Top 8 Essential Apps Android

I you had to eliminate all but eight essential apps on your Android smartphone or tablet, what would those apps be and why? This is the question we posed our staff writers here at Top 8 over the past weekend, breaking things down via a vote and coming up with our definitive most essential apps for Android. I should note that, in order to discourage listing a bunch of social networks of choice, we decided to limit things to one pick per category so that the apps look good as an entire package rather than simple including a bunch of alternative apps that do the same kind of thing. Interestingly, when we ran a similar list a while back the results included some of the bigger names in the app world, but this list might well surprise a few of our readers with some apps you may not have heard of. There is a general theme of productivity, too, which seems to be a good thing! Without further ado…

8. Todoist (Free)

There are plenty of to do list apps and task management apps out there these days, one of which is bound to appeal to your own individual set of needs and expectations. Our personal favorite is Todoist, which is a free task management app that allows you to set up everything from basic reminders to grocery lists and even complicated work related checklists. The app has a nice rewards system that gives you points for getting things done so it becomes almost addictive checking things off as you do them. It’s also a great way to stay organized, since you can shift your different daily or weekly tasks into specific categories and then check them off as and when you wish. – Download from Google Play

7. ES File Explorer (Free)

So, any Android device you purchase these days will of course come with a default file explorer installed as standard and most of the time this does the job well enough. But, what if you wanted to delve even slightly deeper? Actually, it susprises me that there aren’t more apps out there to replace such preinstalled functions as this that most of us take for granted, since ES File Explorer is a lot more in depth and feature rich than anything standard you might have used in the past. It is basically a full featured file browser that lets you view files on your SD card, in your downloads and any other folder you might want to look at. It’s an excellent way to stay organized and shift files around in order to keep things tidy, and won’t cost you a penny!  – Download from Google Play

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6. Action Launcher 3 (Free)

There are a many different launcher apps available for Android devices at this point, but our pick has to be Action Launcher 3 whose home screen replacement is both beautiful to look at and incredibely efficient. Following the Material Design appeoach to UI design, this app stands out from other Android launchers and has a bunch of features that I’m sure most Android users will be interested in. Our favorite is probably the ability to keep home screen widgets on standby, that is to have them available to you at all times but without cluttering up your home screen while you’re not using them – a welcome addition in terms of features. – Download from Google Play

5. SwiftKey (Free)

There are now many different custom keyboard apps for the Android platform, with lots of different input methods to choose from. Few of them are as radical in their approach as Swype and our particular favorite SwiftKey, both of which eschew the classic tapping input of mobile devices and instead allow you type out words with a swiping motion. SwiftKey has actually evolved quite a lot since first breaking onto the scene, with excellent predictive text and plenty of themes to choose from including a Material Design UI for fans of that. It’s a nice alternative for your standard Android keyboard though may take some getting used to, since the entire input process is different than anything you will have used before. Persevering will bring reward, however, as it’s actually a lot more efficient in the long run. – Download from Google Play

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4. IF by IFTTT (Free)

IFTTT has really revolutionized the world of productivity apps with its general premise of “If This Then That”, which basically allows you to set up specific conditions that trigger actions once these conditions are met. The actions can be broken down into recipes that can be preconfigured and then turned on and off. Want to save all your Instagram favorites to Google Drive? This app can do that. Want to set your wallpaper to any new Instagram upload on a specific account? Just set it up and let the app do the rest! It’s a great way to save time on the actions you might be doing each and every day. – Download from Google Play

3. Google Play Music (Free)

I’ve switched about between music streaming services quite a lot in the past few years, but finally settling on Googe Play Music seems to be the one move that has stuck. The service continues to evolve into an active competitor for the likes of Spotify, with plenty of features that set it apart and more than justify this as your service of choice. You can now upload upt to 20,000 songs to the cloud and then stream them all for free, which is great if you’re looking for a music streaming app but are unwilling to fork out tons of cash. The subscription fee of $9.99 a month will give you access to various curated music stations and will give you access to just about every song on the service – Download from Google Play

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2. Evernote (Free)

Evernote ranks up there with the apps I use most of all, and those I could not do without. It’s essentially a note taking app, hence the name, which is surprisingly something that seems to turn some users off – if I don’t take notes then why do I need it? While I agree with this in principle, Evernote is far more than a note taking app and has over the years evolved into a full fledged productivity suite that boasts brilliant and intuitive features. It’s also excellent when it comes to cross platform usage, since you can open this up on your Android device and then contiue working with a desktop computer or a Macbook with no problem at all. – Download from Google Play

1. Pushbullet (Free)

In terms of connecting your device of choice to your computer of choice, I’m surprised there aren’t more apps out there that try to bridge the gap. I mean, it’s nice to be able to open up Google Drive on your Android device and your Windows laptop, for example, but what if you want to access device specific stuff from your computer? Pushbullet attempts to answer such questions, allowing you to access your files and receive noification updates on your computer, meaning that you don’t have to check the device every three seconds when you’re at the office or in the middle of doing work. – Download from Google Play

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