The 10 best apps for your new Android phone

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You’ve just unwrapped a new Android phone, logged in, typed in a hundred passwords, downloaded all the big social apps, and synced all the things that need syncing. Now it’s time to fill your phone up with everything else: the apps for reading, for getting things done, and for having fun. You probably have some ideas of your own, but we’ve got a bunch of suggestions, too. Here are 10 great Android apps that are definitely worth installing.

We’ve rounded up our favorite and most-used apps, games, and utilities. Look for our picks for iPhones, PCs, and Mac; our favorite games for iOS and Android, and our top choices for the PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.

Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts

Although Android finally has its own podcasts app, you may want to check out a very good third-party option: Pocket Casts, which as of this year is owned by NPR and three other public radio producers. And it’s only gotten better since, with a big redesign arriving just last month that delivers some much-requested features.

Dark Sky

Dark Sky for Android

There’s no beating Dark Sky when it comes to predicting the rain. Even if you’re partial to another weather app (or have a weather widget built into your home screen, like the Pixel 3), it’s worth paying $2.99 per year for Dark Sky to get its down-to-the-minute predictions of when it’ll start and stop raining.

1Password / LastPass

Password managers can be a bit of a hassle to set up and get used to. But once you’ve used one, you won’t ever want to go back — they’re a (relatively) simple way of making sure you have a secure, unique password for every website. And nowadays, it just takes a fingerprint to pull that password over to whatever app you’re logging into. My choices from last year haven’t changed: I personally use 1Password, which is definitely worth its low monthly fee, but if you want a free option, LastPass is an excellent choice.

VSCO

The designers behind VSCO love to change their app’s interface in bewildering ways on a regular basis. And yet despite that, I cannot stop coming back — the app has the absolute best photo filters out there, letting you apply an overwhelming variety of film-like effects and make a number of other adjustments before sending your pictures off to Instagram. I just wish they’d stop changing the interface every three days.

Messages

This is more about a specific feature of Google’s built-in text messaging app, Messages, than about the app itself. If you use Messages, you can have your texts sync to a nearby computer and can respond from your keyboard. It’s not nearly as elegant as the way Apple has iMessage sync from an iPhone to a Mac, but it’s better than nothing. It’s certainly much simpler than dealing with apps like Push Bullet that are supposed to sync all your notifications but tend to work intermittently.

Clue

Image: Clue

Clue is one of the best period-tracking apps out there, with a super-simple interface that makes it easy to visualize your cycle and track bleeding, pill usage, and more. The app tries to be inclusive of everyone who menstruates, and the company behind it promises not to sell your health data (though it sometimes shares anonymized data sets with researchers).

Audio Recorder

Here’s another app that Android’s missing: something to record voice memos, or any other audio you need to pick up. My favorite is this straightforward app from Sony that’s mostly just a big red record button and a list of your files. Just be aware: you have the option to record in really high quality formats that take up a ton of space — the “medium” quality setting is perfectly fine.

Alto’s Odyssey

Image credit: Alto’s Odyssey

Alto’s Odyssey is a must-have game, especially if your new phone has an edge-to-edge display — its simple, dreamy graphics look stunning scrolling across a wide screen. The game is a ton of fun, too. It’s never so challenging to be frustrating, and it’s always moving fast enough to keep you engaged. Alto’s Odyssey is free on Android, but I’d recommend paying a couple bucks to remove the occasional pop-up ads.

Files by Google

For whatever reason, Google’s Files is currently a standalone app that you have to download from the Play Store, but it is such a good file manager that I wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually replaced the default one built into Android. This app makes looking through your files far easier than the one that comes pre-installed. It’s a great way to find junk that’s taking up space on your phone, too.

Pocket

I see articles all day long at work that I want to read but really don’t have the time to. Pocket is my solution. The app pairs with a browser extension on the desktop that lets you save articles to read (or listen to) later. Any time you’re waiting in line or sitting on the couch with nothing to do, your Pocket list will almost certainly have something worth checking out.

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