Must-have Android apps

Android apps for Chromebooks: The essentials

Turn your Chromebook into a uniquely versatile modern computing machine with these Chrome-OS-enhancing apps.

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Multimedia work

Google Photos

Google's cloud-based photo storage service is second to none, and the Photos Android app is significantly easier to use than the Photos website — especially if you're using your Chromebook as a tablet. Interface aside, having the Photos Android app on your Chromebook allows you to have images from your computer backed up and synced to Photos automatically, if you want, and signs suggest it'll soon allow you to integrate your Photos storage directly into the Chrome OS Files app for even easier image management.


The main Photos app has some decent editing tools, but if you want to take your image editing up a notch, grab the also-Google-made Snapseed. It has tons of advanced tools for polishing up photos like a pro but in a way practically anyone can master.

android chromebook apps snapseed JR Raphael/IDG

The Snapseed Android app makes advanced photo editing a snap. (Click image to enlarge it.)

(If you need video editing on Chrome OS, by the way, a Linux app is really the way to go.)

Reading and streaming

Amazon Kindle or Google Play Books

Regardless of which electronic reading service you prefer to focus your eyes on, you'll find that the Android apps in this department put the web-based offerings to shame. Both of these Android e-book experiences give you swipe-based turning, touch-friendly features, and better overall user experiences — so why not keep 'em around?

Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube

Heads-up, video streamers: The Android versions of Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube all let you download content for offline viewing — a feature you won't find on the services' regular websites. The same is true for many other streaming apps, too, though you'll of course need a subscription to the service in question in order for this to apply (even with YouTube, where a YouTube Premium membership is required for offline viewing).

If you've got one, though, grab the associated app, load up some videos before your next business trip, and watch your MacBook-toting colleagues ogle with envy.

Pocket Casts

Keep up with your favorite podcasts on your computer with Podcast Media's exceptional Pocket Casts app, which automatically syncs your favorite shows and listening progress across all your different devices and makes programs readily available for offline listening. The Android version is free to use and saves you from having to pony up 10 bucks a year for the standalone web player.

android chromebook apps pocket casts JR Raphael/IDG

Pocket Casts is the perfect way to keep up with podcasts on your computer, and the Android app makes it easy as can be. (Click image to enlarge it.)

Spotify or YouTube Music

With music, too, the big draw for going with a service's Android version is offline support, which typically isn't available through a web interface (and, in the case of YouTube Music, isn't available anywhere other than in the mobile app).

Hey — sometimes, the right song is practically a requirement for getting work done.

This article was originally published in Oct. 2017 and most recently updated in March 2021.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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