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The best apps for your new phone or tablet

The mince pie has been eaten, the carrot chomped and the brandy sipped – and there’s a shiny new Android device waiting for you to unwrap it. While every new Android comes with Google’s stock apps and the odd manufacturer-specific one, the real fun starts when you hit the Play Store. Here are 20 of the best apps for your new phone or tablet.

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A few well-chosen apps will make any Android device even more awesome. / © ANDROIDPIT

Adblock Browser

If you’re on a metered mobile data plan, every megabyte counts. And with many websites serving up more ads than content, getting rid of advertising can save you a lot of cash. As the name suggests, AdBlock Browser blocks ads, although by default it lets some approved ads through. That’s a setting you’ll want to change, fast.

Adblock Browser for Android Install on Google Play
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Websites don't like it, but Adblock Browser can reduce your data bills. / © ANDROIDPIT


If you’re in a city and you rely on public transport, Citymapper is a must-have app: it plans your journey, it warns you of delays, it tells you what the weather’s going to be like and it can even track the calories you’ve burned on your commute.

Citymapper Install on Google Play


You’ve already got Google Drive, but when it comes to syncing files across multiple devices Dropbox is the daddy, especially in the business world. It does more than just sync files, although of course it does that very well: it also enables you to edit Microsoft Office documents on your device and back up your photos and videos automatically. That last one’s optional, because the free version only gives you 2 GB of space.

Dropbox Install on Google Play
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Dropbox is particularly popular among business users. / © ANDROIDPIT

Google Photos

The big deal here is free, unlimited storage. That, and the fact it offers the option to “free up device storage”, which removes photos from your device when they’ve been safely stored in the cloud, makes Google Photos a must-have for smartphone snappers. It has some decent editing tools too.

Google Photos Install on Google Play
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Google Photos: unlimited storage and useful tools. / © AndroidPolice


Instagram’s famous for people sharing photos of their lunch, but it’s also where your favorite pop stars, actors and athletes like to hang out and post pictures. It’s a great way to share photos with friends and see what they’re up to and its built-in filters can make even the dullest day look fabulous.

Instagram Install on Google Play
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There's much more to Instagram than pictures of lunch. / © ANDROIDPIT

Microsoft Translator

You’re not seeing things: we’re recommending a Microsoft app. That’s because Microsoft Translator is brilliant. It works on smartphone, tablet and Android Wear, it translates to and from Chinese, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish in real time, and it can help you with spelling and pronunciation too. C’est bon!

Translator Install on Google Play
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Microsoft Translator is really good, and works on Android Wear too. / © ANDROIDPIT

MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter

There are many health and fitness apps on the Play Store, but very few of them are as smart as MyFitnessPal’s Calorie Counter. It has a database of more than six million foods, it can use your phone as a barcode scanner to save you inputting things manually and it works with pretty much every fitness tracking device on the market.

Calorie Counter - MyFitnessPal Install on Google Play


Periscope is essentially the video equivalent of Twitter, enabling you to livestream video to your adoring fans or add hearts to other people’s streams. The Twitter-owned app lets you make streams friends-only, and if people can’t tune into the live broadcast, you can make your Periscopes available for later viewing. It’s a lot of fun.

Periscope - Live Video Install on Google Play
Periscope is all about live video streaming. / © ANDROIDPIT

Photoshop Lightroom

Can you really get the magic of Photoshop on your phone? Yes! Photoshop Lightroom is now free – it used to require an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, and the desktop versions of Photoshop still do – and it offers stacks of genuinely useful editing tools to make your smartphone snaps shine.

lightroom for android effects

Photoshop Lightroom is very powerful and easy to use. / © ANDROIDPIT


It takes a bit of fiddling to set up, but Plex is worth the effort: it organizes your music, video and photo collections and streams them to any device. For example, you can stream video to a Chromecast, or get content from your phone on your tablet and vice versa. It’s clever stuff.

Plex for Android Install on Google Play
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Plex is a little fiddly, but it's worth the effort. / © Plex Inc.


Pocket is one of those apps that’ll make you wonder how you ever managed without it. It’s a read-later service, enabling you to send any content to Pocket and then pick it up on any device. It’s compatible with a range of third-party apps such as Flipboard, Facebook and Twitter too.

Pocket Install on Google Play
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Here's a Nexus with Pocket installed... and it's in a pocket. OH YES WE WENT THERE. / © ANDROIDPIT


We’ve already recommended Google Photos and Photoshop Lightroom, but there’s a third imaging app you should install: Snapseed, which comes from Google. It’s really powerful without being intimidating, and it can truly transform your photos.

Snapseed Install on Google Play
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Snapseed can take your photography to a whole new level. / © ANDROIDPIT

Spotify Music

Skip the free version and pay for Premium: that gets rid of the ads and, judging by recent news reports, will give you access to musicians such as Adele and Coldplay even if they refuse to license their music to the free version. Spotify is the king of audio streaming, and its curated playlists are particularly good. Or you could try Apple Music. Ha ha! We kid!

Spotify Music Install on Google Play
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Spotify's great, especially if you pay for the ad-free version. / © Spotify


QWERTY typing is so twentieth century: these days the cool kids swipe rather than type. Swiftkey is a digital duck: on the surface it looks effortless, but there’s some serious work going on inside the app. It uses artificial intelligence to decode your writing style and feels very much like magic: the swipe-typing speeds you can achieve are extraordinary.

SwiftKey Keyboard Install on Google Play
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Swiftkey also has a "neural" version that uses neural networks to help you type faster. / © Swifkey


Tasker is terrific. It’s essentially a programmer for your entire device, enabling you to set triggers – “if this happens” – and actions – “do this, this and this”. For example, you can get your phone to change settings based on where you are or what time of day it is, or you can use Tasker to automate multiple tasks and trigger them when you plug in headphones or make a call. The possibilities are endless.

Tasker Install on Google Play
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Tasker can automate pretty much anything. / © ANDROIDPIT


Twitter’s ongoing difficulties with developers – it really doesn’t like third-party apps – means the only serious Android Twitter app is the official one. Luckily it’s a pretty good app, and Twitter itself is a fantastic social network if you follow the right people.

Twitter Install on Google Play
Twitter really wants you to use the official app. Third party ones don't last long. / © Twitter


Vines are ultra-short video clips, a kind of video version of a Twitter tweet, and the Vine app makes it easy to make your own or to view the mad stuff other people are sharing. It’s a fantastic time waster and often has us laughing until we’re sore.

Vine - video entertainment Install on Google Play
Vine: video for really short attention spans. / © ANDROIDPIT


VLC is the Swiss Army Knife of media apps: if there’s a music file, video clip or media stream that VLC can’t play, it’s probably from another planet. VLC is a media player and streamer, it supports subtitles and closed captions, has audio equalization and filters, and it can even play DVD ISOs.

VLC for Android Install on Google Play
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VLC: if it's media, VLC can play it. / © Videolabs


The world’s favorite chat app is a must-have, not least because it’s completely free for the first year and just 99 cents a year thereafter (although it uses your phone’s internet connection, so mobile data charges may still apply). It’s a chat app, a photo sharing app, a video sharing app and an internet phone app. Not bad for no money.

WhatsApp Messenger Install on Google Play
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WhatsApp: free messaging including voice and video. / © ANDROIDPIT

YouTube Kids

Normal YouTube is far too dangerous for young kids to browse unsupervised – one minute they’re looking at a cartoon about sharks, the next they’ve got gruesome footage of shark-bitten legs making them scream – so thank Google for YouTube Kids, which does a very good job of keeping the kids away from anything unsuitable. It isn’t perfect – it’s software-based, so the odd error may let something through – but it’s much, much safer than the standard YouTube app.

YouTube Kids Install on Google Play

Do you have any favorite apps you think we should have included? Let us know in the comments below.


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