Trending December 2023 # 5 Android Apps You Shouldn’T Miss This Week # Suggested January 2024 # Top 14 Popular

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Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Welcome to the 422nd edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the headlines from the last week:

Members of the Android Authority team sat down this week and talked about some of their favorite things from Android 13. Some of the stuff we really liked include app installation on guest mode, improvements to Material You, the QR code scanner toggle, and the ability to tap to transfer media. Hit the link to read everything.

AT&T is hijacking RCS support on mobile phones and people aren’t happy about it. Basically, AT&T’s solution overrides other solutions and it forces AT&T customers to use regular SMS when contacting non-AT&T customers. So far, support responses haven’t been very reassuring and this could get nasty for RCS fans on AT&T.

Rumors circulated this week about Signal Private Messenger being hacked. Thankfully, those rumors turned out to be false. Signal noted that it saw increased usage in Eastern Europe right around when Russia declared war and believed the rumor was meant as a misinformation campaign to encourage people to use less secure alternatives. Hit the link to learn more.

Last year, Crunchyroll and Funimation became a part of the same company. Starting this week, Crunchyroll is absorbing Funimation, Wakanim, and VRV content to become one big streaming service on its own. Overall, Crunchyroll is getting about 80% of Funimation’s library before the end of March 2023. This is a huge deal and great news for anime fans as they can now see almost everything under one roof.

Samsung is in trouble this week. The company apparently throttled the performance of thousands of applications across several generations of devices. It uses the Game Optimizing Service to do so, and we found that it was on phones as new as the S22 lineup. Samsung allegedly started an internal investigation to put a stop to this. We’ll let you know more about it as more things happen.

Hyde and Seek

Price: Free / Up to $20.99

Hyde and Seek is a narrative game that plays a bit like a mobile board game. It revolves around Kate, a woman who disguises herself as a man to escape a group of gangsters. It’s now up to her to unravel the secrets. Players engage in the story, make decisions, and shape the outcome of the game. There is a combat element as well as a card-based movement mechanic as well. It’s a decent overall game for the most part. The only issue is the ticket-style energy system. It takes way too long to regenerate, leaving players on hold for quite a bit of time unless they pay real money.


Puzzle Quest 3

Price: Free to play

Puzzle Quest 3 is the latest release in the once-popular series of games. It was one of the original games to use match-three mechanics as combat mechanics in an RPG-style game. This one iterates on the premise with more refined mechanics. You match three shapes and your hero performs an attack on an enemy. You progress through the game by beating enemies. There is also a PvP element as well as various rewards for completing stuff. Unfortunately, the developers opened things up with a rather aggressive monetization strategy mixed with slow progression. We hope the developers fix things up eventually, because the game is otherwise solid for its genre.

F-Secure free password generator

Hitman Sniper: The Shadows

Price: Free to play

Hitman Sniper: The Shadows is the next game one of the better mobile shooter franchises from yesteryear. Players perch themselves in a sniper spot and shoot targets based on the mission parameters. Players have a choice between multiple snipers, multiple vantage points, and multiple missions on the same maps. It should go down as one of the better strategy shooters in recent years. However, Square Enix shipped the game with a few major bugs that they definitely need to fix. Keep an eye on this one over the next few weeks to see if the fixes come sooner rather than later.

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5 Of The Best Camera Apps For Android You Should Try

Some of us are content to stick with whatever stock app is thrown at us with our given Android device, and there’s no question that the default offerings from the Android big boys like Samsung, HTC and Google itself are top-shelf stuff.

1. Paper Camera

With a Google rating of 4.5, Paper Camera is the peoples’ choice for the title of “Best Camera App on Android.” Of course, different strokes for different folks, different apps for different chaps, etc., but with the lovely, versatile sketch-style filters you can play with in Paper Camera, it’s easily the most fun camera app out there.

The filters available here are different than those you’ll find anywhere else, creating a natural, sketchbook feel to your photos through filters like comic book, cartoon, sketch, and (my personal fave) neon. It may not be as feature-rich as other apps, but you won’t care because the results of using this really are special.

Price: $2.49

2. Cymera

No list of the best Android camera apps would be complete without Cymera. Apart from the wealth of editing options included in this app, you get automatic face recognition as well as a choice of fifteen unique watermark designs for your photos. There is a built-in “smart” gallery which can categorize your photos based on location, or you can group all your selfies together. Sharing your shots with friends is as easy as it gets with built-in sharing options for Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and more.

Price: FREE

3. Manual Camera

As a result, you get a range of features such as manual shutter speed, manual ISO, manual exposure compensation, the ability to save images in lossless RAW format for further processing and much more. If complete control over every detail of your photos appeals to you, Manual Camera should be your next purchase.

Price: $2.99

4. Camera Zoom FX

With over 5 million users, Camera Zoom FX is another great alternative to the stock Android camera. It sports a busy interface with buttons at the top and bottom of the app which link to a host of features and settings. It supports an array of filters that you can apply to your photos, and if those aren’t enough you can download additional ones from the Play Store. You can also perform other editing actions such as cropping, rotating, flipping, adding frames or creating collages from within the app, as can also shoot videos.

Price: Free / $2.99

5. Open Camera

Ever heard of Open Camera? It has a lot of notable features and is the best open-source camera option on Android. Thanks to its open-source nature, it’s constantly being updated by its tireless community. Onboard, you have face detection, auto-level, touch to focus and auto repeat mode. Everything on it is highly customizable, too – from the look of the grid overlay to the volume keys which you can reassign to all manner of camera functions. Isn’t open-source wonderful?

Price: Free


With this fine bunch to choose from, every kind of smartphone-happy snapper should find something that’s right for them. Did your favorite camera app for Android make our illustrious list? If not, let us know what it is and what makes it so special. Who knows, it might just make the list one day.

Robert Zak

Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.

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5 Apps To Track Any Android Phone For Free

Best Apps To Track Any Android Phone For Free

Before we start, you must note that the target device must be turned on and have an active internet connection, either via mobile data or WiFi.

1. Find My Device

Find My Device by Google is meant for users to trace their Android phone’s location. You can use it to find a lost phone or track the location of your family or friends, provided that the phone is online and you have access to its Google account.


Track your phone via GPS

Erase all the content from the device

Play sound for nearby detection

Lock it remotely

Offered by: Google LLC, USA

Download Here

2. Family Locator by Life360

Family Locator is a family-oriented GPS tracking app where you can create your own private group by adding your friends or family members. You can chat with them and also see their real-time location.

People in a circle can access each other’s location history and set arrival and departure alerts. The app also facilitates emergency help during a crash or lockout. It works with both Android and iOS.


Track the phones of your family & friends

Get alerts when someone arrives at the destination

Chat in a private channel

Download Here

3. Where’s My Droid

Where’s My Droid is a full-fledged anti-theft application that can help you track down a lost phone. You just need to install and set up the app on the target device, post which you can use SMS commands to lock the device and get its GPS coordinates.

On the other hand, the Pro version gets extra features like taking pictures, motion alarm, access to location history, contacts, device stats, and more.


GPS Tracking via SMS Commands

Remotely ring, lock and wipe the device.

Take on-command pictures

Get location history, contacts, etc.

Offered by: Alienman Technologies LLC, USA

4. Famisafe Location Tracking

Famisafe is a parental control app that tracks location with high accuracy. The location on the map also shows you the last update time and battery level of the phone.

You can access the device app usage, limit screen time, and block websites. It even detects & notifies you of suspicious photos and texts, which can be useful for guardians who want to keep an eye on their children.


Tracks live location with accuracy

App Blocker, App Usage Report

Detects explicit content

Limit screen time, Web filtering

Offered by: Wondershare

Download Here

5. Google Maps Location Sharing

Google Maps is the most widely used map service across the globe. However, apart from navigation, it can also be used to share your live location with others.

All you need to do is open Google Maps, head to the ‘Location Sharing’ Menu, and choose a Google contact. Make sure to check “until you turn this off” for permanent sharing.

Once you have selected the person, they’ll see your real-time location in their Google Maps app alongside your phone’s battery level. Further, they’ll be able to share their location in turn. This way, you can track your friends using Google Maps while on a trip or commute.

Note that it cannot be used to secretly monitor one’s location as Google sends out regular reminders via email.

Track live location

Share with multiple people at once

Check battery life

Offered by: Google LLC, USA

Download Here

Wrapping Up

Also, read- How to Unlock Your Android Phone After Forgetting Pattern or PIN.

4 Android Apps To Help You When You Are In Danger

Whether you are one of those solo backpackers who love travelling the world or you are just one of those late comers in the night, you will often find yourself feeling a bit uncomfortable, especially when you sense that you are being stalked. At that time what you can do is get away from that place or call your friends. In a situation where anything can happen even in a blink of an eye, it’s better to have something that can help you reach out to your friends and family within a few taps.

Fortunately, if you use an Android device, you have some great apps that can help you when you are in danger. These apps help you connect to your friends so you can let them know about your situation and find a way out of it. Here are four such apps that you can use on your device:

1. SOS – Stay Safe!

If you ever feel like you are being stalked, SOS – Stay Safe! is an app that can help you. It lets you quickly and easily connect to your loved ones with the shake of your device. By calibrating the shakes and your device, you can send an emergency message to your chosen contacts without the stalker knowing anything. Not only does it send a plain message, but it sends out a recorded clip of the audio, the battery level of your device, and your location so they know where you are at that particular point of time.

That information is more than enough for your friends to find you and to get you out of that situation. The app is available for free on the Google Play store.

2. One Touch SOS

What One Touch SOS lets you do is send out your location information to your chosen contacts with a single touch. That way you do not have to rush around finding your friends in your phonebook, typing the message and then sending it out. That is just not possible when you are sweating because of the danger you are in. Let One Touch SOS do everything for you with a single tap.

You can get the app without any cost from the Google Play store.

3. SOS Emergency Rescue

As the name suggests, the SOS Emergency Rescue app rescues you from any unwanted situation and makes sure you are safe and sound. Instead of sending out the location details or the voice clip, the app puts the images of the chosen contacts on your screen, and then you can tap on any to call them. It is designed especially for elder people who may have weak eyesight and cannot go through the menus to find their family members. The user just needs to tap on the contact, and he or she will be connected to that person within a few seconds.

You can grab the app for free from the Google Play store.

4. VithU: V Gumrah Initiative

The VithU: V Gumrah Initiative app lets you send out your location information to your chosen contacts by just pressing the Power button two times. What’s so great about the app is it sends out your updated location info every two minutes for your friends to know what way you are heading so they can find you. The predefined message in the app says – “I am in danger. I need help. Please follow my location.”

It helps your friends know your exact location by receiving the location details every two minutes. If you think this is the app you were looking for, get it from the Google Play store at no cost.


While nobody wants a situation where they feel uncomfortable and helpless, things can just happen, and the best way to keep yourself safe and sound is to have at least one of the above apps installed on your device. At least they will help you reach out to your contacts for them to find and help you.

Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who’s written thousands of posts about various tech topics on various sites. He specializes in writing about Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android tech posts. He’s been into the field for last eight years and hasn’t spent a single day without tinkering around his devices.

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5 Focus Assist Companion Apps

No matter which industry you work in, whether it’s in an office or at home, or what your job title is, you can benefit from spending more time in a state of concentration instead of constant distraction. Let’s face it: our computers are powerful tools that allow us to do incredible things, but they can also hijack our attention and prevent us from getting work done. Focus Assist is an integrated Windows option that can help, but there are plenty of other apps that work with the native app to ensure that you’re not distracted by third-party apps or the Internet.

What Is Focus Assist?

In short, Focus Assist lives in the clock function of your Windows 10 or 11 computer. You can activate it when you need to get some work done.

Focus Assist is designed to work with the human brain instead of against it. Studies on the psychology of distraction show that it is very hard to resist distraction in real time. When we’re bored, challenged by a task, or see a message notification pop up, our brains are wired to go after that shiny new thing. That’s why setting up your computer, tablet, or phone before you have a chance to become distracted is the key to ensuring success.

When you work within the Windows ecosystem, Focus Assist can turn off notifications, alarms, and reminders, and produces a summary of everything that came in while you were focused. It’s great if you work exclusively in Microsoft-based products, but its biggest drawback is that it doesn’t work with all third-party apps.

To really create a focused environment, we’ve compiled a list of apps and browser extensions that can work with Focus Assist to create the optimal digital environment. With Focus Assist taking care of Microsoft-based notifications and distractions, these apps step up to fill in the gaps and offer a variety of feature sets.

Robust Focus Assist Companion Apps

These two apps are powerful programs that provide extra functionality in addition to Focus Assist. They offer solutions to tackle your to-dos and customize your experience.

1. Freedom

Price: Free trial of 6 sessions / $8.99 per month

Freedom is a paid app that works simultaneously on multiple devices after you download the program to your computer and set up the sessions on your Freedom dashboard via your browser.

This beautiful, calming design comes with a variety of ambient noise options, such as cafés in multiple locations across the world, office environments, nature sounds, and calming music.

Freedom is designed to prevent cheating, with features such as lock mode, which restricts you from changing your settings during a Freedom session, and the ability to download and use Freedom on as many devices as you would like at once. Do keep in mind that running one session on multiple devices simultaneously will count as two separate sessions for your trial period.

It allows you to customize blocklists by choosing from Freedom’s preset sites, manually adding sites, or selecting groups of sites like politics or blogs. You can also block all websites, which will restrict you from the entirety of the Internet for your session. Block desktop apps during the session as well, but keep in mind you have to set these up from the desktop menu, not the dashboard.

It’s helpful to know that the setup is somewhat decentralized. Freedom requires you to download the app on all devices you’ll use with it, then set up different elements from the drop-down menu that resides in the action center of your taskbar.

There are no long-term free options available, but the paid options can be quite affordable when you break down the cost, and Freedom frequently offers discounts.

2. RescueTime

Price: free (Lite) or $9 per month (Premium)

The powerful app RescueTime utilizes historical data trends and your own data about your work habits, causing it to act as more of an assistant than just a simple Web blocker.

One of the coolest features is the calendar integrations, which allow RescueTime to suggest times when you can do focused work. Additionally, when you integrate your calendar, you get daily summaries logged inside your calendar app.

At this time, RescueTime can integrate with both Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook. Also, if you’d like to create focus sessions in your calendar, you can simply type #focustime (either within the title or the description of the event), and RescueTime will automatically trigger the session.

RescueTime categories offer more nuanced reporting. For instance, RescueTime distinguishes between focus sessions and tasks that are listed as “other work,” like e-mail, messaging, and meetings.

If you’re away from your computer, you can go back and manually log activities in the Premium version, like in-person meetings, working lunches, or impromptu chats with your boss.

The app takes some time to be helpful. The site recommends that you spend a regular day going about your business so that it can get the lay of the land. However, if you really need to find an immediate blocker that will help you stay off of Twitter for more than five minutes, you may want something a little leaner.

Simplistic Focus Assist Companion Apps 3. Cold Turkey

Price: Free or $39 for lifetime access

This software helps you quit your distractions Cold Turkey! It works on your desktop and in conjunction with browser extensions to block domains, specific URLs, and even keyword searches on Google. You can also turn your laptop into a typewriter when you just need to get words on the proverbial page. For the times you need just one or two applications, you can set up the micromanager to only allow the whitelisted apps to run.

Cold Turkey also takes it one step further by setting up an option that completely blocks you from your entire computer. These days, we all spend too much time hunched over a screen, and no matter how nice your setup is, you still need to move away from the computer and take a walk.

Cold Turkey doesn’t just offer one product: Blocker, Micromanager, and Writer all offer different functionalities, but they’re sold separately. You can buy them in a bundle to save money if you’ll use all three or pick and choose what you need.

Blocker and Micromanager are the yin and yang of productivity. Blocker is $39 for the premium version and allows you to choose what you don’t want to see while you work. In contrast, Micromanager ($19) only lets you access a whitelisted set of sites and programs.

Writer ($9) turns your computer into a typewriter when you need to get those creative sprints in.

These products are affordable (each has a free version), don’t rely on monthly or yearly subscriptions, and are easy to use. They’re intuitive and effective, which means they are great for those looking to keep their productivity management simple but effective.

4. LeechBlock

The LeechBlock extension comes with easy setup and streamlined examples on the website to get you up and running in no time. It doesn’t require much in the way of tech know-how, and the website is designed to help you make sure you can get going in a matter of minutes.

When you’re looking to start setting up your blocklists, the formatting does look more code-oriented, but it really isn’t. If you’re confused about using asterisks for wildcards or how to allow specific sites, LeechBlock offers much help.

You can also choose what the extension will display when you try to navigate to blocked sites. LeechBlock offers various levels of blur, color changes, or even options to just close the tab out instead of not displaying anything.

In addition, a fun feature is the option highlighted in the image above. You can add a URL to redirect to when you try and access the blocked sites. The one in the screencap is a link to an Unsplash photo of a neon sign reading, “Wake up, kick ass, repeat.” However, you could link to a photo of someone you admire, your work Spotify playlist, or a motivational YouTube video.

It’s a free extension that offers both functionality and customizability in a package that takes seconds to install and doesn’t waste its developers’ time with extraneous code.

5. Freedom Extensions

If paying for the full experience of the above-listed Freedom app isn’t what you need, the same company does make three free browser extensions that are designed with lean functionality in mind: Pause, Limit, and Insight.

Pause – This site makes you wait just a moment (between 1 to 300 seconds) before letting you access the site you’re trying to get to. There is huge value in building intentionality around your web habits. Do you really want to wait two minutes to see your Facebook? If you do, that’s totally fine, but Pause will help you make that decision with purpose.

The timer is also a great way to remind yourself to do a little self care. The butterfly logo fades in and out while you wait, making a great visual to go along with some deep breathing. You could also stretch, fill up your water bottle, or get some steps in.

Limit – This site limiter is simple to set up. Just choose the sites you want to limit and how much time you want to spend on each site. Note that the time isn’t cumulative and is for each individual site.

Insight – As humans, we can easily trick ourselves into underestimating what we do online. Whether it’s that we just spend a few minutes away from our kids to check email (that turns out to actually be an hour) or a quick Twitter check that sends us down the rabbit hole, using an extension like Insight will keep you honest, if nothing else.

It provides simple breakdowns of your site usage without harvesting your data. This is a great tool to use in conjunction with the other extensions to help you make decisions about which sites to block or limit.

Used together or separately, these extensions will provide some basic functionality that can really increase your productivity and focus while you’re on your computer.

Frequently Asked Questions Can I uninstall Focus Assist?

No. Focus Assist isn’t an app that you can uninstall. It’s built into Microsoft’s operating system, so users can’t delete or uninstall it.

Is Focus Assist the same as Quiet Hours?

In early versions of Windows 10, Focus Assist was named Quiet Hours. However, it has been updated to go exclusively by the title Focus Assist.

Image credit: Unsplash All screenshots by Amy Yoder.

Amy Yoder

Writer living and working in San Antonio, Texas. Full-time freelancer since 2023. Graduate of UTSA with a major in English and minors in Technical and Creative Writing.

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10 Of The Best Android Wear Apps You Should Run On Your Smartwatches

Android Wear has become the first platform to truly revolutionize what an extension of a mobile app should look like on a wearable device. With that, and some not-so-bug-free starts, through every consecutive upgrade of hardware, we see the software, apps, and code behind it improving. Now more than ever wearable devices are able to make users more productive as they live their daily lives. And, while not all functions should be performed on a wearable interface, we’ll go over some of the best that are. The intention is to never bog down your device with seemingly cool but useless apps but to enhance your day-to-day life. Let’s take a look at what Android Wear has to offer in the field of apps.

1. Calm

Being productive starts with taking a moment for mindfulness. Much like Apple’s “Breathe” app for Apple Watch, Calm walks you through mindfulness and meditation excersises to help better yourself and help you feel refreshed. It includes daily programs that feature sounds and scenes to help you achieve a serene state of mind. It’s free on the Google Play Store but does offer in app purchases.

2. Recordr

Recordr allows you to record surrounding sounds with just a couple taps. It is a perfect companion for lectures, meetings, and everything in between. The user interface is fluid and modern – making it a breeze to use – which puts it on our top 10 list. Perhaps best of all, the app supports the automatic upload of recorded audio files to Google Drive where they can then be listened to, shared, or edited.

3. Stocard

This one is pretty cool. Leave your wallet in your pocket, and pay for your coffee with ease. Stocard allows you to store gift cards and payment cards with a barcode on your Android Wear, so the cashier can just scan the barcode on your wrist. Easy in and out. Stocard won’t support everything, but it is definitely a necessity on a wearable.

4. Shazam

Since its debut as a mobile app, Shazam has seen great success on wearable platforms. Just tap to identify a song, and you’re good to go. It’s great for those quick moments where you simply don’t have enough time to use any other method.

5. Lyft

Get around town with a couple taps on the wrist. For days when it is cold outside, keep your gloves on as you track your driver. You won’t be needing to use your smartphone. Truly a reflection of modern technology, Lyft’s Android Wear app is a breeze to use and aids in the fluidity of modern life. As far as ride-sharing services are concerned, Lyft is one of the only ones that officially supports Android wear. There are some Android Wear apps for Uber, but they aren’t supported by Uber, so proceed with caution.

6. Google Keep

Take some notes – take all of the notes. Google Keep works seamlessly with your phone, and by just saying “Okay, Google” you can take notes right from your wrist. As someone who gets ideas throughout the day that can’t be attended to immediately, this app does a great job of allowing for the free flow of thought. There are other Android Wear note taking apps out there, but Google Keep takes the cake as the best due to its overall simplicity and user interface.

7. Spotify

Control your music and leave your phone in your pocket. It is that simple. Changing the volume up or down, skipping tracks, and anything you’d expect from the phone counterpart are all available at the wrist. Also, Spotify offers gorgeous album art, so you can actually see your music as you scroll though your library.

8. Duolingo

Pick up another language on the go. Duolingo is a non-invasive app as it uses flashcards and mini lessons to educate that are completed within a few seconds. You won’t be holding your wrist up for long, and before you know it, you will be speaking fluently.

9. 1Weather

1Weather is sleek and keeps the forecast at your fingertips with a next level simplicity. The weather cards feature a backdrop of the current conditions, so you can visualize the weather outside. Not only that, but it also gives a deep insight into the upcoming temperatures. It is a must-have for even the most casual Android Wear user.

10. Run Keeper

Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or a casual mile jogger, RunKeeper does just that – keeps your running stats and presents them at a glance. Monitor your time, time remaining, calories burned, and of course, distance traveled. A perk to visualizing stats at a glance is the added sense of stamina and goal completion that comes with it, making Run Keeper a great addition for your Android Wear.


As the Android Wear ecosystem continues to develop and evolve, the nature and capabilities of apps will change. Even with that in mind, the aforementioned will reign as necessities.

Corbin Telligman

I’m a junior at UT Dallas, a tech enthusiast, an adreneline junkie, and a coffee fanatic.

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