According to the latest report from Statista, there are now over 2 million apps on Apple's App Store, and 2.2 million apps on Google's Play Store. With all of these applications, it can be hard to find apps relevant to your specific needs and interests. For those looking for some new apps to try out, perhaps this article is for you. Here are my favorite apps at this very second on Android (and iOS).
Disclosure: I am a die-hard Android enthusiast, and have always been loyal to the tasty iterations of Google's mobile OS over the years. For that reason, I can only share my experiences with these apps as an Android user. Most of these apps, however, are available on both Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store.
My Favorite Apps (Gallery)
If galleries aren't you thing, I will breakdown what I like most about each app individually below.
1.) SNAPCHAT (ANDROID/IOS)
With over 100 million daily users, Snapchat has risen to become one of the most popular apps among millennials, so perhaps it is no surprise that I, a millennial, find it to be incredibly entertaining. There are many things I like about it. My favorite aspect is how genuine it is. It's a portal entering into people's ordinary lives, doing ordinary things, and that's great. To find out just how much I like it, read this post.
2.) INSTAGRAM (ANDROID/IOS)
Instagram probably goes without saying. I'm a photographer, and photographers like taking and sharing pictures. Instagram was literally built for that matter. Though its features have vastly expanded over the years, it remains true to its core service– allowing creators to share their content with, quite frankly, the entire world. At 500 million active monthly users, 300 million of those users login at least once a day. Those numbers certainly do not lie.
3.) SOUNDCLOUD (ANDROID/IOS)
I've been a member to SoundCloud's community for quite some time now. I first joined in 2011, and, since then, the company has gone through some radical changes, and we certainly cannot forgot the time they announced users would have to start paying for ad-free service. Like many long-term users, I was not pleased to here this, but I do understand that the company needs to find ways to expand the business in order to keep the new features coming. The app itself is quite nice. It's sleek, modern, and I love the parallax effect when scrolling down my feed. I'll be making a more detailed breakdown about my favorite SoundCloud features in the future, including a full review of SoundCloud Go (spoiler alert: it surprisingly isn't that bad).
4.) GOOGLE HANGOUTS (ANDROID/IOS)
Over the years, I have longed for a messaging app on Android that would allow me to text from any of my devices, including my HP laptop and my Nexus 7 tablet. Hangouts has been around for a while now, but the problem was that, historically, people couldn't actually use hangouts as a true SMS replacement app without setting up a Google Voice account. This was kind of annoying, because you were given a separate number from your default phone number, meaning no one would know who you were when trying to contact someone. I didn't truly witness its glory until I upgraded my HTC Desire 816 on Virgin Mobile to my just recently replaced Motorola Nexus 6 on Project Fi (I now have its successor, the Nexus 6P by Huawei). In setting up my Project Fi account, I had to purge my G Voice number in order to continue with service. This was a happy tradeoff, considering I could finally use my actual phone number to text from any device with an internet connection. All I had to do was sign into my gmail account, and I was good to go. Because Hangouts is a cloud-based service, all of my conversations carry across every device in full context, meaning I'm never scratching my brain trying to remember what my last response was.
Google has recently released two new chat apps, Google Allo and Google Duo. I have not yet been able to fully test them, but it is my understanding that with both of these apps you can keep your number, even if you are not a Project Fi user. You can expect my official review to come very soon!
5.) GOOGLE KEEP (ANDROID/IOS)
First, there was Catch. Then, there was Evernote. Now, there is Keep. That is my progression of favorite note-taking apps over the past few years. (Sadly, Catch is now only available in the Play Store graveyard, as it is no longer in development). Google Keep is so amazing. You can make grocery shopping lists, record voice, store images, jot down random thoughts of your weekday crush, add labels, archive or pin important items, and set reminders by time or location, including synching these items to G Cal (a most-anticipated feature). It doesn't stop there, however. One of its newest (and my personal favorite) features is the ability to store articles given a hyperlink, and it will automatically pull the thumbnail for easy-access. This single-handedly Pocket for me, which was previously my favorite app for storing articles around the web. The only downside is there's no feature to auto-categorize your information once it's created, so label wisely, my friends. It's also worth mentioning that there is NO UNDO feature if you accidentally delete certain text within the note, something I've unfortunately witnessed first-hand, making it less ideal for drafting larger works of text. Fortunately, there is a way to recover entire notes if you delete those on accident, so there is some degree of comfort built into the app.
6.) DROPBOX (ANDROID/IOS)
If I were writing this even 6 months ago, I would have most likely listed Google Drive over Dropbox. I signed up for Dropbox years ago, but never used it. In high school and early years of college, Google Drive was all I needed, considering most of my work was done in Google Docs at the time. I made the switch to Dropbox when I needed a way to quickly share edits from a photoshoot with one of my clients. I previously used either Google Drive, or I would host them from my own website, but neither of those were ideal. Google Drive has a problem synching large files quickly, and there was no easy way to manage everything when I tired hosting to clients from my site.
I love not only how simple and clean Dropbox's interface is, but is fast. Across using my Mac at work, my personal PC at home, and my mobile devices, Dropbox is consistent with high performance. It is now my go-to for storing and sharing batch files on the cloud. Perhaps, I'll write a bar-for-bar comparison of Google Drive vs. Dropbox down the road.
7.) WAZE (ANDROID/IOS)
Out of all of the apps featured on this list, my experience with Waze is the most callow. I'd heard about it, but never seen the app in-use until I became a more frequent Uber rider when I was without a car for a few months. Now that I have a car, I've only been using Waze for a little over a month, which says a lot to be nominating it a favorite. The concept of Waze is simple and sweet-- live, user-generated traffic updates and quality GPS service-- and they do these well. It's no surprise that Google recently bought them.
8.) ACORNS (ANDROID/IOS)
College kids are [seriously broke; link to recent college report]. Acorns makes saving a little cash on the side effortless by infesting spare change into an actual ETF (exchange-trade funds) portfolio. How it works is it rounds every transaction you spend up to the dollar, investing the difference. If you've always been curious about investing or how the market works, this is the app for you.
9.) PANDORA (ANDROID/IOS)
Pandora was one of (if not the) first internet radio/streaming services to reach a critical mass internationally. For years, it went unrivaled until newer services like Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music came around years later. Pandora is a favorite of mine for one simple reason about all others: discovery. Pandora connected me to many of my favorite musicians, from rap artists A$AP Rocky and Joey Bada$$ to more ambient vocalists and groups like The Hics, Banks and James Blake. At this point, it's admittedly more of a loyalty thing for me. Though many other services, including SoundCloud, have jumped into the online streaming stations war, Pandora was the first one to get people paying attention. Arguably, none of the its competitors would even be here if it were not for Pandora's initial success. For me, this app is a classic.
10.) TUMBLR (ANDROID/IOS)
11.) NOVA LAUNCHER PRIME (ANDROID ONLY)
The next two apps are Android-exclusive, so iOS users may want to call it quits here (or continue on, if you feel so intrigued). Nova Launcher is the epitome of Android's commitment to deep user-customization-- what has continued to set Android apart from iOS over its many iterations.
I've tried quite a few custom launchers over the years, including Go Launcher, Apex Launcher, and Smart Launcher, but Nova Launcher Prime ($3.99 USD) has always been my go-to. It's clean interface is hard to tell the difference from a stock home screen. The only disappointment is its lack of an easy, swipe-right function into Google Now. I grew accustomed to it after using the Google Now launcher on my Nexus 6 for a few months (I am currently using Nova as a desktop replacement for my Nexus 6P). I definitely recommend giving a desktop replacement app a try if you haven't yet done so. Nova Launcher also comes in a free version with, if that incentivizes you.
12.) GOOGLE OPINION REWARDS (ANDROID ONLY)
This is not an app I came across on my own. A buddy of mine (shoutout Kellen) suggested I check it out back in my CSE (computer-science engineering) days. (BTW, so glad I switched majors). The concept is simple and far from novelty: answer a few questions and get rewarded by fractions of the dollar. The credits are only redeemable in the Play Store, but, as a college student, I am thrilled to say I have never paid for a mobile app since I've downloaded this freebie from Google. To the day, I've made about $50 over the course of two years or so. Not bad for simply being asked if I went to Target yesterday (I did, in case you wondering).