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Best Android apps of 2016: 28 apps you must try

Update: New file explorer pick

Authored by: Scott Adam Gordon — 1 month ago

Searching for the best Android apps is daunting. Whether you need a great weather app or a new browser, there are always dozens available. Here at AndroidPIT, we’ve spent hours curating the top Android apps for every purpose, and compiled them into one list. Here are the best Android apps of 2016, which now includes our current favorite productivity and job search apps.

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These are the best Android apps of 2016. / © ANDROIDPIT

Best file manager app for Android

In light of the turn ES File Explorer has taken, we've tested out a few alternatives in search of a replacement.

The app we've settled on is Solid Explorer. It's feature-rich and highly accessible thanks to a crisp Material Design UI. It also houses a very handy double-panel display that lets you navigate to two separate folders and drag a file across from one to the other. Integration with cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive, as well as FTP servers, make it a formidable all-in-one solution for managing your files.

Some of its other features include hidden folders, ZIP and RAR archive extraction, and customization through icons, color schemes and themes.

The app is free to try out for two weeks, and then you have the option to pay $2, so you've nothing to lose by trying it out and seeing what you think.

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A simple UI and cloud storage integration make Solid Explorer our pick. / © ANDROIDPIT
Solid Explorer File Manager Install on Google Play

Best productivity app for Android

Manually typing passwords takes a lot of time and remembering them all is difficult. Everybody has forgotten a password or two at some point in their lives. Enter Dashlane, the app which saves all of them so you can easily copy and paste these into online forms when necessary. 

A common concern with password manager apps is whether you can trust their security service. Dashlane uses encrypted codes and regularly monitors them to ensure you have peace of mind. 

What's more, Dashlane streamlines and secures other types of data used in online forms, like credit card information. You can save financial details and quickly copy them onto your online shopping portal of choice. And it automatically saves the receipts of all your purchases so you can track your spending. 

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Dashlane securely saves your passwords for seamless logins. / © ANDROIDPIT
Dashlane Password Manager Install on Google Play

Best job search app for Android

Searching for a new job used to involve hours of looking through classified ads in newspapers and many different job posting sites. Now with sites like Indeed, job perusing has improved and you are able to narrow results and streamline this process.

Indeed’s mobile app for Android lets you search for a job when you’re on-the-go so you can find your next employment adventure, anywhere, anytime. You can narrow the results for specific geographical regions, salary expectations or type of employment (full-time, part-time, etc.).

The Indeed app tracks your search history so you will only see the results you haven’t viewed yet. You can also upload your resume if you want make it easier to apply for job you’re interested in. Employers can then view your uploaded resume and see if you're a good fit for the position.

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The Indeed app helps you find your ideal job. / © ANDROIDPIT
Job Search Install on Google Play

Best weather app for Android

There are plenty of weather apps available that are more accurate and better looking than the ones that come pre-installed on your Android device. 

MORECAST is our current favorite weather app here at AndroidPIT because it has one of the best-looking interfaces, with a clear and sensible layout. It's also one of the most advanced apps of its kind, featuring such options as side-by-side weather comparisons for two cities, and accurate weather information for a particular route or journey. MORECAST is the right way to make a smartphone weather app, and best of all, it's free. 

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MORECAST is a useful weather app and widget, which also looks fantastic. / © ANDROIDPIT
Weather & Radar - Morecast App Install on Google Play

Best launcher app for Android

Launchers offer a simple way to customize the look and feel of your Android phone. They often combine new icons, a new app drawer layout, a new homescreen and new wallpaper to make your device fit a certain style or theme.

You have to try them out to appreciate how fun they can be and the one we recommend right now is Action Launcher 3. This is an excellent introduction to launchers because it provides clear and intuitive interface changes without adding so many that it becomes off-putting.  

With Action Launcher 3 you can perform simple tweaks such as changing the app drawer layout, changing app icons, and even altering the way you use your homescreen folders. It offers genuinely useful interface improvements and it's free; download it from the link below.  

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This is the Action Launcher 3 app Quickdrawer. / © ANDROIDPIT
Action Launcher 3 Install on Google Play

Best fitness and lifestyle app for Android

Whether you want to lose a few extra pounds or just improve your energy levels, the 7 Minute Workout app is a great entry point into Android-assisted health and fitness.  

The 7 Minute Workout focuses on a short, high-intensity routine, which is scientifically proven to aid weight loss and improve cardiovascular function. For people who find the idea of picking up a gym membership or going cross-country running intimidating, this app provides the perfect jumping off point, thanks to the brevity of its workouts.

Unlike many Android fitness apps, the 7 Minute workout doesn't ask for your height and weight or track your overall progress, but what it lacks in features, it makes up for in simplicity. You just look over the exercises, hit the start button and away you go. Begin your healthier lifestyle today with the free 7 Minute Workout app.   

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The 7 Minute Workout app is currently our favorite health and fitness app. / © ANDROIDPIT
7 Minute Workout Install on Google Play

Best security/antivirus app

Android security is a contentious subject and arguments about the safety of the system crop up frequently. If you are in the market for an antivirus app, our current favorite is Mobile Security & Antivirus from Avast. 

Mobile Security & Antivirus keeps you safe from malware threats with its excellent virus detection software, which can search through your browser history, microSD card, and internal storage space. What's more, it employs anti-theft features such as location tracking and remote data wipe, which work even if your device is not currently in your possession. 

As far as free mobile security is concerned, Avast's app is about as comprehensive as it gets. 

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Avast is a well-known name in antivirus, and you can wipe your device remotely if necessary. / © ANDROIDPIT
Mobile Security & Antivirus Install on Google Play

Best Android browser app  

As a Google product, Chrome is the perfect browser for Android and, since it comes pre-installed on most phones, it’s something that most people are familiar with. Chrome Beta is our current best Android browser app because it’s just the, ahem, better version of the browser we already love.

Chrome beta is Chrome of the future, it’s what the standard Chrome app will become once Google applies the latest changes, fixes and improvements it is working on. Chrome beta users get to experience these things before the masses.

The price paid for quicker access to new features is that, of course, sometimes there are bugs or issues that need to be ironed out. None of these will cause any damage to your phone or its software however, and these browser crashes and stutters very rare.

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Get improved features faster with Chrome Beta. / © ANDROIDPIT
Chrome Beta Install on Google Play

Best Android podcast app

Podcast Addict is a beautiful app because it piles an excellent free service on top of free service — that is, listening to awesome podcasts. Podcast Addict itself is a free download and it lets you search for, download and listen to podcasts (with its integrated audio player), as well as create playlists of the upcoming shows you want to tune in to.

What's more, it houses a neat "trending" search feature so you can see what else is currently popular in the podcast world, providing a simple entry point for newcomers. While it's not always the easiest to navigate, it does everything a good Podcast app should do and it does it well.

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If you want the best podcast app on Android, try Podcast Addict. / © ANDROIDPIT
Podcast & Radio Addict Install on Google Play

Best Android keyboard app

This keyboard is one of the best for fast, accurate typing and it’s our new company favorite. Many of us have adopted Fleksy because it’s big, it’s clever and once you use it for a couple of hours, you realize how useful some of the smaller details are.

For example, most keyboards use a "press and hold delete key" gesture to delete words, Fleksy uses a super-quick backward swipe. Be sure check out some of the extensions like invisible keyboard too — it works surprisingly well. Download it from the Play Store for free now. 

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Because of its size, Fleksy is primed for use with two thumbs on bigger phones, if that's your thing. / © ANDROIDPIT
Fleksy + GIF Keyboard Install on Google Play

Best app for downloading free music on Android 

Google Play Music is our favorite app for downloading free music right now. Though there are many music download apps available in the Play Store, they are often quickly removed because of their copyright-impinging functionality. Google Play Music provides you with a totally legit, ever-changing list of free tracks from major artists to download.

Spotify has an excellent paid subscription service, and SoundCloud has a multitude of tracks readily available to stream, but for actually downloading tracks to your phone, Google Play Music is as good as you can get. 

Alternatively, head to the link below for some less common free music downloading apps. 

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Google Play Music always has a selection of popular tracks for free. / © ANDROIDPIT
Google Play Music Install on Google Play

Best Android apps for downloading free music

Best app for watching TV and movies on Android

Hulu is an excellent app for watching movies and TV shows on Android. It's a free service that relies on ads, but there are some great shows available. You need to pay a subscription fee to access all of the content, but there is a range of excellent shows available without subscription, including classic US comedies such as Family Guy, Seinfeld and South Park. 

It's currently restricted to the US, but hopefully we'll see Hulu appearing in more territories soon.   

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Hulu features a number of classic US TV shows and movies. / © ANDROIDPIT
Hulu Install on Google Play

Best app for watching TV and Movies on Android

Best camera app for Android 

Camera360 Ultimate made its way onto our best Android camera apps list because it offers so many features, including more than 200 filters, NFC photo sharing and tons of one-touch fixing tools. These adjustment options are both powerful and easy to use, making Camera360 Ultimate a great choice for new and experienced photographers. It's a comprehensive free app that ensures you get the best out of your Android camera. 

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Camera360 Ultimate is many Android users' go-to camera app. / © ANDROIDPIT
Camera360 Install on Google Play

Best image-editing app for Android

PhotoDirector is the whole package. It has everything you could possibly need to edit your photos. The tools range from simple text bubbles and filters, to more complex things such as HSL and curves, and they're all heavily adjustable, helping you get the best out of your photos. It's for messing around on and seeing what you end up with.

The app is developed by CyberLink, a large Taiwanese multimedia software company, so they have the money to splash on an app, and it shows. Highly recommended for novices and pros-on-the-go alike.

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PhotoDirector's array of features is impressive, to say the least. / © ANDROIDPIT
PhotoDirector Photo Editor App Install on Google Play

Best video app for Android

The default video player on your Android phone will probably 'do the job' and play most standard video formats without much fuss. But if you're playing niche formats or enjoy tinkering with the video settings to get the perfect picture, then you'll need to branch out.

VLC for Android supports a huge number of video formats and has a slew of adjustable settings to create the viewing experience you desire. You can also use hardware acceleration to take full advantage of your smartphone's processor. The gestures are simple and intuitive, and the audio player is also highly capable. Check it out.

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VLC for Android was a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. / © ANDROIDPIT
VLC for Android Install on Google Play

Best education app

Khan Academy is a portal to a higher educational dimension, and is the place to go if you're interested in learning pretty much anything science-, math- or physics-related. The app is still pretty fresh-faced – although Khan Academy itself has been going strong for almost 10 years – but it puts more than 10,000 videos at your fingertips, covering all learning levels in an admirably approachable way.

There are also courses on art history, economics and more. It's all completely free, so we highly recommend you give it a go.

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An educational goldmine comes to Android via the Khan Academy app. / © ANDROIDPIT
Khan Academy Install on Google Play

Best GPS and navigation app

HERE is Nokia's own map app, which it used on its devices once upon a time. It provides everything you'd expect, including turn-by-turn navigation, search and satellite imagery, but the main draw is its offline feature. You can download maps of entire countries and use them almost exactly as you would online, without wasting precious MBs.

This is really an indispensable app if you travel a lot or frequently find your data usage going over the limit. The only downside is that you have to register to download maps, but it's totally free, and once you've done it, you can go nuts and download the world.

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HERE lets you download entire countries in map form to use offline. / © ANDROIDPIT
HERE Maps - Offline Navigation Install on Google Play

Best Android-exclusive app

iOS is a fierce rival to Android and offers a range of great apps and features, but it doesn't offer everything that Android does. Nova Launcher is one of our favorite Android-exclusive apps because, in many ways, it underlines what is so great about Android. 

Nova is an alternative launcher compatible with Android 4.1 onward. It lets you customize the entire look and feel of your operating system, from changes to font size, to the number of apps that can appear on the lock screen, to the way in which your app drawer scrolls. Nova Launcher is a prime example of how Android can be molded to suit individual tastes and preferences, in a way that iOS cannot.

If you wish you could make a few simple changes to your current interface, then give the free version of Nova a try. Nova even lets you adopt the look of any other phone - Galaxy, Xperia, HTC, LG, even iOS if that's your thing.

androidpit nova launcher customizations
From the home page to the app drawer and more, Nova has a wealth of customization options. / © ANDROIDPIT
Nova Launcher Install on Google Play

Best Android app for kids

There are a whole bunch of educational apps, games and books that you can download on your Android phone or tablet, you just need to hit the 'categories' section in the Play Store and select an age group, or subcategory such as 'education'. 

Once you've installed some suitable apps, we recommend downloading Kids Place. This app allows you to assign the particular apps and games you want to give young ones access to, and restricts them to a screen that shows these apps only (until a PIN code is entered).

Kids Place also prevents children from sending messages or purchasing other apps while using the device, and you can set a time limit for how long access is granted; think of it as temporarily putting your phone or tablet in safe mode. 

androidpit kids space screenshot
Determine which apps you wish to grant access to (left) and only these will be accessible unless you enter a PIN code (right). / © ANDROIDPIT
Kids Place - Parental Control Install on Google Play

Best app for musicians on Android 

Do you find yourself bobbing your head along to the rhythm of the train when you're sitting on it, or composing silent melodies in your head that you know would sound amazing if only you could record them at that moment? Then you should check out Caustic 3, the latest version of the popular mobile music-making machine. Using this powerful tool, you can use one of 14 different synthesizers, vocoders and drum machines to create that perfect sound on the move. Caustic 3 is a deep and complex app, so be prepared to put some time into, but the results are great.

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Caustic 3 is a music-making app for enthusiasts. / © Single Cell Software
Caustic 3 Install on Google Play

Best app you won't find in the Play Store

Sometimes you have to venture beyond the Play Store to find the best apps. From our collection of favorite apps found outside the Play Store, our number one was Videoder. Using this app, you can download YouTube videos to your device in various formats and resolutions – including 1,080p.

Anything you download will automatically be saved to the video section of your gallery, and be instantly ready to watch, stream to Chromecast or otherwise do with as you please.

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Videoder lets you download YouTube movies to your device, so you can watch them offline later. / © ANDROIDPIT

Download Videoder

Best unknown Android app

Ask Me Anything, brought to us by Reddit AMA, is a unique and surprisingly low-key app which lets you read the latest celebrity AMA interviews, and also send over questions that you'd like to ask those celebrities. You can also vote on questions other people present, and help decide whether those questions get asked to famous faces from the worlds of film, sport, science, and more. Strange that an app involving celebrities wouldn't be very popular, right? 

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Throw questions at your favorite (or most hated) celebrities in AMA. / © reddit Inc.
Ask Me Anything - reddit AMA Install on Google Play

Best cloud storage app for Android

Cloud storage is so commonplace now that its name doesn't sound quite as mystical and ethereal as it did a few years ago. That doesn't make it any less useful, as storing your personal data online is - for the most part - much safer than keeping it on a fragile old hard drive.

We're prepared to accept accusations of bias here, as our favorite cloud storage app is Google Drive. it's baked into most Android devices, Google is always giving extra GBs of storage space away for free, and it's synced up with the handy Google Docs office suite. It's the undisputed champ.

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Google Drive is a great cloud storage option, with tons of free space and Google Docs syncing. / © ANDROIDPIT
Google Drive Install on Google Play

Best messenger app for Android 

There are some obvious contenders for 'Best messaging app' on Android – WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to name a couple. To suggest something a little different, Dasher is often at the forefront of the messenger universe, introducing unusual features before any other app.

It lets you transfer money to contacts, and you can share and play YouTube videos and GIFs in the app itself, to name just a few of the features.

dasher messenger app
Dasher introduces new and interesting features before other messengers. / © ANDROIDPIT
Dasher Messenger Install on Google Play

Best offline app for Android

When you don't have a Wi-Fi or data connection it's too late to download one. We've got the best of the best of offline apps for Android for your offline enjoyment. One of the very best offline Android apps of all is Pocket, and offline reader app that saves text and images for reading later on. No more bookmarking, link sharing or copy pasting when you've Pocket in your pocket.

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Pocket lets you save web articles for offline reading. No Wi-Fi required. / © ANDROIDPIT

 

Best lock screen app for Android

Lock screen apps are awesome - you can do things on your smartphone or tablet without even having to unlock it. From checking notifications, calendar reminders, music controls, missed calls, Quick Settings and more, Next Lock Screen lets you take control of your locked phone. Next will even suggest apps based on your location.

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Next by Microsoft brings a whole bunch of functionality to your lock screen. / © ANDROIDPI
Next Lock Screen Install on Google Play

Best alternative to the Play Store

The first thing you should know is that the Google Play Store is not the only place you can get Android apps. Sure, it's the biggest and the most official, but there are lots of apps out there that never quite made it to Google Play or that simply exist elsewhere (like in the Amazon app store for example).

Our favorite Google Play Store alternative is Humble Bundle, which offers pay-what-you-want bundles of high-end games. The games are for Android and PC, and all the money made is split between the developers, the site itself and a variety of charities.

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Humble Bundle offers packs of games on a pay-what-you-want basis. / © Slide Me / AndroidPIT

Best music player app for Android

The Walkman and the iPod are as good as dead, because our smartphones have taken over as powerful music players. While the default music apps on your Android device probably do a fine job, if you want to crank up the bass or other aspects of your music, you'll need something more.

One of the best music player apps for Android is Poweramp. It’s a great way to enjoy your favorite music, with a ton of options and support for almost any type of file. You can’t go wrong with Poweramp.

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With themes galore, Poweramp can be whatever you want it to be. Just grab a new skin ASAP. / © ANDROIDPIT
Poweramp Music Player (Trial) Install on Google Play

We are at the end of our list of the best Android apps, but if you're still hungry for more, check out one the links below.

What are your favorite Android apps? Let us know which you think the best are in the comments below.

Originally from the UK, Scott graduated in Popular Music Studies at Newcastle University and attributes much of his success there to his beloved Samsung Galaxy S2. His current aim is to write cool things about Android. And he loves it.

Readers' favorite comments

220 comments

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  • 10 Must Have Apps For Your Android Phone..!!

  • Nice List. , I have found one new app "Funny Droid" . Same as imgur.

  • Luis MB 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    Sorry but X-plore is THE BEST file manager out there and it's totally free. You should give it a try cause I tried many myself and would never change it.

    • Luis MB 3 weeks ago Link to comment

      you should also try Total launcher... A very powerful and customizable launcher (maybe too much).

  • Found out this super useful new location-based app called "Getmii"!

    Introduced by my university friend in Boston! You can instantly ask for what you need to people around you! (for example, any kind of advice, student and classes information, apartment looking, internship seeking, etc...) You can probably make a sell/purchase by doing this as well! Check it out! It's really interesting!

  • Cool list. But consider adding Weblifier. You can bookmark this page and automatically get notified of any new comments. You can bookmark Any Facebook or forum post to follow the development. You can automatically find and browse rss feeds on a bookmark. You can see, browse and bookmark all the alexa top websites. You can search Google and amazon and Yahoo and YouTube from a single page and have them open in new tabs; so you can keep searching. You can do wonderful BRAND NEW things with Weblifier. This app should make the list, clearly...

  • K.M.D. 1 month ago Link to comment

    Hi guys,

    Check out the new Shift It app from Macondo Software Labs designed to help you with your weekly schedule. It's extremely helpful, easy to use and pleasing to the eye!

  • I absolutely love parental control apps because they are great for my chilren and I can tell it's a top suggestion you have there. Another one I could recommend is studylock

  • Please advise how we can get our Lock Screen App reviewed.
    It allows users to unlock their Android smartphone with their Instagram photos as a memorable and secure way of protecting their phone.
    The clever bit is the security where the keypad uses the same photos but they are in a different order each time the user logs in. This turns the same password sequence into a one-time password for every login.
    It can be downloaded from Google's Play Store by searching 'IconLogin' or from our website www.iconlogin.com
    Thanks for any advice.

  • you forgot about Business Card Reader Base CRM app. it will help to quickly create a contact with a business card in your phone, gmail or CRM system. Supports voice memos. This app saves my time not one time.

  • Jim 1 month ago Link to comment

    There are a number of apps you've missed like Pi music player it has bass boost an EQ and an built in ring tone maker that works quite well. Far and away the best launcher is Apex. I've tried just about all of them and Apex is the best IMHO. ES Global removed the adds. I like ES file explorers functionality and the look of the classic theme (which is not available in the pro version sadly). The biggest plus for me is it handles the handoff of streaming video over my LAN from a windows share to the VLC app seamlessly. Sorry it's not getting uninstalled on my phone. If you like live wallpaper Earth-Moon pro is awesome. Also if you like to lock apps away from prying eyes Smart Applock pro is the best there is. I like the feature where it takes the intruders picture when they can't guess your passcode/pattern. Rotation Control by CrapeMyrtle is a very good rotation control program that places it's control mechanism in your notification drop down. Also has app rotation protection that won't let apps rotate the screen. The only app missing on this list is a good alternative to the stock phone app. All the ones I have tried are lacking.

    • Mark G. 1 month ago Link to comment

      How often do you think you'll catch someone trying to access the locked apps? Don't you use a lock screen password? Do you often have strangers (or anyone else you might know) accessing your device?

      These apps can be useful to alleviate paranoia but in reality the majority of users should have no need to waste storage and resources by installing these types of apps.

      Peace ✌

  • This article have been a blessing, I found it educative and interesting to read. Also some of the Apps suggested, have been downloaded and put use by me which made browsing easier through use of such apps. Thanks

  • A good list of useful and best apps on playstore for android devices. I would also request you to try this amazing app which is very useful for chatting to people nearby you anonymously and at the same you can also give reviews about places near you and also ask people about how the place is before visiting..... Tha name of App is "HoHooChat" you can download it from playstore by just searching "HoHooChat" on playstore.

  • Luka 1 month ago Link to comment

    Headline wallpaper (the raindrops on what appears to be a Note 4) please ;)

  • Very important post. I generally use the Dasher Messenger.Thanks for this.

  • Mark G. 1 month ago Link to comment

    I only use Chrome and Drive from the list - I would disagree with every other entry.

    Though I definitely disagree with the file Manager section - X-plore is without doubt the best.

    Music player - Playerpro again without doubt the best

    It's difficult to gauge the rest of the list, are you paid to promote the above mentioned apps? Or are they apps that you genuinely use everyday?

    Peace ✌

  • AntiVirus app? Really?

    Come on Androidpit, give us a list of viruses on Android. Better still, scribe a well-researched article about viruses on Android. You could could start by explaining how Android uses a 'sandbox' to run apps and what the pros and cons of this approach are.

    Research might be somewhat challenging for your writers, I suspect.

  • Sandy 1 month ago Link to comment

    Its all the same list every time very disappointed 😞

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