You already pay enough each month for your Android phone's monthly data plan. So why pay even more for apps? The good news is that many of the best options available through the Google Play store are free. The true challenge is sorting the must-downloads from the ones that will just waste space. Here are 40 of our favorite free Android apps.
Facebook for Android is quite similar to what you'd find on Facebook.com, but catered to smartphones. Share photos from your Android gallery, post updates on your wall, comment on the posts of your Facebook friends, share links and other media, and much more with the free app. The app is under constant tweaking, with additions such as editing posts and comments continuously being added. The experience wouldn't be complete without the Facebook Messenger app, which handles Facebook's chat and call features.
AccuWeather provides users with timely and detailed weather forecasts, from 15-day outlooks to the hyperlocal MinuteCasts. Forecasts come with animated weather info, radar maps, detailed summaries, and push notifications for extreme weather alerts in the US. Extra features include AccUcast, a system for crowd-sourced warnings on hazardous weather and road conditions, as well as customizable forecast details, weather-related videos, and Android Wear support so that you can get forecast info at a glance on your smartwatch.
Waze is a godsend to many motorists, providing accurate, time-saving turn-by-turn navigation that takes advantage of traffic data and crowdsourced incident reports. Users select their destination, and then Waze uses mapping data and traffic information pulled from a variety of sources including official data as well as your fellow Waze users to automatically create a recommended route, complete with turn-by-turn directions. The app is remarkably adaptive, automatically adjusting routes based on the latest traffic info, as well as shifting routes on the fly should you miss a turn. In addition, Waze can display crowd-sourced incident reports, the cheapest gas stations along your route and other extras.
If you find yourself wasting a lot of time with repetitive internet tasks, or just want to automate tasks on your phone, try IFTTT. The app comes with a variety of pre-built "applets" that automate tasks like backing up photos to cloud accounts, messaging your roommate or family if you're near the grocery, or having your smart lights turn themselves on when you return home from work. In addition to the pre-built applets, Users can also build custom tasks from these applets and services, combining multiple tasks and triggers in an "If This, Then That" structure (from which the app takes its name).
Avast's Mobile Security & Antivirus is our favorite mobile security suite for Android devices, offering comprehensive antivirus protection as well as numerous extra features, like Wi-Fi vulnerability protection, malware scanning, call blocking and app locking. Avast's free offering is already feature-packed, but premium subscribers get even more tools such as a privacy advisor, a customizable blacklist and extra tools for rooted Android devices.
Are you plagued with pesky battery-hogging apps that run in the background? Greenify them. Greenify puts an app in a state of hibernation, unable to access system resources or run background processes. However, Greenify allows you to run an app normally in the foreground when explicitly called on by the user without any extra fuss. If you've got memory or battery hogs that keep draining your phone's resources, don't bother with a task-killer when you can just Greenify it. Just don't do that to your alarm clock, messenger, email app or anything with important notifications unless you want them to stop working.
There are a wealth of good podcast managers or podcatchers out there, but if you don't want to spend a dime, check out Xavier Guillemane's Podcast & Radio Addict. It covers the basics with automatic episode updates and downloads, as well as automatic deletion features to save space, variable speed playback, silence skip, volume boosting and a sleep timer. A podcast search tool allows you to quickly find your favorite series and individual episodes; you can also search through a variety of databases for new podcasts and trending shows. In addition, the app also supports video podcasts, YouTube channels, audiobooks, streaming radio and other media sources.