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The best free Android apps of 2022: the best apps in the Google Play Store

Our favorite free Android apps for planning a holiday, checking the weather and getting around without getting lost.

Slopes: Ski Tracker, Resort Maps, Snow Conditions

(Image credit: Breakpoint Studio)

Slopes: Ski Tracker, Resort Maps, Snow Conditions

Slopes: Ski Tracker (opens in new tab) is one of the most comprehensive ski and snowboard apps available for Android – one that’s useful both at the resort and when planning a trip.

The main feature of Slopes is arguably its run tracking. Hit ‘Go’ and leave the app running in your pocket, and it will track your top speed, average speed, vertical distance, time on the slopes, and build up a map of the runs and lifts you took – complete with lift names for major resorts.

It doesn’t need a phone signal to track you, just a GPS connection, and it’s designed to be light on your phone’s battery, so you can use it all day.

Slopes also lets you compete with friends on private leaderboards, and it has all sorts of resort details, including ski maps, weather forecasts, snow conditions, elevation, trail difficulty, and user-generated stats, such as how much of your day you’re likely to spend on lifts.

Some of this stuff will be useful when deciding what ski resort to go to, and almost all of it will be useful once you’re there. Much of the stuff in Slopes is free too, but for some of the stats, along with offline trail maps and speed heatmaps, you’ll need to upgrade to Slopes Premium – but there are various subscription options available, along with a free trial.

Polarsteps

Polarsteps

There are all sorts of apps designed for journaling your travels, but Polarsteps (opens in new tab) can do much of the work automatically.

The app will track where you’ve been and add photos from your travels, giving you a map and gallery of all your trips, simply by having the app running in the background on your phone.

You can make trips manually and add any photos it missed, but creating trips automatically means you’ll have at least a partial record of your adventures without doing anything.

This might sound like it would hammer your phone’s battery, but in fact Polarsteps is designed to only use around 4% each day and it doesn’t even need to be connected to the internet, which is ideal if you’re traveling somewhere where data costs extra.

You can keep your trips private or share them with friends and family, and by following people in the app you can see their journeys as they happen. Polarsteps is also nice to look at, easy to use and completely free, making it near essential for anyone who wants a visual record of their trips.

Overdrop

Overdrop

Overdrop (opens in new tab) is yet another weather app, but it stands out more for its widgets than its forecasting skills.

It has quite a lot of them, and many are beautifully designed, showing some combination of the weather, time, day, date and battery level. We’d be surprised if you can’t find one you like, and while some are reserved for the paid Overdrop Pro (opens in new tab) app, many are free.

Beyond that, Overdrop is a perfectly accomplished weather app, with seven-day forecasts, nice animated illustrations, and information on things like cloud cover and humidity.

Ventusky: Weather Maps

Ventusky: Weather Maps

There’s a lot more to the weather than you’ll generally see in a typical forecast, and it can be a lot more interesting – and beautiful – than a simple temperature reading.

Ventusky (opens in new tab) knows this, as it makes forecasts more engaging by including an attractive weather map and wind animation, complete with the current temperature shown on the map, so you can see exactly which areas are what temperature at a glance.

Hourly forecasts let you see how the weather will change over the day and tapping on any hour or day will adjust the weather map accordingly.

You can also view weekly charts of the temperature, precipitation and wind, so you can see how much it varies over time.

Sunrise and sunset times are also available, so there’s a lot to sink your teeth into, but really Ventusky is all about that weather map and wind animation, which shows the motion and direction of the wind in a mesmerizing way.

Facebook Local

Facebook Local

Facebook Local (opens in new tab) is all about finding events and attractions nearby. It links to your Facebook account then shows a bunch of events listed on Facebook that are near your current or home location, or another place of your choice.

Some of these will be from friends and pages that you follow, but it will also dig up other local public events, so you’re likely to discover things that you wouldn’t have found on your main Facebook feed.

You can filter events and attraction by type, date, location or time, view them on a map and add them to your Facebook calendar, so it’s simple to control what you see and keep track of what you’re interested in. You can also add your phone calendar to the app, so you can see and manage everything in one place.

More or less all of this stuff can be found on Facebook itself, but Facebook Local is a much more focused way to find out what’s going on around you, without all of Facebook’s many distractions, so it’s worth having on your phone even if you already have the main Facebook app.

Moovit

Moovit

Moovit (opens in new tab) is the only app you need to navigate public transport wherever you might be in the world.

Simply enter a destination and it will tell you how to get there from your current location (or you can set a different start point).

Moovit will give you various route options using different forms of transport by default, but you can tell it to only include certain kinds of public transport, or to minimize walking or transfers.

Select a route to see full step by step instructions or get live navigation. The app will tell you exactly where to go and even alert you when you’re nearing your stop so you don’t need to stare at your phone screen the entire journey.

There are also timetables for buses and trains and you can save your favorite destinations or transit lines to quickly get directions and timetables in future.

Moovit also has widgets, offline maps, and transport information for thousands of cities in over 80 countries. We weren’t kidding when we said it’s the only public transport app you’ll need.

Citymapper

Citymapper

Arriving in a brand new city is always exciting but it can also be a little daunting, especially if you need to get around using public transport. Citymapper (opens in new tab) is a brilliant app that brings you real-time information on public transport for cities around the world.

You can easily plan your route using all kinds of transport, from buses to ferries, and you can be kept up to date with real-time data, including any disruptions or cancellations. An essential app for any city-bound traveler.

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.