Best free Nexus 5 apps: make the best even better

rom custom nexus 5 elix r
© Hyperrunner/XDA

If you have a Nexus 5 like I do then you already know you have one of the best Androids around. But we can all appreciate some good advice on which apps will make your smartphone even better. So I've pulled together a couple of my favorites for both stock and rooted users to make the most of what the Nexus 5 can do. We'll add more apps to this list as we come across them and deem them especially worthy of the Nexus 5, so check back in regularly.

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You can make the Nexus 5 even better with some well chosen apps. / © Hyperrunner/XDA

Google Camera 

The stock Android camera app sucks. There, I said it. Google obviously knows this too, which is why they brought us the amazingly good Google Camera app recently. If you were paying attention to the Android L developer preview you'd also know that the Google Camera has replaced the existing stock Android camera, so we have good things to look forward to, including a new camera API in the next major Android version update.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Google Camera
My subject may not be impressed, but the Google Camera is very impressive. / © ANDROIDPIT


Right up there with the stock camera app, the stock Gallery app also sucks the big one. We also know that the stock Gallery app will be going the way of the dodo in Android 5.0, being replaced by the Google+ powered Google Photos. This switch had been rumored for quite a while, but now we know it's happening. One of the best gallery apps around right now is QuickPic. Of course, you could also just go for Google Photos to get the jump on the status quo in 5.0 but I'm still a fan of choosing my own favorites.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 QuickPic
QuickPic is an elegant solution to a potentially messy problem. / © ANDROIDPIT

Light Manager 

The Nexus 5 battery sucks. There I said that too. Considering that battery life leaves much to be desired on the Nexus 5, the more you can do to keep your battery juices flowing for as long as possible, the better. That's why I use Light Manager to customize my LED to give me a heads-up on what notifications have coming in, saving me having to turn on my battery sucking screen all the time. If I'm not interested in grabbing G+ notifications or emails coming in I can simply ignore them and await a WhatsApp flash to unlock my phone.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Light Manager
Light Manager means you don't have to turn your screen on all the time. / © ANDROIDPIT


Again, because the battery life of the Nexus 5 isn't so great, I really can't afford to be sitting around on the bus or train reading for hours at a time. That's why saving online content for later reading offline, when I can switch off Wi-Fi and data to save battery or simply to be near a power source, is great. Knowing that I have a few great articles from throughout the day to read when I get home saves me trawling through all the same sites and social networks looking for that link to that story.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Pocket
Pocket lets you store any long articles for offline reading later. / © ANDROIDPIT

ES File Explorer 

If you've got a Nexus 5, chances are that you already have root or are at least interested in one day getting it. And there's no better root explorer than ES File Manager. Even if you don't have a rooted phone, ES File Manager lets you manage everything on your phone, so you can organize, copy, move, delete or rename anything you've downloaded, sideloaded or otherwise stuck on your Android.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 ES File Manager
No smartphone should be without ES File Manager, especially the Nexus 5. / © ANDROIDPIT

Bonus: Moonshine Icon Pack 

If you want to get ahead of the curve and make your Nexus 5 look like the next Nexus with the next Android version, but really can't be bothered flashing the developer preview or messing around with custom ROMs, then you can grab the wonderfully simple Moonshine Icon Pack for use with your favorite custom launcher to get next-gen icons and the Android L look with the tap of a button.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Moonshine Icon Pack
The Moonshine Icon Pack is your one stop shop for the Android L look. / © ANDROIDPIT

What other apps are essential for the Nexus 5 in your opinion?

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  • Samzter J. Aug 4, 2014 Link to comment

    Yep, ES is cool. But Solid Explorer is still one solid resident of my app drawer ;)

  • Edward Netherton Aug 4, 2014 Link to comment

    ES File Explorer File Manager is one of the best app you must install in your smartphone to keep your information and files organized.