The best apps for your new Android phone or tablet

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The Android train just won't stop: from design to performance to simple availability, the grass is looking greener and greener. After you’ve picked up the usual suspects — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and obviously Dots — the harder choices come in. Will you use Google Keep for your notes or go with Evernote or Simplenote? What’s the best app to wring the most out of the pictures you take on your phone? Will you be reading books on Kindle, articles in Pocket, or news in Flipboard or Press? With Android, you're not wanting for options, but that means you need help choosing between them. Fortunately, we’ve collected our favorites here, so get ready to click some links and fill up your home screen.


This year we've picked out some of the very best apps, games, books, and downloads for your new devices. Dig into our top selections for Android apps, Android games, iPhone apps, iPad apps, iOS games, Windows Phone apps, Kindle books, console games, and for your Mac and PC.

Inbox

Inbox

Google’s new Inbox app is a reimagining of how email should work: it pulls together all of Google’s services to make better sense of your inbox. It currently only works with Gmail accounts and requires an invite (though Google has been quite generous with those), but if you want to see the future of email the way Google does, Inbox is it.

Pocketcasts

Pocket Casts

Anxious to get ready for season 2 of Serial or just want to catch up on what you missed this year? Pocket Casts has one of the best podcasting experiences you can get, with cross platform syncing, adjustable playback speed, access to loads of podcasts, and much more. It’s the best thing you can get for your morning commute.

VSCO

VSCO Cam

VSCO Cam is one of the best photography apps on any platform, providing a wealth of editing options, tasteful, film-like presets, and a built-in feed of other’s photographs for inspiration. This year it got an update that lets you sync images between platforms, so pictures you take and edit on your Android phone can easily be accessed on an iPad or other device.

Pocket

Pocket

The internet is a huge place and it can be hard to keep up with everything that happens on it every day. Pocket makes it much easier to do just that, letting you save all of those great articles and videos for later watching. Articles are synced automatically and saved offline, with options to adjust the layout to your liking. Stop emailing yourself links and just install Pocket.

Messenger

Google Messenger

There are countless apps for texting on Android, but our favorite right now is Google’s new Messenger app. Messenger looks great — it takes full advantage of Google’s new Material Design guidelines — works quickly, and lets you send messages and move on with your life. If you’re not interested in integrating all of your text message communication into Google’s Hangouts app, the Messenger app is a no brainer download.

Pocket

Evernote

Evernote is the most powerful brain helping app you can use: you can literally save everything into it for later access. Make grocery lists, track receipts, keep tabs on school or work projects, or just clip cool web articles to Evernote for later access.

Snapseed

Snapseed

As a photo editor, Snapseed moves well beyond basic filters into the kinds of changes usually reserved for the desktop. With a set of simple tools the app makes even complex photo adjustments understandable and accessible.

Dropbox

Dropbox

Dropbox makes it easy to access your files from your phone. But there's another use that might interest you even if you don't think you need it: the service is great for simply getting files from your computer to your phone without a cable.

Slice

Slice

Most of us buy a lot of things on the internet, so much so that retail stores have been in sharp decline for years. But tracking all of those purchases and shipments can be a chore. There are a number of apps that aim to help with it, but Slice is the best we’ve used. It automatically scans your inbox (whether it’s in Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, iCloud, or others) and organizes all of your online purchases. It then provides alerts for shipping notifications, price drops, recalls, and more. Use it to keep track of all of those things you buy with those Amazon gift cards Grandma gave you this year.

Keep

Google Keep

If Evernote is the all-encompassing brain helper for your smartphone, Google Keep is the smarphone equivalent of Post-It notes. It’s perfect for quickly jotting down notes or making short lists, and now you can easily share and sync those lists with your friends and family.

Keyboard

Google Keyboard

There are a ton of keyboards available for Android, but Google’s Keyboard is easily one of the best. It matches Google’s new Material Design guidelines, offers a great tap-typing and tracing experience, and has smart and adjustable auto-correct. Best part: it’s free, so if your phone doesn’t already have it out of the box, there’s not much stopping you from downloading it.

YahooWthr

Yahoo Weather

Your new Android phone probably has a basic weather app already, but if you want something that offers more information, daily notifications, and a truly beautiful design, look no further than Yahoo Weather.

Fit

Google Fit

Google Fit

is the company’s new health tracking service that can count your steps, monitor activity, and more. It’s still pretty new, but soon it will be the central hub for much of the health data collected by your phone, fitness trackers, scale, and more.
YHND

Yahoo News Digest

Yahoo News Digest distills the major things that happen every day into two daily briefings, letting you know what’s happening in the world in just a few minutes. Its great design combined with concise summaries of the day’s events (presented once in the morning and once again in the evening) make it one of our favorite ways to keep up with the world.

agent

Agent

Some Android phones have smart features to turn off notifications, silence your phone at night or during a meeting, or disable certain features while your driving. But if your phone doesn’t have that built-in, Agent is a super easy way to add it. It can be set to disable Bluetooth or Wi-Fi when your battery gets too low, silence your phone when it’s time for bed, or read incoming messages aloud when you’re behind the wheel. All of those features are paired with a super simple interface, so you can set it and forget it.