Setting up a new phone is a flurry of entering passwords, transferring contact data, downloading must-have social media apps, and entering even more passwords. Once that’s all done, it’s time to fill your phone with everything else you might need day to day: a smarter weather app, a good email client, and some things to make sure you have plenty to read and listen to. Here are our suggestions for where to start.
5 Great Apps for your New Android Device
After a decade of owning a smartphone, having powerful apps in your pocket doesn’t really feel like a surprise anymore. But Dark Sky still feels a little bit like magic every time it works: it’s a weather app that predicts when it’s going to start and stop raining, down to the minute, and it’s usually pretty darn accurate. Should you make a run for it before the rain starts, or should you wait it out inside for a few minutes because the bad weather is going to pass? Dark Sky lets you know and can keep you from getting wet. The app’s basic features are free, but you’ll have to pay $3 per year to get its detailed rain forecasts. They’re absolutely worth the price.
You’ve probably heard this before, but you should really be using a password manager. I’ll admit: they can be a little bit of a hassle. But once you get into the flow, everything you do online becomes far more secure and logging in mostly becomes a breeze. Password managers create and store strong unique passwords for every website you use, so if one gets stolen — and large website breaches do occur with some regularity — all of your other accounts remain safe. I’m recommending two apps here: 1Password is my favorite (I’ve been using it for years), but it comes with a monthly fee. LastPass is a perfectly good alternative available for free; I just find it to be a little less pretty to look at.
Files By Google
This should just be the file browsing app that comes built into Android. On the occasions you need to go looking for a file that was saved to some mysterious location on your phone, Files by Google makes it a lot easier to find, with obvious sections for downloads, videos, audio, and other documents. (Android’s built-in Files app has similar options, but they’re more confusing or require more taps to get to.) Files by Google also offers some handy additional features, like an entire tab dedicated to highlighting old files you might want to get rid of to free up space.
All-day long I come across articles I want to read but don’t have the time for. Pocket lets you quickly save those stories for later, so you don’t forget about them, and it downloads them so you can read them offline — perfect if you’re someone who’s frequently on a subway, a plane, or just waiting around somewhere with poor signal. Will I ever finish reading my entire Pocket queue? Absolutely not. But that just means I’ll always have something waiting on my phone when I have some time to kill.
Google’s Gmail app looks a lot better than it did this time last year thanks to a big redesign, but the app still isn’t very good for anyone who has to deal with tons and tons of email every day. If you’re inundated with messages, particularly ones you don’t need to immediately look at, Microsoft’s Outlook can take over. It splits your inbox into two sections — “Focused” and “Other” — automatically hiding anything it suspects is unimportant inside that lesser section. The app can also limit your notifications to just the emails it deems important enough to hit your main inbox, a major relief for anyone overwhelmed with notifications. The filtering can sometimes get things wrong, though I’ve found it errs on the side of showing too many emails, rather than having you miss something you need to see. It’s the only thing that lets me keep my work email on my phone in a healthy way.