List of free mobile apps that I actually paid for

Life is wonderful. Technology is awesome. There is an abundance of useful apps that cost you nothing. There is also an abundance of bad apps by bad actors.

If you find yourself benefiting and using a free app a lot, do support the developers. The app cost you nothing, but it cost the developers their brain power and precious time.

  • MacroDroid (Android) by Arlosoft. starstarstarstarstar Purchased 2019 @ PHP 150. By far, the best app I’ve found for automating tasks on my Android smartphone. Very well-designed. Easy to use, unlike the others that I’ve tried.
  • NetGuard (Android) by M. Bokhorst. starstarstarstarstar Works as a firewall. No root required. Helps me prevent apps from accessing the internet when I don’t want them to. Also helps me save on data by only allowing apps selected to use mobile data. It’s open source with options to allow internet access when screen on, block when roaming, block system applications and more. I update my copy straight from Github instead of doing it through the Google Play Store.
  • Hermit Lite Apps (Android) by Chimbori. starstarstarstarstar Purchased 2016 @ USD 3.99. In lieu of installing/using the actual app, I add its web version to Hermit Lite Apps to save space.  Some apps that have a web version can be made into a lite app — e.g. Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Duolingo, Click The City, weather, news, etc. The nice thing about doing that is that the lite “app” won’t run in the background and won’t use up much battery power or mobile data. Also, a browser is just a browser. Unlike creepy apps that require all sorts of permissions, like accessing your accounts, contacts, network, etc. and then selling your information to third parties. This is how I use Facebook + Messenger without installing their intrusive apps. Hermit also has an ad blocker and allows customizing settings for each lite “app”.  Very good for nomads that have to travel light — i.e. light on installed apps, light on power, light on data.
  • AutomateIt Pro (Android). starstarstarstar Purchased November 2014 @ Php99.99. It’s easy to use, has more triggers and actions than other similar apps I’ve tried. I’d been using the free version for over a month prior to purchase. Definitely worth paying for. UPDATE 2019: I have stopped using AutomateIt Pro. It has now been replaced by MacroDroid.
  • LastPass Premium (Android). starstarstarstarstar Signed up for premium in 2014. Only USD 12 a year. That’s just $1 a month! You can use the service for free, actually, if you don’t care about using it on mobile devices. But for a buck a month? That’s an awesome deal for the convenience and security it gives me. And it’s always a good idea to support good app developers. I give it five stars! 🙂
  • Open Camera (Android) by Mark Harman. starstarstarstarstar A free and ad-free open source app to replace my phone’s stock camera app. Despite its small app size, it actually has more features than my old camera app. Played with it over a month. Quite good. Sent my appreciation of PHP 71.20 to the developer via his Donation app on January 2015. 🙂
  • What Color Is Your Parachute? (iOS). starstarstarstarstar A “workbook” app based on the book of the same title, by Richard Bolles.  Yup, I have the 2014 e-book as well.  In fact, I got the e-book before this app. Of course, it makes sense to get the book before the workbook, but after having gone through both the book and the workbook, I say it’s fine to just get the workbook without the book. Still, I don’t regret getting both. Worth what I paid. ‘Tis so much better doing the petal exercises with this app than doing them on paper. 😉
  • TripRider (iOS) by Minoa d.o.o. starstarstarstar  Purchased 2013. The prettiest trip journal I’ve seen so far. Lets me put my journal together as a PDF, ready for printing. Simply gorgeous.  If they had an Android version I’d buy it too. Unfortunately, it’s only for iOS, so it hasn’t been useful to me anymore.
  • Phone Remote Control (Symbian) by some obscure entity. starstar It turns my Bluetooth-enabled Nokia mobile phone into a generic remote controller for my Windows XP netbook. With it I can control iTunes or MediaPlayer, PowerPoint or Impress presentations, or the mouse and see the actual desktop on my phone. I bought this primarily for use with OpenOffice.org Impress, as a clicker for my slideshow presentations. It works. I can’t say I recommend it though. Still far better and easier to use a USB Bluetooth clicker, of course. But just in case the ship they send me too doesn’t provide their lecturers with a clicker, at least I have this. I just don’t want to buy and carry an extra piece of gadget that requires another piece of battery. For a nomad with limited storage space, every ounce counts.
  • WordUP German (iOS) by Mirai Apps. starstarstarstar Purchased 2013. I have the free version of their other language apps installed. Free versions have less phrases and less words in the dictionary, but all words and phrases have audio version for better language learning. The app also allows me to select certain words or phrases and add it to my own Study List. Stopped using this because it’s an iOS app. I now mostly just use Duolingo for my language learning.
  • Travel Interpreter (Android). starstarstar Purchased 2014 @ EUR 7.99. Can’t say it’s the best foreign languages app for travelers. But there wasn’t any Android version for WordUP at the time. The price was okay, given the dozens of languages that you get with it.
  • Errands (iOS) by Yoctoville. starstarstarstar Paid for in 2012. Fully functional free app. The developer just asks that you donate if you find it useful. Simple. Clean. Functional. To-do list for getting things done. I used it pretty much every day till I got a new Android toy.  Unfortunately there is no Android version for this app.
  • Money (iOS) by iBearsoft which, to my disappointment, will only let you use the Reconcile feature if you Like them on Facebook. I should be able to use all of the app’s features since I paid for it. So, no, I didn’t “Like” them on Facebook. Purchased 2012. 😛

N.B.:  Items in strikeout are no longer in use.

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