Not many of us can keep up with the literal 1000s of apps added to the Google play store and Apple App Store each month, so we’ve tried to list some of the best around for your phone.
We’ll cover all manor of categories. I own an Android device, but have specified below if the app is available for Android and/or iOS. Also look for my ‘essential’ icon, an app I find essential on my phone and use daily.
Also, check out Cloudwards great guide for how to use Kodi.
- Greenify (Free) – Battery Analyser
Later android OS updates include their own battery analysers, but some can be quite limited in functionality, that’s where Greenify comes in. It sits in the background analysing your battery and will freeze an app is it’s not being used but using battery. You can then unfreeze the app as and when you need to.
- Cleanmaster (Free) – Device Maintenance Tool
A must for any android user. Cleanmaster has a great selection of tools and functions to ensure your device is running at it’s best. You can scan and delete junk files, 1 tap memory boost, close idle apps to boost your battery, analyse your storage deleting any large or unwanted files, bulk delete apps and files as well as anti virus, cloud storage, lock screen battery saver, password lock apps, cpu cooler, custom notification bar and more; all FREE.
- Toontastic 3D (Free) -Create your own cartoons
A fun app, simple enough for the kids to use and enjoyable enough to adults to enjoy. Just choose your characters, or create your own, move them around while adding your own sound effects (via mic), upload sound tracks and create your own cartoons. The surroundings are dynamic enough that you can click on them making your cartoon really interactive and fun.
- Pocket (Free) – Bookmarking Tool
Pocket is a great app, I’ve used it for over a year and use it at least once a day. Basically, you can add articles and content to your “pocket” using the share icon, saving it to read later. You can even download for offline viewing, stripping out images etc, providing you with a portfolio of content to read at your leisure. You can also sync using a pocket account and share content across devices.
- Prisma (Free) – Photo Enhancing
There are 1000s of photo editing tools on Android, but some start out from the crowd; Prisma being one of them. This is a step up from instagram filters and photo editing tools; Prisma has some clever algorithms which, when applied to a photo, add one of many artistic filters to your pics. Modern art, trippy colour heavy filters; basically it needs to be tried to fully appreciate it’s splendour.
- Posture (Free) – Health Management
A simple app with 1 function. It sends you an alert each time it thinks the angle of your phone means your posture could be incorrect. Bad posture puts a strain on your neck and spine and over long term can do irreversible damage; we all do it and often without thinking, so Posture has vowed to help. It runs in the background, and as I said, it’ll alert you if it thinks your posture is off, based on the angle of your phone. A small app, a simple app, but potentially, an incredibly important app.
- OMG I Can Meditate – Alternative Health
In this age of complete shit going on around the world, people are looking for ways to chill out and get a healthy mind. I’ve tried a few meditation apps and this is by far the best. You start with small tasters lasting a few minutes to get you into the mind set, and the more you do, the longer the lessons will be; but it’s up to you how fast or slow you go. The app is free but you can pay and unlock extra classes and areas of the app. Set up and account and your progress will be synced across your devices.
- Feedly (Free) – News Aggregator
Like me, most people used to have a number of news apps on their phone; buzz feed, BBC, Sky News, CNN etc. Feedly replaces all of them, giving you the news you want. Not only news site, but most sites can be added to Feedly so you only need one app to browse and read the websites and news you usually need a number of apps to view. You can also create your own catagories, search for news sites or any news site and add them to your feedly. It also saves a lot of battery as you only need this one app.
- Peel Remote (Free) – TV Guide and All 4 One Remote Control
Peel remote turns your phone or tablet into a powerful all for one remote control. Control your TV, DVR, sound bar, media box, stereo and more. Just create a room (you can create multiple) like your lounge, select your setup and what devices you have and Peel will replicate your remote so you can control your devices. You can also select your TV provider and Peel provides a great TV guide which will remind you when your shows are on, automatically switch over and record your shows onto your chosen device. This app really is powerful and if you have a range of devices around your home, this really is an essential app.
- Kodi (Free) – Media management
Of course I couldn’t do this list without mentioning Kodi. Kodi is a media management tool, but so much more. Manage your TV, movies and music all in one app, and add some of the 1000s of addons to your Kodi to enhance your experience; whether it’s integrating Youtube, the iPlayer, Google Music and so much more. It’s officially available on Google play, but for iPhone you need to spend a bit of time to get it on iOS, but follow the iOS link above for our instructions on how to install on your iOS device.
- Timely (Free) – Pimped up Alarm Clock
Of course all of our devices have alarm clocks, but timely is more than a standard alarm clock. Artist Sunyo has composed all of Timelys original alarm sounds setting it apart from other clock apps. The app has smart rise (based on the sleep cycle theory); waking you slowly from a deep sleep to avoid morning headaches and fatigue. If you ever accidentally hit your alarm clock off, then Timely has active gestures and you choose this you have to perform this gesture (swipe certain directions etc) in order to turn off your alarm so you’re unlikely to sleep in again. You can also sync your alarms across devices, customise the look and feel and it works great on phones and tablets.
- Google Photos (Free) – Gallery and photo management
We all have a gallery on our phones, and there are many alternative gallery apps (quickpic being one of the best), but Google Photos is a great addition to your gallery. It includes free cloud backups for your photos, as well as automatically analysing your photos, identifying various visual features and subjects. You can search for anything in photos using 3 categories; people, places, and things. It’s so powerful you can search for birthdays and it’ll find photos with birthday cakes in, birthday banners etc; search for dogs and it’ll find all your pics with your dogs in, search for trip to Paris and it’ll use it’s location tags as well as pics with landmarks in like the Eiffel Tower; it really is that powerful. It also has some fab extras; it’ll create little animations if you take a handful of pics which look similar, collages of pics taken in a short time frame or in the same place, and you can create your own collages, videos, animations etc in it’s intuitive assistant.
- HootSuite (Free) – Social Media Account Management
Hootsuite is a powerful social media management tool. They have plans starting for free, but you can pay for more. The free plan allows you to control 3 social media accounts and hootsuite support Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Google+ and Linkedin. With hootsuite, apart from all your social media updates being available in one app, you can sync across devices, manage your accounts in the app or on their website, you can schedule posts so great if you run any kind of business, fansite etc, as well as get analytics for your accounts.
- Spotify / Google Play Music / Amazon Music (From Free) – Music Streaming
The reason I’ve included these three apps is they all have their own features, and for different reasons, someone may choose one over another; for example, if you’re a prime customer with a small budget, you’ll get Amazon Prime Music for free (the basic plan though which is about 2 million songs). When it comes to the bigger music catalogues, all three have around the same (40 million) amount of songs, and the monthly plans are also around the same £/$9.99 a month.
The difference between Amazon and Spotify & Google Music is Amazon doesn’t have a free option. With Google Music and Spotify, they both have free services allowing you access to their full catalogue, but what you’re missing out on is the ability for offline downloading, selecting individual songs etc. If you already have a big catalogue of your own downloaded music, then Google will be your best option as you can upload your music to Google then stream to your device. Also, when Youtube Red launches in the UK (ad free streaming, original shows, offline viewing of videos..) the month price for Youtube Red will also include full Google Play Music. If you’re in the US, you can already get your Youtube Red / Google Music subscription now. Either way, all of these services have something for everyone (spotify has family accounts), and you can try Google Play music and Spotify for free to see if you like them, and if you’re an Amazon Prime Customer, you can also try their limited music service now. All have iOS and Android apps and all have browser interfaces as well. Remember as well you can sign up for a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime and try out their music service.
- VLC Player (Free) – Video player
VLC is easily the most powerful video player around. It supports nearly any video format you can ask it too, it uses little power or battery and has regular updates due to it being open source. This is especially good for iPhones and iPads which have very limited video players which come with the devices as standard. I should mention as well, although it’s video playing capabilities are it’s best selling point, it also is a great music player.
- Shazam (Free) – Music Tool
Shazam has evolved from the day of just recognizing songs, although this is it’s best feature. Just hold your device to a speaker playing music and Shazam will tell you the song, artist and provide lyrics. Shazam also has a growing social presence, you can be followed and follow others, including music artists and people with similar music tastes to you, well you can follow anyone you want 🙂 Shazam has a great list of charts as well, so you can view the charts for most shazamed songs from many countries around the world, as well as worldwide charts. Your Shazamed songs are also saved and you can view these across devices and online. And you can also link your Shazam to your Spotify and any song you tag will be automatically added to a Shazam playlist. You can also listen to your Shazamed songs in Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play Music and Deezer, as well as buy the song, watch the music video and share your tagged songs using Facebook, Whatsapp etc.