Android nostalgia: 20 once-essential apps you've probably long forgotten

Get ready to see some dear old friends you haven't thought about in ages.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

11. Beautiful Widgets

Speaking of widgets, one of the early standouts for custom widget creation was an app called Beautiful Widgets. You could combine power toggles with things like clocks and forecasts and fully control the way everything looked.

According to its developer, Beautiful Widgets was the first Android app ever to achieve a million paid downloads. It's still present in the Play Store but hasn't been updated in over a year.

12. Folder Organizer

I won't beat around the bush: Android's native folder system used to kinda suck. An app called Folder Organizer injected some much-needed power into the setup with oodles of customization options — settings to change a folder's icon and appearance (as opposed to seeing the then-static and bland folder icon for every single folder you made) and to tweak how the items within were sorted (again, you have to think of this in 2010 terms).

Folder Organizer could even let you create permanently expanded folders on your home screen, if you really wanted to get wild.

Android Nostalgia - Forgotten Apps: Folder Organizer JR

You can still download Folder Organizer today, if you must, though the app has remained untouched since 2015.

13. JuiceDefender

Android battery life used to be a constant battle. Okay, in some ways, it still is — but not at anywhere the level we prehistoric phone-carrying bipeds experienced back in the early 2000s.

For many power users, JuiceDefender was the answer. This spectacular video from Jonny Ive's long-lost cousin tells you pretty much everything you need to know:

Like many other apps in this list, JuiceDefender is still in the Play Store, though without an update since 2012.

14. Setting Profiles

Do you remember Locale? If you do, then you probably remember its spiritual successor, the awkwardly named Setting Profiles. Setting Profiles was kind of like an early version of Tasker. It let you create complex if-then-style rules that'd automate your phone in some pretty impressive ways.

Android Nostalgia - Forgotten Apps: Setting Profiles JR

The app's 2012 self is still in existence, frozen in time in the Play Store.

15. Google Shopper

For a while, the absolute coolest thing you could do with a smartphone was whip it out in a physical retail store, scan the barcode of some product on the shelf, and let an app like Google Shopper pull up online pricing comparisons. (The third-party ShopSavvy app worked in a similar way.)

Alas, Google shuttered Shopper in 2013 and suggested people use regular ol' Google Search instead. You could still do the barcode trick, too, if you also had Google Goggles.

16. Places Directory

Another Google-made app, Places Directory let you browse businesses around you — restaurants, theaters, you name it. You could even pull up ratings and photos with a couple taps.

Android Nostalgia - Forgotten Apps: Places Directory Google

Given how many outlets offer this same sort of function today — including Google's own Search and Maps destinations — it's pretty obvious why this once-futuristic-seeming app didn't stand the test of the time.

17. WidgetLocker

WidgetLocker brought custom widgets to the lock screen before Google ever made that a native Android feature (and then soon after killed that as a native Android feature). It was quite the tool for Android enthusiasts who liked to customize and personalize. And while it's been dead and gone for some time now, you can still find its product page on the site of Nova Launcher developer Kevin Barry — who, yes, was the guy behind the app.

18. WaveSecure

Way before Android malware became a massive boogeyman-oriented business, apps like WaveSecure filled in the gaps in early Android security and gave users a way to back up data as well as remotely track and find devices, download files, and wipe local storage. While Android now offers all that stuff at the OS level, at the time, third-party apps were the only way to create such nerve-calming safety nets.

Android Nostalgia - Forgotten Apps: WaveSecure JR

WaveSecure was acquired by McAfee in 2010. The name was eventually phased out and the product evolved into the standard silly security suite that's both ubiquitous and superfluous in today's environment.

19. DoubleTwist

It was "iTunes for Android" — you know, back when such a notion sounded both necessary and at least somewhat desirable.

(And yes, it's evidently still alive and kickin'. Who knew?!)

20. Google Reader

Ah, Google Reader. Simpler times. Here's a little-known fact: You can actually still find the official Reader app in the Play Store and even install it to your current device. You'll only get as far as the sign-in screen before hitting an error, but it'll still bring you back to your innocent ol' 2011 self for at least a few minutes.

Android Nostalgia - Forgotten Apps: Google Reader Google

Let's pour one out for our fallen comrade, shall we?

More Android nostalgia

Android Intelligence Twitter
1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
How to handle Windows 10 updates
Shop Tech Products at Amazon