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

An image of an Android phone against a brown background with the words "best free android apps"
(Image credit: SoundCloud)

Finding the best free android apps on the Google Play Store can be a real chore, what with all the options out there. Who knew, when Google launched Android 13 years ago, that there would be this many available apps to choose from. You can find one to cater for every need, whim, or desire. And, a lot of them come with that magic price tag, free, so that you’re just a few clicks away from taking your phone to the next level.

But, just because there’s such a glut of apps out there doesn’t mean that most of them are quality. There’s a lot that you should probably skip. In fact,  the Play Store gives you a lot of tools to parse through all the noise, from Editor’s Picks for different categories to recommendations for new releases or for apps based on your prior downloads.

You can also narrow the search by reading reviews and ratings or searching for an app you have and seeing what similar results pop up.

With that said, there are so many in the store’s library, that a free android app that’s worth downloading can still get lost in the shuffle. To help you find the best android apps that are free, we’ve collected our top picks here to make sure you have all the apps you could want or need on your phone or tablet, sorted into categories so you can more easily find what you're looking for. 

Not an Android user? You can use these apps on one of the best Android emulators.

Best new free Android app

Every month we add a new app to this list, and you'll find the latest addition below.

Screenshots showing Mastodon on Android

(Image credit: Mastodon)

Mastodon

If you’re a Twitter fan but don’t like aspects of it – or Elon Musk’s vision for it – then Mastodon (opens in new tab) is worth checking out, as it aims to be Twitter without the problems.

That might sound like a lofty goal, but it has a clever solution – rather than being one centralized social network, it’s decentralized, so you don’t just join Mastodon, you instead join an independent Mastodon community, with its own rules and values.

That doesn’t stop you interacting with other communities – unless your community has banned them – but it means that in theory everyone can find the kind of moderation and guidelines they’re looking for.

The website has been around for a while, but now that there’s an Android app it’s much more convenient to use from your phone. And the app has all the core features of the site, letting you browse, post, follow people and more. There’s also a dark mode, which is certainly appreciated.

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.