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.