While Apple maintains its walled garden, Android is designed as a free-for-all. If anybody has an app that meets its community standards, they can take their shot. This versatility is particularly evident when you have the right app. And that’s where we come in, with the best Android apps this month. Here’s what’s new and great — from encrypted notes to a few lite versions of your favorites.
The Must-Download: Notes By Firefox — Free
Notes by Firefox (which is tied to the browser of the same name) seems like a typical notes app, aside from the handy feature of being tied to your Firefox account. The real benefit, though, is under the hood. Firefox has encrypted the app with end-to-end encryption, meaning nobody but you and anybody you allow to view your notes can take a look. Sure, most of us aren’t putting company secrets in a note-taking app, but it’s a useful little bit of extra security worth installing if you’re a note fan.
Spotify Lite — Free
If you don’t care about anything Spotify has other than the ability to stream music, you’re in luck; Spotify Lite does that, and only that. It’s worth a download because in some ways it’s an upgrade, especially if you’re streaming over a weaker signal or have a budget phone.
Driving Detective — Free
This app is simple, but it might save your life. Here’s what it does: When you get behind the wheel, it turns off anything that might distract you on your phone. Whether it’s text messaging or just obnoxious game alerts, spike them with this app and drive more safely.
Kiwi — Free
Do you love Chrome’s speed, but are tired of letting Google collect everything? Kiwi, based on Chromium, gives you a little more power. Plus, it comes with a full suite of handy features. And, most usefully, it stops “cryptojacking” attacks (attempts to use your phone to mine cryptocurrency).
Navigation For Google Maps Go
Google Maps Go, the lighter version of Google Maps found on Android Go, lacks a navigation feature. This restores it, so if you’re trying to lighten the app load on your phone, you don’t have to give up getting around.
IGTV — Free
As annoying as portrait video is, it’s what Instagram is hoping you’ll shoot in. And no matter your feelings in the aspect ratio conflict, IGTV is undeniably useful for watching all the videos on your feed in one strip. If you’ve got some video obsessed friends, it’ll be a good way to get caught up.
Sharedr — Free
This one is a bit geeky but handier than you might think. You know how when you see something you want to share and click the Share button, a giant menu of options appears? This app gives you control of that. It’s most useful for trimming away the fat in this particular menu, because come on, you’re not uploading a GIF to your phone company’s social app.
Picnic — Free
There are a lot of fun photo editors out there, but Picnic is one of the most fun because it does one job; swaps out the background of your photos to make them prettier. This can be a subtle change to the clouds from grey to blue skies, or it can be utterly wacky, but either way, it’s a blast.
Instagram Lite — Free
If you don’t need (or don’t want) the full features of Instagram or your older phone chugs whenever you boot it, Lite offers a brisker experience that helps you keep on top of your timeline without too much pain. It looks just like Instagram too, although it may be a bit buggy on older phones.
App Hoarder — In-App Purchases
App Hoarder tracks paid apps and when they become free, it lets you know. Think of it as the price checker of apps, although that it has ads and in-app purchases which is a wee bit ironic.