10 Best Android Apps (Facebook- and YouTube-free List)
- 2020-12-15 13:00
When you have 1M+ apps, it’s hard to select the top 10 best Android apps. Some of them have little or no competition, like official clients of top social media, mail, or cloud services. You see, no alternative Instagram or Gmail client ever gets closer to the original apps, and there’s a reason for that. So let’s go another way.
There is no app on this list that would have no alternative. Each of them is rather the best of its sort than one of a kind. No more Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and other official apps. You can see them on Google Play as the most downloaded apps, and we are not here to mirror it. We are to discover really worthy specimens among their analogs.
These ones are rather generic – that is, they do the work that other apps do, but not so well or not so beautifully. Weather, planning, podcasts, texting, and overall appearance are covered here. And… Don’t expect them to be free or ad-supported. Most of them are either paid or freemium, and that’s okay. Apps for those ready to settle for less are usually just that; and we are here for the best.
It’s quite logical to start with the app that starts with “1”. In addition, it’s considered to be one of the best weather apps around. And it’s quite convincing: it takes a glance to see all the info you need, including current weather and conditions, and forecast for the next 3 months (of course, the further it goes, the less trustworthy it gets). It notifies you about severe conditions and shows a radar to see storms and other events coming.
The free version is ad-supported, and it just takes a single $1.99 payment to remove ads. We guess, the ad-free experience is worth a cup of coffee; in addition, you get a collection of widgets and a daily funny fact about the weather.
Caring about security grows from a habit into an instinct if you spend long enough on Android. First of all, Android security is about permissions your apps have, and Bouncer gets this covered. This is the app that grants permissions to various apps temporarily – for as long as they need this or that access. So, for example, location services only get available to third-party apps for as long as it takes to check-in, and games get access to your phone calls only while you’re playing. This temporary access also prolongates your battery life. Maybe this feature will be present in the next Android, but for just $0.99, you can have it right now.
LastPass Password Manager
Though Google can handle your passwords within Android or Chrome, or single apps, there are reasons to use LastPass. It’s a safe and secure virtual storage for your credentials, and with it, you can create really uncrackable passwords. They are hard to remember as well, but you can store them in a protected place. All you have to remember is your master password; if your phone supports that, your fingerprint or face can replace it, but we’d recommend sticking to the password. Just in case, LastPass has its own authenticator utility to simplify the process.
LastPass is subscription-based, but the price is quite affordable: just $12/year, and it’s an exclusive Android offer. It’s way more expensive for other platforms. So why not, given its abilities?
Not the freshest app on our list, Nova Launcher has established itself as a good alternative to any of the existing launchers offered by smartphone vendors. It’s equally great with Samsung, LG, Motorola, or Pixel phones. Even cheap Chinese phones look fancier and feel better with it.
The developers have been watching and introducing new ideas for years. Now it’s fully customizable, lightweight, and stuffed with utilities for key operation. Say, it can back up all your layout, so transferring your home screen to a new phone gets easier. It features themes and icon packs, custom layouts and infinite home screens, and so on. Basically, it’s free, but for $4.99, you unlock gesture controls, swipe actions with icons, and count badges for apps.
While you’re constantly on the go, podcasts are the best way to get and perceive your information. Podcast Addict is a simple and effective podcast manager – the app for downloading and listening, systemizing and managing podcasts. Its library provides access to a large variety of podcasts on anything you can think of.
While it delivers content constantly, it’s surprisingly affordable, with just one $3.99 payment for premium features. They include a recommendation system, search by name or keywords, and access to even more podcasts. Last but not least: Podcast Addict works with literally any peripherals, from Android Auto to Wear OS.
It seems hard to imagine something about texting via SMS, but Pulse SMS does it. It lets you insert links or GIFs into your chats, protect selected ones with passwords, blacklist spammers or just unwanted people, and so on. The app handles dual-SIM phones well, unlike some other apps. In addition, it has a desktop version that connects to your phone and lets you manage SMS from a desktop.
It takes either one $10.99 payment or monthly $0.99 subscription to enjoy all the benefits of Pulse SMS. Especially great if you switch smartphones frequently. It’s now open-source; while it doesn’t make the app free, it kills all doubts about privacy and security.
While most smartphones have just basic file managers preinstalled, advanced users always want more. Solid Explorer is one of the most advanced file managers for Android. It supports all you might ever want from a Total Commander analog for Android (and forget the mobile version of the origin – it doesn’t even get close). Sold Explorer is more fun to use, and it has built-in archive manager, FTP and SMB support for accessing servers like folders, built-in powerful search, and so on. It gets even more powerful if your phone or tablet is rooted.
The app is $2.99 with a 14-day free trial. It’s better than having a cut free version with ads. If you know why you need such a tool, you probably consider it worth the payment.
Yes, you do need another keyboard for Android. It’s more powerful than the default one by Google, at least when it comes to predictive input. The original company has done a lot to make the keyboard more customizable and easier to use, regardless of your habits and the size of your fingers.
Now it’s owned and run by Microsoft, but, since the giant gave up Windows Phone and focused on Android apps, it has somehow managed not to mess up a single app it purchased (starting from Outlook and up to To-Do, an heir to Wunderlist). SwiftKey is no exception. And it even remains free, though extra themes for it are paid.
Well, though Microsoft To-Do is decent, and Wunderlist is still alive, there is an even better alternative to these two. TickTick is the app with boxes to tick, and this is the best representation of things you need to do. Along with the sticky name, it has all the functionality of a modern to-do app. Recurring tasks? Ticked. Reminders? Done. Categories? Present. Easy interface? Also ticked. And if you wondered whether it supports collaboration, shared lists, and all the teamwork stuff – ticked too.
Yes, this one is paid, but it’s just $2.99, and it’s a single payment, not a subscription price. Buy it once and organize your life from that moment on.
And when the work is done, it’s time for fun – for customizing the way your phone looks and sounds. If you want it simple, it’s all about themes (available in Nova Launcher). But if you care about changing wallpapers, setting tones for various callers, setting different lock screen and home screen backgrounds, and set notifications flexibly, then Zedge is the option.
This app is free, though it provides lots of paid content. But if you want to make your smartphone or tablet really personal, why not buy some great themes or sounds? It makes as much sense as buying a protective case for special occasions – that is, lots of the emotional one. And if you don’t mind watching some ads, you can save on premium content.
What’s Your Favorite?
As you see, this is our top of not-so-obvious apps. You may like them too. Or prefer their rivals for some reason that makes sense for you. For sure, we have missed some categories – and we’re not speaking games or social media that we ignored intendedly, but productivity apps we should have mentioned. If you have something to add, drop it here in your comment.