If you’ve got an Android phone, there’s a reasonable chance you’re still using the stock Google apps that came pre-installed on it. After all, they’re all quite well-designed and have a decent set of features. But did you know there are third-party alternatives available? Here’s just a few apps you should consider swapping out.
CHROME WITH BRAVE BROWSER
While Chrome is the most popular web browser on both PC and mobile, it’s far from perfect. It hogs up a lot of RAM and, other than Incognito mode, it doesn’t have much in the way of privacy features. If you like the look of Chrome but you want something a little more robust, check out Brave Browser. It’s based on Chromium, so it mostly looks and feels the same, but operates faster than Chrome, and it uses less memory too.
Brave also includes a few extra features, our favorite of which is Shields, which gives you options for blocking adverts, tracking, scripts, and third-party cookies. You can also toggle on and off fingerprint protection through a simple dropdown menu. If you do want to support your favorite website, Brave has a rewards system that lets you anonymously support the sites you visit by buying tokens. The value of the token will be divided up and given to websites based on how much time you spend on them each month.
GOOGLE CALENDAR WITH BUSINESS CALENDAR 2
If you struggle with managing a busy schedule, Business Calendar 2 is one of the most feature packed third-party calendars you can download. It offers excellent features with multi-day views, customizable calendar widgets, graphical and text views, automated color coding for easy organization, a built-in task manager, contact management, and customizable event templates. It also reminds you about holidays, birthdays and it even has a built in global weather forecast.
The app can also be synced with other calendars including Google and Microsoft Exchange so you can easily keep track of all of your events in one place.
GMAIL WITH BLUEMAIL
If you only have one Gmail account the default Gmail app is fine, but if you have multiple email accounts across different service providers, BlueMail is one of the best apps you can get. It supports more than 15 major email service providers, including Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, Alto, Office 365, and iCloud, and lets you manage and sync them all from one place. It also has a wide range of notice configurations and color-coding for each one of your e-mail addresses so it’s easy to see from a glance which mailbox you’re using. The app also includes some nice extras including spam identification, a dark theme, Android Wear support, and an offline mode.
GOOGLE PHOTOS WITH PIKTURES
Google has put a lot of effort into making Google Photos better but if you’re not keen on the changes its made (or you’re worried about privacy) check out Piktures. The gallery layout has a ton of customization and sorting options that lets you organize your photos and videos, and all of your media can be accessed through and easily uploaded to Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. For any private photos that you don’t want accidentally uploaded, there’s an option to store photos in a password-protected Secret Drive.
The app also includes a couple of neat features you won’t find in Google Photos including an automatic orientation sensor that will override your phone’s rotation lock when a picture is incorrectly rotated, a maximum brightness lock that will override your phone’s brightness when viewing photos so they always look their best, and a handy OCR (Optical Character Recognition) extraction tool that lets you take a picture of a document, identify and convert the text into an editable format.
PICTURES BRAVE, APPGENIX SOFTWARE, DIUNE, BLUE MAIL INC