On Android? Five apps you need right now

Default apps sometimes just don’t do the things that we desire, and sometimes things that we want are just out of our reach or unable to come to us fast enough. Here are five apps that can increase your productivity, make your phone look beautiful as well as come in handy for people looking to organise themselves and their families. All on the Google Play Store.

Backdrops — Free with In-App Purchases

Backdrops is a background or wallpaper app which provides users with the beautiful, high resolution backgrounds that are far better than the bland default backgrounds most android phones have to offer. — With a few “Nexceptions” of course. Say goodbye to below average images, and hello to literally any kind of style you as the user could ask for. Users can upload their own designs and photography to share with other photo enthusiasts, as well as download and share wallpapers already added by the app. Backdrops is somewhat of a successor to the old customisation king, “Zedge” which is another free app worth exploring if interested. It uses hardly any data to change your wallpaper to super high resolution images, and doesn’t take up any storage other than some cache which can be cleared whilst retaining the wallpaper.

Lantern — Free

Lantern is a VPN or Proxy app which unlocks internet capabilities on school and public domains for the user. Use with care because it can pass through certain firewalls that a server has to ensure safety. If you’re in New Zealand you should face no problems. Lantern is totally free, and is easily one of, if not the fastest VPN options on the Google Play Store. It claims to be fully encrypted which means your activity should not be tracked by the network you are on. Caveat emptor otherwise with this one.

Nova Launcher — Free with Premium or “Prime” option

Nova is my preferred homescreen on Android. The free version of the app is good enough, but if you have a few dollars to spare it is definitely worth the upgrade to the Prime version. The price changes a lot. It costs around $5 NZD usually, but frequently goes on sale for as little as 99 cents. It offers full control over animations, icon sizes, scroll effects, and a whole range of geeky toggles and features that people looking to get more out of their phone will enjoy. Including a night mode to dim colours down, and features that many phones lack such as unread counts for apps with notifications. Throw in an awesome wallpaper from Backdrops, and you’ve got on gorgeous software experience on your phone or tablet.

Omni Swipe — Free or Premium version for $5.87

Omni Swipe takes customisation to new territories with a convenient bubble launcher that pops out when you swipe from the corner of your screen and inwards. Need to quickly access a contact or app or tool whilst doing something else? Or need to quickly check out the weather or perform an action instead of having to tap into settings? Omni Swipe does the trick. There are endless opportunities to customise the app both on the free version and paid version. Omni Swipe is definitely worth checking out.

Cozi Family Organiser — Free with In-App Purchases

We’ve all heard of Google Keep, and Google Calendar. And there are the usual few apps which make organising one a phone easy. Although nothing does group organisation like Cozi Family Organiser. It combines shared journals, calendars, to-do lists and even a recipe book into one compact application. Need to know what your son or daughter have on next Tuesday? Just swipe onto the Cozi home screen widget and view the family calendar. Gotta buy groceries and need everyone to write in everything that they need from different locations? Just make a shared to-do list and wallah. Cozi combines all these tools, and makes it easy with a child-friendly interface that let’s you keep track of everything going on in family life without the hassle of multiple apps or having to use paper.