The 15 Best Apps for 2021

Apps that every iOS and Android user will want to have on their device

Thousands of new apps are added to the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store every day. Bring your smartphone or tablet up to speed with some of the latest and greatest apps.

For iOS and Android users who already know about those well-known, must-have apps like Google Maps, Dropbox, Evernote, and the rest, the following list offers a refreshing pick of newer apps that can transform practically any compatible device.

Here are some of the absolute best apps you'll want to consider downloading and making good use of this year.

01
of 15

Shabaam

Shabaam
What We Like
  • Great selection of very funny GIFs.

  • GIFs can be looped.

What We Don't Like
  • Records voice only (can't add music).

  • GIFs show only for a short duration.

It's no secret that people love to share GIFs everywhere online, giving rise to all sorts of GIF maker apps. Shabaam is a new one that takes the GIF trend to another level by allowing you to spice up your favorite GIFs with some added audio.

Choose a GIF from the app's extensive GIF library and then use your device to record your voice (or any sound of your choice) to be dubbed over the GIF. The final product is a short video (because it can't remain in GIF format due to the audio) that you can save to your device or share through other apps.

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02
of 15

Bite

Bite
What We Like
  • Clean, attractive interface.

  • Menu item photos.

  • Social component gives insight into restaurants and menus that ads and websites can't.

What We Don't Like
  • Would be more useful if users could specify a search radius.

  • Serving sizes given in grams.

There are countless food and restaurant review apps, but Bite takes the headache out of guessing which places and dishes are worth trying based on irrelevant information. Instead of having to endlessly browse through generic menus and peruse through too many unhelpful reviews, Bite focuses on providing users with high-quality imagery and information that actually matters.

Bite users are encouraged to share their experiences with dishes they tried using applicable review options that focus on rating aspects of taste, quality, and cost. Best of all, the app lacks the clutter that many other review apps have, making it easier than ever to discover great dishes and contribute to the community.

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03
of 15

Yarn

Yarn
What We Like
  • A different way to experience a story.

  • Free, seven-day trial.

What We Don't Like
  • Access to the full selection of stories and features requires a paid subscription.

  • Some stories are inappropriate for young users.

Yarn is for the mobile user who wants something different than a cool video game to play or a great book to read. The app features a large library of stories told in text message format as if you were snooping through somebody else's phone and reading their conversations.

Episodes and conversations are updated daily, and you can enjoy stories from several categories, including mystery, romance, comedy, sci-fi, fantasy, and others. The free version of the app is limited, but you can upgrade to a subscription plan for unlimited access to all stories and features.

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04
of 15

Zedge

Zedge
What We Like
  • Huge variety of sounds.

  • Easy searching for just the right sound.

What We Don't Like
  • Some sounds are low-quality.

  • Icon packs are no longer available.

If you really want to make your smartphone or tablet your own, Zedge is the app you'll want to use to personalize your device's ringtones, notifications, and alarm sounds. The app offers thousands of high-quality sounds that are free and easy to download.

Browse through the categories or use the search function to look for a specific sound. From obscure sounds to classic jingles, you can set a custom ringtone for each person in your contact list, so you always know who's calling.

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05
of 15

Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts
What We Like
  • Automatically finds new episodes of followed podcasts.

  • Intuitive interface with lots of handy features.

  • Listen to podcasts without committing to a subscription.

What We Don't Like
  • Can't put together lists of episodes you'd like to hear.

  • The trim function is useful but can result in choppy-sounding play.

Pocket Casts is a premium app worth checking out if you listen to podcasts and want to discover great podcasts and easily manage the ones you want to listen to. Browse podcasts by charts, networks, and categories, then add the ones you like to play episodes on the fly and create your own playback queue.

The app constantly checks for new episodes, so you always have access to the latest from your favorite shows, with automatic downloading and custom filters to keep them organized. You can also personalize your listening experience with powerful features, including an up next option, a silence trimmer, chapters, playback skipper, and more.

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06
of 15

Calm

Calm
What We Like
  • Choose the type and length of meditation desired.

  • Geared toward adults but also suitable for children 3 and older, with adult help.

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive.

  • Help and customer service are lacking.

Thinking of giving meditation a try? Calm is a free app geared toward beginners. It offers short, guided meditation sessions ranging from three to 25 minutes. Sessions focus on various topics, including anxiety reduction, stress management, improved sleep, breaking bad habits, cultivating gratitude, and more.

In addition to individual sessions, hundreds of programs are available if you're interested in a long-term meditation challenge. There's also an option for unguided meditation sessions with a timer and more than 30 soothing nature sounds.

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07
of 15

Fabulous

Fabulous
What We Like
  • Broad variety of routines to choose from.

  • Gives estimates of how long each routine takes.

What We Don't Like
  • Some users might find articles and questions distracting.

  • Requires a single payment up front, rather than monthly.

Fabulous is an entertaining and interactive habit app that helps you improve your energy levels, fitness, sleep, and productivity. Based on scientifically proven techniques, you're challenged to complete daily meditation, work, creativity, exercise, and other types of self-improvement sessions to help you change your habits in as little as 19 days.

You'll start small with incremental goals that help you build your habit progress over time. Eventually, you'll have renewed rituals for your morning, workday, and nighttime routines. 

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08
of 15

Canva

Canva
What We Like
  • Replaces bulkier programs such as Photoshop for many uses.

  • Easy to use.

What We Don't Like
  • Some advanced features require a paid subscription.

  • No eraser tool.

Whether you need to design a new Facebook header photo or create a cover to publish your Kindle e-book, Canva is the free and intuitive graphic design app that can help you get it done in minutes. Upload your images or choose from premium stock photos and illustrations before customizing your design using the app's easy drag and drop feature.

Canva offers a variety of layouts, free photos, fonts, shapes, icons, charts, lines, illustrations, grids, and background options you can use to design your graphic exactly the way you want. When you're done, save it as a high-quality image to your camera roll or photo folder or share it directly using your favorite social app.

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09
of 15

Forest by Seekrtech

Forest
What We Like
  • A novel approach to time management.

  • Many timer settings and the ability to safelist some apps.

What We Don't Like
  • Must subscribe to Forest in the Cloud to use credits toward planting trees, compete with others, and sync across devices.

  • If the phone battery dies, you lose the tree you were working on.

Need to be productive but can't resist wasting time on your iPhone? Forest is a premium app that motivates you to stay focused by starting every work session with a planted seed in your very own virtual forest. You'll have to stay in the app to watch the tree grow over the time period that you work and avoid leaving the app or risk killing the tree.

The more you use the app to be productive (and thus grow more virtual trees), the more coins you earn. You can spend coins through the app as donations to help plant real trees in the developing world. To accomplish this, Forest partnered with the non-profit organization Trees for the Future, which helps improve impoverished farmers' livelihoods by revitalizing degraded lands.

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10
of 15

Noisli

Noisli
What We Like
  • No internet connection required.

  • Unlike ordinary sound generators, you can mix your own.

What We Don't Like
  • Not as large of a selection as some similar apps.

  • Can't play music from other apps while this is running.

Whether you need to focus on your work or relax and unwind after a long day, soothing sound effects can get you in the right frame of mind. Noisli lets you conveniently mix sounds to create your own sound combos. Its simple, minimal interface lets you select the sounds you want and adjust the volume to create the perfect sound ambiance.

Choose from sounds like rain, thunderstorms, wind, waves, birds, and more. Set a timer for your sound combo with an optional fade out feature and save your combos to listen to them again and again. You can listen to all sound creations offline, so you never have to worry about remaining connected to the internet.

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11
of 15

Crumblyy

Crumblyy
What We Like
  • Lots of useful hacks for everyday life.

  • Crisp and to the point.

What We Don't Like
  • Ad-supported.

  • Interface is somewhat cluttered.

Crumblyy (formerly called Life Hacks) isn't new, but it's regularly updated. This clean, intuitive app features picture cards in various categories like food, health, technology, and more to help you broaden your knowledge and improve your life with tips, tricks, and fact-based strategies.

You can get notifications for daily hacks that can be upvoted to help fellow app users, bookmarked, or shared on social media. Browse hacks manually by selecting a category or using the search function to look for something specific.

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12
of 15

Files Go

Files Go
What We Like
  • Easy, effective way to free up space.

  • Transfers large files quickly.

  • Unearths duplicate files so that you can delete them.

What We Don't Like
  • No support for cloud storage.

  • Shares files only with other users of the app.

The Google Files Go app file storage manager helps you find files faster, free up space, and share files quickly with others while you're offline. You can use it to delete old photos quickly, identify duplicate files, get rid of apps you no longer use, and clean up anything else that needs to go in a snap.

One of the best parts about this app is that files can be shared between Android users, similar to Apple AirDrop. As long as you're physically close to another Android user using Files Go, you can quickly share photos, videos, and other files without using the internet.

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13
of 15

Remindee

Remindee
What We Like
  • Lets you create reminders without interrupting what you're doing.

  • Reminders appear in the notification shade.

What We Don't Like
  • Syncing between devices is available only with the paid version.

  • Works only in apps that offer a Share button or link.

Ever find yourself browsing through an app, only to see something you need to remind yourself of later? Remindee is a simple app that lets you create reminders from anywhere within your device—no matter what app you're currently browsing.

Just tap the share button and then tap the Remind Me option to create a reminder. Set the date and time you want for your reminder, and you're finished. You also have the option to create a reminder by copying a selection of text, which can come in handy when your reminder is based on a longer message or paragraph of information.

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14
of 15

Messenger Lite

Messenger Lite
What We Like
  • Alleviates the memory drain of the full-fledged Messenger app.

  • Familiar interface to anyone who's used Messenger.

What We Don't Like
  • No video calling.

  • No animations, GIFs, or place-sharing.

Facebook Messenger is an essential app when you want to keep in touch with friends and family. However, it can quickly reveal itself to be a sluggish, bloated app that takes its toll on devices with limited memory and processing power.

To help combat this issue, Messenger Lite for Android is a simplified version of the original app. It offers all the core features without the inconvenience of slowing down your phone. It's a good choice for those who use it relatively infrequently, just for quick chats here and there.

Messenger Lite is a great alternative to Messenger on older Android devices. It's also ideal for staying connected to people when you're chatting from locations with limited internet connectivity.

Download For:

15
of 15

Enlight Photofox

Enlight
What We Like
  • Pro-level editing capabilities.

  • Works with RAW files.

What We Don't Like
  • Advanced features, such as Darkroom, available only in the paid version.

  • Learning curve.

Countless photo editing apps offer professional editing tools and effects, but nothing compares to the artistic capabilities of Enlight Photofox. This app goes beyond common editing features like cropping and applying filters. It offers unique tools like superimposed imagery, photo mixing, layering, blending, and more that appeal to your creative side.

If you're a professional or amateur photographer who wants to explore your interests in abstract, contemporary, or street art, this app can help you unlock your true potential. Photo sessions are always auto-saved, so you can return to the app later to finish your work.

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