If you have an Android phone, you undoubtedly have some sort of photo management app installed—most likely, it’s just called “Gallery.” But you know what? That’s not the be-all-end-all of photo apps. In fact, there are a slew of others on the Play Store that do a much better job of handling your photos.
The Best Option for Most People: Google Photos
Okay, I will admit that this one is kind of cheating—after all, there’s a possibility our favorite photo management app is already installed on your device, since it’s the default on some newer stock Android phones. But if you’ve never used it, well, you’re doing yourself a great disservice.
Google Photos is jam-packed with useful features, but there are a few worth mentioning specifically. First off, this is the only photo manager that also offers unlimited back ups of your images—with Google Photos, you get to store your backed up photos and videos on Google servers. They’re slightly compressed before being uploaded (to save space on Google’s end), but most users are unlikely to even notice the difference. You can then access your entire catalog of images—regardless of what device they’re taken on (as long as it’s Android)—on the Google Photos website.
Aside from that, Photos has a built-in “Assistant” feature that allows users to quickly create collages, animations, and even videos from their gallery. It’s very intuitive and easy to use—and even those get backed up!
And when it comes to photo editing—rotating, cropping, filters, and the like—Photos is top-notch for a “simple” gallery app. It’s not going to be as robust as something like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, but in terms of quick edits and light touch ups, it should cover all the bases most users want.
Google Photos is, of course, free. If you don’t already have it installed, you can get it here. And if you do, start using it!
The Best for Privacy: Focus
Look, we all have images that aren’t meant for other’s eyes. Perhaps they’re snaps of important documents or…other things, but the point is the same: they’re meant for you and you alone. With most gallery-style apps, you can’t really keep certain images private, and you certainly can’t keep the entire gallery behind lock and key!
That’s where Focus comes into play: it’s an excellent gallery app on its own, but it also offers privacy that simply isn’t available on other apps of its kind. Basically, it has a feature called “The Vault”—which is only available on the $1.99 upgrade in the app—that allows users to effectively put images and videos behind password protection. If your phone has a fingerprint reader, it will actually use that instead of a password, which is fantastic.
If that level of protection isn’t enough for you, there’s also an option to lock the entire app with a passcode or fingerprint.
Of course, there’s one issue with Focus: other gallery apps can still see the images, even if they’re locked up in The Vault. So if you really want privacy, you’ll have to remove or disable all other gallery apps.
Focus is free to use, but as I mentioned earlier, The Vault is only available in the paid version of the app, which can be obtained with an in-app purchase.
There are a lot of gallery apps on the Play Store, and a lot of them are very good! When it comes down to it, though, Google Photos and Focus are hard to beat, but for very different reasons. Really, there’s no reason to not have both installed, but just keep in mind that, for the time being at least, anything you store in Focus’ Vault will still show up in Photos. Hopefully there’s a fix for that one minor flaw on the way.