We’ve come to the end of another year and it’s time for fun yearly roundups. Android apps aren’t quite the draw that they used to be. After all, it’s difficult to break out into a scene where there are already so many excellent apps. Still, we think quite a few made out well this year, and we’re going to talk about them. Here are the best Android apps released in 2022.
We sorted through over 200 apps for this list, with many more on the cutting room floor. Our cutoff this year was December 10th, so apps released on or around that date didn’t make it because we couldn’t test them thoroughly first. Thank you for understanding.
This list is in alphabetical order except for the final three apps, which we chose as the best Android apps of the year. We hope you enjoy the read.
The best Android apps released in 2022
AetherSX2 is a PlayStation 2 emulator that launched in beta in late 2021. It received its first full release in 2022. This app is
nice for a few different reasons. For starters, it’s the first PlayStation 2 emulator on Android ever. It also works reasonably well. Some features include the usual emulator stuff like save states and hardware controller support. You’ll also get stuff like 1080p upscaling, per-game settings, and widescreen patches for select games.
You do need a PlayStation 2 BIOS file, and the developer doesn’t provide one for obvious reasons. Other than that, it seems to work pretty well on most high-end, modern phones. The developer notes that Mali and PowerVR GPUs don’t run the emulator as well as the more popular Adreno GPUs, so your mileage may vary. In any case, it’s nice to have PlayStation 2 support on Android now, along with all the other good emulators.
Console Launcher is a launcher for mobile gamers. It’s set up to look like a Nintendo Switch UI, where your games show up as large tiles. The launcher has a few gamer-centric features, like controller support so you can scroll through your games with the flick of a joystick. It’s definitely a neat little feature for people who game with controllers a lot, but a bit niche otherwise.
Some downsides include a lack of customization and less-than-ideal accessibility support, and it’s actually less ergonomic to use without a controller. This certainly isn’t something we’d run on a daily driver, but it’s a unique premise. After all, Kodi exists for multimedia. Why shouldn’t there be a launcher for gaming? In any case, the launcher costs a flat $4.99 and has no in-app purchases or ads.
Price: Free / $2.99
It’s a little weird putting a diary app on a best-of-the-year list, but this one is surprisingly good. Daily Diary does everything you expect from a decent diary app. That includes a biometric lock, the ability to add photos to your diary entries, a calendar, a mood tracker, reminders, and a pleasantly uncluttered but modern UI. The soft, muted colors and easy-to-understand controls are appealing to most people.
One of the best parts about the app is its price tag. Most diary apps use a subscription service. This one goes for just $2.99 with no additional in-app purchases or ads. It accomplishes this feat by using Google Drive to back up your diary if you need to switch devices. That, along with the excellent execution, helps separate it from most of the other great diary apps. We know diary apps aren’t the most popular segment on mobile, but this is definitely among the best apps in the category, so we’re writing about it.
Price: Free trial / $7.99 per month / $59.99 per year
DanceFitme is a fitness app mixed with a dance app. Create an account, subscribe, and you’re treated to a variety of videos that help you learn how to do some dances while also losing weight. The app offers videos with various types of dances along with workout plans to help you accomplish your fitness goals. Of course, you’ll learn the steps for the various dances as you do them.
The app can also do the usual fitness stuff like track your progress and tailor your workouts based on your experience level. We wouldn’t recommend a subscription-based fitness app if it didn’t offer those things. This kind of workout isn’t quite my thing, but I definitely see why a lot of people hopped on this one this year. The subscription also isn’t terrible, as many fitness apps go for $9.99 per month or more.
DeepL Translate is a foreign language translator. It currently supports 29 languages. It can translate in a few different ways. You can type in words, use your camera to look at text, or even talk to the app to get direct translations. The UI is simple, but effective, with a few modern flourishes, so it doesn’t look outdated.
It doesn’t support as many languages as the big dogs like Google Translate or Microsoft Translate. Those apps have years of developmental maturity over this one, so the fact that this one supports over two dozen languages is still pretty impressive. Translations were quick and accurate in our testing. It’s nice to see another option in the translation space that isn’t a Google or Microsoft product.
Duolingo ABC is a learning app for children. This one helps teach literacy, as indicated by the name. It basically takes Duolingo’s winning formula and applies it to reading. Kids take bite-sized lessons in the form of stories for them to read. The app boasts over 700 reading lessons in total.
Some other features of the app include offline support, no advertising, and lessons for kids up through first grade. Obviously, older kids with reading difficulties can still use the app as well. A lot of children’s learning software is much of the same stuff presented in the same way. Duolingo does it a little bit differently; this is an easy recommendation for teaching kids how to read.
Dream by WOMBO
Price: Free trial / $4.99 per month / $99.99 once
Dream by WOMBO is Google Play’s choice for its app of the year. We think it’s pretty good as well. It’s an artificial intelligence art tool that can create all kinds of neat images. It specializes in dreamscapes that are vaguely reminiscent of posters you used to be able to buy from Spencer’s back in the 1990s. These images are great for sharing on social media or as background images.
It works a bit like a search engine. You type in nouns that you want to see. The app then draws a dreamscape with those nouns. I found the functionality to be a bit hit or miss. Sometimes it would make the artwork as described, and sometimes it would skip keywords. In either case, there are a lot of apps similar to this on the Play Store, but even with its quirks, this one still does it better than its competitors.
Price: Free / $5+ per month
Linktree is a biography website. You use it to create a profile page. The website then generates a short link that you plug into your bio on social media profiles. You’ve likely seen Linktree links on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter profiles. The app is an extension of the website and lets you craft the exact same things you find on the website.
There really isn’t much to it, and it kind of reminds me of a MySpace profile. You can add your name, things about you, likes, dislikes, and the usual stuff. It also lets you link things like music, playlists, videos, and podcasts, which is what gives me the MySpace vibes. It’s made specifically for sites with short bios, and we see people using them all the time.
Price: Free with in-app purchases
We’re honestly surprised NoteIt Widget has as many downloads as it does. The app boasts over ten million downloads as of the time of this writing. It’s a novel concept. The app connects you to another person and then places a widget on your phone. Once done, you message that other person directly from the widget by writing out words or drawing little doodles.
It obviously won’t replace the utility of standard messaging apps, but we found that it’s a nice little app for couples or best friends. The app keeps track of streaks, similar to Snapchat, and you can buy back your streak if you break it with in-app purchases. This one is a bit more buggy than we’d like for a best-of-the-year list, but we can’t argue with those download numbers. People like this one.
Price: Free / $7.99 per month / $79.99 per year
Recover Athletics is a different kind of fitness app. The main premise isn’t to help you get into shape. Instead, it helps you recover from your fitness training in a healthy manner. The app has a bunch of tips, tricks, and tutorials for nursing aches and pains while preventing injury. Some other features include integration with Strava, a digital coach with personalized recovery recommendations, and custom routine creation that lets you plan your recovery.
Price: Free / $3.99
Symphonium is a music player for cloud-based music. The app lets you connect to Plex, Subsonic, Jellyfin, Emby, Kodi, and others. It works by connecting you to your music collection on your computer and playing it like any other music app. It sounds niche, but there really aren’t any other apps like this on Google Play, and that’s why it’s on this list. The app does what it does better than any of the competition, to our knowledge.
Some additional features include song ratings, smart filters, smart playlists, Android Auto support, offline playback functionality, lyrics support, and an equalizer. It looks like and works like any other music player after you get everything set up. This one is excellent, and we think it’ll end up on some of our best lists within the next year.
Ukulele by Yousician
Price: Free / $14.99 per month / $139.99 per year
Yousician already has a successful app for guitar, bass, and singing. This app is an extension of that, but just for ukuleles. To be perfectly honest, we’re not sure why the ukulele got its own app instead of just being integrated into the main Yousician app, but we don’t make those decisions. The app works just like the main one. You log in, find lessons, and learn how to play the ukulele. There are lessons for chords, tuning, reading sheet music, various picking patterns, and more.
The only real downside is the price. It’s substantially more expensive than the base Yousician app at $14.99 per month. The free trial is a little bare-bones as well. We assume it’s because it’s catering to a smaller group of people, but we think it probably should be a bit cheaper. Otherwise, the app works well.
Second runner-up: Mastodon
Mastodon released its official app back in April of 2022. Months later, Elon Musk purchased Twitter and Mastodon saw a massive influx of new users. We can’t think of a better-timed release than this one. The app works pretty well. You can sign into your instance, create posts, and check out what’s going on with the people you follow. It’s a clean experience that isn’t terribly difficult to use once you get set up.
Most of the bugs reported by users are during the setup process. After that, everything is pretty straightforward. The app could use a little polish to keep up with modern social media apps, but honestly, it works fine without it.
BeReal is Google Play’s app of the year. It’s a social network that tries to remove the fake from social media by only giving users a couple of minutes per day to post. The app chooses when you post, so you can’t really plan it. You just take a picture of what you’re doing and go. Influencers have some issues getting into this platform, which makes me happy.
Using the app is pretty simple. You follow your friends, check out their stuff when they post, and that’s it. Since it doesn’t give you a constant stream, you have to leave when you’re done because you have nothing else to do. That’s kind of the charm with BeReal. The app itself works mostly okay, but some intermittent network bugs along with annoying notifications hinder it somewhat.
App of the year: DynamicSpot
Price: Free / $2.49-$4.99
We’re going out on a limb here and saying that DynamicSpot is Android Authority‘s app of the year. It’s a customization app that mimics the iPhone’s Dynamic Island. You can set it to work in a few different ways and with several different apps. We like it because most Android phones have a notch or pinhole camera anyway, and this is a way to play with it. It also works very well and, to our knowledge, is the only Dynamic Island app on the Play Store that doesn’t have a ton of bugs.
Some of the ways you can customize DynamicSpot include iOS-style music controls, a countdown timer, battery charging, and sending notification replies from the pop-up — and you can set up your own custom interactions as well. Plus, unlike BeReal, this app actually launched in 2022, is an answer to a 2022 trend, and it’s honestly fun to use. Congratulations, DynamicSpot.
Every year we select the 15 best apps to list as the best of the year. However, there are some other apps that are close to making the list. Since listicles like these are subjective, we decided to add ten additional honorable mentions that you could easily switch out with almost any of the above apps. Here are our honorable mentions for the best Android apps of the year.
- 28 — 28 is a hybrid fitness app and menstrual cycle tracker. It suggests fitness routines for you that change based on where you are in your monthly cycle. It also tracks your cycle and gives you information based on each phase. With a 4.4 rating on Google Play, and an increasing focus on women’s fitness in Google Play, this app hit the ground running.
- Breathwrk — Breathwrk is a meditation app with breathing exercises. The idea is to use breathing exercises to help control and relieve stress, anxiety, depression, and even stuff like high blood pressure. The app works well, and the exercises are genuinely relaxing. The only downside is that it’s pretty expensive.
- Google’s busy year — Google revamped a few of its apps this year, including Google Family Link and Google Home. Family Link received a redesign to make it easier to manage and use. Google Home finally received Wear OS support. The company also re-released Google Wallet. These changes didn’t fix all the issues, but it seems Google is on the right track with this stuff, at least.
- Lensa — Lensa received significant attention this year as a social media trend. You upload or take a couple of photos, and the app turns those photos into AI-generated images. The app does a lot more stuff, too, and includes some photo editing tools as well. However, most people know about it and use it for AI stuff. One package costs $7.99 to create, and your mileage may vary.
- Lightness — Lightness is an anonymous social media network. Essentially, users post stuff as lanterns. You tap those lanterns to read someone’s posts. Since it’s anonymous, people use the platform to post secrets, admissions, emotional stories, and stuff they may not post elsewhere. We don’t think it’ll disrupt the status quo, but it’s a neat idea with good execution.
- Little Lunches — Little Lunches is a meal planner app designed for people with kids. The app helps create meal plans, and users can include things like dietary restrictions and caloric intake needs. It also has information for meal plans for children. It can be a bit finicky, but we think the idea is good. Not many meal planners focus on kids.
- MJ PDF Reader — MJ PDF Reader is a well-done, totally free, and open-source PDF reader. It eschews the super long list of features for a simple, but functional experience. You can do things like print PDFs and view them in true full-screen mode, and it’ll remember where you left off when you leave and come back. It’s the best PDF reader launched this year.
- PetStar — PetStar is an entertaining little app. You take a picture of your pet, outline where the mouth is, and the app will make your pet sing a song. It’s not a serious app by any stretch, and it’s meant to give you a few minutes of entertainment and laughs. The app does have different songs, and they add more periodically. We don’t think it’s worthy of a top 15 vote, but people seemed to enjoy it.
- Plant Parent — Plant Parent is an app to help you take better care of your plants. It includes things like smart reminders, a Plant ID function, a calendar, and several guides for nursing sick plants back to health. The UI is modern and relatively easy to use. Good gardening apps don’t along very often anymore, so we’re just happy to see some competition in the space.
- Wamble — Wamble is a discovery app of sorts. It helps you find things to do that are within one mile of where you currently are. We don’t think this sort of thing helps all that much for long-time residents of a spot, but travelers can get a ton of use out of something like this. There is a chat function, a buy and sell function, and you can find events with it. We think it’s niche, but the concept is good.
If we missed any great Android apps from 2022, tell us about them in the comments. You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists.