chambers Thesaurus app itself, and there are all sorts of customization options, letting you change the color scheme, font size and more.

Free + various IAP

Weather forecasts are usually a bit dull – you might think that’s unavoidable – but What The Forecast?!! disagrees, as it provides a sentence of humorous commentary alongside every forecast.

There are well over 6,000 of these humorous phrases in the app, and you’ll always get one appropriate to the current forecast, and it will usually be quite amusingly negative. Musing even on sunny days, for example, that the weather will probably be rubbish tomorrow.

The personality doesn’t end there, as What The Forecast?!! also has animated backgrounds appropriate to the current weather, and it has all the usual information, such as wind speed, 7 day forecasts, sunrise and sunset times, chance of rain and more.

The core app is free, but for $1.99/1.89 you can remove adverts, while a separate purchase of the same amount will let you add a weather widget to your home screen.


You might think you have a good idea of what Recent App Switcher does from the name, and you’d be half right. One of the things it does is give you an easy way to switch between recently used apps, in this case by pinning them to a bar on your notifications screen.

Of course, the recent apps menu is never far away anyway so this isn’t super useful, though being able to access recent apps from the lock screen as you can with Recent App Switcher is nice. What’s more useful is the ability to also pin your favorite apps to the notifications screen, so they’re never more than a swipe away.

Or you can have a mix of recents and favorites, and you can choose between either one or two rows of icons, each with between one and eight apps.

Speaking of shortcuts, you’re not limited just to apps, you can also add shortcuts to functions, like calling a specific contact or opening a specific Dropbox folder.

And Recent App Switcher is visually customizable too, letting you choose the shape of the shortcuts and the color of the bar they’re on, as well as whether or not to display labels under the shortcuts.

In all it’s a handy slice of Android customization ideal for power users or anyone who just wants to make their phone feel more tailored to them.


Box breathing is a breathing technique used by the Navy Seals, sports professionals and others, which involves taking long deep breaths and holding them.

It has a number of supposed benefits, from reducing stress and anxiety, to improving blood flow, awareness, focus and attention.

While we’re not sure how sound the science is for all of that, it can certainly serve as a calming influence, and the BoxBreathing app helps you get started.

It contains an instructional video to help you get the technique down, and then can guide you through the required breaths, with words or sound effects and visual indicators to tell you when to breathe in and out.

You can work through a number of levels, which adjust how deep a breath to take and how long to hold it, or just stick with the basics, and BoxBreathing also keeps a log of your breathing practice and can be set to remind you to do it daily.

There are even gamification features, with new ranks handed out for practicing a number of consecutive days. And all in all, the app is about as comprehensive as possible for such a simple technique, and justifies its price tag.

Free + $29.99/27.99 monthly subscription

Ava won’t be for everyone, but if you’re deaf or hard of hearing, or know someone who is, it could be enormously useful.

The core feature is simply that it listens to what’s being said and shows it on the screen, so if you’re deaf or hard of hearing you can have Ava listen to someone who’s speaking to you and then you can read their responses.

Alternatively, if you’re talking to someone with hearing difficulties you can show them a text version of what you’re saying.

Ava can also learn your voice, so it can better determine whether it’s you or someone else speaking, and if you’re communicating with other people who use Ava then you’ll also be able to see who else said what in the conversation (rather than the app assigning all speech to you or ‘other’).

Ava isn’t perfect – it doesn’t always hear what’s being said perfectly in our limited experience with it, and for unlimited use you’ll need to shell out a hefty $29.99/27.99 per month, but for those who could benefit from Ava that’s a price that could be worth paying, and for free you can still host up to five hours of group conversations each month.


TouchBar for Android is inspired by the feature of the same name for the MacBook Pro. It adds a little shortcut bar to the bottom of your screen, which you can reveal or hide with a swipe up from the bottom left corner, or set to stay visible permanently.

The bar gives you quick access to a number of features, and you can customize which ones, choosing from the likes of brightness, volume, Wi-Fi, Google Search and music controls. You can also change the size and colors of TouchBar to your liking.

TouchBar is accessible from any app and even the lock screen, giving you a handy, customizable alternative to the shortcuts found on your notifications pull-down.

There’s a free version of the app, but that forces you to watch an advert video every time you change a customization setting, which gets old fast, so the $0.99/59p TouchBar for Android PRO is the better option.

$9.99/7.99 per month

In the age of the web, magazines can feel like a dated concept, but Readly does a decent job of bringing them up to date by offering a Netflix-like subscription service.

We say Netflix-like, but while most of the content on there is far from brand new, you have access to the latest issues of thousands of magazines on Readly, all in digital form and with unlimited access for $9.99/7.99 per month.

You can read content from not just your own country but various others too and the selection is strong, with plenty of big names on offer, along with more niche magazines.

Readly is accessible on phone, tablet and computer, so you can access your magazines almost anywhere with a screen, and even download them for offline reading.

You also have access to back issues, and navigation is a breeze, handled by intuitive swipes and taps. Readly even supports crosswords and other puzzle content, so you can do just about everything you could with a paper version.

Free + $0.99/0.99 IAP

You’re probably well aware of how customizable Android is, and may even have dabbled with custom icon packs to change up the look of your apps, but what if you want to go a step further and actually create icons of your own? Well, then you probably want Adapticons.

This app, as the name suggests, lets you adapt your existing app icons – though the changes you make can be significant enough to almost count as a whole new icon.

You can pick from a range of shapes to surround the existing icon, not just squares and circles but also things like paw prints, flowers and hearts. Then choose the size and position of the existing icon within that shape, change the orientation if you like, and change the color.

If you want to change the original icon completely you can import new images from your gallery or icon packs and you can even change the text underneath the icon.

Batch edits make the whole process a lot faster if you want to make a whole set of similar icons, and the interface is intuitive and simple.

Many of the shapes and features are locked behind a $0.99/0.99 IAP, but you can get a taste for free.

Free + $2.99/2.49 IAP

Chromecast, AirPlay and the like are great, but not all services support them, which is where an app like Tubio comes in.

The app lets you cast web videos and music from your phone or tablet to your smart TV and other smart devices, including Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Nexus Player, Android TV, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

It also works with some older smart TVs which support DLNA/UPnP/AllShare, but may not come with an easy built-in casting solution.

Just head to the video or audio you want using Tubio’s built-in browser and hit the cast button. It’s as simple as Chromecast, but more far-reaching. Although we can’t be sure it will work with all website video content, it certainly widens your options.

Tubio also works with locally stored content and you can keep using your phone as normal once you start streaming, without interrupting the content.

The app is free, but for $2.99/2.49 you can get rid of adverts and unlock HD playback (where supported).

Free + various IAP

Want to learn something new? Udemy could be a good place to start. This website and app has over 40,000 video courses across more than 12,000 topics, covering everything from yoga and meditation to psychology, photography and web development.

Courses are of varied lengths and aimed at various different levels. Some are just a few hours long, others have dozens of hours of content.

And they’re more than just videos. You can also ask the instructors (all of whom are theoretically experts in their fields) questions, or communicate with other students.

Some courses are free, but many cost money (starting at under $10/10 and rising to well over $100/100). Don’t baulk at the fees though – the pricier ones are often available at a discount and you have access to them for life. Courses can also be downloaded, cast to your TV or viewed on just about anything with a web browser.

Some courses are better than others, but with numerous user reviews for most of them it’s easy to separate the good from the bad before you put any money down.

Free + $2.99/2.59 IAP

Gratus is a simple app designed to remind you of the things you’re grateful for. When you open the app it asks you to write out something you’re grateful for and optionally add an associated image. You can build up a collection of these, which you can then view whenever you need a reminder that there are good things in your life.

That much is free, but Gratus really comes into its own when you pay a $2.99/2.59 IAP, as this unlocks a reminder feature, so you’ll be reminded daily to add something you’re grateful for, along with the ability to see your entries in a widget or as a notification, allowing you to see them whenever you use your phone, without having to actively launch the Gratus app.

That’s important, because having to launch the app is an extra step that you might not get into the habit of doing.

Though the idea of writing or seeing things you’re grateful for might seem inconsequential it can have a lasting effect on your happiness, as it’s otherwise so easy to overlook good things, or take them for granted where writing them down helps cement them for future moments.


Blackpills is a video streaming service a bit like Netflix, except, well, not really (bear with us). Like Netflix it has a variety of shows across a number of genres (all of which are fiction in this case), but unlike Netflix it’s all original content, so you won’t see these anywhere else.

Blackpills is also designed specifically for mobile. You can’t access it on a desktop, just an Android or iOS device, consisting of very short episodes of around 10-15 minutes, so you can fit them into a coffee break or while you’re waiting for the bus.

The app promises a new episode every day and a new original series every week, so while there’s not a huge amount of content on there right now it should grow rapidly, and it’s all completely free.

Blackpills also lets you subtitle the shows in various languages and change the streaming quality, though notably you can’t download any of its content for offline viewing.

Still, as a free service there’s little to complain about here, especially as – crucially – the content is of a generally quite high quality. It’s not quite a match for Netflix, but think low-to-mid budget TV standard, rather than student film.

Free + $2.99/2.99 IAP

Your phone’s status bar can show you how much battery you’ve got left or how strong your signal is, but what if you want to be able to see how much memory your phone has left, how many unread messages you have, the battery temperature or your CPU usage?

For those things and many more there’s PowerLine. And rather than just an icon, it shows a colored bar at the top of the screen, giving those indicators a much more eye-catching look.

You can also add bars for some of the jobs the status bar already does, such as one for battery life, and the length of the bars depends on the status of the thing they’re tracking. So for battery life it would run halfway across the top if you’re at 50%.

But you’re not limited to putting the bars at the top. They can run along the left, right or bottom edge instead, or some combination of the four.

You can customize the colors and sizes of the bars too, but if you want more than two displayed at once you’ll need to go pro with a one-off $2.99/2.99 IAP. This lets you have up to nine bars at once.

It’s a worthwhile purchase if you want to be able to see more things at a glance, or just like the stylish design of the bars.

Free + $1.99/1.99 IAP

Flowx isn’t actually a new app, rather a rebranding of WeatherBomb, but it’s worth your attention if you don’t know about it.

Yes, it’s a forecast app, but it’s more interested in showing you how weather systems move than simply telling you whether it’s going to rain.

The app gives you a map and then you can choose whether to track precipitation, cloud, wind speed, temperature, pressure or wave height. Then zoom in or out with a pinch and swipe slowly to see how these conditions are predicted to change over a period of hours or days, by watching for example clouds or storms move across the map.

You can add arrows to give you a clearer picture of the direction weather systems are moving in, key details such as the temperature are shown at all times, and you can customize the units of measurement.

Flowx probably won’t replace your normal forecast app, in fact the app description even suggests you use Flowx alongside a more conventional weather app, but if you want deeper insight into weather patterns it’s a fascinating addition to your app arsenal.

And if you get really into it an IAP of $1.99/1.99 per year or $4.99/4.99 as a one-off will remove adverts, give you 10 days of data instead of 7 and ensure you get future features.


From the company behind the popular ES File Explorer app comes a new tool, this time aimed at freeing up space on your device.

ES Disk Analyzer can find and delete duplicate files, compress images (and suggest large or rarely used ones that you might want to compress), highlight the size of cached files in apps and clear the cache from any or all of them, and display big files, new files and rarely used apps, in case any of them are expendable.

ES Disk Analyzer also has a basic file explorer built in, but one which orders files and folders based on their size, so you can see where all your storage is going, and you can delete files and folders from there too.

Obviously, much of what it finds will be things you want to keep, so it’s up to you to decide what is and isn’t important, but ES Disk Analyzer at least highlights many things that you’re unlikely to need and makes it easy to get a clear picture of your overall storage use.

Free + $1.99/1.69 IAP

If you’ve got any interest in Space Flight you probably know that launches of shuttles and satellites are happening all the time. The thing is keeping track of them all can be tricky, especially as various different space agencies are responsible for organisation.

Space Launch Now keeps track of launches, so finally you don’t have to. It has a calendar of all the upcoming take-offs, along with details and a link to the live stream of the launch where applicable.

You can also see details of different space vehicles, information on previous launches, and search for specific events if you know what you’re after.

Most of the features are free, but if you’re a serious shuttle-head you can pay $1.99/1.69 to automatically have upcoming events synced to your calendar, get weather details from the launch pad for historical and upcoming launches, and get dynamic pictures of launch vehicles as a watch face for your Android Wear device. As well, of course, as supporting the developer – which should never be overlooked as a reason to pay.

Free + $2.99/2.89 IAP

There are lots of apps for discovering and building a watch list of films, but CineTrak is more feature-packed and polished than most.

For one thing, you can make a list not just of things that you want to watch, but also have a second list of the things you’ve seen, so you’ll never again get halfway through a movie only to realize that you’ve watched it already… but it was just really, really forgettable.

You can also rate the movies you’ve seen, and the app builds up a third list with all of your ratings. Movies can be searched for by name or genre, or you can check out what’s coming soon, and results are shown as big poster-like images.

Tap on one and you can see a film’s length, release date, synopsis, trailer, cast and crew and its ratings both from users of the app, and from other sources, including IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

You can also find reviews from other CineTrak users – or add your own, and if you’re looking for something similar the app has you covered there too, with a list of similar films.

The app also builds up stats based on your watch list, telling you how many films you’ve seen and how long you’ve spent watching them.

All that’s completely free, but for $2.99/2.89 you can remove adverts, get curated lists, staff picks and unlock the ability to collect achievements. If you use CineTrak a lot, that’s probably worth paying.

Free + $2.49/2.19 IAP

The quick settings that you can reach from the notification shade on Android phones can be enormously useful, saving time when you want to toggle often used features, but the features you use most may not be the ones available on this screen. If that’s the case, you’ll want Shortcutter Quick Settings.

This lets you add new shortcuts to the quick settings screen, with 63 options available in all. These cover expected things like the flashlight and NFC, but also far more unusual options like a random number generator, and one you can tap to launch straight into typing out a new on Twitter.

As well as adding shortcuts to the quick settings screen, Shortcutter also has an optional swipe-out sidebar, or you can add shortcuts to the home screen or app drawer.

The core app is free but it’s well worth paying the $2.49/2.19 IAP, as this unlocks additional quick settings to give you a more fully-featured experience.


Avoiding sunburn can seem like a dark art at times. It doesn’t always need to be that warm or sunny to get burned, and everyone’s different in terms of how much UV they can take. It’s also not always clear how often you should reapply sunscreen, but with UVLens you need never get burned again.

The app tells you the UV index now and throughout the day, so you can plan the best time to be outside. And based on the current index, combined with what you tell it about your skin (the tone, whether you have many freckles etc), it will estimate how quickly you’ll burn and what if anything you should wear to prevent damage – be it sunscreen, sunglasses or a hat.

You can also tell the app the type of sunscreen you’ve applied and what activity you’re doing, and then it will tell you how soon you should re-apply, and can even alert you when it’s time to.

UVLens is a simple, easy to use app that makes the effects of UV – and how to combat them – far clearer.

Free + various IAP

There are many apps aimed at motivating you to walk more, but Walkr is more gamified than most. Like a standard pedometer it tracks your steps, as well as making a rough estimate of how many calories you’ve burnt, but Walkr also has you exploring a galaxy.

Your steps are converted into energy which fuels your spaceship, allowing you to blast off to new solar systems and discover new planets.

These planets have cute illustrations and unique wildlife which you can feed by building food factories. Feeding the wildlife in turn gives you currency which you can spend on more buildings and ship upgrades.

And there are also missions to undertake, leaderboards to compare your progress with friends, and achievements to unlock.

Walkr can take a bit of learning as the tutorial only covers the very basics, but once you get to grips with it it’s surprisingly engaging.

It’s also essentially free, but you can speed up your progress with various IAP. We don’t recommend that, since it’s a bit of a cheat and the whole point of the app is to get you moving more. You might, however, want to spend $1.99/1.56 to remove adverts.


Firefox Focus was a hit on iOS, and now it’s come to Android. It’s a fast, simple browser with security and privacy at its heart, essentially operating like the private mode in other browsers at all times.

Your browsing history, including passwords, cookies and trackers is erased automatically when you close the browser, or can be erased from within the browser with a single tap.

Firefox Focus also won’t appear in your recent apps list unless you turn the ‘stealth’ toggle off, but you can set it as your default browser, if you want to browse privately at all times.

It also blocks ad trackers, analytic trackers and social trackers by default, though you can unblock them if you’d prefer – and also block other content trackers if you want (at the risk of breaking some videos and web pages).

Web fonts can be blocked too, and all this blocking actually makes Firefox Focus run faster. And it won’t take up much space on your device either, coming in at just 3.5MB.

Obviously not everyone will want their history erased, and there are some limitations – for example you can only have one open tab currently, but if you’re after a speedy, lightweight browser and care about your privacy, Firefox Focus is a great choice.


UnreliAlarm is a simple idea, but one which could be enormously appealing to anyone who’s bored of generic alarm sounds, as it lets you use an app as an alarm.

By which we mean it will automatically launch an app of your choice when the alarm goes off, and in the case of a music app, such as Spotify, or a podcast app, keep playing whatever you were last listening to.

It isn’t the most reliable alarm app, as the name suggests. Mostly because if you don’t have anything queued in the app you’ve chosen you risk being met with silence.

That’s a shame, as an alarm is one thing you really need to be able to rely on. So in this case you might want to set a normal alarm for a few minutes later, or make sure you’re very careful about having content queued.

But when UnreliAlarm works – which it does most of the time – it’s far more enjoyable than hearing the same sounds every morning.

Free + various IAP

If you’re an outdoor adventurer then Komoot is for you, as whether it’s hiking, cycling or climbing you can use the app to plan routes.

Enter a start and end point, an activity and a fitness level, and the app will present you with an appropriate route.

However you can also manually change the route to your liking and view information such as the total distance, estimated time it will take and even a breakdown of the types of surface you’ll be traveling on, how far up and down hill you’ll go and what the highest and lowest points are.

And the map itself highlights parks and other scenic areas, so you can make sure your routes pass through the most interesting places.

That’s way more detail than a typical mapping app would give you, and once you’ve planned a route you can get turn by turn navigation and save it for future use.

You can also add photos to routes and share them, so friends and family can see where you’ve been or attempt the same journey. And Komoot has global maps, so you can use it wherever you are.

The only downside to Komoot is that you only get one region for free and regions usually only cover a single city or county. After that you’ll pay $3.99/3.99 for each of them, or $29.99/29.99 for the whole world.

Free + IAP

Monitoring your expenses is the first step to reducing them, and while there are many general purpose apps for that, Drivvo is designed specifically to monitor the costs of running your vehicle.

You can track fuel costs, mileage, gas consumption, maintenance costs and more, and build charts of your fuel efficiency.

Monitoring this information could be useful for anyone, especially if you want a clearer breakdown of how much it actually costs to run your vehicle, and by seeing spikes in your spend, for example at certain gas stations, you could potentially cut your costs by filling up elsewhere.

But Drivvo is especially useful for anyone who has a work vehicle or fuel allowance and needs to monitor their running costs for that.

The core app is free, but for $6/6 per year you can back your data up in the cloud, synchronize it between devices, export it into a spreadsheet and get rid of adverts.


Finance manager apps tend to be quite dry, which in turn can make you less likely to use them, but Fortune City turns the whole business of tracking your income and outgoings into a game.

You manage a cute little city, with new buildings added each time you add an income or expense, each of which you can do in several taps.

Workers can be hired and assigned jobs, buildings can be upgraded, and if you’re diligent in your tracking your city can flourish.

If friends are using the app too you can compete with them and visit their cities, and everything is backed up to the cloud, so you won’t lose your progress if you change phone.

But, like any good finance tracker, you can also see graphs and charts of your spending and income, to get a clearer picture of where your money is going, and there are dozens of achievements to work towards, many of which require saving and careful money management.

$49.99/47.99 per year

If you spend your days knee deep in email you’re going to want the most powerful email app around, and that’s arguably Newton Mail.

It’s packed full of features, many of which you’ll find elsewhere, but you’ll be hard pushed to find them all in a single app.

These include support – and instant push notifications – for all types of email accounts, from Gmail and Outlook, to Exchange, Yahoo Mail, Office 365 and more.

You’ll also get read receipts, the ability to schedule emails, and snooze emails so they’ll pop up again at a more convenient time. You can even snooze to desktop, so they’ll appear at the top of your inbox next time you log in from a computer.

Sender profiles give you more information about the people emailing you, pulling in data from LinkedIn and other social networks, and you can unsubscribe from newsletters with a single tap and set up customizable gesture controls.

Newton Mail also works across devices and platforms and you can connect various apps, such as Evernote, Pocket and Todoist, allowing you to add emails to them without leaving your inbox. There’s even an Alexa skill, if you want Amazon’s AI assistant to read and manage your email.

And those are just the headline features, there’s too much to cover here. Sadly there’s also a but coming: unlike most email apps, Newton Mail isn’t free. You can try it for two weeks and after that it costs $49.99/47.99 per year. Pricey, but if you live in your inbox it could prove invaluable.


Chances are that at some point in time you’ve come across a file type that your media player of choice can’t play. With Timbre, that’s no problem, as the app lets you convert audio and video files to and from almost any file type.

It supports MP3, WAV, FLAC, M4A, AAC, PCM, AIFF, Ogg, WMA, ALAC, MP4, AVI, FLV, MOV, WebM, MKV and MPEG files for both input and output, which also means you can convert a video file into an audio format. But file conversion is just one of Timbre’s skills.

It can also be used to cut audio and video files, which is handy if there’s a part you don’t want. You can also combine multiple files into a single one, split an audio file into two parts, change the bitrate of an audio file, and remove audio from a video.

None of these are tools that you’re likely to need often, but Timbre is a free, simple solution that’s great to have to hand for when you do.

Free + IAP

8Bit Photo Lab is a photo filter app that takes you back to simpler times. Times when games didn’t have near-photo-realistic graphics and Android was just a glint in Andy Rubin’s eye.

Simply snap or import a picture and pick a color palette from over 40 options, such as Game Boy or Commodore 64. Your photo will then instantly transform into something you might have seen on a screen from that era.

But that’s just the beginning, you can also add effects such as noise and checkerboard patterns, change the resolution and aspect ratio, tweak the contrast, saturation and brightness, and add 8-bit stickers, such as a mouse cursor, or little characters that look like they’ve come straight out of a game from the late 80s.

Essentially, 8Bit Photo Lab is like Prisma for anyone who prefers old-school video games to modern art, but it’s a well thought-through app.

Once you’ve tweaked an image to perfection you can add exactly the same filter to other photos with a swipe, for example, and while you get plenty for free, you can unlock lots of extra options with an IAP, including the ability to turn your creations into animated wallpapers.


Your home screen is probably a busy mass of apps, folders and widgets, so the last thing you need is an intricate image adding to the chaos. Instead, a minimalist wallpaper can often look far more striking, and there’s no shortage of them in Minimalist Wallpapers.

In fact, there are thousands of them, with new ones added each and every day. They’re sorted into various categories such as ‘nature’ and ‘abstract’, while the latest 500 can be viewed separately, so you always know what’s new.

You can save your favorites to easily return to later – which is especially handy if you ever change phone and lose all your downloaded wallpapers.

That’s all free, and while there is a one-off $0.99/0.69 IAP to remove adverts we didn’t actually experience any while using the app. So while you won’t need to pay for the app, if you enjoy using it then it’s not a high price to have a different view on your phone whenever you want it.


If your taste in sports tends towards the extreme then Red Bull TV is the app for you. The app houses a wide selection of shows, films and documentaries focussed on the likes of BMX, surfing, rallying, climbing and more.

These are available on demand, but Red Bull TV lives up to its name by also offering live streaming TV that you can tune into 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There are also live sporting events broadcast on the app, such as the Red Bull Air Race and the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, and a built in calendar tells you when these events are coming up, so you’ll never miss them.

And Red Bull TV even goes beyond sports, broadcasting music festivals and shows focussed on video games and other aspects of popular culture.

The quality of the content is variable but generally high. We’re talking full length sporting events with professional commentary, while the documentaries tend to be well shot.

You can watch on your phone or tablet, and choose what quality to stream it in, which is handy if you’re relying on mobile data. Or, if you’re at home, you can also cast videos to a Chromecast or Android TV.


There are any number of reasons you might want to keep track of your data use, from making sure you don’t go over your allowance, to checking no apps are going rogue and using more bytes than they should, and GlassWire makes all of that easy.

The app shows you both your overall data use (spit between mobile data and Wi-Fi) and the amount of data each individual app has used. You can view data use from the last 5 minutes, the last 90 days or various intervals in between, and apps are listed in order of how much data they’ve used.

You can also view graphs of your data use, as well as just seeing the numbers, and if you enter your monthly allowance and the day that it resets the app can also keep track of that and alert you when you’re nearing your limit.

GlassWire isn’t going to be needed by everyone, but if you ever wanted a closer look at your data use, there’s no better app for it.


Most meditation apps require a subscription to access the bulk of their guided meditations, but not Buddhify.

A one-off payment of $2.99/1.99 gives you unlimited access to the entire app, including over 80 guided audio meditations, amounting to over 11 hours of content.

These vary in length from 5 to 30 minutes, and are divided by locations (such as at home or in the park), activities (such as eating or work break) and moods, so there’s sure to be at least one to suit your current needs. And if not there’s a solo meditation timer.

The app isn’t quite as attractively designed or content-rich as some rivals like Simple Habit and Headspace, but it’s a whole lot cheaper.


There are certain phone features that you might want to adjust or turn on for specific apps. For example, you might want GPS or Bluetooth on when using a sports tracker app, but not the rest of the time.

With Autoset you can do that, having GPS – or whatever else – enabled automatically when you launch a relevant app, and disabled when you close it.

Similarly, you can tweak settings, for example having the screen go brighter automatically when you launch Netflix.

You can also create time-based profiles, if for example you want your phone to switch to silent at midnight.

For the most part these are simple toggles, which you can set and forget, and there are lots to choose from, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, mobile data, GPS, mobile hotspot, rotation, screen off time, brightness, sound mode and media volume.

Free + $1.49/1.39 IAP

TaoMix is one of the best ambient sound apps around, giving you far more control over your soundscape than most rivals.

Not only can you choose from over 50 sounds, split into numerous categories such as ‘fire’, ‘wind’ and ‘city’, but you can combine up to 10 of them, adjust the volume for each of them individually, and set a timer if you want the soundscape to turn off on its own.

That last option is great if you’re using it to help you get to sleep, but you might also want soothing sounds when meditating, reading, or to block out background noise when working.

TaoMix also has an attractive, minimalist and intuitive interface, allowing you to drag sound bubbles closer or further from a central point to increase or decrease their strength.

You can also play other audio from your device while using TaoMix, so if you want a soundscape mixed with music or a guided meditation, that’s possible. And you can save your favorite mixes to easily return to them later.

The free version doesn’t give you all the sounds and only lets you use three at a time, but a one off IAP of $1.49/1.39 unlocks the rest.

Free + $0.99/1.99 IAP

Some of the most interesting Android apps are those which add genuinely new features to your phone. Pocket Sense is one of those.

With this app you can set an alarm to go off if your phone is removed from your pocket, taken off charge, or moved from where it’s sat.

You can toggle any or all of those things to sound an alarm, so you’ll know the second someone tries to steal, move or use your phone.

You can choose from several different alarm sounds, all of which are very loud and can be set to audibly go off even when your phone is on silent.

Alarms will be turned off when you unlock your phone and you can optionally set a delay before an alarm sounds – so that when you yourself pick your phone up you won’t be greeted with an alarm, as you can unlock your handset first to cancel it.

Sensitivity can also be altered if you find it’s going off seemingly at random or not triggering when you want it to. But in our experience Pocket Sense worked well on the default settings, and is sure to give any thief or snooper a real fright.

There’s an IAP to remove adverts, but all the actual features of the app are free.

Free + $0.99/79p IAP

You’d think it would be impossible for a new weather forecast app to make a mark at this point there are so many of them, but Today Weather – Forecast at least has a shot.

Like many of the best weather apps it lets you choose your forecast source (currently offering Accuweather, Weather Underground, Dark Sky or – with more likely to be added).

Then, it wraps the forecast up in an attractive skin, with daily weather-appropriate images, and packs in loads of information, such as the forecast for the next 15 days, the dew point, humidity, UV index, air quality index, phase of the moon, and the position of the sun in the sky – along with sunrise and set times.

Plus, Today Weather has a selection of different widgets available if you’d rather see the forecast on your home screen. All of that is free, but you can get rid of the adverts and add a weather map with an IAP.


Keeping your phone locked is one thing, but what if you want to give someone access but not free rein to open all of your apps? That’s where Norton App Lock comes in.

It lets you secure any or all of your apps with a PIN, pattern or fingerprint, and all you have to do to secure them is tap on the little padlock next to them in Norton’s list.

While it’s not the only app designed around letting you lock other apps, Norton App Lock does have a few extra things going for it. For one thing, it won’t re-lock an app until you turn the screen off, so if you’re actively using your phone and jumping between apps, you won’t have to keep unlocking the same ones. That might sound like common sense but not all of its rivals do the same.

Another problem some apps have is being slow, in that they’ll allow an app to load and then a second or two later will bring up a lock screen.

This is both annoying – since you have to wait a little longer to properly interact with a locked app – and less secure, as prying eyes will be able to catch a glimpse of the content before it’s locked. But Norton App Lock, at least in our experience, instantly locks apps.

With options to also automatically lock recommended apps, and unlock all apps with a single tap if you want to temporarily remove security, it’s a useful, thoughtful app, and one which is reassuringly run by one of the biggest names in computer security.

Free + optional subscription

Books haven’t really changed. We can read them on our phones and Kindles now, but the way they’re presented is still largely the same as it was hundreds of years ago.

Or at least it is unless you’re using Hooked. This app presents all of its stories like text message conversations, and in most cases the stories actually take the form of a text message exchange, which is a perfect fit for a phone and in a weird way can make them seem more real than just reading words on a page.

The stories are mostly short or split up into chapters, so you can consume them in bite-sized chunks, and they encompass a wide range of genres.

Quality is variable, but more are added regularly and they’re professionally written (the iOS app lets readers also write their own stories, but the Android app doesn’t yet have this feature, and in any case the amateur attempts are kept separate from the main story selection).

Other than that missing feature the only real problem is that it limits how much you can read unless you subscribe, which costs $2.99 (roughly 2.30/AU$4) per week, $7.99 (around 6.20/AU$10.70) per month or $39.99 (approximately 31.20/AU$53.50) if you subscribe for a year.

This paywall is the only thing that’s likely to stop you getting hooked, but even if you stick to the free version you never have to wait more than an hour to keep reading.


It’s all too easy to get bogged down with negative thoughts and stress, but Five Minute Journal makes you start every day focused on the positive, by having you write three things that you’re grateful for.

It also has you think ahead and write three things that you’ll do to make today great, which makes you plan ahead in a positive way, and holds you more accountable to actually doing those things.

Then, you add a daily affirmation, and in the evening write three great things that happened, so you can see the day in a positive light. But it also asks you how you could have made the day better, so that, perhaps, you’ll make the next day better instead.

It’s nicely presented, reminds you to add an entry at the beginning and end of each day, lets you add photos, and stores your past entries, so you can be reminded of days past.

Five Minute Journal is a small thing, and if anything it takes less than five minutes to fill out, but it’s based on proven positive psychology research and in its physical form has an army of fans who believe in it, so if you could use a bit more happiness in your life it’s well worth giving a try.


Thanks to LinkedIn, the days of filling out lengthy job applications are largely gone, as you can often apply in a few taps using your LinkedIn profile. But the LinkedIn app itself is more focused on networking than applying, which is where LinkedIn Job Search comes in.

It strips away all the networking, messaging, groups and profiles and puts the jobs front and center. You can search by job title or keyword, pick a radius from the desired location and select whether to sort by the date or relevance of the posting.

You’ll then be presented with a list of possible roles, and while not all jobs let you apply using your LinkedIn profile, many do and these are highlighted in the list so you can easily prioritize them.

Tapping on a listing gives you a full description along with links to apply, whether through LinkedIn or externally. You can also save jobs to go back to later, and on the main screen you can see recent searches and recommended jobs.

You can also opt to get notifications when someone views your application, when new jobs match your search and when saved jobs are about to expire. And although LinkedIn Job Search is linked to the main site and app, your network won’t be alerted to any of your job applications and searches.

It’s at once a fully-featured and simple app, and it makes finding and applying for jobs the easiest it’s ever been.

Free + IAP

Keeping up to date with what’s new on Netflix isn’t always that easy, and being aware of what’s about to get removed from the service is near impossible without outside help.

Which is what Upflix is. You pick your Netflix region and it will then show you two lists – one with new additions to the service, and the other with those about to leave, and in both cases sorted by the date that they were added or that they will be leaving.

But you get more than just names of titles. You can also see their IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scores at a glance, and if you tap on a title you can see a synopsis, view trailers, or follow links to its Netflix or IMDB page.

You can also opt to get push notifications when new content is added, and there’s a ‘Roulette’ feature built in as well, letting you pick a genre and minimum Netflix, IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes ratings, then be presented with a film or show that meets them.

There are some limitations – it would be nice for example if the Roulette feature was expanded into a proper search tool, so you could see all the titles with a specific rating, rather than just one at random, and there are adverts unless you pay $1/0.99 to get rid of them, but as a mostly free tool Upflix is indispensable to anyone with a Netflix account.

Free + monthly subscription

Fitonomy is something of an all-in-one health and fitness app, not just offering workouts, but also healthy recipes and articles to inspire and inform.

But it’s the exercise that’s the focus, and the workouts within the app are almost all designed to be done at home or outdoors with minimal equipment, so you don’t need to go to the gym.

For free you can pick from a handful of basic workout courses, which give you a guided workout each day. You can also view animations of every exercise in the app, split into categories based on which body part they exercise, which is handy for learning new exercises.

Each animation uses a 3D model of a person that you can zoom into and rotate, giving you a clearer look at the exercise than a video would, and making them a great tool for checking that you’re doing an exercise right.

But to get the most out of Fitonomy you might want to subscribe to one of its premium plans. These cost different amounts depending on the plan and how long you commit to, but they start at $4.99/4.49 per month.

There are a range of plans with different focuses, but they all include workouts that get more intense each time, along with daily recipe suggestions, making for an experience that’s a bit like having a personal trainer in your pocket.


No matter how good your smartphone camera is your images can still be ruined by unwanted additions, be it people in the background, a trash can in your landscape or blemishes on your own face.

TouchRetouch is here to help, by removing anything that you don’t want in your shot. You can get rid of unwanted objects by highlighting or circling them, and simply tap a blemish to remove it.

There are additional tools to clone or mirror parts of the image, and video tutorials to help you get more out of the app – though most of the features are fairly self-explanatory.

Results aren’t always perfect, with the app trying but not always entirely succeeding to hide the seams when you cut someone out, but you don’t have to save any changes you’re unhappy with and it generally does a surprisingly good job, all with only a few taps from you.

Free + IAP

We know it’s important to exercise our bodies, but our minds sometimes get neglected, and that’s where brain training apps come in.

Of these NeuroNation is perhaps the best, as its training plans have been developed in collaboration with actual neuroscientists from Medical School Hamburg, Edith Cowan University and Free University Berlin.

The app first asks you what your goal is – for example to remember things better or stay focused – and then creates a training plan around that, consisting of a number of activities and games which you’re tasked with carrying out.

These are generally well-designed and enjoyable and the selection changes from day to day, so repetition shouldn’t set in.

You also level up over time and there’s a leaderboard where you can compare your scores in the games with your friends and people worldwide, all of which can help keep you motivated.

How much it actually trains your brain is questionable, but the backing by educational institutions is encouraging, and it would make sense that using your brain in various ways would improve its function.

The core app is free, but to unlock 19 additional exercises and a personalized plan you have to subscribe at a cost of 4.99/$5.99/AU$7.99 per month (or less if you subscribe for 6 or 12 months).

Free + $9.99/9.49 IAP

Ever wondered how long you spend using specific apps? Or how many times you unlock your phone each day? Instant – Quantified Self can answer those questions and more.

It monitors your phone usage, providing daily reports with that information, along with how many minutes you’ve spent using your phone, the places you’ve been, and estimates of how long you’ve slept, based on the motion (or lack thereof) of your handset at night. Plus, it can link up with Google Fit to track your steps.

In and of itself the information can be interesting and surprising, giving a history of not just your smartphone use but – with location and step tracking – the rest of your life too.

But you can also set a daily usage goal if you want to cut down on your phone use, with reminders to help you stick to it, and for more in depth information you can upgrade to pro with a one-off $9.99/9.49 IAP (or pay monthly) and get a complete history of your app usage, along with detailed weekly reports and the ability to back your data up to the cloud.

If you plan to use Instant to limit your phone or app use this could be worth paying for, but if you’re just curious about how many hundreds of times you’ve unlocked your phone today and how many minutes you’ve wasted on Facebook the free version will do the trick.

Free + optional $3.99/3.99 monthly subscription

Fitness trackers are all the rage, but the abilities of basic ones can largely be replicated by smartphone apps, for little to no money.

Pacer Pedometer is a prime example of that. As the name suggests, this is a pedometer, and like your average Fitbit it will run 24/7, tracking all of your steps automatically.

It does a pretty accurate job of it too, and you can make it more accurate by adjusting the sensitivity. You can also set goals, and have your step count permanently displayed on the notifications screen, so it’s never more than a glance away.

As well as steps, Pacer also tells you how far you’ve walked, how much active time you’ve had, and makes a stab at estimating how many calories you’ve burned.

You can also track your weight and BMI, connect with friends and motivate one another. That all comes free, and should be enough for most people, but for $3.99/3.99 per month (or less if you pay for a year upfront) you can also get rid of adverts, join groups and access an AI weight loss coach – the last one being the reason most would pay the subscription for.

Free + $0.99/72p IAP

As great as smartphones are, they can become addictive, with all sorts of apps vying for our attention and the urge to check Facebook ever-present. This can be bad for both productivity and relationships, with screen-based distractions interrupting work and quality time.

If any of that sounds familiar then Forest is worth checking out, as it’s an app that rewards you for not using your phone.

Specifically, it rewards you by building a virtual forest, with each new bush or tree being completed when you successfully spend a certain amount of time not using your phone. You can set how long you want to stay distraction free and if you fail your tree will wither and die.

The tree, whether alive or dead, will then appear on a patch of ground, alongside any others you grow that day, with each day having a new forest.

Extra incentive to stay off your phone comes from the ability to compete with friends, and to earn coins, which can be spent on new tree designs or even on planting real trees (though that latter feature first requires spending $0.99/72p on a one time IAP, which also removes adverts and lets you compete with global users).

From $5.75 (around 4.75/AU$7.50) per month

There are any number of reasons you might want to use a VPN, from improved privacy and security to accessing region-locked content, but whatever your reason NordVPN is a strong option.

You can use it not only on Android, but also Windows, iOS and Mac, all with a single subscription, and the app is nicely designed, with a world map from which you can tap on the country you want to access a server from.

Do that and NordVPN will automatically select the best performing server in that country, but there’s also a list of over 600 servers if you’d rather choose your own.

Further keeping things simple there’s a one-tap toggle to unlock most geo-restricted content, and NordVPN takes your privacy seriously too, with 2048-bit encryption and no logs kept of your activity.

It’s a subscription-based service with no free tier and no easily accessible free trial (you can get three days free, but only from Nord’s website and only if you select to pay with Bitcoin), but it’s cheaper than some VPNs and the cost is often further cut by sales and promotions.

Free + $3.60/3.80 IAP

ADW Launcher has long been one of the best launchers available on Google Play to change the look of your phone, and now the company behind it is back with ADW Launcher 2.

This isn’t one for fans of minimalist, simple interfaces as ADW Launcher 2 is all about customization.

You can change the style of the app drawer, the animation when transitioning between home screens, the number of apps shown on each page, the theme, the icons and just about everything else you might ever want to tweak.

As well as making the interface look and animate exactly as you want, ADW Launcher 2 also has some clever features that add whole new functionality. These include the ability to disguise folders as a single app – viewing the contents with a swipe, or launching the first app in the folder with a tap.

There are also various customizable gesture controls letting you launch apps or functions with swipes and pinches. The bulk of the app is completely free, but there’s a single IAP to unlock a larger selection of customization options.

Free + $0.99/89p IAP

Your phone’s screen is one of the biggest drains on a battery, but if your handset has an AMOLED display (like most Samsung handsets and a number of others do) then there are things you can do to minimize the drain.

While LCD screens light up the entire display no matter what you’re viewing, AMOLED screens can turn pixels on and off individually, so when you’re viewing a pure black the pixels don’t need to be lit at all.

That’s handled automatically by your phone, but with Pixoff you can choose to turn off some of the pixels whatever you’re doing. This makes the screen appear darker and lower resolution than it would otherwise, but it can save battery in the process, and the app lets you control how many pixels you disable and in what arrangement.

It’s unlikely to be something you’ll want on all the time, but if you have a QHD display the visual effect isn’t that huge, and could be handy if you’re trying to conserve battery. In fact, to make things easier there’s even an option to have it automatically enable when your battery falls below a certain level.

Or you can have Pixoff keep the screen black when your phone is in a pocket or face down on a surface, and it avoids burn-in by slightly adjusting the placement of the black pixels at regular intervals.

All of which makes Pixoff a powerful, well thought-out tool. The core app is free, but for denser arrangements of black pixels (which saves more battery life) you’ll have to buy a $0.99/89p IAP.

Free or $3.49/2.39 for Pro version

Never feel like you have enough storage space on your phone? Then SD Maid could be for you, as beyond being a file explorer it also has tools to help you identify what’s taking up space and what you can get rid of.

Its ‘CorpseFinder’ tool searches for directories or files that have been left behind by deleted applications, while ‘SystemCleaner’ scans for known file types that can safely be deleted.

‘AppCleaner’ looks for files within applications that can be deleted without causing loss of important data, ‘Duplicates’ looks for duplicate files, and ‘Storage analyzer’ shows which things on your phone are taking up the most space.

Whichever tool you’re using within the app, the first step is simply to identify things that you might want to delete.

Once SD Maid has done that you still have complete control over which, if any, files and folders you actually do delete, so you’ve only got yourself to blame if it erases something important – though in theory nothing it finds should be vital anyway.

The ‘AppCleaner’ and ‘Duplicates’ tools require the Pro upgrade, but most of the rest of the app is free, and it’s a great tool for clearing out files you might never even have found otherwise.


Redshift is an essential app for anyone with an interest in the night sky. Using your current location, the app will highlight the planets, stars and constellations that should be visible to you, and with a tap you can fly out to them, viewing 3D models of the night sky.

With 100,000 stars, 70,000 deep sky objects, 500 asteroids, 16 comets, 26 moons and all known planets, exploring the whole universe is an unending task with this app.

Using the 3D graphics and animations it’s an enjoyable experience to just tap around and dart between solar systems and stars, but if you want more information the app also has 10 guided tours and links to Wikipedia pages for anything you happen to be looking at.


We all need a little help relieving stress sometimes, and Pause aims to provide that assistance through the simple act of following a dot around the screen with your finger.

As you do so soothing sounds play, and a colored blob gradually grows around the dot. Within a few minutes the app promises to lessen your stress and increase your focus, and though it sounds gimmicky it works in our experience.

Supposedly it’s based on the principles of Tai Chi and mindfulness practice, as well as being scientifically tested and validated with EEG (electroencephalogram) technology. But credentials aside it’s just a great way to find some calm on a busy day.

Free + $9.99/9.99 monthly subscription

Meditation apps are meant, among other things, to relax and de-stress us, but if you’re anything like us they run the risk of doing the opposite, becoming chores that we feel guilty for neglecting.

Simple Habit doesn’t completely solve that problem, but it gets some way there, by offering short 5-minute meditations, that you can easily fit in at any point during your day.

Other meditation apps have short sessions too, but there are usually only a few of them, mixed in with longer meditations, while they’re all short in Simple Habit (though we do have to point out some stretch beyond 5 minutes to cater for those that do want a bit more relaxation).

Simple Habit also has a variety of different teachers to guide you, so if you don’t get on with one (or just get bored of their voice) there are plenty of others to choose from.

The rest of the app is as you’d expect, with meditations designed around specific life circumstances, goals or moods, and a simple interface that doesn’t get in the way.

Like Headspace, most of the meditations are locked behind a subscription, but you can listen to a handful for free to see if Simple Habit is for you.

Free with ads or $3.99/£3.49 

The problem with weather apps is that, for the most part, they only use one source for their data, but Climendo uses lots, and then works out what the most likely weather at any given time is.

The complete selection of weather providers that it uses includes AccuWeather, Weather Underground, NOAA, Met Office, Foreca, Dark Sky, SMHI, YR and World Weather Online – though only the most accurate ones for your location will be used.

You can see hourly or ten day forecasts, complete with the likelihood of each being accurate, or you can dig down to the individual forecasts from each weather provider, to see how they vary.

Climendo lacks some of the more detailed information found in other apps – such as humidity and UV index –  but if you just want accurate information on whether or not you need an umbrella then this app is up there with the best.


There’s no shortage of apps for digital artists, but Infinite Painter is one of the most feature-packed, with dozens of brush presets and the ability to create your own, along with layers, blending, editing tools and more, plus the option to export your images as JPEG, PNG, PSD or ZIP.

But as well as being packed full of features, Infinite Painter also takes the time to show you how they all work, with detailed tutorials and guides, although the interface is so simple that you should be able to muddle your way through most things anyway.

A lot of the features are hidden behind a paywall, with it costing $7.99/£6.26 to unlock everything, but the app includes a free seven-day trial, letting you try everything out before you decide whether you want to put money down, which if you’re a fan of digital art you probably will, because you get a lot for your money.


File managers aren’t exciting, but they are useful, especially if you have a lot stored on your phone. Google Play is full of options, but Solid Explorer File Manager is one of the best for a variety of reasons.

For one thing it’s not limited to just displaying local storage, as you can also link cloud storage accounts to the app, allowing you to view and manage all of your online storage in one place.

It also looks good, with a Material Design-influenced interface that’s easy to navigate. There’s a menu bar permanently visible at the top, which lets you quickly jump between storage sources or ‘collections’ (such as videos, music and photos), and folders are clearly laid out.

It’s not free, but there’s a 14-day trial so you can see what you think before you put any cash down.

3.99/US$4.99 (around AU$6.79)

Nova Launcher Prime has been around for a long time and thanks to regular updates and a wealth of features it remains one of the very best Android launchers available.

It’s enormously customisable, allowing you to change your phone’s theme and home screen transitions, add a scrollable dock, choose what direction the app drawer scrolls and even add widgets to the dock.

As bloated as it might sound Nova is actually a slick, speedy launcher, which looks a whole lot like stock Android until you start fiddling with it.

There’s a free version available too, just called Nova Launcher, but Nova Launcher Prime gives you access to gesture controls, among other features that aren’t found in the free one, so it’s worth investing in, given that the home screen is one of the things you’ll interact with most on your phone.


There are any number of podcast apps for Android but Pocket Casts is easily one of the best. Its slick, colourful interface helps it stand out from the drab designs of many competitors and it’s feature packed, with Chromecast support, auto downloads, sleep timers and more.

There are even tools to improve the listening experience of podcasts, such as the ability to remove silent sections to speed them up or toggle video podcasts to audio only. There are cheaper and even free alternatives to Pocket Casts, but you more than get your money’s worth with it.


The idea behind Plex is that it assimilates your existing media collection and serves it up, through one standard interface, via the cloud.

It’s a bit of a struggle to get going as you need a free account on Plex’s servers to access your stuff, but once it’s all up and running it offers streaming and transcoding of files, meaning everything ought to play everywhere. It’s attractively designed too and even lets you sync your media for offline viewing, so it’s not always dependent on an internet connection

It supports Chromecast too, so if you’ve bought into Google’s own media-managing dream, then you’re going to get a lot of use out of this app.


A hefty price, but can you put a price on not dying of obesity at age 52? That fitness promise is what you pay for with the RunTastic Pro. It is able to map you, track you, automatically cheer you on, generate live feedback and more, also covering interval training and letting users create their own regular routes to attack again and again.

Voice coaching keeps you motivated and on track and a leaderboard provides extra incentive to go faster and further. It’s also great for finding new routes to run, as other users can post theirs to the app. It’s serious stuff for competitive people and a seriously good tool for getting or staying in shape.


IF was formerly known as IFTTT, which stands for “if this then that”, concisely summing up what this app does. It powers up your Android device in all new ways, letting you automate various functions.

You can create simple statements such as “if my location is home, turn on Wi-Fi”, or “if I snap a screenshot email it to me”. As these are all simple two-part statements they’re easy to create and they can also be shared with the wider IF community. That also means there are tons of pre-existing ‘recipes’ to choose from, so you might not even feel the need to create your own.

8.06/$9.99 (roughly AU$13.24)

FiLMiC Pro has been on iOS for a while and it’s so good that it was even used to make the arthouse feature film ‘Tangerine’. Now it’s arrived on Android and it’s every bit as impressive here.

As a premium video camera app it doesn’t come cheap, but it gives you far greater control over your footage than most alternatives.

There are standard, manual and hybrid shooting modes, with options to adjust the temperature, tint, exposure, ISO, shutter speed, focus and more. You can also shoot in slow or fast motion and a variety of different resolutions and aspect ratios, including the likes of Cinemascope and letterbox.

Shooting your film isn’t the end of the fun either, as FiLMiC Pro lets you alter the exposure and saturation after you’ve captured your footage. Then, there are a variety of encoding and sharing options. So you can save it in the quality you want and easily upload it to the cloud and social networks.

Free + 7.18/US$9.99/AU$12.85 IAP

Computing skills have never been more vital and being able to program could put you ahead of the game. Javvy probably won’t make you an expert, but it covers the basics and beyond of Java programming in easy and enjoyable bite-sized chunks.

It features over 150 interactive tutorials, to take you from the basics to more advanced things like HashMaps and classes.

You can try it out for free, but if you’re serious about learning Java you’ll want to shell out for more chapters, either a bit at a time or with a single 7.18/US$9.99/AU$12.85 in-app purchase.


There are plenty of photo editing apps, but while most offer filters and effects few allow you to alter the perspective of a photo in the way SKRWT does.

There are no stickers here, no makeup modes and no real effects. Instead there are tools to shift the perspective, change the ratio and correct lens distortion.

You can also flip, rotate, mirror and crop images, but SKRWT isn’t interested so much in modifying photos in unnatural ways, as in making them look exactly as you envisioned when you took them.

It’s a professional tool, but it’s easy to use and you can always undo your changes if you don’t like them.


Although for many English speakers it’s easy enough for us to communicate with the locals when we’re travelling by pointing at things and speaking LOUDLY AND SLOWLY, it’s also quite nice to learn a bit of the local lingo before you leave as well, which is where Duolingo: Learn Languages Free comes in.

This excellent app makes learning a second language easy, fun and convenient, with a number of daily challenges and tests to help you learn. The bite sized nature ensures it’s never overwhelming and the app guides you in such a way that you can keep progressing while reinforcing the basics.

We can’t quite work out how such a slick, feature-packed app manages to be completely free of both cost and adverts, but we’re not complaining.


Tasker is one of the first, and best, task managers for Android. It does it all. Turns stuff on or off depending on location, manages multiple schedules for changing phone state depending on the time of day, even letting users have their phone automatically reply to text messages if it’s set to a quiet state.

In many ways it’s like a more powerful and more impenetrable version of IF. If you’re brave enough to learn its ways there’s a lot here, with the promise of total automation by combining triggers such as an app, day or time, with actions, variables and conditions.

Tasker is so powerful it can even be used to create whole new apps. It’s complex, vast, and you’ll wonder how you lived without it.


There are plenty of weather apps available for Android, but what makes Weather Timeline – Forecast worth choosing over them (and spending money on), is its unique focus on delivering weather forecasts in a timeline, so you can easily see conditions at a glance.

It means you can view the current weather, weather for the next hour, the next 48 hours and next week. It can help you plan your day without any nasty weather surprises.

The Weather Time Machine feature also lets you see forecasts for months and years in advance, as well as checking out how the weather was behaving decades ago. It’s also Android Wear compatible.


Phones get lost and sometimes even stolen, that's just a fact of life, but with Cerberus they can be a whole lot easier to get back.

The app duplicates many of Google's Android Device Manager abilities, such as tracking, ringing, locking and erasing a handset. But it goes much, much further too, allowing you to sound an alarm, display a message on the screen, take pictures, videos and screenshots to identify the thief, record audio and a whole lot more.

It's a comprehensive service and while it comes with a one off cost it will more than pay for itself if you ever need to use it.


If you never want to run out of things to listen to again, TuneIn Radio Pro is the app for you. It gives you access to over 100,000 radio stations from around the world, so no matter what your favourite genre is, you’ll be covered.

There are podcasts on offer too and you can create a profile, giving you easy access to all your favourited stations.

The Pro version is pretty expensive for an app, but not only does it remove annoying ads, it brings handy features such as the ability to record shows and listen to them at any time, as well as access to over 40,000 audiobooks and advanced social tools for finding and sharing new music.

4.99/US$4.99 (around AU$6.80)

Describes itself as a ‘pro’ DJ app for people who enjoy nodding along and pumping their fists in the air while someone else’s record plays. Cross DJ Pro comes with specialist features such as BPM tracking, pitch shifting and a split audio output for previewing tracks before they’re mixed in, with filter effects in here too for adding a bit more oomph to whatever party you’re ruining with your rubbish music.

With 72 samples, the ability to record and save your own samples to the app, realistic scratching sounds and more there’s a lot to play with, while an intuitive interface and big buttons make it easy to hit the right notes.

7.95/US$12.95 monthly subscription

Modern life can be hectic and most of us could probably do with some calm. Headspace aims to provide that through numerous guided mediations, ranging from ten minutes to over an hour in length.

There are also a number which are focused on helping you flourish in specific aspects of life, such as relationships or fitness, and they're all expertly guided by a former Buddhist monk.

You get access to ten short meditations for free, but to get the most out of it and unlock hundreds of others you'll have to subscribe.

Free (with optional subscription)

It’s great learning a new skill, but finding the time to do so can be tricky. Skillshare makes that a little bit easier, by breaking down lessons and tutorials into bitesize chunks that you can fit in while you take a coffee break.

As it’s an app it’s always with you, so you can learn on your commute too and there’s a vast variety of courses offered, from film making and photography, to game design, chocolate making and screen printing.

The courses aren’t generally detailed enough to make you an expert, but they’re a great way to get started or hone your skills. Some content is free, but to access the bulk of it or download the videos for offline access you’ll need a $9.99 (roughly £6.96/AU$13.08) monthly subscription.