10 Must-Have Android Apps for 2017

10 Must-Have Android Apps for 2017

Among the million-plus apps in Google Play are these 10 essentials you simply cannot do without.

If you’re intimidated about where to start with your new Android device, or you’re a long-time Google fan looking to round out your collection of critical tools, this is the list for you. I’ve spent many hours refining that unmanageable mass of apps to come up with the 100 Best Android apps, but for some that’s still too many, so I’ve whittled the list down to the essentials.

Comixology Comics
Comixology Comics

Comixology Comics

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Free
Getting to the few remaining comic book stores in America is a huge hassle, as is storing all of your bagged-and-boarded treasures. Comics, the excellent app from digital comics groundbreakers Comixology, is the solution to serving both as storefront and long box. You can browse the seemingly endless lists of titles, and then buy new books with a tap. It’s wonderfully easy! Depending on the state of your wallet, it may even be a bit too easy. The Comixology Unlimited feature gives all-you-can-read access for $5.99 a month if you’re keen for a taster’s menu of comics.


Evernote
Evernote

Evernote

Free, with premium plans billed monthly
Evernote is your list keeper, note taker, voice recorder, to-do manager, webpage clipper, and all-around digital multi-tool. It’s overwhelming at first, but you’ll quickly find a vast number of ways to put it to good use. My favorite feature is optical character recognition (OCR), which makes text in photos searchable. Next time you get handed a business card, just snap a picture, and all the critical information will be captured and made searchable between all of your devices and computers, as well as accessible on the Web.

Be sure to read our organization expert Jill Duffy’s 5 Tips for Evernote Users.


Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger

Free
The trouble with most messaging platforms is that they require you to enlist your friends to join as well. Not so with Facebook Messenger, because most of the living (and even the recently deceased) population already has a Facebook account. Facebook Messenger is loaded with bells and whistles, notably a huge library of stickers, video and voice calling, and the ability to send SMS messages. This app is also surprisingly privacy conscious. You don’t need an account to use the app, entering a phone number is optional, and you can send secret messages that use end-to-end encryption so neither the FBI nor Facebook can read them.


Google Drive
Google Drive

Google Drive

Free, with additional costs for increased storage
Google Drive isn’t just a cloud storage service. In addition to syncing and storing your files, Google Drive includes a powerful mobile office suite, so you can create and edit files from your phone. Drive can even store your files locally, for offline viewing and editing. It might not replace your desktop office utilities, but it comes surprisingly close.


LastPass
LastPass

LastPass

Free
Humans are bad at passwords, and we’re bad at remembering things. Thankfully, there are password managers like LastPass. With a password manager, the app generates unique, complex passwords for each site or app that requires one. When you need to log in, LastPass fills in the correct information, even filling it in in other apps. LastPass also securely stores your personal information so you can quickly fill out tedious forms, and includes mechanisms to safely share passwords with other people—even after you’ve departed this mortal realm. A new pricing structure lets you create an account and sync passwords between all your devices, mobile or otherwise, for free.


Netflix
Netflix

Netflix

Free, plans begin at $7.99 a month
When it comes to mobile video streaming, Netflix is hard to beat. It boasts a massive (if unstable) library of TV shows and movies, putting a world of entertainment in your hand. Netflix is also leading the way among streaming services by producing critically-acclaimed original programming like Luke Cage, Narcos, The OA, and Stranger Things, to name but a few. It even offers a decent selection of streaming anime titles. It’s an app that’s no longer just about killing time. It’s also about keeping up with the conversation about the latest hit shows. The fact that it now lets you download (some) shows for offline viewing is a huge recent advance for the service.


NordVPN
NordVPN

NordVPN

Free, $8 per month subscription
Google and mobile antivirus companies have done a great job of keeping Android (mostly) free of dangerous malware. But when you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, it’s possible that nefarious individuals could be intercepting all of your information. That’s why virtual private networks are so important, and NordVPN is among the best. Other fun tricks you can do with a VPN? Hiding your IP address from advertisers and accessing region-locked content.


PicsArt Photo Studio
PicsArt Photo Studio

PicsArt Photo Studio

Free
When you think of mobile image editing, you probably think of a certain Facebook-owned property modeled after old timey cameras. I’m talking about Instagram, in case you couldn’t tell. But where Instagram ends, PicsArt Photo Studio begins, bringing not just filters but many more powerful tools. And if you’re already a fan of Insta, you can share your PicsArt creations there to the envy of all your followers.


Pocket Casts
Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts

$3.99
Podcast fans, rejoice. Your frustrations have been heard and your prayers have been answered.I bring you good tidings for in Google Play, an excellent podcast app has been created: Pocket Casts. With this app, you can manage all your favorite podcasts and even sync them between devices. And it was good.


Spotify
Spotify

Spotify

Free with paid, ad-free plans
There are many ways to listen to tunes on your phone, whether it’s from Google Play Music or the human-curated Slacker Radio. Spotify, however, offers a winning combination of clear, crisp audio and a massive catalog spanning every genre you can think of and several you’ve never heard of. Collaborative playlists let you and your friends enjoy custom mixes, and runners will love the integrated beat-matching workout settings. If you only run one streaming music service on your Android, Spotify is the one to choose.

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