There are more than a million Android apps on Google Play, but some particularly great apps are left out because they violate some of Google’s terms. However, you can always grab their apk and install them if you want to.
This article lists the best apps not available on the Play Store. Make sure to allow installation from unknown sources in your device’s Security Settings before attempting to install any of the listed apps.
1. Viper4Android (Root-only)
For reasons unknown, the Google Play Store has deemed Viper4Android unfit for its hallowed halls (perhaps because it requires various deep-level permissions to function). This XDA Labs app lets you really dig in and fine-tune the audio capabilities of your phone, letting you tinker around with all manner of equalizers, effects, and custom drivers that you can download.
This one’s definitely for the audio enthusiasts, and less so for those who want quick-and-easy audio boosts for their phone. From Gain Control to V4A, the functions here are for those who know what they’re doing.
One of the bugbears of YouTube for years now has been the inability to listen to music or videos with the screen switched off, which would save on both battery and mobile data.
Enter FireTube, an app that Google would probably much rather didn’t exist. FireTube is essentially a YouTube interface that lets you listen to any video you like without the actual video playing, then switch off your screen and keep listening.
You can see why Google’s not that into it!
3. Amazon Appstore
Amazon’s attempt at taking a share of the app market for itself never really quite achieved what it set out to do, but it’s still supported by Amazon and still contains plenty of great apps (often free) that you’d have to pay more for on the Google Play Store.
You can pretty much use it as your Amazon shopping app too, making purchases at the swipe of your hand. So with your app and shopping needs catered for, do you really need anything more in life?
MiXPlorer is one of the best Android file managers out there with a very neat user interface and plenty of features that should appeal to both casual and power users alike. For one, it offers tab support and a dual panel mode on big screens which helps if you’re working with several folders at once. You can also access your cloud files with up to seventeen services to select from including all the popular ones such as Google Drive, Dropbox, MEGA, and Onedrive.
MiXPlorer also supports root access for advanced operations, advanced search functions and a very customisable user interface. Overall, it’s a very well-rounded file manager you can get for free that doesn’t have ads.
5. Lucky Patcher
Lucky Patcher is an app that allows you to modify other Android apps in various ways. You’ll need a rooted device to harness all of this app’s great power. You can run several actions with this app such as removing license verification for premium apps, modifying apk files, removing Google ads, and backing up and restoring apps. It’s better to make a full backup of your apps and data before using this app as it can possibly lead to loss of data.
F-droid is the market for free and open-source Android software. Downloading the F-droid client makes it easy for you to search for and install open-source apps, and it also helps you keep track of updates on your device. It’s highly recommended for open-source enthusiasts.
7. XPosed Framework Installer
Installing a custom ROM is one way to modify your Android device, but you don’t really need to do so if you just want to modify a few things here and there. The XPosed Framework allows you to modify your existing system without going through the hassle of installing a custom ROM. It is for root-level users only, and there is a wide range of mods and tweaks that can be applied to your device, but be careful. I’d recommend making a full backup before using the Xposed Framework or its components.
Adaway is a free and open-source ad blocker for Android. It was previously available on Google Play but was later removed after violating a section of the Google developer agreement. You can install it from F-droid nonetheless. Adaway requires root access to work, and it’s only available for Android 2.1 devices and above.
All you need to do to try out each app is to download the apk from the links above. Don’t forget to allow installation from unknown sources, and do let us know of any other useful apps not available on the Play Store in the comments section below.
This article was updated in Oct 2018.
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