Essential Apps for Android Users


Open source expert Jack Wallen lists the apps he considers a must-have for every Android user.

Android is not only the most widely used platform on the planet, it also includes a lot of applications to choose from. Although you might be able to get by for awhile by only using the stock apps included with the Android operating system, you’ll very quickly find yourself needing more. Once you peel away the facade of taste and varied use cases, there is a short list of apps, not installed by default, that could be considered must-haves for any Android user.

I recommend that you install these nine Android apps, along with the pre-installed apps, to be more productive and safe. (In this list, I didn’t include the pre-installed Android apps or carrier-specific apps.) Also, keep in mind that this list is subjective.





The Google Find My Device app. 

At some point you might lose your device or realize it has been a victim of theft. When either one of those instances happen, you’ll want to be able to locate that device and, if necessary, lock the device, send a sound to your lost phone/tablet, wipe the device, or see the hardware details. For that, be sure you’ve installed Google Find My Device as soon as you set up that phone or tablet for the first time. Google Find My Device is, by far, the best option for locating a lost device or protecting your information/data from theft. Of all the must-have apps, this is the must-have-iest.


Google Find My Device



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The Bitwarden Password Manager app. 

Image: Bitwarden

We’ve reached the point in time where a password manager should no longer be considered optional. If you’re able to memorize every password you use for every account you have, you’re not trying hard enough. In fact, your goal should be to only know one password–the one to unlock your password database. So for Android, the best password manager on the market is the open source Bitwarden. This free app offers all of the features you need for a password manager, with the additions of a paid option that includes password reports (highlighting weak passwords and unsecured websites), and a Data Breach Report to keep you in the loop if an email address has been compromised in a known data breach.


Bitwarden Password Manager



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The Authy 2FA app. 

Not only should you be using a password manager to keep those passwords strong and secure, you should also be using two-factor authentication (2FA) with every account and service that offers the feature. Why? Because you need every possible means to keep your data and information secure. 2FA adds a layer of security over your username/password, so you must enter a six-digit key from your mobile device to enter your account. The best, most secure way of doing that is via a 2FA app. Authy is, hands down, the best option for the task. With Authy you can easily scan in new accounts and manage them with ease. The biggest reason for this? Authy includes multi-device support. With Google Authenticator, if you change phones, you have to go through a multi-step process to transfer your information to the new device. Authy eliminates this and allow you to use the app on as many devices as you need.


Authy 2-Factor Authentication



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The Any.do app. 

Everyone needs a good app for keeping track of lists, tasks, and more. Although Google has a great tool in Keep, there’s one that’s even better. Said app is Any.do. With Any.do, you can use and manage lists, tasks, a calendar, planner, and reminders. You can even sync Google calendar, Facebook events, Outlook Calendar or any other calendar to Any.do. The app also includes a very handy feature called Any.do Moment. Moment prompts you to review all of your assigned tasks for the day and allows you to either commit to them or defer them. When you’re incredibly busy, this makes for a very easy task management solution. Although Any.do does have a free plan, you can opt to go the Premium route (for $59.00 USD/year), which adds features like recurring tasks, WhatsApp reminders, unlimited daily planner, color tags and labels, location-based reminders, and Focus mode which allows you to set timers for tasks.


Any.do



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The Google Docs app. 

As surprising as this might seem, Google DocsGoogle Sheets, and Google Slides are not installed on Android by default; Google Drive is installed by default. When you attempt to open a file from within Drive, you’ll be prompted to install Docs, Sheets, or Slides depending on the type of file you attempt to open. Why? Because the Drive app doesn’t include the ability to create or edit documents, spreadsheets, or presentations. If you want to be able to create or edit these types of files from your Android device, you need to install Docs, Sheets, or Slides. For anyone who depends on Google Drive to work with documents and you’re frequently on the go, these three apps should be installed on every Android device you use.


Google Docs



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The Google News app.

If you use your Android device to read news, one of the best methods of doing so is Google News. This app not only makes it very easy to consume news from different sources, it’s also possible to customize the types of news and topics that you are presented. With Google News, you get instant access to Perspectives and Contexts and Full Coverage, so you can dig deeper into any given news story. You’ll also find a For You tab that displays the news you’ve customized, a Headlines tab displaying the top headlines for the moment, a Following section for stories you’ve followed, and the Newsstand where you can find free and paid content.   


Google News



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The Google Translate app. 

If you you love to travel or deal with documents in various languages, you owe it to yourself to make things easy with the Google Translate app. This app can translate between 103 languages, but its most important feature is its ability to translate text in images instantly by using your device camera. So you’re just a quick point-and-click away from translating a passage into a language you can read. For anyone who has to work with other languages, Google Translate can be a real deal maker–literally and figuratively. 


Google Translate



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