The Best App Choices for New Smartphone Users

If you’re new to smartphones, part of the fun is deciding which apps to download so you can start enjoying all that your phone has to offer. There’s a lot to choose from! It seems like there’s something out there for just about anything you want to do, but how do you pick the right ones?

Here are a few recommendations to help you get started. I’ll be highlighting one dependable, user-friendly app in four major categories that are popular with most smartphone users: photos, music, news, and social media. Each of them is simple, intuitive and best of all, free.

For easily storing and organizing my ever-expanding photo library, I rely on Google Photos. It provides unlimited, cloud-based storage, which saves valuable space on your phone and provides a safe backup in case your phone is ever lost or broken. You also can use its reliable facial recognition software to search and organize your photos, and it offers tools that let you create simple collages and fun videos.

Music lovers will do well to start with Pandora, which gives you access to a huge streaming library of all types of music. You can even create custom stations for yourself—just select an artist you like, and Pandora finds music by them and similar artists for you to enjoy. Refine what the station plays by clicking a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” icon once a song gets underway. Pandora also gives you music on the go—by connecting to Wi-Fi, you can listen to it almost anywhere.

The Flipboard app is a great way to follow news stories and see trending topics from all over. It collects articles from a large number of media sources—sites like the New York Times, People, Vanity Fair, and more—to keep you up to date. You can pick specific topics you’re interested in following, and you’ll automatically see any breaking news or timely stories. You’re also able to easily save articles to read later, or share them with friends via email or social media.

Millions of people are already using Facebook as their social media of choice. Download the mobile version and you can do everything you already do on your computer. Use it to post status updates, photos or videos. You’ll receive notifications to let you know when a friend has “liked” or commented on one of your posts, plus it’s a great way to get reminders about important events like birthdays or social invitations.

You certainly don’t have to limit yourself to just these—there are more than two million apps available for iPhone and Android, so you’ll definitely want to explore far and wide. But if you want to get off to a good start and have something to enjoy right away, you won’t go wrong with any of the ones listed here.

34 Thoughts on "The Best App Choices for New Smartphone Users"

  1. Louise Hulst says

    I needed help and advice about a new phone, and I did not get it. I’m a stymied. I’m 86 years old and I need help, not someone reading a script.

    reply to Louise

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      I’m very sorry to hear that you had a negative experience with us over the phone, Louise. Our account advisors are happy to answer any questions you may have about a device, and we apologize if we weren’t able to provide the information you needed. We can try to assist you again over the phone at 888-345-5509, or we can also answer your questions via email at [email protected]. Thank you for reaching out to us, and for giving us a chance to make it right. We hope you have a wonderful day!

      reply to Ashley

  2. Jude says

    This was very helpful information. Thanks!

    reply to Jude

  3. Jerry says

    You’ve given me great service for many years, I’m also an eighty year old!

    reply to Jerry

  4. Troy Haliwell says

    I disagree about using Google services like Photos. While I realize Android devices are also Google products, their services just do not provide me with the security I want.

    There is no such thing as a “free lunch” as the saying goes. So I prefer the honest iCloud system that my iPhone uses. I get a small amount for free and I pay for additional storage. My photos are automatically uploaded, as are my Contacts and any Music I have on my phone. It does the same for my Macs at home as well, and it is all seamless for me.

    The older I get (I am 48 now) the more I appreciate seamless operation. If I put it in one place, it should be available in another without me having to remember to move the data from one place to another. iCloud does that.

    reply to Troy

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the subject, Troy! We agree, iCloud is a wonderful option for those using Apple products. We appreciate you posting!

      reply to Ashley

  5. Roni Saleeba says

    We have our own smart phones, can we change over to Consumer Cellular?

    reply to Roni

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re happy to help you make the switch, Roni! In most cases, our SIM card can be used with an unlocked GSM device. This includes devices previously used with AT&T or T-Mobile as well as others. You’ll want to confirm that the devices have been unlocked by your previous carrier, and then you’ll need one of our SIM cards. You can find our SIM cards at your local Target store, or on our website here. Be sure to watch the video to see just how easy it is to use a SIM card with a device you already have. We can also help you order over the phone at 888-345-5509, so just choose the option that is most convenient! Thank you for reaching out to us, and we hope to speak with you soon!

      reply to Ashley

  6. Brian says

    How do I get an AARP discount? I’m already a Consumer Cellular user and I’m going to join AARP.

    reply to Brian

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question! Once you’ve signed up for AARP, all we will need is your membership number to add the 5% monthly discount on service and usage to your account. It’s that easy! When you’re ready, give us a call at 888-345-5509 and we will be happy to take care of that for you. Thanks for commenting!

      reply to Ashley

  7. Joan says

    My son has MetroPCS and he is paying less for unlimited text and calls etc. then consumer cellular. He only pays $30 a month for all of that can you compete with that?

    reply to Joan

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Joan. Most of our customers find the value in our flexibility. If they don’t use all of the minutes or data in their monthly plan, they can switch to a smaller plan and save money. With our plans, they can switch up until the last day of the billing cycle! We’re happy to talk with you about our plans and see if our service would be the right fit. Just call us at 888-345-5509, and we’ll be ready to assist you. We appreciate you taking the time to reach out today!

      reply to Ashley

  8. Joe says

    Where is the activation code located on the box the phone is in? All numbers seem to be too long to be entered for activation of the phone and can’t reach support on the new phone because of activation.

    reply to Joe

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re happy to help you, Joe. If the device was ordered over the phone or online, you should only have to turn it on. If you purchased it from a retail location, there will be an activation code on the box. It will be clearly marked “Activation Code”, and it will be on the exterior box. We’re happy to help you get your phone up and running if you can give us a call from another line at 888-345-5509. Thank you for posting today!

      reply to Ashley

  9. Harold says

    Will you have the Moto 5plus available for purchase. If yes what will the cost be?

    reply to Harold

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thanks for asking, Harold! At this time, we don’t have the device available for purchase. If we do offer it in the future, we’ll be sure to post a blog about it here, and inform our customers in other ways as well. You can also check in with us at 888-345-5509 to see which phones and devices we currently offer. We appreciate you taking the time to post, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  10. Eda Palo says

    Can we pick any phone number for our phones?

    reply to Eda

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Eda. Your phone number will be randomly generated based on your ZIP code. If you have a specific ZIP code you would like to use, we can discuss that with you when you are creating your account. If there are any other questions you have about our service, or about getting started, please don’t hesitate to call us at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you posting, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  11. Cathleen says

    Thank you so much for upgrading my phone at No Cost. I used to be with Verizon for over 10 years and never got any upgrade at all. Plus, I save $50 a month with this Beautiful Company.

    I tell all my friends. Plus, you have the best Customer Service and hopefully your managers will up your pay as well. It’s nice that a company does so much for its customers! Aloha!

    reply to Cathleen

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      You are so welcome, Cathleen, and we are happy to welcome you to our service! Thank you for sharing your savings with us. We love to hear how much our customers are saving each month! Thank you so much for posting, and we hope you have a great day. Mahalo!

      reply to Ashley

  12. Suzanne says

    Best customer service ever! Thanks!

    reply to Suzanne

  13. Rachel says

    Which phone would be a better buy iPhones SE….. or the Motorola Moto 4g

    reply to Rachel

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Rachel. Both are great options! They do use different operating systems, so you may find you prefer iOS to Android. Try using our comparison tool when looking at the devices to compare features like the camera, memory and other capabilities. We’re also happy to talk with you over the phone at 888-345-5509. Our representatives can ask you questions and help you find the right fit. We’re so glad you posted, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  14. Christine says

    I am 68 and I do not get it when texting and it shows up as data. I am not a wireless customer. How can I tell the difference when I am texting vs data?

    reply to Christine

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Christine. In general, you won’t be using data when you send text message or make phone calls. If you don’t plan to use the data from your plan, we recommend turning data “off” so that you won’t use any unintentionally. We’re happy to walk you through that at 888-345-5509 if you like. We appreciate you posting today!

      reply to Ashley

  15. Richard Phelps says

    How can we stop robocalls?

    reply to Richard

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      That’s a great question, Richard. First, we encourage you to make sure your phone number is registered with the Do Not Call registry. You can do that here. There are a variety of call blocking apps that work with your smartphone, blocking known scam numbers and using user data to avoid unwanted robocalls. Just search “call blocking app” in the App Store, and you will find a variety available. If you have any questions about unwanted calls or downloading apps, we’re happy to assist you at 888-345-5509. Thank you for reaching out to us today!

      reply to Ashley

  16. Greg Simpson says

    I have an LG G3 that I purchased refurbished and advertised as a unlocked global phone on Amazon although Verizon is printed on the back. It was my understanding that it would work with Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc. Therefore it should work on Consumer Cellular, correct?

    I’m also looking at a OnePlus3T which will work on your network but not Verizon’s. Do I have my facts correct?

    reply to Greg

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      That’s a great question, Greg. Our SIM card works best with unlocked phones that use GSM technology. This includes devices that have been previously used with AT&T or T-Mobile. While we can’t guarantee a device we don’t offer will work with our service, many of our customers use our SIM card with phones they already have. We can test your phone with our SIM card if you like. Just give us a call at 888-345-5509, and we’ll send you a free SIM to try. That’s the best way to know for sure if your device will be a good fit. Thank you for taking the time to post, and we look forward to assisting you!

      reply to Ashley

  17. N Brown says

    We just switched from Verizon to Cingular Cellular. I have an Android phone unlocked and with your sim card added. I could still text on my current phone, but even after calling and waiting quite a while on hold (45 minutes) until we got a live person to help, we realized group texting and sending or receiving photos or attachments via text would not work due to the Verizon configuration on my phone. We had to order another updated Android phone via Consumer Cellular.

    My husband has an Iphone and it was easy to switch his current phone over to CC.

    Now my question is for my tablet that was purchased recently. It does not have an app that will work with Cingular Cellular to allow texting. It still will get on the internet over wifi. How can it text as it did before with Verizon? Is there an app I can get that is compatible?

    reply to N

    • Hi N Brown, thank you for your post. I’m sorry to hear about the trouble that this has caused. We’re not able to guarantee compatibility for all models, but we do all we can to see if we can get it working with our network completely, but it does sound like the phone you were using was not compatible, unfortunately. We don’t have a specific app for our network that is used for texting. You can look at different messenger applications to use though if you would like.

      reply to Jacob

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