The 10 Best Free Apps For Android in 2019

The coolest apps for Android are often just a download away

Hand holding Android phone showing app icons on the screen

Andri Koolme / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

There are over 2.5 million apps available on the Google Play marketplace for Android devices. That's a lot of apps. With this many apps available, there's an app for everything. The trick is finding those apps. Here are 10 of the coolest Android apps, and every app on this list is free.

01
of 10

Grammarly Keyboard

Android Grammarly

What We Like

  • Checks spelling and grammar.

  • Checks entire phrases.

  • Smooth, fast performance.

What We Don't Like

  • Can't swipe to type.

  • Lacks customization options.

Keyboards can do more than detect misspelled words, the Grammarly keyboard can make your writing better. This makes it an awesome keyboard for writers, students, or job hunters who can't afford to make mistakes in their writing.

Grammarly scans what you write and offers suggestions in the same area that other keyboards offer suggestions for misspelled words. Grammarly fixes verb choice and corrects other common grammatical mistakes. And if you love autocorrect, it corrects misspelled words as you type.

Grammarly offers both a free subscription plan for basic grammar correction and a premium plan that does a more thorough job of analyzing your writing.

02
of 10

Nova Launcher

Android Nova Launcher

What We Like

  • Set up the phone interface in a way that works for you.

  • Customize backgrounds, colors, fonts, gestures, and more.

What We Don't Like

  • Number and variations of settings can be overwhelming at first.

  • Uses a considerable amount of RAM.

What sets Android apart from the iPhone and iPad is the ability to customize many parts of the system. Apple keeps such a tight rein over what apps can and cannot do that a simple app that turns Bluetooth on and off can be removed from the App Store. Android users have more options and apps to customize their smartphones and tablets.

That's where Nova Launcher comes into the picture. Nova Launcher completely customizes the home screen, which is the initial screen that displays when you unlock the device. Nova Launcher changes the look of the icons, moves the position of elements on the screen, and adds widgets and music players to the screen. If you like to tinker with your smartphone, this is the app for you.

03
of 10

CM Locker

Android CM Locker

What We Like

  • Takes a photo of anyone who tries to unlock the device.

  • Highly customizable.

  • Doesn’t use much memory.

What We Don't Like

  • Ad-supported.

  • Includes some unnecessary features.

Similar to Nova Launcher, CM Locker is a great way to customize an Android device. This app replaces the lock screen with a customizable one that includes an Intruder Selfie. The Intruder Selfie takes a picture of anyone who unsuccessfully tries to unlock the device, whether it's one of your kids, a prankster co-worker, or someone stealing your device. The photo is then sent to you through email.

CM Locker is more than an anti-theft app for smartphones and tablets. Customize the lock screen with background wallpaper, view the latest headlines, get weather forecasts, and control your music.  

04
of 10

IFTTT

Android IFTTT

What We Like

  • Automates tasks in a way you design.

  • Works with smart devices.

  • Lots of premade recipes, or create your own.

What We Don't Like

  • Complicated tasks can be difficult to set up.

  • Can’t run multiple-step applets.

If This Then That (IFTTT) is one of the coolest apps for Android. Use it to program responses to events into your device to automate different tasks. For example, have IFTTT send a text to your significant other when you arrive at home or go into the local grocery store, or copy all your photos to a Dropbox folder after you snap the image, or automatically create an entry in a spreadsheet when you go to work or the gym.

IFTTT works by interacting with applets on the device based on information such as your current location or voice commands that you give to Google Home or Amazon Alexa. It also automates processes with smart devices in your home, such as turning the lights on at sunset or off at a certain time.

05
of 10

ASUS File Manager

Android ASUS File Manager

What We Like

  • Intuitive and easy to use.

  • Works with cloud storage.

What We Don't Like

  • Ad-supported.

  • Doesn’t support older operating systems.

One of the best parts of having an open system is the ability to access files and manage storage devices. This sets Android apart from iOS, and a file manager is one of the first apps many people download to their smartphones.

The ASUS File Manager isn't the best overall file manager for Android. The ES File Explorer holds that distinction. But the ASUS File Manager is a close second with all the basic features you could want in a file manager coupled with an easy-to-use interface. This makes it a great tool to manage your music and photos, and to figure out where your storage space is being used.

06
of 10

Google Duo

Google Duo

Google Inc.

What We Like

  • End-to-end encryption.

  • Caller can leave a video message.

  • Shows video of caller before you pick up.

What We Don't Like

  • Requires signup.

  • Can’t reject a call with a message.

Love the idea of FaceTime but not a fan of Apple? Google Duo is FaceTime for Android, only better because it's available for iOS as well. This means you can place video calls to anyone who has the Duo app installed on their device.

The coolest part about Duo is how easy it is to set up and use. There's no complicated process like setting up a Skype account. Duo reads the phone's SIM card and sends you a text to confirm. That's it. And using the app is as simple as tapping a contact to place the call.

07
of 10

Todoist

Android Todoist

What We Like

  • Notifies you when a list item is due.

  • Can be used on any platform.

What We Don't Like

  • Lacks advanced features.

  • Items viewable only in list format.

If the only type of list you need to make is a shopping list, use Google Keep to keep track of your groceries. To track anything more complicated, especially if you want to coordinate the list with other people, check out Todoist.

Use Todoist to keep track of multiple projects and create sublists to your to-do lists. Then, assign owners to projects and sublists and automatically send reminder emails when a to-do list item is due. Todoist is cross-platform, access it from any Android, iOS, PC, or smartwatch.

The free subscription level is perfect for most people. It includes 80 active tasks and up to 5 people on each task. The premium plan adds features like location-based notifications, which reminds you to buy nails when you pass by the hardware store or buy a ham when near a grocery store.

08
of 10

Call Recorder ACR

Android Call Recorder ACR

What We Like

  • Choice of four audio formats.

  • Can be set to record on request or record automatically.

What We Don't Like

  • Some devices don’t permit call recording.

  • Call recording is illegal in some jurisdictions, but app provides no way to know.

Google Keep is good for tasks such as quick lists, taking notes, or recording a voice memo. When you want to record a phone call, check out Call Recorder (ACR). This app is a must-have for interviewers, reporters, or anyone who records calls on a regular basis. ACR can password protect recordings, record with different formats, and exclude certain numbers. It also has a Pro version that includes cloud storage integration.

09
of 10

Velociraptor

Android Velociraptor

What We Like

  • Useful when driving on a road without posted speed limits.

  • Displays in most apps.

What We Don't Like

  • May not know limits on back roads.

  • Some devices require permissions to be set differently.

Waze may be the best choice for a Google Maps alternative that gives good directions, but Velociraptor can be a surprisingly useful app to use even when you don't need directions. Velociraptor doesn't tell you how to get to your destination, it helps you maintain the proper speed so that you don't get pulled over by the police while you are driving there.

Velociraptor uses OpenStreetMap data, a crowdsourced version of Google Maps, to obtain the speed limit of the street you are on. It compares this to your rate of speed and alerts you when you go over the speed limit and might get a ticket. You can set a tolerance level so that you're alerted when you cross that magical 5 MPH above the speed limit threshold.

10
of 10

Signal Private Messenger

Android Signal Messenger

What We Like

  • Strong end-to-end encryption preserves privacy.

  • Easy to use.

  • Desktop version available.

What We Don't Like

  • Difficult to use for some users (primarily users in the Middle East).

  • Relies on actual phone numbers, which is a privacy concern for some.

If you are concerned more about privacy and security rather than ease-of-use or special emojis when it comes to messaging apps, check out Signal messenger. Although not as popular as WhatsApp, Signal focuses on the secure side of the equation.

Signal uses end-to-end encryption and supports text messaging, voice calls, video calls, group chats, and media sharing. It's open source, which allows third parties to check the code for bugs. And despite the sophisticated encryption, Signal is relatively easy to use.