There is not shortage of free mobile and desktop applications available on the internet. Unfortunately, most of them are either rubbish or trick you into parting with your cash via in-app purchases. But if you take the time to sort the wheat from the chaff, you’ll find plenty of excellent apps that truly are free.
We’re thankful every day for all the free apps out there that improve our lives (and the developers that make them!). Here are 50 our favourites.
Category: News Readers
2. Google Maps
Category: Maps See also: The Best Extensions to Make Google Maps Even More Awesome, The Best Ways to Use Google’s New(ish) My Maps Tool, How to Set Up the Ultimate Personal Google Maps, Make your GPS App Give You Better Directions, and Wean Yourself Off Your GPS Dependency.
Category: Cloud Storage
See also: The Cheapskate’s Guide to Getting Free Dropbox Space, How to Get 8GB+ Extra Dropbox Space for Free with Google AdWords, Seven Downloads and Extensions to Make Dropbox Even More Awesome, Top 10 Clever Uses for Dropbox, How to Supercharge Your Dropbox with Wappwolf, The Start-to-Finish Guide to Securing Your Cloud Storage, and more Dropbox coverage
Category: Web Browsers
See also: The Always Up-to-Date Power User’s Guide to Chrome, The Best Packaged Apps for Chrome, The Best Chrome Apps You’re (Probably) Not Using, The Secret Powers of Chrome’s Address Bar, Speed Up Chrome for Android with this Settings Tweak, Lifehacker Pack for Chrome, and more Chrome coverage.
Category: Web Browsers
See also: The Always Up-to-Date Power User’s Guide to Firefox, The Best About:Config Tweaks for Making Firefox Better, Lifehacker Pack for Firefox, Speed Up Firefox By Enabling Its New HTTP Cache, and more Firefox coverage.
Category: Email See also: How to Master Gmail with These Tips, Shortcuts, and Add-Ons, Top 10 Clever Tricks Built Right Into Gmail, Fix Gmail’s Newest Annoyances with These Userstyles and Userscripts, Everything You Need to Know About Gmail’s New, Super-Confusing Layout, How to Use Inbox by Gmail for More Productive Email and more Gmail coverage.
Alternatives: Instapaper and Readability
10. Google Keep
Category: Notes See also: Not Just Another Notes App: Why You Should Use Google Keep, and Google Keep Adds Reminders So You’ll Never Forget to Act on Your Notes.
Category: Music Streaming
14. Google Drive
Category: Cloud Storage/Office Suites See also: 8 Extensions That Make Google Drive More Powerful than Dropbox, How to Stream Your Media Anywhere with Dropbox and Google Drive, How to Make Google Drive Work Like a Desktop Suite, Google Drive Is Changing: Here Are The Details.
15. Google Calendar
Category: Calendars See also: The Coolest Things You Can Add to Google Calendar, Manage Your Money with Google Calendar, How to Use Google Calendar as a Project Management Tool, and 8 Great Experimental Features to Enable in Google Calendar’s Labs.
Category: Music Streaming
17. Google Assistant
Category: Personal Assistant
See also: All The Things You Can Do With Google Assistant That You Couldn’t Do Before, Everything You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Google’s Voice Commands, Speed Up Google Now with This Simple Tweak.
Category: To-Do Lists
Category: Messaging/Video Chat
Category: Password Managers
Category: Media Centres
See also: Create a Kickass, Seamless, Play-Anything Media Center: The Complete Guide, How I Built the Media Center of My Dreams for Under $US500, Turn a Raspberry Pi Into an XBMC-Based Media Center, How to Make XBMC Easier to Use (Especially for Non-Geeks), XBMC vs Plex, Top 10 Ways to Power Up Your Home Theatre PC and more XBMC coverage.
Category: Media Players
See also: How to Supercharge Your Favourite Services with IFTTT, How to Post to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ at the Same Time with IFTTT, All the New Stuff in IFTTT for iOS and Android, and What You Can Do with Them, Make Your iOS Notifications Smarter, The Best Uses for IFTTT’s Location and Feed Channels, and more IFTTT coverage.
See also: Here’s Everywhere You Should Enable Two-Factor Authentication Right Now, Authy is a PIN-Protected Manager For Your Two-Factor Authentications, Authy Brings Two-Factor Authentication to Your PC, No Need for a Phone, and The Best Two-Factor Authentication App for Android and iPhone.
Category: Remote Access
See also: Use Your Home Computer from Anywhere: A Comprehensive Guide to Remote Controlling Your PC, How to Get the Best Experience from TeamViewer, and How Do I Troubleshoot My Parents’ PC Remotely?.
Alternatives: Five Best Antivirus Programs
Category: To-Do Lists
29. Ubuntu (and other Linux Distros)
Category: Operating System
See also: Getting Started with Linux: The Complete Guide, How to Find the Perfect Linux Distribution for You, Five Best Linux Distributions, Build a Killer Customised Arch Linux Installation (and Learn All About Linux in the Process), Ubuntu vs. Mint: Which Linux Distro Is Better for Beginners?, Turn an Old Computer into a Networked Backup, Streaming, or Torrenting Machine with Ubuntu, and more Linux coverage.
Category: Music Players
Category: BitTorrent Client
See also: How to Completely Anonymise Your BitTorrent Traffic with a Proxy, How to Disable Ads in uTorrent, How to Monitor Your BitTorrent Downloads from Any Computer or Mobile Device, How Do I Torrent Safely Now That Demonoid Is Down?, How to Add Automatic Virus Scanning, Video Conversion, and Remote Downloading to uTorrent for Free and more uTorrent coverage.
Category: Video Conversion
See also: The Power User’s Guide to Better Virtual Machines in VirtualBox, The Beginner’s Guide to Creating Virtual Machines with VirtualBox, Should I Run a Second Operating System in a Virtual Machine or Dual Boot?, and How to Run Mac OS X Inside Windows Using VirtualBox.
Category: Android ROMs
See also: Everything You Need to Know About Rooting your Android Phone, How to Flash a ROM to Your Android Phone, Are ROMs Really Necessary on a Nexus?, Android ROMs vs Xposed, and CyanogenMod Unveils New User Accounts for Remote Find and Wipe.
Alternatives: Five Best Android ROMs
Category: Image Editing
Alternatives: Five Best Photoshop Alternatives
Category: Office Suite
40. Google Photos
Category: Photo Manager
See also: How The New Google Photos Makes Your Picture Library Awesome, Google Photos Can Now Free Up Space On Your Phone, and Picasa Now Offering Virtually Unlimited Photo Storage, Brings Google+ Tagging.
Category: Social Networking
See also: Top 10 Uses for Twitter (That Aren’t Self-Indulgent), How to Fix Twitter’s Biggest Annoyances, How to Mute Retweets from Any User on Twitter, Navigate the New Twitter Like a Pro with Keyboard Shortcuts, Why’s Everybody So Pissed About Twitter, and Should I Care?, How to Deal with Your Biggest Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ Annoyances and more Twitter coverage.
46. Titanium Backup
See also: How to Set Up a Fully Automated App and Settings Backup on Android, How to Upgrade to a New Android Phone and Take Everything with You, and How to Speed Up Your Old or Sluggish Android Device
Category: Text Editors
Alternatives: Five Best Text Editors
Category: File Compression
49. Rolling Sky
Category: Food delivery
This story has been updated since its original publication.