Get productive in the new school year with the best free Android apps for students

It's time to load up your Android phone or tablet with the right apps for getting things done and staying organized.

my study life

Time to get down to work

It's time to back off the mobile gaming and get some productivity apps front and center on your Android phone or tablet. Google Play is stocked with many excellent tools that will free you from having to do every piece of schoolwork on a computer.

The following apps will turn you into a taskmaster, with excellent choices for notetaking, editing files, and collaborating with your classmates.

google drive

Google Drive

Don't let the preinstalled Google Drive app sit dormant in your app drawer. Put Google's Docs, Slides, and Sheets use for viewing and editing your files. While the three apps now function separately for working with your content, Drive still serves as the main hub for all of your stuff. 

Don't listen to the naysayers who say you need Office—Drive is more than capable of handling most core productivity needs. And you can work right from your Android phone while pretending to listen to that boring lecture.

Google Drive (Free)

todoist

Todoist

Todoist is one of the best-looking and most feature rich to-do managers. It is a great way to keep track of and tick off assignments, papers, or group projects. A premium subscription is $29 annually, and gets extra organizational features like tagging and filters. 

That may seem a bit much for the college budget, but it provides a lot of value in getting an unruly number of tasks under control. Try out the free version and see if the "Get Things Done" method espoused by Todist fits your work style.

Todoist (Free, $29/yr optional premium subscription)

onenote 1

Microsoft OneNote

OneNote recently graduated many of its features out of beta, including the ability to take hand-written notes. So if you are the stylus-wielding type then grab OneNote from the Play Store and start scribbling away. Use any of the included templates or import screenshots and other files for your marking pleasure.

If you take to OneNote, get the desktop version so everything created in the mobile apps appears on the desktop; a great way to keep the workflow going. Doing so requires a Microsoft account, which you probably have anyway if your summer was spent playing Xbox.

OneNote (Free)

swiftkey

SwiftKey

There are many good keyboards for your Android device, but SwiftKey still reigns supreme. Connect it to Gmail, Facebook, Twitter or other accounts for it to learn your typing preferences.

The autosuggest then gets smarter, although a bit creepier, over time by suggesting phrases you are likely to use. SwiftKey recently went to a freemium model; the app is free to download with additional keyboard themes available for purchase as in-app upgrades.

SwiftKey (Free)

sunrise

Sunrise Calendar

Sunrise Calendar is one of the best-looking and most extendable choices for Android. Not only does it handle your Google Calendar, but you can add in other services like Facebook, Evernote, Songkick, or Github to keep all reminders and calendar notices in sync.

Also, Sunrise offers a desktop app for Mac and Chrome to keep all your data synced up. Support for Microsoft Exchange is said to be in the works, which will be useful for those whose school uses an Office 365 account.

Sunrise Calendar (Free)

kindle

Kindle

Amazon's Kindle app isn't just for pleasure reading. Many classrooms and universities are using eBooks, saving students' shoulders and backs from lugging around massive tomes. With Amazon continuing to dominate the book market, any text you're using is probably available on Kindle.

The Android app offers another advantage in that you can take notes, look up words and use the highlighting tool. These will sync across any Kindle devices or apps, which are available on all major mobile or desktop platform.

Amazon Kindle (Free)

Calcu

The stock calculator is pretty limited and looks like it was designed for Android Donut.

So if you need some more mathematical power go with Calcu. It smartly uses gestures to call up advanced operators and constants for various scientific fields and advanced math.

Swiping gestures can quickly clear your calculation history or call up the alternative keypads. There are also 12 different themes to change up the look.

Calcu (Free)

google keep

Google Keep

Keep is often typically described as an Evernote competitor. Instead, consider it more of a digital stack of Post-It notes, perfect for short lists and to-do items. You can also add pictures or use Android's intents capability to send other content into Keep.

You can color code notes and add reminders that will bug you later to avoid missing an assignment or task. In true Google fashion you can swipe away the notes for archival, making that grocery list searchable forever.

Google Keep (Free)

evernote

Evernote

If you use Evernote on the desktop, then grabbing the Android app is an essential step for keeping your notes and files in sync. It also makes for an excellent collaboration tool with the ability to share notebooks with a group. The app is free; $45 annually gives you a premium subscription with additional backup space and faster uploads to the Evernote servers.

If you fancy yourself a power Evernote user, consider the company's Skitch applicaton, which includes inking support for marking notes, clipped web pages, or maps. Anything created in Skitch is saved back into Evernote.

Evernote (Free, $45/yr optional premium subscription)

my study life

My Study Life

My Study Life is a personal organizer built specifically for students. You can plug in your schedule, keep tracks of assignments, tasks, and exams. Setup can take a while, but it performs excellently at condensceing one's schedule all into one place.

It also syncs to the My Study Life desktop web app so the schedule is always available. Sign up quickly and have one less password to remember by connecting it to your Google account.

My Study Life (Free)