10 essential apps to download
Unwrapped a brand new Android phone on Christmas morning? We're jealous, but we're also here to help.
A smartphone can get a lot smarter with the right apps and there's a whole world of them on Android - well over a million, in fact. But with such a mindboggling number available finding the ones which are actually worthwhile isn't always easy.
So we've done the hard work for you and come up with a list of ten which you really should download right this second. They're all best-in-class apps which could benefit almost anyone and are an ideal place to get started.
Whatever new phone you've just got will have come with its own gallery app, but it won't be as good as Google Photos (although some newer phones do come with it pre-installed nowadays).
Unlimited free storage allows you to back up all of your images and videos, so you'll never lose them, even if you lose your phone. You can even delete them from your device and still view them from the cloud, thereby saving valuable space.
You can edit photos straight from the app and search for images based on what appears in them, without having to tag them first, so it's easy to hunt out specific shots.
Not enough? How about shared albums, Chromecast support, animations, collages, montages and more. Google Photos really is the complete gallery package.
If you're anything like us you probably flip-flop between a smartphone, computer and tablet, but getting all your files and notifications in sync isn't always easy.
That's where Pushbullet comes in. Install it on your phone and your computer to see notifications from your handset appear on your PC.
Better yet you can even reply to messages from many apps through your computer and easily share files and links between the two.
Free (for the first year)
WhatsApp is an entirely more modern way to send messages than SMS. It uses Wi-Fi or mobile data, so you don't have to worry about SMS allowances and it's far more adept at sending high quality images than MMS.
It's also a lot smarter than your standard SMS app. You can see whether a message has been sent, delivered or read, send videos and voice messages and even make free calls.
It uses your phone number, so you don't need to worry about sharing usernames and it links up to your address book, so any contacts with WhatsApp will automatically be displayed. On top of that you can link it to your web browser and see your messages from your desktop, which is cheekily nifty at work.
You do need an internet connection of some sort to use it, but how often do you not have that?
VLC for Android
You only really need one video player on your phone and you really should make it VLC for Android. It's not the prettiest app around, but it supports just about every video file format under the sun, from AVI and MP4, to MKV, Ogg and more.
VLC for Android also supports audio files, subtitles and closed captions, plus all the basics like brightness and aspect-ratio adjustments. In short, before you head off on a long train ride, load up your phone with movies and marvel as they all play back nicely with this app.
SwiftKey proudly proclaims that over 250 million people worldwide use its keyboard and there's a good reason for that: It's simply one of the best.
It learns your tapping and writing style as you use it, so its predictions and corrections will get better over time, with any slang or nicknames you use also getting added to its dictionary.
It's also versatile. Sure you can tap to type, but you can also swipe and you can customise the keyboard with various looks and layouts to make it feel really personal to you.
Navigating a city, particularly an unfamiliar one, can feel a bit like trying to escape a labyrinth. Except instead of simply worrying about a pesky minotaur or David Bowie you've got to contend with buses, trains and crowds.
CityMapper makes this easier, with journey planning for all transport types, even including ferries and trams. It uses real time data and will alert you to any disruptions, so you can get where you're going as quickly and easily as possible.
IF by IFTTT
IF is a tremendously powerful app, yet it's simple enough that anyone can use it. Formerly known as 'If That Then This', it allows you to create connections or 'recipes', stating that if one thing happens then another will occur automatically.
For example, if you never want to miss a message, you could create a recipe that states if you get an SMS message then the phone should send you an email alert. You can combine any functions and apps and even link it up with smart devices like Nest and Hue.
The possibilities really are endless and as easy as it is to create your own connections you don't even need to do that, as there are dozens of suggestions built in to get you going.
Many notetaking apps have arrived since Evernote, but none have matched it. An attractive, clutter-free interface makes it easy to jot down notes, to-do lists and checklists. You can attach files, keep separate notebooks to stay organised and access your notes from any device with an internet connection.
It's simple yet powerful and makes it so much easier to keep on top of things. We don't know how we ever survived without it.
This is an obvious one, but no less essential. Chances are you use Facebook and if so you really need the app.
Yes, there's a mobile site, but it's ugly, slow and clunky compared to this. You can do just about all the same things from the app as you can from the site, including browsing your news feed and posting updates. Plus, you'll get alerts straight to your phone when a friend replies to one of your posts.
To get the most out of it you really need to download Messenger as well, as this is required to make use of the site's chat function, but both apps are free.
Just as VLC is essential for video, Poweramp is vital for audio. If you still prefer to own your music rather than stream it Poweramp has all the tools you need to make the most of your library.
Support for just about every file type, gapless playback, an equaliser, configurable lock screen controls, lyrics support and customisable themes are just the headline features of a jam-packed app that's maintained its position of one of the best Android music players for years.
Poweramp isn't free, but it does include a 15-day free trial and with regular updates and an almost overwhelming number of features it's the only Android audio player you'll ever need - providing you still fill your phone with your own music and don't got for a streaming service like Spotify.