Windows 10 has come a long way since its launch in July 2015, both in terms of features and functionality as well as install base. All thanks to the operating system as a service concept that the company has been pursuing.
The OS now powers 800 million devices, with the bulk of this very impressive figure made up of PCs. Almost all new desktop computers, laptops and hybrid machines that ship now come running Windows 10 out the box, much like the Xbox, HoloLens, IoT hardware, and whatever phones are left out there.
Microsoft’s latest and greatest OS will be four years old this July.
And one pillar of this success is the Microsoft Store, which now hosts all kind of applications, games, even browser extensions. We’ll take a look at the best this apps repository has to offer for you, no matter if you are a heavy apps user or one that only fires them up occasionally.
Enter the Microsoft Store
The Redmond based technology firm has done a solid job of bringing improvements to the built-in applications in Windows 10. And this is very important, as a large fraction of Windows users like to stick with bundled tools if they fit their needs and requirements.
Each new update to the operating system brings in improvements to these bundled apps. Case in point, the enhanced Notes app and the revamped Clipboard, both of which are being refreshed with new features regularly.
These additions generally make life easier when it comes to using the operating system to its full potential. But at some point, you will need to look elsewhere to add more functionality. Particularly, if you want to perform a function that is not covered by Windows 10.
And this is where the Microsoft Store enters the picture.
Thanks to the official app repository for the operating system, additional applications are just a couple of clicks away. Most of these are fee to download and install on your device, so you can take them on a test run before drawing out your credit card. Even the ones that ask a price usually only demand a couple of dollars — a far cry from the days of buying expensive boxed software.
Best of all, Microsoft regularly curates this collection of apps on the Store, so you can be sure of the quality of the programs that go up there. Each one has been manually approved and listed by the software titan.
Between UWPs and PWAs
Admittedly, when compared to what is available on competing platforms like Android and iOS, the selection of applications available on the Windows 10 platform is lacking. The situation actually was dire right at the start, but subsequent years have seen more developers paying attention to the platform.
And this is completely understandable, considering the OS was slow out the gates with the Windows 8 stumble, and then the development of Windows 10 proper. By then, the competitors were already speeding away in the race, alongside the app developers.
Interestingly, things seem to have slowed down even more in the past year or so. No blockbuster app has launched for the platform in recent memory, though the notable ones do regularly get updated — some even achieving feature parity with other competing platforms like Android and iOS.
Fragmentation is often cited as one of the reasons for this, as not all developers are at ease with developing and porting their apps to the various versions of Windows 10. The operating system, obviously, powers much more than PCs these days. And platforms like the Surface Hub, HoloLens, IoT hardware, even the Xbox consoles are a work in progress when it comes to features.
While the focus remains on these modern UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps, there’s also a bit of ambiguity surrounding a newer format, a completely different way of developing software. Going by the name of PWA (Progressive Web Apps), these types of applications also reside in their own corner of the Microsoft Store — the most popular being the official Twitter client.
Perhaps when things settle down, and Microsoft gets closer to its ultimate goal of convergence for its various platforms, we will see another drive towards multi-platform Windows applications that work the same, irrespective of the device they are being run on.
For the time being, though, each new year continues to up the ante for the Microsoft Store.
Even if by a little.
Best apps for Windows 10
All things considered, have are at a point where you can find a large array of apps on the Microsoft Store, no matter whether you want something for fun and entertainment, playing media, read news, check out sports, or amp up your productivity.
We have scoured the Store to check out the best applications that are available for you to download right now covering the whole spectrum and the range of categories.
Read on to discover the 19 best apps for Windows 10 for 2019 and beyond:
The weather app that ships with Windows 10 is perfectly serviceable, one of the better bundled applications in the operating system. But if you want a little something more, then it’s hard to go wrong with AccuWeather.
It serves some of the best weather updates, local forecasts, and radar data available anywhere, let alone the Windows 10 platform. This snazzy app also serves up interactive maps, weather videos and offers localized minute-by-minute coverage and forecast updates based on your address or GPS location.
Unlike some other apps, AccuWeather is neatly integrated with Windows 10, and makes good use of the native features of the platform. Live tiles let you stay up to speed with what’s going on outside your window, while Cortana integration also comes in handy.
Another thing to love about AccuWeather is its new automatic theme that seamlessly switches its look based on your sunrise and sunset times. The fact that it is the only major weather provider on pretty much all variants of the Windows 10 platform, makes it all the more worth a download. Recommended.
Adult Coloring Book
Coloring books aren’t just for kids, as this fancy little app proves. Adult Coloring Book is designed to help older folks relax and unwind in a creative way. The included designs are much more intricate and detailed than what you would find in a coloring collection for children.
Starting up the app, you are treated to two main sections, Color Book and Pencil Sketch. The first one lets you fade away your anxiety with a relaxing coloring experience. You get a variety of rich patterns, including mandalas, as well as the usual mix of animals and plants, and whatnot.
The second section is pretty much a paint corner that you can use to make your creativity run wild. It’s nowhere near other drawing and sketching applications, though, but you do get the basics here, including the ability to change brush sizes, a fill button, eraser, and all that.
One knockoff on the app is that it is rather slow out the gate. Even on our SSD machine, it took its sweet time to load. Business does pick up once you’re in. A fair bit of the content is locked behind premium, and there are ads to deal with too. But around half of it is free, and should keep you occupied.
Pottery making is now available on Windows 10! Clay Craft brings the joy of making pottery on the platform, letting you sculpt amazing shapes with the touch of your hands or flick of your mouse, and then decorate and paint them to unleash your creativity.
The process is simple. You fire up the app (pun always intended), and can then sculpt your creation using the tools provided. It is possible to create authentic and beautiful designs, both historic and modern ones, and then customize them to your heart’s delight.
When it comes to decoration, the app provides you with plenty of options — including patterns from cultures all over the world. There really are no limits to how you can decorate your creations, though obviously most of the are locked behind in-app purchases. Almost all of them, you may say.
Clay Craft ran smoothly on all devices that we tested, and we did not notice any lag whatsoever. And this is very important in providing an immersive experience. More features, designs, and options would, obviously, be welcome. But as the only pottery app on Windows 10, this one is special.
There are a ton of productivity apps available on the Microsoft Store, but very few like this one. Aptly named, Concepts is the app to get if you are the thinking type. You can use it to plan your thoughts and create a visual representation of what’s on your mind.
The app gives you an infinite canvas with a variety of paper types to sketch your ideas on, write notes, and create doodles. Your plans can then be easily shared with your friends and clients, as well as other applications, right from within Concepts.
With realistic support for pencils, pens and brushes, this version is optimized for the latest Windows devices like the Surface, Surface Pen and Surface Dial. The application responds well to the pressure, tilt, and velocity of touch. And to top it off, you also get an infinite layering system with adjustable opacity.
The app also supports the ability to drag and drop images right into the canvas. And as for exports, you can export in both standard and high-resolution formats for printing. No wonder companies like Disney, HP, Google, and Apple are using Concepts to turn their ideas into reality. You should too!
Unless you have just returned from your tip to Mars, you might have heard of Evernote. This app is like digital filing cabinet for your notes, with each note having a title and an editing window into which you can type or drag your files into. You also get the ability to add tags, as well as date and location.
When you start typing, a style and formatting bar appears that gives you the option to create numbered, bulleted and check lists. Also available is the ability to insert tables, record audio, throw in a webpage, or share a note. And for notes that need actioning later, you can easily add a reminder.
Perhaps the best bit is that all your notes are synced to the cloud, available on all your devices. Evernote gives you the freedom to organize your notes and carry your information wherever you go, or share your information with anyone you want.
The Windows 10 version of the app is a complete productivity toolkit that is a must-have for business users and students. While for the everyman, this is the application they need to keep their daily life organized and focus on what matters the most. Download it today.
Accounting can be rather boring, even home accounting. FamilyBudget takes some of the boredom out of home financing by making your data and information aesthetically pleasing. All this, without sacrificing the usual feature set necessary to compile your books.
With a simple yet inviting user interface, this fee app lets you view expenses and income history by month, category, and individual family members. You can track your personal expenses just as easy as your family expenses, and get to keep an eye on the overall budget right from within the application.
Your data is stored safely in the cloud, and you can access it whenever and wherever you need it, from any device you want. This also comes in handy in case of disaster, as recovering your information is simple and straightforward.
If there’s one thing we did not like about the app is that it’s not updated as often as it should be. We encountered some stability issues, and prevalent bugs means that management sometimes get messy. But once you’ve inputted your data, it’s fairly smooth sailing from then on.
File Viewer Plus
Got a Windows 10 PC with limited disk space? Deal with a variety of different files every day, and don’t want to install a million different programs for each one? Deploy File Viewer Plus on your machine, and simplify your life a little.
The latest version of this program has been completely written from the ground up, and offers a range of features and options. The free version of File Viewer Plus lets you open some 150 different file types, and if you upgrade to the full version, you can bump this up to 300 file formats.
All the important ones are here, from documents, spreadsheets and presentations to audio and video files, photos, even archives. Though some of these are limited to the paid version of File Viewer Plus, like presentation and email file formats, camera RAW files, and source code files.
You can save, edit, convert and print your files, with batch capabilities to handle a bunch of different files at once. The app is snappy, with a very functional and familiar user interface. However, its availability is limited to just the PC, and it would be great to see an app like this go multi-platform.
Another popular multiplatform app, Flipboard serves you curated content daily to your home screen. Think of this as your very own newspaper. The company bills this as your personal magazine that can be built around any topic. And the format is not just text, either.
Articles are rich with video and imagery from some of the most iconic sources in journalism like CNN or Engadget, letting you catch up things that are happening both around you and across the globe. The Flipboard editorial team also handpicks a variety of topics that you can browse through and read.
Though the real power of this free application is in how it lets you deep dive into specific topics by picking the categories that you want in your magazine. You can also collect your stories, save them or share them with others on Twitter and Facebook right from within the app.
Admittedly, Flipboard for Windows 10 has mobile in its DNA, meaning this is not an application designed for the desktop. It’s beautiful and engaging, but some better navigation via mouse will truly up the usability levels. As would features like font resizing and other such customizations.
The budget-conscious in you will appreciate the features MoneyPoint offers to help you record, categorize, track and tick of all your daily transactions. All these are handled in a simple accounting format, making this app an ideal solution for everyone to get up and running with.
You can maintain schedules and payees between separate accounts within the app. Whether you are setting budgets and goals, recording and categorizing your payments, or reconciling and tracking your day to day transactions, this app has it all. The UI may be pedestrian, but the feature set is anything but.
Additionally, MoneyPoint also lets you schedule reminders and pay upcoming bills and outgoing payments. The app also provides you the information you need to monitor your cash flow, income and expenses, account projection and performance.
And if you are wary of the cloud, and would rather keep the data stored locally, MoneyPoint has got you covered. You can safely keep your information with you, securing it with a password. It does not even require an internet connection or any external servers, meaning only you have access to your data.
Click the PhotoScape icon, and you will know that this is an app that doesn’t mess around! It gets you up and running quick, with fast loading times and an UI focused on helping you do your stuff quick. Stuff, in this case, being fun, creative, and easy photo editing.
There is no shortage of apps available on the Microsoft Store that let you edit your images. In fact, you have several good choices. PhotoScape X, with its unassuming look and feel, is full of surprises in this regard. In how much power and flexibility it offers you for free, in the standard version.
You get a range of powerful tools to achieve professional quality touchups and effects on your photos. The extensive and versatile toolset is accompanied by a range of effects, stickers, patterns, borders, and frames that make this the program to get for budding photographers. Stability is remarkably solid, too.
If you are just starting out, the user interface may seem a bit overwhelming at first. But luckily, everything is accurately labeled, and the official website provides you with a lot of help via screencast videos to navigate the waters. All said and done, this is one of the good ones!
Photo magic at your fingertips? Pretty much. Thanks to the unrivaled power of the professional editing suite from Adobe, Photoshop has now become a household name. But not everyone needs the mainline software, particularly those that only occasionally edit their photos and images.
If your image manipulation needs are modest, then you might want to check out Photoshop Express. This free app is one of the most popular photo editing applications on the Microsoft Store, and for good reason. And it continues to get better with each new version.
One-click features like Auto-Fix do a good job when it comes to automatically adjusting brightness, exposure, and shadows in your photos. And you can also use slide controls to fine tune exposure, contrast, clarity, and vibrance in your images.
Photoshop Express does require you to sign in with your Adobe ID, which may dissuade privacy conscious folks. But once you look past that, you not only have some very powerful features and adjustments, but also the ability to buy and download additional packs that amplify the experience.
PicsArt Photo Studio
With half a billion downloads already, this multiplatform image manipulation app is the real deal. PicsArt is all about taking your pictures and making them awesome, thanks to its amazing selection of tools. And the fact that it is terribly easy to use, means that you will be up and running in no time.
You’ve got all the usual suspects here, like a collage maker, custom stickers, a free clipart library, double exposure, and a range of drawing tools. Sign up, and get access to the full functionality, or get PicsArt Gold for an ads-free editing experience and exclusive biweekly content.
As for the editing capabilities, although the UI seems to be inspired by mobile, it is both simple and clean. All the good stuff is tucked away on the left side of the app, including the Editor and Collage, and overall performance is snappy throughout.
That said, it’s not all rosy here. Recent updates to PicsArt have taken away some functionality, most notably the blend modes, and the ability to zoom when using the eraser tool. This takes away some of the shine of this amazing application. But download it anyway to see how you like it.
There are times when you need a simple solution to do simple tasks. QuickLook is an ideal fit for those times. Unless you are on Windows 10 S, of course, which is where the app does not work. But for pretty much all other versions of the operating system, this application gets the job done.
The job being, letting you get a quick preview of file contents by the press of a button. Spacebar, that is. Fire up the app, and it humbly sits in your Taskbar alongside other icons. But navigate to a file, and press the spacebar key, and QuickLook springs into action.
It enables you to get a quick peek of the file in question — whether it be a document, photo, or video. No complicated steps to remember, just press spacebar to get a preview. You can also press spacebar on folders to get their details in a floating window. A wide variety of formats are supported.
Sadly, like many UWP Windows apps, the user UI of this one is lacking polish. QuickLook just about gets the job done, offering a few options in a bar up top, while the rest of the window is reserved for the preview itself. However, if simplicity is what you’re after, then QuickLook should be right up your alley.
If you prefer having your stories delivered using Really Simple Syndication (RSS) news feeds, then Readiy is worth a look. It makes subscribing and updating your feeds ridiculously easy, and presents them in a slick and customizable interface that marks items as read as you scroll.
It supports multiple authentication options, from Google, Facebook, Twitter and even a Microsoft Account. You do need to create a free Feedly account to use this app, though. But that is a quick and easy process to get you started.
The two best things about this application are its fast performance and simple user interface. The UI is not the most stylish around, but the focus is on content. Image and text litter the window, the reading panel is of an ideal size, the title bar has all the right tools available at easy access.
A dark theme is an icing on this delicious cake, and there are plenty of keyboard shortcuts to speed up your navigation. The app is free to download and us. But if you want, you can banish ads and get access to additional features by parting with $2.99 to upgrade to the Pro version as an in-app purchase.
Like taking notes on your Windows 10 machine? This minimalist and elegant app is the one you need. Simplenote makes it easy to create any kind of notes, including list and to-do, and then share them seamlessly across all your devices.
Any and all changes you make are backed up automatically, and you can also revert to a previous version should the need arise. To make things even better, Simplenote offers Markdown support, and you can also add tags to your content, making it easier to find content later.
It is also possible to share your notes and lists with others, and you can even publish them online. The UI is all about offering a speed and efficient experience. You just open the app, writer your thoughts and be done with it. Then access your notes everywhere, from Android and iOS to Linux and macOS.
This may be a relatively recent arrival on the Microsoft Store, but has quickly risen up the ranks to become one of the more highly rated note-taking application for Windows 10. The next step? Availability on other Windows 10 platforms like HoloLens and Xbox One.
Spirality is a spirograph, as in, a kaleidoscope combined with a coloring book. It lets you draw beautiful mandalas and spirals with your pen or mouse, and then fill them in with color. You can then share your artwork as high-resolution images or even animations.
You can create amazing doodles with it in seconds, or let your creativity run wild and create masterpieces. The possibilities are endless — you can change mirrors and symmetries, get full control over colors and transparency, and the app works surprisingly well with a mouse.
In fact, the control you get here is unmatched. It is possible to make changes at pretty much all stages, meaning you can design as simple or as complex as artwork as you want. The Undo and Redo buttons are but a click away when you make a mistake or have a change of heart.
All this truly streamlines the process of creating amazing art with the stroke of your pen, or the pointer of your mouse, what have you. The simple UI and powerful feature set of Spirality means no prior skill is required to create exquisite works of art. It’s hard to stop, once you get started.
Spotify is the world’s most popular streaming music service. It’s official client on Windows 10 comes with an intuitive interface, that along with streaming, also lets you access any local music files that you have on your PC through the app.
In addition, you can create playlists of your favorite genres, tracks, and artists here, just like any good music software. Radio is also available, allowing you to discover new music, and play songs based on your taste. You can also listen to podcasts and audiobooks here very easily.
The free version is ad-supported, meaning you can enjoy the music without paying anything, with occasional ads thrown in. Or you can pay $9.99 a month to subscribe to the service that not only gets you better sound quality, but also the ability to download your tunes and play them offline.
While the app is fully featured, it has not been designed natively. This means that the usage experience is slow and lumbering. Compared to competing solutions like iHeart and Pandora, the Spotify app is a bit lacking in this regard. But when it comes to feature set, it is right up there at the top.
Unit Conversion One
The Microsoft Store houses a handful of unit converters, but Unit Conversion One is one of the better ones out there. A lot of this has got to do with its beautiful user interface that focuses on the conversion, and letting you work in an intuitive fashion.
Converting units is quick and easy, and the app provides fast and accurate conversions. Pretty much everything is covered here, from area and angle to digital storage, energy, mass, power, speed, temperature, and time.
You simply make your selection on the left, and then enter your data in the center. A handy little calculator is also available at the bottom for owners of touch-enabled devices. In fact, the whole app seems to be designed for touch, which can be a positive or a negative depending on your usage.
Unit Conversion One does have a few shortcomings, most notably the inability to resize the app. Still, if you’re in the hunt for a no-nonsense application to convert between units, then this one does the job. Students and professionals may need a more powerful solution, but for everyone else, this is up there.
This surprisingly versatile app became such a hit with users that Microsoft bought the German company that came up with it in 2015. Its popularity has sustained through the ages. And if you are in need of an application to create your lists, Wunderlist deserves to be right up there at the top.
It doesn’t do anything radically different, but what it does, it does exceptionally well. The beautiful interface is backed up by an ease-of-use that is sadly not as common on the Microsoft Store. It will take you mere minutes to get going with this application.
And get going you will. Wunderlist helps you create and curate all manner of lists. The focus is on to-do lists that you can easily create and share across people and devices. This makes Wunderlist pretty much perfect for delegating office jobs to coworkers and house chores to family members.
Great as it is, Wunderlist does suffer from a few limitations, some of which are inherent to the UWP platform. For example, it is not possible to drag and drop attachments into tasks. There’s also no option to create smart due dates. Disappointing, as the Chrome and online versions of the app do.