The best Android apps for your new smartphone

Got a new Android smartphone as a gift for Christmas? If this will be your first Android device, you are likely going to feel a bit out of place with all the new features and customization options. Even if you are upgrading from an older Android device, a new Android smartphone offers a good opportunity to use a new set of apps that will enhance your daily life.

To help you in your quest to find some useful new apps for your new Android smartphone, I have compiled a list of some must-have and useful Android apps below. Irrespective of which Android device you got for Christmas, the below apps will work just fine on it.

Nova Launcher

If you want more control over the home screen of your Android device, you should give Nova Launcher a try. It is the launcher app for Android devices offering a plethora of customization options and features like swipe gestures, icon pack support, customizable home screen and app drawer grid size, and more.

While Nova Launcher is free to use, I will strongly recommend you to pay for the Prime version to unlock all its features. The good thing is that until the end of this year, Nova Launcher Prime has been discounted to just $0.99 which is an absolute steal for the features it offers.

Sesame

Think of Sesame as a universal search for your Android device that can search through almost everything -- your WhatsApp contacts, SMS, Google Drive files, Telegram contacts, Twitter, Google Maps, Spotify, etc.

So, if you want to send a message to your mom on WhatsApp, you don’t need to go through the entire process of opening WhatsApp, finding her name and then tapping on it before you can start typing your message. Bring up Sesame, type in your mom’s contact name and you will get the option of sending her a message on WhatsApp or any other messaging service that she is on.

Once you start using Sesame, there’s no going back. You will then never have to go through your phone’s never-ending app drawer to find that one app or that specific task you want to execute.

If you are a power user, the combination of Nova Launcher and Sesame will be an even more potent one for you. While Sesame can be used standalone as well, I find that it works best when used with Nova launcher.

I can trigger Sesame search with a simple swipe up gesture on my Nova launcher home screen which further speeds up the entire process of whatever action I want to do.

SMS Organizer

This is an app from Microsoft that was available only in India for the longest amount of time before the Redmond company finally got around to making it available worldwide. If you live in a part of the world where SMS is still used for communication purposes, you must try out SMS Organizer.

The app sorts and filters all your SMS depending on their content. So, all your banking transactional messages are under one tab while all promotional and spam messages go under another tab. Your inbox is always kept clean and only useful SMSes make their way here. The app can also keep track of your flight status and remind you when the due date of any bill is close.

Google Photos

Ok, this is an app that comes pre-loaded in almost all Android devices nowadays. If you are not using Google Photos to backup your photos and videos, you are doing it wrong. The plethora of features and options that Google Photos packs as a service is simply unmatchable.

Using the Google Photos app on your Android smartphone, you can seamlessly and automatically backup all the photos and videos you click. If you are fine with compromising a bit on the quality, you can even upload photos on Google Photos without any of it counting towards your total storage space.

Home Agenda

One good thing about Android is that you can place widgets on the home screen making it an ideal place for a calendar widget where you can easily view all your upcoming appointments and tasks.

While there are plenty of calendar widgets on the Play Store, very few of them offer the same level of features and customization as Home Agenda. You can show/hide the toolbar, change the events list background color, the toolbar text coloring, color the event labels, hide all-day events, and more.

The widget also has themes support if you are not willing to spend hours customizing it.

Solid File Explorer

On an Android device, you get full access to its file system meaning you can copy-paste files, move them around and organize them in the way you like. Your new Android device will likely come with a file manager as well, but it is nowhere going to be as good as Solid File Explorer -- both in terms of features and UI.

The file explorer can connect to network drives, FTP servers, and cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive as well allowing you to manage all your files irrespective of where they are stored. Other notable features of the file explorer include the ability to password-protect files and folders, cast content to compatible TVs or Chromecast, open zip files, etc.

SwiftKey

Chances are, your new Android phone already comes pre-installed with Gboard or an in-house keyboard of your device OEM. The less I talk about the in-house keyboard of your device OEM, the better.

As for Gboard, while it is a feature-rich keyboard, its prediction system is absolutely horrible Microsoft's SwiftKey, in comparison, is a far better alternative that supports a wide variety of languages, has built-in GIF integration, and its prediction system is totally on point and will actually help you save keystrokes while typing.

Apart from the above, there are some other apps as well that you must try out especially if you are new to the Android ecosystem. Below is a small list of such apps:

What are some of your favorite and must-have Android apps? Drop a comment and let us know!

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