Mobile Apps (Android)

The mobile phone (mine is the OnePlus 5) is a daily companion. Living without it seems to be impossible sometimes. But what do you really use your phone for? What apps do you really need and which could be easily removed?

I am a tech guy. I do not only have a mobile phone but also a tablet and even a smartwatch is at my side 24/7. How do I stay connected on one side and minimalist on the other?

I am starting out with a list of the phone apps I do use on a regular basis and I will try to put those in a few categories for better overview.

Communication

My main (personal) communication app is WhatsApp. Most people I know are reachable via WA; those who are not, usually can be reached via Telegram. For the professional networking part, I use LinkedIn. Work communication is done with GMail or (if the project is more complex) within Slack. I use the latter personally, too. It is my knowledge storage, a personal wiki, so to say. I think I will do another blog post about managing knowledge with slack any time soon.

Honorable mentions for the Google AlloDuo pair. Allo is a great text communication app with Google Assistant integration. But it lacks the user base; so not a lot of people using it on a regular basis. I kind of dislike Skype, so Duo is my Skype alternative of choice. A very simple held video (and audio) calling app.

Organization / Productivity / Efficiency

Scheduling events and trying to keep up with all the appointments and work meetings can be hard. The Google Calendar makes a really good job helping with that. A very nice bonus: Habit tracking, or Goals as they’re called in the Google Calendar app. You can say what you want to do for how long and how often during the week and the Calendar will remind you to do so and even learn your preferred time slots and days over time.

Short notes go into Google Keep. Longer notes into my personal slack as I mentioned before. Really long stuff is usually nothing you want to write on your mobile phone, so I won’t mention anything here.

My files are stored within a Google Drive. Though, I don’t actually use the Google Drive app too often, since I switched to Solid Explorer which integrates all kind of storage into one. Multiple Google Drive accounts and all other cloud storage accounts inside a single app. Makes the life a lot easier not to have an app for every single cloud service.

If I need to scan documents, I use CamScanner. All my photos are stored inside Google Photos. (Hands down THE best Google app!)

For all the non-app stuff, I use Google Chrome.

Social

I always try to reduce the leisure time using my phone. So my social part is not too big. I frequently check Instagram and Reddit via the Relay Pro app. There is a free version, but since I really dislike ads, I chose to pay. Interestingly, not with my own money, but with Google Play Credit I earned by using the Google Rewards app. WHAT? You may think. You do small random surveys inside the app and earn actual money for using in the Google Play Store. FREE APPS, YEAH!

Music and other media

Now you know, music is everything for me. So this part of my app list going to be a bigger one.

Starting off with my streaming app of choice: Spotify. As a student, the premium subscription is only 4.99€ per month for me. An easy choice for my most used app and service. I combined this with Musixmatch to get all the live lyrics action. Sometimes, there is music that isn’t on Spotify (yet).

Most of the time, I can get around with SoundCloud in those situations. If not, YouTube is the last resort. Though, I don’t actually view the music videos but only listen to the music in the background.

For those rare occasions, that I have local files I want to play, I use Google Play Music. That is usually only the case, when I am practicing for my a cappella choir. GPM has the advantage of playing MIDI files as well. To get all the right notes, I use Tunable.

Must have (for me)

For navigation, I mainly use Google Maps. Paired with the Nav Me app on my Pebble smartwatch, this is my go to software for finding stuff and things. When hiking (which I do love!), I tend to switch to Osmand+. It’s a paid app but gives you street-address-level offline maps and all the stuff you need (like Wikipedia integration), which is a good thing for hiking in offline areas.

A real must have app is a great keyboard. I use SwiftKey, since it is by far the best I’ve tried, so far. Auto correction is on spot 99% of the time and it learns your typing style so quickly! I tried a few others, including the GBoard keyboard, but I always go back to SwiftKey. Do you even SwiftKey? – my go to sentence, when people write cryptic messages, because of failed auto correction. Not very minimalistic, but I do like some extra functions to my keyboard. Look of Disapproval gives you great and easy access to complex ASCII emojis like the flipping table (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ or the most important ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ shrug.

The rest is a collection for the miscellaneous category. A finance app for your bank, an app for public transport navigation with schedules, live monitors, etc., one link shortener app (I use Bitly) and an app for writing those sweet blog posts (WordPress for me – but for every major blog system there is an app, too). The last app is actually only for quick drafts on the go. Longer blog posts are written on my laptop of course.

The End

So this is it. Those are the android apps I use on a regular basis. My top list. Comment with your favorites, maybe with a top 5 list of apps, everyone should use.

For my OnePlus 5, I will do some kind of review in the future. In the meanwhile, if you want to buy it, too, you can get 20 bucks off for accessories, when buying via my referral link.

Thank you all for visiting, all the best wishes, and until next time!