Five of the top free Android apps that either have been introduced for the first time or significantly updated this year are in the categories of password management, Web browser compression, lock screen functionality and media.
Google’s Android OS apps can be obtained in Google’s Play Store. Browse to the Play Store — you’ll find it in your device’s app drawer. Then search for the app.
The latest versions of Android automatically update installed apps by default. You can switch off this auto updating or adjust settings so that Android will update only over WiFi. Look for the vertical three dot icon in the Google Play app header.
No. 1: Enpass
Enpass claims 10,000 to 50,000 installs and has an average Google Play Store rating of 4.3 stars out of a possible 5 from 384 reviewers.
Enpass syncs and stores passwords and other details, like ATM Personal Identification Numbers, or PINs, and financial account numbers using AES-256 encryption.
Introduced last fall, Enpass’s latest revision, released earlier this year, includes a brand new, built-in browser with autofill that lets you open a website in Enpass with your User ID and password already filled in. This app offers a limited feature set for free.
No. 2: Google Chrome
Google Chrome claims 100,000,000 — 500,000,000 installs and has an average Google Play Store rating of 4.3 stars out of a possible 5 from 1,452,807 reviewers.
Google’s latest Chrome Browser update for Android not only syncs across all your devices — including PCs — but also compresses data.
You can reduce data usage in Chrome by up to 50 percent, according to Google. This offers advantages if you’re paying for buckets of wireless data.
However, be aware that most heavy data use accumulation is from consuming multimedia rather than comparatively lighter Web pages.
No. 3: Cover Lock Screen
Cover Lock Screen claims 500,000 — 1,000,000 installs and has an average Google Play Store rating of 4.4 stars out of a possible five from 35,317 reviewers.
Still in Beta, this app starts to learn your most used apps based on where you are — like car, home or workplace.
It then cleverly places those location-specific app launcher icons on the lock screen, so you can launch them from the lock screen instead of digging through numerous home screens.
Work apps are easily available when you’re working, and leisure apps when you’re at home. Genius.
No. 4: Pandora
Pandora claims 100,000,000 to 500,000,000 installs and has an average Google Play Store rating of 4.5 stars out of a possible five from 1,428,721 reviewers.
Now with an alarm clock, the music streaming service Pandora’s newly updated app lets you pick a favorite station to wake up to. Alarm clock meets the 21st century.
Features include the ability to customize alarms throughout the week up front. Importantly, there’s a snooze function too.
No. 5: MTV
MTV claims 100,000 — 500,000 installs and has an average Google Play Store rating of 3.9 stars out of a possible five from 5,590 reviewers.
MTV’s recently launched on-demand app lets you view entire episodes of MTV shows, including Teen Wolf and Real World. However, that’s only if your cable provider is listed in the app.
Participating providers are limited and don’t include majors such as Comcast’s Xfinity, Dish and Charter. Hence, the runner-up No. 5 position in our All Things Appy Android roundup.