At a time when you can easily plunk down a cool $1,000 for a mobile phone, some of the best apps are still available free of charge. Apps with deep feature sets will sometimes seek longevity and technical superiority by charging a flat price or a subscription fee, but there are tons of others that are absolutely free and do everything you could ever want.
It can be a chore to wade through all the choices to decide which one is best – even free apps will cost you time – if not money. We poked around and found five of these free favorites.
AirDroid lets you access wirelessly the contents of your Android phone or tablet from any Windows or Mac computer or the web. Paired with a free desktop app, you can receive phone, SMS, email and app notifications. You can also text directly from your computer, access your smartphone apps, and transfer files, photos, documents and music. AirDroid brings all your devices together in a seamless and efficient way. The functionality is great, the user interface is slick, and the advertisements are relatively noninvasive.
If your personal smartphone serves double-duty as your business phone, using AppLock will make that separation a lot more convenient. AppLock does exactly what its name implies: It locks down your any personal app to keep it secure from prying eyes. Use a password, pattern or fingerprint scan to shield specific data like photos and videos as well as apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Gallery, Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram, SMS, Contacts, Gmail, Settings and incoming calls. There's also a security and data loss feature that lets you auto-lock or unlock your phone based on location or time of day.
Download on Android
Small businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs typically have a smaller budget and space than larger companies, but with CamScanner, you don't have to worry about purchasing a multifunction printer, as this app effectively turns your phone into a scanner. Scan documents directly into PDF format and then email or send a link from the app. The app's smart cropping and auto enhancing features ensure your document is clean and readable. It also allows you to secure sensitive documents with passwords, add annotations and print or fax from the app.
Every workday presents a challenge, but having up-to-the minute insight into what's happening in your industry and around the globe is essential. Feedly lets you connect to and organize your favorite blogs, magazines, newspapers and YouTube channels for your edification and enjoyment. The app's 40 million feeds let you discover information channels you may never have heard of. As an open RSS-based system, you're free to add any outlet you want to Feedly. The app integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Buffer, OneNote, Pinterest, LinkedIn, IFTTT and Zapier for quick sharing with colleagues and friends.
Say you're traveling for business and you want to find the fastest route to avoid traffic jams and highway incidents. The best source to turn to is Waze, the popular crowd sourced GPS-based traffic monitor and navigation app. Waze not only adjusts your route in response to current traffic conditions, but it also gives you an updated ETA and spots where to get the best local gas prices. You can even see and sync up drive times with friends on Facebook. If you drive with Android Auto, you can also view Waze on your car display.