My Favorite Android Apps and Preferred Mobile Settings

GmailMapsStreet ViewYouTube are pre-installed on most Android devices. But there are apps comes with your mobile, some you need to install separately. Here is a list of my favorite apps. I also make a remove/disable list and share my preferred configuration.

Favorite Apps

Authy 2-Factor Authentication

Authy Inc

I preferred this over others because of multiple device and accounts support. It’s always good to have another Authy running on a different device in case of being lost or damaged.

When reinstalling Authy, enter your registered cell phone and choose USE EXISTING DEVICE to get verification. Then launch Authy on another device to Accept and enter YES to confirm. It will popup a dialog with “The new device was added”.

Now you may launch it on your new device but still need your backups password for Authy to decrypt accounts.



To Identify caller ID from database and block calls. Great time saver.


Read It Later

Pocket has plugins for Firefox and Chrome. It helps to save web pages to the cloud and read later on any other device.

I preferred to enable both Dark theme, Use true black , and Justified Text for easier reading. Remember to select Removable as your Offline Storage Location to save precious internal storage.

Google Photos

Google Inc.

It simplifies photo browsing and uploading process. Unlike any ordinary digital camera, there’s no need to swap memory card to check photos. After uploading to cloud, I may check them in Google Drive and all my photos are backed up.

For first-time use, I need to click on [Settings] → [Auto Backup] and choose Standard size in [Backup Storage] → [Photo size] for unlimited storage.In some version, it’s called High quality in [Upload size].

Because I have unlimited mobile data plan, I also choose Over Wi-Fi or mobile network in both [Backup Settings] → [Back up photos] and [Back up videos] to upload.

My Sony Xperia C3 comes with Google+ Photos which has been Shut Down already. Please install the new Photos to use all features.



Shoot and share on both Instagram and Facebook immediately. Build-in filters helps to improve color tones.

The only missing is that it cannot utilize the camera button on C3.

SMS Backup+

Jan Berkel

To backup and restore SMS and call log.

It is very useful before resetting or transferring SMS onto another Android mobile. You need to connect it to your Google Account before backup. It will backup and restore from Call log and SMS labels in your Gmail.

Yahoo Mail


I have tried to use the build-in mail app as a client to Yahoo, but it mix spam with others. Seems better to use Yahoo Mail to save time.


Evernote Corporation

On desktop systems, I use it for clipping web pages and keeping notes. Evernote helps to sync between mobile and desktop. It supports simple formatting to highlight

I have link it to Google Smart Lock and use Authy to pass the 2-factor authentication for safety.

Google Keep

Google Inc.

A neat tool to take text notes but becomes difficult to manage when you have many. Therefore, I will move those worth to keep to OneNote and keep frequently used in Keep.


Microsoft Corporation

Rich text formatting and table support but with poor web clipping plugins for browsers. I also worry if it will become a resource monster in the future like others from Microsoft.

Audio Recorder

Sony Mobile Communications

Voice recording for meeting and taking notes quickly with many configurable options.

Select Device memory public in [Settings] → [File storage] if you want files playable by other apps.



Check my data usage and call cost from telephone company.

Instant Heart Rate

Azumio Inc.

Use primary camera and flash to check your heart rate. Easy to use and keep track of my health condition.

WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp Inc.

Keep in touch with friends not in Taiwan.

When reinstalling, enter your mobile and it will send you a SMS for automatically verification. After being verified, you may restore contact and messages from cloud.

File Commander – File Manager


It comes as a pre-installed app with my C3. Don’t disable it or you won’t be able to manage files stored in internal memory.

Favorite Apps for Work Only


LINE Corporation

Most Taiwanese use it to message local people. People like it because they can track whether or not and when you have read it. Government officers and businessmen also use it on sensitive information and there is no sign to change.

Google Drive

Google Inc.

I use it to backup and sync personal documents and files on different devices and systems.

Favorite Apps for Traveling

Google Sheets

Google Inc.

Keep track of my traveling expanse on my mobile or tablet.

Tokyo Subway Navigation


Guide you to travel with Tokyo Metro in Tokyo. There are still other subway systems but this is my primary.

台灣高鐵T Express手機快速訂票通關服務


Primary checking timetable for Taiwan High Speed Rail. It could be used as an e-ticket, too.


Taichung City Man

Checking bus timetable in Taichung. Be careful! The bus tracking feature is not dependable. Huge difference.

Apps comes with Sony C3 to Keep


Google Inc.

After disabling it, I encounter several warning and crash messages. Just leave it there.


Sony Mobile Communications

It’s a draw and paint app. Although I don’t need it now, I might want to play with it someday. Who knows?

Smart Connect

Sony Mobile Communications

To help to connect to other device or accessories.


Sony Mobile Communications

It may display only video and photos stored in device unless you connect to you FacebookPicasa, and Flickr. There is also a Photos and videos  widget which you may drag to Android desktop. Browsing photos by swiping on widget without launching this app.

Only installable on Sony Mobile.


Sony Mobile Communications

Play music files stored in device in the background even the screen is off. There is also a Music widget which you may drag to Android desktop. Play music without launching this app.

Only installable on Sony Mobile.

Xperia Keyboard

Sony Mobile Communications

Configurable in [Settings] → [Language & input]. There are Chinese keyboard Xperia Chinese keyboard and International keyboard Xperia keyboard available to choose in Current Keyboard.

I always set to Traditional Chinese input in Chinese mode, enable Next word prediction, Wi-Fi and mobile data in Cloud prediction, and select all Fuzzy Pinyin in Chinese text input settings.

In Xperia keyboard,I choose Dark Keyboard skins and enable Backup and sync to Signed in with Google in Use my writing style.

Only installable on Sony Mobile.

Timeshift burst

Sony Mobile Communications

A plug-in only for the build-in Sony Mobile Camera app which is not downloadable in Google Play. It may capture 31 to 61 frames within 2 seconds depends on your hardware.

Only installable on Sony Mobile.

AR effect

Sony Mobile Communications

A plug-in only for the build-in Sony Mobile Camera app which is not downloadable in Google Play. It may add extra pictures to your photos. Just for fun.

Only installable on Sony Mobile.


Sony Mobile Communications

It is the e-ticket for Lounge. Useless and unable to be disabled or uninstalled.

Favorite but Gives Up

QuickPic Gallery

Cheetah Mobile Cloud (NYSE:CMCM)

It’s useful if you need to view pictures which is saved on local storage. But since it has been owner by Cheetah Mobile, I stop using this app.

ES File Explorer File Manager

ES Global

If your device is rooted and enable Root Explorer, you may dig into system files with this app.

But as the report How To Find Spyware On Your Android Device mentions that it also provides an unknown connection to China, I decide to drop it on my list.

Apps comes with Sony C3 needs to be Disabled or Uninstalled



It takes up too much RAM, slow-down everything, and need an extra Messenger app just for text. I disabled it and use Chrome Browser to access Facebook Mobile Site instead.

To create a shortcut on Android desktop, enter the URL in Chrome and select Add to homescreen from menu.


Google Inc.

I don’t like to read books on small screen.


Google Inc.

Not really interested.


Google Inc.

I don’t like to watch movies on small screen. I know I may project it onto big screen but why bother?


Google Inc.

Useless. I don’t check it frequently.

Music Go!


An online music app/portal which I don’t need at all. Just uninstall the Music Go! app.

Google Talkback

Google Inc.

Design for the blinds or vision-impaired users to use Android.

News Suite(Formerly Socialife)

Sony Corporation

A news app which I don’t need at all. Just disable the Sociallife app.

TV Go!


An online video app/portal which I don’t need at all. Just uninstall the TVGO app.

Xperia Lounge (entertainment)

Sony Mobile Communications

An portal app only for entertainment which I don’t need at all. Just disable the Xperia Lounge app.


Cyberon Corp.

A life information portal which I don’t need at all. Just uninstall the 生活行 app.

Special Configurations for Sony C3

It is a fine mobile comes with Qualcomm S400 MSM8926 1.2GHz and 5.5″ 720 x 1280 IPS TFT screen. I love the big screen. Because it just has 1Gb RAM and 8GB internal storage, I have to manage apps carefully to save memory, CPU power, and storage.

I also made following changes:

Stop the Click Sound and Vibration

Disable Touch sounds and Vibrate on touch in [Settings] → [Sound & notification] → [Other sounds].

Enlarge Display Fonts

Enable Large text in [Settings] → [Accessibility] or select Extra large in [Settings] → [Display] → [Font size].

For web sites, you need to change Text scaling to at least 120% and enable Force enable zoom in [Settings] → [Accessibility] in Chrome.

Make the Clock Easier to Read

Select Digital clock in [Settings] → [Personalization] → [Clocks].

Use All Black as Background

I have create a black 1280x720dpi picture and download to my mobile. Open with Album and click on command [Use as] Wallpaper.

Special Configuration for Acer Iconia B1-A71

I have a special feeling about it because it’s my first tablet and helps me a lot during my travel in Kyoto even It is slow and with very limited RAM. Updates slows down everything therefore I have to disable them to make it more responsive.

Now I only use Maps and YouTube. They are still quite useful to me.

Stop Auto-update in Google Play

Select Do not auto-update apps in [Settings] → [General] → [Auto-update apps]


  1. How To Find Spyware On Your Android Device
  2. Acer: Iconia B1-A71
  3. Android
  4. Chrome
  5. Facebook
  6. Facebook: Help Center: Facebook Mobile Site (
  7. Firefox
  8. Flickr
  9. Google: My Account
  10. Google Drive
  11. Google Gmail
  12. Google Play
  13. Google Play: Album
  14. Google Play: AR effect
  15. Google Play: Audio Recorder
  16. Google Play: Authy 2-Factor Authentication
  17. Google Play: Books
  18. Google Play: Chrome Browser – Google
  19. Google Play: ES File Explorer File Manager
  20. Google Play: Evernote
  21. Google Play: Facebook
  22. Google Play: File Commander – File Manager
  23. Google Play: Games
  24. Google Play: Gmail
  25. Google Play: Google+
  26. Google Play: Google Drive
  27. Google Play: Google Keep
  28. Google Play: Google Photos
  29. Google Play: Google Sheets
  30. Google Play: Google Street View
  31. Google Play: Google Talkback
  32. Google Play: Hangouts
  33. Google Play: Instant Heart Rate
  34. Google Play: Instagram
  35. Google Play: LINE: Free Calls & Messages
  36. Google Play: Maps
  37. Google Play: Messenger
  38. Google Play: Movies
  39. Google Play: Music
  40. Google Play: Music Go!
  41. Google Play: News Suite(Formerly Socialife)
  42. Google Play: OneNote
  43. Google Play: Pass
  44. Google Play: Pocket
  45. Google Play: QuickPic Gallery
  46. Google Play: Sketch
  47. Google Play: Smart Connect
  48. Google Play: SMS Backup+
  49. Google Play: Timeshift burst
  50. Google Play: Tokyo Subway Navigation
  51. Google Play: TV Go!
  52. Google Play: Yahoo Mail
  53. Google Play: WhatsApp Messenger
  54. Google Play: Whoscall – Caller ID & Block
  55. Google Play: Xperia Keyboard
  56. Google Play: Xperia Lounge (entertainment)
  57. Google Play: YouTube
  58. Google Play: 生活行(台鐵公車發票樂透股市電影國道星座天氣)VoiceGO
  59. Google Play: 台灣之星
  60. Google Play: 台灣高鐵T Express手機快速訂票通關服務
  61. Google Play: 台中搭公車(無廣告)
  62. Google Smart Lock
  63. Instagram
  64. Microsoft
  65. Picasa
  66. Pocket
  67. Sony Mobile Communication
  68. Sony: Xperia C3
  69. Taiwan High Speed Rail
  70. Tech Crunch: Google+ Photos Is Shutting Down On August 1st
  71. Tokyo Metro

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