I’ve been thinking about this for a few days, and decided to make a post about it. Smartphone apps I find useful. I know there are a ton of really useful apps out there, but some are only available for iPhones. And I am an Android user.

So here’s a list of the apps I find useful. You can find each of these in the Google Play Store.  (And no- you won’t find any games here. While I do play them- they don’t particularly make life any easier.)

1. AVG Antivirus

I cannot stress enough that you always need antivirus software. Every computer needs it, and your phone IS a computer. Don’t just surf the internet, or download apps without being protected. The free version is useful enough. The PAID version is $11.99, and includes App lock, Device Lock, Camera Trap, and App Backup.

2. Do Not Disturb
It’s an automatic phone silencer. There is a Day Mode, a Night Mode and anything you marked on your calendar. For the Day Mode- you can choose one time of day (and which days you want it to be effective), and it will automatically silence your phone. Same for Night Mode. For instance- I go to bed at 9 pm every night. (I know- I’m OLD.) So I have Night Mode set for 9 pm. It automatically turns off notification sounds, and will not ring through, unless the caller is on your Exception list. Day Mode I have set every Sunday, so I won’t be disturbed when I am at church. This app is FREE.

There is a PAID version (which includes perks like letting you set your Exception List and having multiple Day Modes) called Silence (Premium version of Do Not Disturb). PAID version is $2.95.

The only drawback to either app, is that they don’t remember what your sound setting was before it turned on. For instance- I like to keep my phone on Silent at work, but if there’s something on my Calendar that it turns on for- when it turns back off- it goes to normal volume.

3. Smart Audiobook Player
This is an audiobook app, but for those of you who like keeping certain audio files separate- this could be very handy. You create a folder on your phone (or SD card, if your phone has a slot for one) and name it whatever you want. (I named mine Audiobooks. I know- very original.) When you check out audiobooks from the library, or rip them from CD- just put them in their own folder WITHIN the Audiobooks folder, and Smart Audiobook Player (SAP) will find them. It also lists as a system app, so if you have a task killer installed- it will not stop SAP. It’s FREE, but you can pay $2 in the Settings menu to upgrade to full features. (Like telling you what percentage of the book you have read, and how much you have left… changing the speed of playback, setting a sleep timer, and things like that.)

4. GasBuddy
It’s an app that lists the gas stations near you, so you can find the cheapest. (You can also order your results to list the cheapest one first.) You can save locations (like Home and Work) so the app doesn’t have to find your location each time. And if you are the first to report new prices at a gas station- you are entered in a giveaway to win gas cards. I wish there were a PAID version for this one, as I don’t particularly like all the ads.

5. Ruler
There are a bunch of ruler apps out there, and most are just fine. This one you can select which measurements you want, and it’s nice to have in a pinch, when I didn’t bring something with which to measure my knitting. This app is FREE.

Honorable Mention

Peel Smart Remote

This one really only works if your phone is capable of sending infrared (IR) signals. You can set up your phone to be a remote. I have set up one profile for my house and one profile for my Mother-In-Law’s house. My Father-in-law is hard on remotes, so the remote you find, may not be the one that works. And some only work partially. (Yes- that’s right- there are multiple remotes around that house, and each has it’s own special set of issues.) So- this way- I have a remote that WORKS, when we want to watch a movie on the DVD player, or when we just want to change the channel and can’t find the remote that will do so.

This app will also tell you what’s on TV, but I never use it for that.  This app is FREE.

Here’s a list of smartphones with an IR blaster in them: IR Blaster List – Wikipedia

Cell phone companies seem to be moving away from this functionality, which is sad, because it is useful (more often than you think) to have a remote handy.