Best Free and Safe Apps for Apple and Android

Courtesy of  iTunes & Google Play
By Hector Cisneros

In the past, I have written articles and done shows about the insatiable appetite that people have for free smart phone apps. We have talked about the many dangers inherent with free apps and what you can do to protect yourself. In this article we will be reviewing what we feel are the top 20 free and safe apps, available both for Apple and Android platforms. We will also provide a list of the top 50 apps available today along with links to them so you can read reviews and get these applets. So read on and get your appetite for apps satisfied by turning on to this week’s episode of Working The Web To Win.

Do You Have an Insatiable App-etite?

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love free apps, Right? Free adds a whole new dimension to products and services. However, we want you to remember that “free” actually comes with a price. Free apps are in reality freemium apps. This means that most, if not all, “FREE apps” cost you something. Most apps track your whereabouts, collect your contact info for resale, access all of the data on your smart device and almost all serve up advertising in some form or another. If you want to minimize this invasion of privacy get the paid version. Additionally, if you’re smart, you will turn off some of the embedded tracking functions as well.

Courtesy of www.flickr.com
Because there are so many free apps being created each day, Apple and Google cannot vet all of them safety or completely. This means you have to rely mostly on doing the upfront research yourself. You have to make sure your smart devices have anti-malware apps installed that check any new apps for malware. Never be the first to try a new app. I only download apps with at least 100k downloads and a rating of 4 stars. Doing this will help minimize your risk of installing a malicious app. If you’re also worried about privacy, “forget about it!” THERE IS NO PRIVACY” on your smart phone today! Even if you don’t install any apps, some of the pre-installed software tracks you anyway.

It is important to note that there is no perfect top 20 app lists for Apple or Android devices. You can look at the top 25 downloads of all time, the top 50 free downloads, the top 50 paid apps, etc.… Your criteria will actually list apps based on your current needs and primary usage. On top of that these lists often change weekly, if not daily. Both Apple iTunes and Google’s Play Store provide their Top Paid and Free apps lists. You can also go to Wikipedia to look at which Apps received a Billion or a Million downloads.  If you love gaming, your top 20 will be game heavy. However, if you’re a business executive, or a stay at home mom, your choices will be very different.

Also for the sake of trying to maintain some amount of brevity, this article will concentrate on app’s that don’t come installed from the factory. We will also generally stick to Apples and Google’s top freemium apps as well. Our show notes page has links to many articles providing top app picks, including paid apps. So if you want to see how others listed their top 20, check those links out.  Having said that, let’s look at the top 20 free apps for Apple and Android.

Top 20 Free App’s for Apple devices

Courtesy of  iTunes store
  1. Facebook – If you’re into Facebook, you have to get this app. It gives you full access to most of Facebook functionality. This includes uploading photos, read status messages, viewing the Newsfeed, friends' profiles, and send messages via instant message or email.
  2. Pandora Radio – This app makes it easy to enjoy music anywhere you're connected. You can create your own “radio stations” and listen to ad-supported tunes for free for 40 hours a month. There is a 99 cent fee if you exceed the 40-hour monthly cap.
  3. Instagram – With this app you can share and improve the look of your mobile photos, change your image by giving them a vintage or professional look with the app's built-in filters.
  4. YouTube – Gives you access the world’s largest video social network. You catch the latest trending videos, watch how to videos, music videos and even full length movies.
  5. Skype – This app allows you to contact friends and family around the world. It supports voice and video calls and texting, in most cases, for free.
  6. Words With Friends Free – This app is a free ad-supported version of the Scrabble-like game by Zynga. It lets you compete against your Facebook friends or strangers using this service.
    Courtesy of  www.flickr.com
  7. The Weather Channel - This app provides accurate, up-to-the-minute weather conditions for your area and beyond, including future forecast.
  8. Twitter – This app includes most of the functionality of the desktop version. You can search tweets, see what’s trending and tweet to add to the conversation. You can also tweet photos, and it has a built-in photo editor for making those pictures look great.
  9. Temple Run – The game put infinite-runner games on the iPhone map. This game lets you run and dodge obstacles until you can’t run any longer.
  10. Google Search – Google controls 81% of search so why not add it to your iPhone? Google Search is considered by many the ultimate app for performing web searches on any smart device.
  11. Netflix – With this app you can watch a quick episode of your favorite television show, or settle in and watch a feature-length film because this app gives you easy access to streaming your Netflix subscription to your smart device.
  12. Shazam for iPhone – Don’t know the name of that song? This app identifies the music playing around you.
  13. Angry Birds Free – One of the most loved games of all time. This ad-supported free
    Courtesy of  www.flickr.com
    version of the high-flying game, allows you to play through many levels for free.
  14.  Draw Something Free – This Zynga app brings a Pictionary type game to mobile. Draw a picture, send it to a friend and he or she has to guess what you drew.
  15. Flashlight – Need to shed some light on the subject – here’s the app for you. This app turns your phone into a bright mobile flashlight, strong enough to light up the area around you.
  16. Facebook Messenger - Don’t want the whole Facebook app? This app provides the messaging portion of Facebook in a standalone version.
  17. Google Earth - Want to look at pictures of any place on Earth? Google Earth provides a bird’s-eye view of the world through Google’s cameras.
  18.  Fruit Ninja Free - This game allows you to slice and dice fruits as they fly across the screen. The more fruit you chop while avoiding obstacles, the higher your score.
  19. iHeartRadio – This app lets you tune in and listen to Clear Channel radio stations from around the country, all on your iPhone.
  20. Movies by Flixster, With Rotten Tomatoes - Want to know if the latest movie is a winner? This app makes it easy to read reviews, before you’re on your way to the theater.


Also mentioned in many top 25 lists were eBay, Snapchat, Pac-Man Lite, Uber, Spotify, Pinterest, Waze, Amazon, Drop Box, Groupon, plus a horde of Google apps including Chrome, GoogleMaps, Gmail, Google Docs and Google Drive. Now let’s move on to the Android platform.

Top 20 Free App’s for Android devices

Courtesy of  Google Play Store
  1. Messenger From Facebook – This is basically the same app that is available for the Apple platform. It allows you to text via your data plan instead of the sending a conventional text.
  2. Google Photos - Google Photos stores all your photos and videos, searchable and organized by the people, places, and the things that matter.
  3. Facebook – This is the full app for android users who want to share updates, photos and videos on Facebook when mobile.
  4. Instagram – This app provides a mobile way to capture and share the world's moments. You can transform your everyday photos and videos into works of art to share with your family and friends.
  5. Pandora – Discover great music for free. Just enter the name of one of your favorite artists, songs, genres or even composers and Pandora does the rest. Create personalized stations that play your favorite music.
  6. Snapchat – With this app you snap a photo or a video, add a caption, and send it to a friend. They’ll view it and then the Snap disappears from the screen – unless they take a screenshot!
  7. Super-Bright LED Flashlight – This version of and LED Flashlight, instantly turns your smart device into a bright flashlight. Strobe/Blinking Mode is also supported.
  8. WhatsApp Messenger - This messaging app uses your phone’s Internet to message and call friends and family. The first year is FREE! WhatsApp charges $0.99 USD/year thereafter.
  9. Spotify Music – This app lets you listen to artists and albums, create your own playlist or discover new music. There are ready-made playlist or you can get personalized recommendations.
  10. Netflix – View your Netflix subscription right on your android smart device anywhere
    Courtesy of  www.flickr.com
    you are connected.
  11. Star Wars™: Uprising - This RPG game is set between Star Wars™: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi™ and Star Wars™: The Force Awakens™.  It is a multiplayer game where you can join millions of players worldwide.
  12. Piano Tiles 2 – This game is the sequel to the hugely popular game Piano. It has new gameplay, first-class sound quality and provides global competition mode.
  13. KiK – More than 240 million people use this app to chat with people around the world without phone numbers.  You can create groups (up to 50 people), filter who you talk to, access memes, funny pics, celebrity news, videos, GIFs and more.
  14. NFL Mobile – All new for 2015. Fans receive a different experience depending on when they login (day and time, in season or off, game day or non-game day). It provides breaking NFL news, up-to-minute scoring, in-game highlights, live videos and more.
  15. CM Security Antivirus AppLock – This app received the Oscar from the antivirus world 7 times. It is ranked #1 by the AV-TEST again this year.
  16. Subway Surfers – This game allows you to dash and dodge the oncoming trains. Help Jake escape from the grumpy inspector and his dog.  Includes colorful and vivid HD graphics. 
  17. 360 Security - Antivirus Boost – This antivirus app provides management with an all-in-one speed booster that optimizes your background apps, memory space, junk files and battery power.
  18. Pinterest – This app allow you to create pin boards with a visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas. Create meal plans, plan travel, do home improvement projects and much more.
  19. Amazon Shopping – Shop for millions of products, quickly search, get product details, and read reviews on millions of products from Amazon and other merchants from around the world.
  20. FanDual – This app brings you the one-day fantasy sports leagues. Get immediate
    Courtesy of  commons.wikimedia.org
    cash payouts for winners and no season-long commitment. Play public leagues or with friends. $10 million paid out weekly. Entry fees start from $1.


Other top mentions include many of the same ones listed for the Apple platform, including Twitter, LinkedIn, eBay and Waze. However, you will notice many of the Google apps missing from this list because many of these apps come pre-installed on the Android system.

As stated earlier, everyone loves FREE apps for their smart devices. We all can enjoy the benefits of “freemium” apps by using common sense and by doing our due diligence before downloading and installing that app. This article has provided tips for selecting the best free apps for both Apple and Android devices. It lists my top 20 free apps which were selected by combining many of the top list for 2015.

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If you found this article useful please share it with your friends, family and co-workers. If you have a comment or a different opinion, join the conversation by adding it to the comment section below. If you would like to learn more, visit the notes page on this blog for the BlogTalkRadio show dated 9/022/015. If you’d like to find more articles like this, read, "What Does the Public’s Uncontrollable App-etite Mean to You?",  “How to Safely Whet Your Appetite for Smartphone Apps” and “Big Data Comes Wrapped in Big Danger” or enter the words “Hacking or Apps” in the search box at the top of this blog. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, co-workers and associates. If you have something to add or have a difference of opinion, place them in the Comments section.  It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

That’s my opinion. I look forward to reading yours.

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091,We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results.  Don't forget to Plus us on Google+ as well. If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below. You will gain immediate access to it and as always, your information is always kept private and is never sold.



Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning, Internet-based marketing firm, Working the Web to Win, in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebookGoogle+,  LinkedIn,  and YouTube.  He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business. Additionally, Hector is a syndicated writer on Ezine Online and is an active blogger (including ghost writing). He's a published author of two books, "60 Seconds to Success"(available at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get by filling out the form above. He’s also the co-author of the new book, “Working The Web to Win,” which is now available on Amazon.com.

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4 comments:

  1. The notes about apps that aren't exactly free were interesting. To me, most free apps seem to be data collection platforms and the objective of the producers is to push perfectly targeted ads at the users.

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