You already pay enough for your phone, especially with the price of some Android flagships climbing north of $800. (Or haven't you seen what Samsung's charging you for the Galaxy Note 9 or Galaxy S10 Plus these days?) Throw in a monthly data plan, and it's easy to understand why you'd want to slash spending from your mobile budget.
Why not start with apps? 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. If you've got a new Android device to load up with apps or you're just looking for new additions to your old phone, here are 40 of our free favorites for Android. (Image Credit: Nejron Photo/Shutterstock)
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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 the latest update ushering in a new look for the app that puts the emphasis on Groups. Facebook's even rolling out its own dating service this year.
While it's a separate app, the Facebook experience wouldn't be complete without the Facebook Messenger app, which handles Facebook's chat and call features and is getting its own redesign to be faster and take up less space on your phone.
Notion aims to be your personal and team productivity hub, allowing users to create custom private or shared workspaces that they can then add versatile "blocks" that can act like text snippets, bookmarks, images, toggle links, files, code snippets, discussion sections, and more. This allows you to easily customize your workspace, while also making it easy to drag and drop individual blocks of content to where you need them without disrupting an entire document. Whether you're doing notetaking, spreadsheeting, or building a Kanban board, Notion's powerful building blocks make things a snap to set up. The free version of Notion allows you to save and sync up to 1,000 blocks of content, while premium subscription plans remove that content limit and add admin tools, permission settings, and other features.
A Google Play Awards 2019 winner, Canva is a quick, user-riendly photo editing app that's designed with social media use in mind. The app comes with a variety of ready to use templates, filters, fonts, and other tools that you can apply to images in your device's gallery or in Canva's selection of free and premium images, which you can then easily share to your favorite social network or media platform. You can use Canva to quickly set up a cover photo or account avatar for Facebook or create crisp and clean Instagram stories, Twitter banners or the perfect Youtube thumbnails. There's a wealth of free material and templates you can work with, as well as a selection of premium templates, images, and more that you can access with in-app purchases.
If you want something that's better at proper photo editing, consider PicsArt Photo Studio, another Google Play Awards 2019 nominee designed to bring a ton of editing tools straight to the palm of your hand. PicsArt gives you a range of options to work with, from standard editing tools that stretch, distort, and crop images, to filters, beautifying tools, cutout tools, collage makers, double-exposure mixing tools, masking selections, drawing tools, and more. In short, it's a collection of tools that's useful for everything from cleaning up quick snapshots to making a share-worthy social media piece. While you already get a good selection of features for free, a PicsArt Gold premium subscription provides a wider array of tools along with more filters and fonts andvideo editing; the subscription also removes ads.
The old-fashioned pen-pal gets a modern take with Slowly, a social app that's intended for a slower, more deliberate messaging experience. Users set up a simple profile with an avatar, location and a list of interests; Slowly will then match you with users with similar interests. Unlike traditional messaging apps, Slowly adds a time delay element to your messages, encouraging longer-form writing at a more weighty, deliberate pace. In addition, the app has a stamp collection feature, as each message comes with stamps based on the sender's location. There are also special seasonal stamps or premium ones available as in-app purchases. You can share a limited number of photos per day if your pen friend has agreed to receive them.
Woebot channels chatbot technology for good, building on proven principles and techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and dialectical behavior therapy to help with emotional self-care and help you process difficult emotions and life events. While it's no replacement for a good therapist, Woebot is designed to help you self-asses, checking in with you regularly and helping you practice mindfulness exercises to try to help center yourself and improve your mental and emotional well-being.
Transit is a fantastic aid to your commute, helping you plan out the fastest public transport routes to your destination. The app provides routes that combine numerous transportation methods — such as trains, buses, and bike sharing — while also factoring in short walks to each stop and wait times. Transit can provide real-time data on arrival times of your bus or train, compare routes, step-by-step navigation, and notifications for service line disruptions. You can even book an Uber or reserve a car2go from within the app if public transport has failed you.