Congrats on your new Android phone! If you're new to the platform, you'll be happy to know that apps are prolific and — most importantly — getting to be really high quality. Whether it's a Samsung or a Nexus, these apps and utilities will help you get the most out of your new phone. Some may even be pre-installed, but a few are Google's version of the apps that Samsung, LG, and HTC often replace with their own. Google's are almost always better, so give them a shot.
We've rounded up our favorite and most-used apps and utilities for the technology we use every day. Check out our picks for iPhones, Android phones, PCs, Macs, and game consoles. We've also listed our favorite games for iOS and Android from this year.
With security breaches and roving internet mobs threatening our collective digital privacy, it’s clearer than ever that we all need to take special care of our online identities. 1Password is one of the best password lockers available, letting you create strong passwords and store all your logins in one safe place.
Still need to catch up on What’s Tech? or find out what all this Serial fuss is about? 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.
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. And a recent update even recommends some of the best writing from around the web. Now you just need to get around to reading it all.
If you happened to have gotten a Chromecast under your tree this year, this app is a must. It recommends some of the best TV shows, movies, videos available across all your streaming apps. The best part, though, is you can voice search for content from specific genres or time periods. So if you’re ever looking for ‘90s romances, you won’t have too much trouble discovering something new to watch.
Google doubled down on its cheap yet effective VR viewer this year, teaming up with the likes of the New York Times and even Star Wars to make the headset available to just about everyone. If you managed to pick one up (and you should if you haven’t yet), the app lets you take take 3D tours of distant locales, watch 360-degree video, and discover apps that are Cardboard-compatible.
Google Fit is a fitness app designed specifically by Google, allowing you to count your steps, monitor activity, and more. It’s not as robust as some other tracking systems out there like Jawbone’s Up app. However, it’s clean and simple and does sync to other apps like Nike Running for increased functionality.
Evernote is still the most powerful note-taking 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. You can also handwrite notes or record conversations.
If you want to start keeping a closer eye on your expenses, Mint is still one of the best ways to do it. The app lets you sync to all your financial accounts, and gives you a bird's eye view of how you’re using your money and where you need to start budgeting.
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.
YouTube is still the first place people go for new music videos, so YouTube decided to create an app built just strictly for music. Think of YouTube Music as MTV for your phone; it surfaces some of the best new music videos coming out everyday and curates them by genre and popularity. Even better, the app learns your taste over time, building channels for what it expects you’ll like.
Your new Android phone can probably give you weather updates thanks to Google Now, but if you want something that offers more information, daily notifications, and a truly beautiful design, look no further than Yahoo Weather.
2015 was a big year for comics, with major events like Marvel’s Secret Wars and DC’s Convergence hitting shelves right alongside great standalone series like Saga and The Wicked and the Divine. Comics by comiXology is the best app for diving into new series or catching up on old favorites.
Google Photos grew up this year, and it’s now such a robust product that it gives Flickr a run for its money. The app gives you unlimited storage to store all your photos (so long as you’re willing to have them gently compressed) and also offers some simple photo editing features. The app also finds way to surface some of your favorite pictures in great ways, like in Collections from all the trips you’ve taken.
Google’s own News app is mature, beautiful, and a must-download if you care about what’s going on from day to day. Much like Apple News and Flipboard, it lets you select the topics you’d most like to follow, and surfaces headlines from across the web in an easy-to-read format. Even better, it syncs to your subscriptions, letting you read your newspapers and magazines from within the app.
VSCO, formerly known as 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. It even 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. But best of all: those once-expensive filter packs are much cheaper these days, and therefore much more accessible.