The Best Alternatives to Google’s Preinstalled Android Apps


Every Android user out there is used to getting their shiny new Android phone preloaded with a slew of Google apps. From Maps to Gmail, Google’s apps are central to the Android experience.

But what if you don’t want to use Google’s apps? Maybe you’re not a fan of how they collect your data, or you want to try something new — don’t fret, there are plenty of other alternatives to choose from. Look no further than our list below.

Google Chrome

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Google Chrome is arguably the center of your Google experience on an Android phone, but plenty of people swear by other browsers — and there are some great ones.

Best alternative: Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox has long been among the better web browsers since its launch in 2002, before Google Chrome ever existed. It has come a long way since then, and the Android version, in particular, is much improved. Some of the better features on the browser include syncing with the desktop version, an easy-to-use bookmark system, support for casting, and more.

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Runner-up: Opera

Opera is another long-running Android web browser, and it offers some excellent features. In fact, the browser is one of the most downloaded Android web browsers out there, and for good reason. It comes with a built-in news feed to help find content, and it also blocks all ads natively. The browser also compresses videos and images, so you save data, and Speed Dial allows you to quickly access your favorite sites. It helps that Opera has a great user interface as well.

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Google Photos

Google Photos is among the better services Google has put on offer in the last few years — especially since it offers free, unlimited photo storage — but it’s not for everyone. There are some other options for storing and managing your photo library.

Best alternative: Amazon Photos

You may not be aware of this  — not many people are — but Amazon has its own photo storage and management system called Amazon Photos. The app is similar to Google Photos in many ways, and it can be the best option for those who already have Amazon Prime. Like Google Photos, Prime Photos uses artificial intelligence to find people and locations, and you can upload your photos straight from your phone.

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Runner-up: Flickr

Flickr offers a massive 1TB of free cloud storage for all your photos, so unless you’re a professional photographer, you should have plenty of space for all your snaps. In the Flickr app, you can tweak your photos’ settings quickly and easily, plus you’ll get access to the Flickr community, which is helpful if you’re a photo-taking enthusiast.

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Google Maps

google sos alerts news maps android

Google Maps may well be the best-known mapping software out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best in every situation. Here are a few great alternatives to Google Maps.

Best alternative: Waze

Waze may still be Google-owned, but it’s pretty different from the preinstalled Google Maps on your Android phone. How is it different? Waze is almost like a social network. When you encounter something on the road — a police car tracking speeds, a road closure, or anything else that may affect a ride — you can report it on Waze. Keep in mind that Waze is only for navigation in the car, unlike Maps, which offers directions for walking and public transportation.

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Runner-up: Here WeGo

Here Maps, owned by Nokia, is also a great mapping option. The service is available in a hefty 132 countries around the world, and is far less storage-intensive than Google Maps. On top of that, it allows you to download offline maps for free, and you can access navigation for public transit.

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Gmail

gmail for ios finally gets handy customizable swipe actions
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While the Gmail app allows you to get emails from other services, many prefer to use third-party email clients, where they can manage all of their emails in one inbox. Here are a few of the best email options for Android.

Best alternative: BlueMail

Looking for an email client that’s highly functional and well-designed? BlueMail may be the way to go. The app not only allows you to easily manage your emails from all your different email accounts, but it also has a built-in calendar, and a dark mode. It also has some intuitive features to make checking your emails a little quicker, like the ability to preview emails without opening the full message, and you can quickly and easily organize emails, which is always handy.

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Runner-up: Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook is another app that has long been considered an excellent app for managing emails, and the app has been getting better and better over the last few years. The app can manage more than just Outlook and Hotmail accounts too — you can use it for your Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and other accounts. It’s well-designed, easy to use, and generally a great app, especially for those that use Outlook on the desktop.

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Google Drive

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Google Drive is used all over the world, but there are plenty of other cloud storage services that are just as good as, if not better than Drive for some uses. Here are some of the best ones.

Best alternative: Dropbox

Dropbox has long been a favorite cloud storage service for many people, and for good reason. It has a nice, clean interface, as well as apps for your Android phone and almost all other platforms that you may need it on. While it only offers 2GB of free storage space, there are plenty of ways to get more without paying money — and even 2GB should be enough for some people. If not, you can pay for more.

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Runner-up: Microsoft OneDrive

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This one is particularly good for those who use Windows computers, as it will help you better sync your files on your phone and computer. You’ll also get nice features, like notifications when files are shared with you, the ability to share photos and videos, and automatic tagging for your files (so you can quickly and easily find them later on).

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Google News

Google News

Getting the news in a timely manner can be very important, especially if it’s news that relates to your local area or a national or international event. In case Google Play Newsstand or Google News aren’t for you, here are some great alternatives.

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Best alternative: Flipboard

Flipboard has become the default news app for many Android users, and for good reason. The magazine-style layout has inspired plenty of other news-based apps, and it helps make the news much more digestible. On top of that, it aggregates all different media — text, video, and social media — into one accessible app.

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Runner-up: Inoreader

Inoreader may not be as flashy as Flipboard, but it’s still well-designed and easy to use. The app is RSS-based, so you can pick and choose your favorite news sources and do away with other sources that you may not be so into. Not only that, but you can choose to keep tabs on specific keywords, so you can track particular topics rather than sources or websites.

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Docs, Slides, Sheets

Google’s productivity suite is fairly well-known, but some argue it’s not as powerful as they would like. Here are a few alternatives to Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets.

Best alternative: Microsoft Office Mobile

Microsoft’s famed Office suite is arguably the most-used productivity suite in the world. With an Office 365 subscription, you can use Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in full on your phone. Even without the subscription, you’ll have access to slightly stripped-down versions of the apps.

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Runner-up: OfficeSuite

Another great productivity suite for Android is OfficeSuite, which includes an alternative to Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Using the apps, you can edit and create Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, as well as access PDFs, and manage your files with a built-in file manager. Many smartphone manufacturers even preload OfficeSuite on phones, including Sony, Amazon, Acer, and more.

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Google Calendar

There are plenty of calendar apps out there, but some are most certainly better than others. Here are two of the best Google Calendar alternatives.

Best alternative: SolCalendar

Another beautifully designed calendar app for Android is SolCalendar. Not only does this app look great, but it also offers weather updates, stickers that you can place for specific events, and the ability to sync with other calendar apps.

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Runner-up: aCalendar

aCalendar may not be the most downloaded calendar app out there, but it offers a lot of features. The app is pretty classic in design and easy to use, plus it comes with a range of widgets, meaning you can quickly and easily see calendar items straight from your phone’s home screen.

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Duo

Hangouts is no longer available as a consumer app, and Duo isn’t necessarily the most versatile app out there. There are, however, plenty of alternatives on Android.

Best alternative: Facebook Messenger

facebook messenger 2017 android

Facebook Messenger may be largely a text chat app, but it works great as a video chatting service too. All you have to do is hit the video chat button on the top right-hand corner of a chat window, and you’ll initiate a video call with your contact. On top of that, the app supports group video chats, so you can talk with more than one person at a time.

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Runner-up: Skype

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Skype has long been a favorite video chatting app for customers, and for good reason. The service is easy to use, and supports group chats. Not only that, but considering the popularity of the service, chances are you and at least a few of your friends already have a Skype account.

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Google Fit

google fit tips recommendations header
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Google Fit offers some great Android integrations, and automatically tracks a number of metrics, including steps taken and minutes active. There are, however, plenty of great alternatives, many of which are a little more comprehensive.

Best alternative: RunKeeper

RunKeeper has been a favorite among fitness enthusiasts for some time, and offers a number of excellent features. For example, the app can track your runs and show them on a map, as well as help you set training and fitness goals and see the progress you’ve made over a period of time.

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Runner-up: Nike+ Run Club

Nike has its own fitness tracking app for Android, called Nike+ Run Club. Like other apps, Nike+ Run Club helps you track and manage your fitness goals, and the app will help coach you toward those goals. On top of that, you can compete with other friends who have the app as well.

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Google Pay

Google Pay has evolved a lot over the years, and now allows for an easy way to send and receive money from friends, and for contactless payments. That said, there are a few pretty good alternatives.

Best alternative: Venmo

Venmo has become popular over the last few years, and hundreds of people now use the app. All you have to do is connect the app to your bank account, and you can then quickly and easily send and receive money. You can also request money — so if you paid for your friend’s dinner you can keep tabs on who owes you what without having to continuously hit up your friends.

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Runner-up: PayPal

PayPal has been around for years, and it has evolved a lot. Not only does it help you safely shop online, but it also helps you quickly and easily send and receive money with your friends. You can also use the app to send invoices, and if you have a PayPal Credit account, you can manage that credit line.

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YouTube Music

YouTube Music

YouTube Music is a great music management and listening app, but some prefer other services. Here are a few of the top music listening apps for Android.

Best alternative: Spotify

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Spotify is a pioneer in the music world, and it’s certainly the most popular music subscription service. You will need a subscription to make the most of the Spotify app, but the company does offer a free ad-based subscription, so you can get started without having to pay up.

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Runner-up: Apple Music

apple music subscriber growth android

Apple offers a music subscription service of its own, and it’s available on both Android and iOS. The app is well-designed and easy to use, and if you have a subscription, you’ll have access to the massive library of music at Apple’s disposal, even exclusives. You’ll also be able to listen to Apple’s Beats 1 radio station.

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