The 36 best premium and free apps for Android

The best Android productivity apps


Waste time and you’re not productive. And if there’s one thing it’s easy to do on your Android device, it’s faff about performing mind-numbing actions time and again.

With Automate, you can build flows from actions, conditions and event triggers. These can include UI automation, file transfer, file archiving, making calls, creating alarms and more.

Many similar apps have the kind of arcane interface you’d need a master’s degree in arch nerd to fathom. But this one’s power is unlocked by you building clearly designed flow-charts. Nice.

Download Automate (free for 30 running blocks/99.90 for unlimited premium)


Whether you’re an office drone tasked with sorting a horribly boring report, or planning your best mate’s stag do, it pays to organise your thoughts. With Mindly, you do so by way of two-dimensional tiny universes.

You create a central thought around which related thoughts are positioned, like little planets you can pleasingly set in orbit with a flick. The hierarchy can (if you buy the one-off IAP, which also adds document search and passcode protection) continue indefinitely, and you can add images and links to your creations, too. Need to share? Export the lot to PDF, OPML or text.

Download Mindly (free + ₹​460 IAP)

Scanbot: best Android scanner

Even slimline desktop scanners take up room, and sometimes decide they want nothing to do with your computer. Enter Scanbot: an app that transforms your Android device into a handheld scanner.

In its free incarnation, the app will auto-detect the edges of whatever’s plonked on a table in front of it, enhance scanned pages, and fling the result at cloud storage.

Upgrade (₹50) for text recognition/OCR. Go ‘full pro’ (90) and you get OCR, smart file-naming, and editing, for scribbling all over your documents like a lunatic.

Download Scanbot (free + IAP)

BFT: best Android focus timer

If you’re forever getting distracted by your phone when you should be working, BFT (Bear Focus Timer) trains you to get out of the habit. It’s loosely based on Pomodoro technique scheduling, breaking down the day into cycles of work sprints and short breaks, with a long break dropped into the mix every now and again.

The genius bit is in the timer only running when your phone’s face-down on the table. (Flip it over and the bear growls at you.) It’s a smart psychological trick – you’re intentionally putting your phone out of reach, and know that picking it up again will result in failure – and a bear scolding you. No-one wants that.

Download BFT (₹60)

iA Writer: best Android writing app

Although iA Writer is often described as a minimal text editor, it’s perhaps more accurate to call it a focussed one. The main interface is streamlined – plain text, a small additional keyboard bar for adding Markdown, and an optional word count. But this app has plenty of features that make it closer in nature to a desktop product.

There’s a focus mode for highlighting the current line, and a night mode when tapping away in the dark and not searing your retinas. The Markdown preview offers multiple templates, you can sync your work to Google Drive or Dropbox, and there are plentiful export options. Add a keyboard and it’s a typewriter from the future.

Download iA Writer (free)