Smartphones were pretty much invented to provide us with pocket computers. They make calls, but that capability is practically an afterthought. They’re all about all the other features that make your life more efficient.
As efficient as smartphones are, there’s still room for improvement and enhancement. This is where apps come in. There are some really fantastic productivity apps out there that professionals and business owners can use to boost performance and efficacy. What are the best ones that you can get for free?
- CloudMagic Email – This is free but with in-app purchases. It’s a great email solution if you want all of your email accounts in one place. It supports a variety of email platforms so you can log into all of your accounts in one go. It also features different kinds of sync settings and productivity plugins as well as calendar support and sender profiles. If you use email a lot, this app can do much for your productivity.
If security is your focus, make sure you check out the app K9 (as in the cute robot dog!) which has lots more functionality, but doesn’t look half as pretty.
- Google Drive – This one is also free with in-app purchases. This is a real powerhouse of productivity apps. The cloud storage app is great for file storage and sharing. The combination of Google Keep, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Photos covers everything you could possibly need for office work.
- Microsoft Apps – This is a variety of apps that Microsoft has made available to Android devices. Just like Google Drive, this is an amazing collection of everything you could require for file storage and sharing. It includes OneDrive, OneNote, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Cortana. If you use Windows 10, OneDrive provides the best cross-platform support between Android and Windows. The apps are available for free in the Play Store, pick your poison.
- Slack – This is a free chat service designed for work teams. It allows you to make different channels so that there’s a proper venue for people to easily and conveniently discuss projects without any confusion. It also has voice calling, searching, archiving, and file sharing features. You get an almost limitless file sharing allowance. It also includes cross-platform support and plugins for various sites like Google Drive, Giphy, Asana, etc. If you want an effective way to keep track of discussions regarding different projects, this app makes life easier.
- Trello – This app is often referred to as a virtual sidekick. It’s a task manager that helps you stay organised with both your work and personal life. With it, you can create boards that allow you to keep your projects sorted and work on one task at a time. It’s great for collaborating with your co-workers and breeds a more productive work environment. It comes with Dropbox, Google Drive, and Android Wear support.
There are other really good productivity apps available, but these five give you a solid start at the right price. They’re definitely worth the download!
And what we thought also might be helpful (especially for those not on Android) is a few pointers on what to look out for when trying to choose your apps. With such a plethora of apps out there, and usually multiple with similar aims, it’s useful to think strategically when choosing your app. Here’s our top tips that help us.
- Do you want something beautiful, or functional? Can you do away with colour coding if you get multiple device syncing instead? Think about your reasons for wanting an app.
- Think about the words you’re using to search for your app. Sometimes if you don’t know a specific name for an app you’re looking for, you can be better off starting on a search engine rather than in-store. You’ll normally find reviews for apps, and also alternatives if you’re looking for something similar on a different platform. If you need a specific function, type that in too – generally app-makers will use tags and keywords to help you find them.
- Check out the app maker’s info and the number of downloads – if an app has only a few downloads, why? Is it super brand new, a bespoke app for your company, or is it fraudulent? Always pay attention to what you are downloading and do your research. If you’re worried about the credibility of an app-maker, use your search engine to check them out!
- What is it asking you for access to? If it’s a photo editing app, it’s going to ask for access to your images and photo albums, it shouldn’t be needing to ask for access to your emails, text messages, microphone or GPS. A good quality, well made app will only ask for access to the relevant bit of your device. If something doesn’t look right, don’t download it and do your research first. Once you have downloaded it, you can choose to bespoke your access settings, or uninstall it, but some of your data like device info and phone number, will have already been transmitted to the app-maker, so please do be careful.
- Always have an anti-virus on all your devices. Some will tell you, you don’t need one, we say you do. And, well, it’s better to be safe than share all your details and get hacked right? We suggest AVG Free as a good option, but there are loads out there.
- Use your “other users also installed” and “similar apps” feeds. These usually sit underneath the information for a specific app. We find that two or three clicks away from our initial find, pops up with a more suitable option.
- Don’t be scared to pay. We’ve listed free apps here, but there are lots on the market. Some that are pay in advance (before download), some have in-app upgrades and purchases. Some have trials of the full version that you can have a go with and see if you like before you buy. My person favourite two apps I pay for are Business Calendar Pro and Tweetcaster, I tried the free versions and because I knew I was happy with the apps, and would spend most of my mobile useage on them, I wanted to pay for the full functionality and removal of those annoying apps. At the end of the day people make apps because either they wanted to solve a problem for the community, or they wanted to make money off a useful tool, either way paying a few pounds for an app you use all the time, is a great way to support the app-makers research and future developments of that app and others.
Are there apps you would recommend? Comment below and share with us why you love them so much!