10 must-have apps for your new Android phone

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 26 Dec 2016

Make your phone all it can be.
The first order of business when you get a new phone is to install your apps. Android makes it easy to grab all the apps from your old phone. Which covers the basics like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You do not need to be told to download the most popular apps in the world. However, what else should you install?
More than 1 million apps are in the Play Store, but most are not worth your time. That is different with these ten apps, in any case. These apps fill fundamental feature gaps in Android, making for a much more enjoyable experience. They are also free or cheap, so you do not have any excuse not to give them a shot.

          Google Opinion Rewards

While most of what we recommend as essential is free, some apps will cost you a few bucks. If you shelled out some cash for everything on your list it will be costly. But Opinion Rewards can help cover the cost of these future purchases. This app is a must-download because it is free money. The app pushes surveys to you now and then, most of which take a few seconds to complete. Once done, the app rewards you with $0.10 a dollar of Store credit. That can spend on anything in the Play Store, including these essential apps, movies, TV, books, or music.

Google Opinion Rewards (Free)


Pushbullet is the best way to send, i.e., push text, files, and links between your devices. That includes your desktop, a Chromebook, and even your verified friends’ devices. It also mirrors your notifications from Android to a desktop computer, allowing you to take action without touching the phone. That includes something as simple as dismissing a new email popup. Or responding to an SMS from the bullet desktop client. Pushbullet also includes indispensable features like universal copy–paste, newsfeed-like bullet channels, and remote file access. The basic functionality is free. But a $5 monthly or $40 yearly upgrade is required for features. Like unlimited SMS replies and universal copy and paste.

PushBullet (free)


You are only partially safe from account hacks, even with the most spectacularly secure password. The best way to keep your accounts secure is to use two-factor authentication. Accounts play nice with 2FA. It will be nice. Two-factor authentication is a pain, but Authy makes it much more manageable. This app can authenticate any service that supports open 2FA systems. You can register Authy with your mobile number, then use the app to generate codes for services like Dropbox. And many others once 2FA is activated. Authy is a considerable improvement over other 2FA apps. Because it can sync the encrypted authentication tokens across all your devices, including phones, tablets, and computers. Set it up once; you will always have your 2FA codes closed.

Authy (free)

   Solid Explorer File Manager

Solid Explorer File Manager even with all of Android’s sleek modern design features. There are times when you need to dig into the file system. The built-in file managers that come with most phones are essential, so you should grab Solid Explorer. It has a dual-pane interface with support for local files archives. And cloud storage like Dropbox, Drive, etc., and for remote clients like FT Dav. This app is updated frequently with new features as well. Solid Explorer comes with a free 14-day trial, after which it costs $1.99. It is well worth the price.
Solid Explorer File Manager (free trial, $1.99 upgrade)


That photo you snapped looks okay. But what if you want to crop it or add an artsy filter. Before you post it on your social network of choice? Most phones come with rudimentary image editing capabilities, but Snapseed is better. This app has a clean, touchscreen-friendly interface that makes it easy to tweak saturation, brightness, and other essential photo qualities. You can also crop, rotate, add text, and more. Many phones support RAW photo capture now; Snapseed can also open those files. That means your edits will be much more high-quality than reprocessing an already compressed regular JPEG file. It has been updating Snapseed consistently; it is still completely free.

Snapseed (free)


Every phone comes with a few stock wallpapers, but they usually stick to one or two different styles. If that is not your thing, you will have to go elsewhere. In that case, it would help if you grabbed Backdrops; it is the best wallpaper catalog available in app form. Hundreds of background images are available, which are exclusively created for the app. The app is free to use if you don’t mind ads. You can upgrade to the full version to get rid of them. And gain access to saving images offline with a few premium background collections.

Backdrops (free, $0.99 upgrade)


The stock gallery app on your phone cannot match the fantastic feature set and outstanding design of Focus. This app displays your images in their folder locations like most gallery apps. Still, it also has an excellent tagging system to make it easier to find essential pics. There’s even fingerprint security to keep people from snooping on your photos.
Focus is free with a $2.99 in-app upgrade that adds a dark theme, custom tags. And an incredible, secure photo vault. Images you want to keep private can be locked away from prying eyes in the vault.

Focus (free, $2.99 in-app upgrade)

Chrome Remote Desktop

Sometimes you need to access your computer while you’re nowhere near it, but you have a phone! You need to anticipate this eventuality before it comes up. There are plenty of options, but you should use Chrome Remote Desktop. As long as the Chrome service runs on your computer, Chrome Remote Desktop can connect. The performance is surprisingly good, even over a cellular connection. Chrome Remote Desktop doesn’t have as many features as some apps, but it’s free and highly reliable.

Weather Timeline

There are probably 100,000 weather apps on Android that put the conditions in widgets. Your status bar, and even quick settings. Out of all those apps, Weather Timeline is the best. It doesn’t get too fancy; it’s just a great weather app with some widgets. As the name implies, the forecast conditions are laid out in a timeline. That makes it easy to scroll through extended hourly forecasts. Weather Timeline has data graphs for precipitation, humidity, wind, and more if you want more info. There’s also a time machine feature. It lets you look at probable weather in the more distant future based on past patterns. It’s absolutely worth the small up-front price.

Weather Timeline ($0.99)

Pocket Casts

Finding managing podcasts on Android was an agonizing process. But Pocket Casts was one of the first apps to get it right. The developers have kept up with all the latest Android features. Ensuring that it remains an essential app for any phone. Finding new podcasts is a snap with recommended feeds, Nearby sharing, and a search function. Signing up for an account also backs up all your podcast subscriptions so you can sync them to multiple devices. Your listening progress also syncs along with the subscriptions.

Pocket Casts ($3.99)