The best apps for your Nokia Lumia 520

Did you a get a new Windows Phone in your stocking above the fireplace or in a box under the Christmas tree? If you did, odds are it might have been a Nokia Lumia 520. Why’s that? It’s only the most popular Windows Phone ever. Last we checked, over one in four Windows Phone devices around the world are the Lumia 520. Which isn’t all that surprising. You have a smartphone that can easily be had for under $100 off-contract around the world, it’s selling like hot cakes.

Which is why we’re going to look at the 10 best apps for the Lumia 520. We’ll be focusing on apps (and games tomorrow) that run well on devices with 512MB of RAM. Which means this list also apples to devices like the Lumia 521, Lumia 620, Lumia 720 and others with just 512MB of RAM.

Facebook Beta – Best app for connecting with family and friends

Yeah, I’m putting Facebook Beta ahead of the legit version of Facebook. Live life on the edge and use the beta version of Facebook for newer features and faster updates. Whether you like it or not, Facebook is a juggernaut of a social network. It has over one billion users, which means something like one in seven people on the entire planet have a Facebook account. It’s an important app and works well on the Lumia 520. Get that Facebook Beta in the Windows Phone Store (or grab the vanilla version, aka non-beta Facebook).

QR: Facebook Beta

Bing Weather –Best app for checking the weather

There are a plethora of weather apps in the Windows Phone Store. You really can’t go wrong with any of them. However, we like Bing and recommend it as a great weather app to download right away. It’s free, has no ads and a clean interface. What more could you want in a weather app? Grab it in the Windows Phone Store.

QR: Bing Weather

WhatsApp – Best app for communicating

Right now, WhatsApp has over 400 million monthly active users. Those users send 16 billion messages and 500 million images per day on WhatsApp. Those figures are astonishing, which is why WhatsApp is a must-have app for your Lumia 520. Odds are, someone you know prefers using the platform to contact you. The app for Windows Phone has had a flurry of updates in the past few weeks, adding both stability and features. Grab it in the Windows Phone Store.

QR: WhatsApp

Nokia MixRadio – Best app for your next dance party

There are a lot of music apps available for Windows Phone. We’re big fans of Xbox Music, Songza, Pandora and others. Unfortunately, because of local laws and music licensing, those apps aren’t necessarily available in all regions that the Lumia 520 is. No music service is perfect when it comes to availability around the globe, but Nokia MixRadio comes pretty close and seems to be available in most places. Availability aside, it’s just a great music platform. We’re big fans of the mixes that are created by real human beings and not some computer algorithm. The app is a mix of free features and an affordable subscription ($4.99 per month). Grab it in the Windows Phone Store.

QR: MixRadio

HERE Maps – Best app to never get lost

Smartphones are wonderful devices, mostly because they combine the features and functions of multiple devices into one. You can leave your GPS navigator at home thanks to HERE Maps on Windows Phone. Odds are you already have HERE Maps loaded up on your Lumia 520, but it’s always worth highlighting because it’s so good and it’s free. HERE Maps lets you save on data by downloading maps for offline use. You’ll never get lost as long as you’ve got HERE Maps on your Lumia 520. Grab it in the Windows Phone Store.


myTube – Best app for watching YouTube

The “official” YouTube app on Windows Phone sucks. There’s the whole tussle between Google and Microsoft on the issue, but that doesn’t matter so much since we have myTube on Windows Phone. It’s the best way to use YouTube on Windows Phone and works great on the Lumia 520. Sign in with your account and you’ll get access to your subscriptions, favorites and more. The UI is pretty snazzy and there are tons of features that make this a great YouTube app. Grab myTube from the Windows Phone Store.

QR: myTube

Wikipedia – Best app to quench your thirst for knowledge

You probably hit up Wikipedia a few times a day if you’re anything like us. Thankfully, we have a stellar Wikipedia app on Windows Phone from Rudy Huyn. It’s called, wait for it, Wikipedia and has the blessings of the Wikimedia Foundation (organization behind Wikipedia). The app by Rudy shows of the Windows Phone design language with aplomb and performance is solid. It’s the best way to get Wikipedia on your Windows Phone. Which is why you should get it for you Lumia 520 from the Windows Phone Store.

QR: Wikipedia

Weave – Best app to be the king of news

Outside of tech you probably have a few other hobbies and interests right? There’s no better way to stay on top of your favorite news sites and blogs than with Weave for Windows Phone. The app was just updated to take advantage of their in-house Weave Cloud Services that allows your feeds, favorites and more to sync across Weave on Windows Phone and Windows 8. There’s also a web version of Weave coming, so you’ll never be without your news. Weave is available for free on Windows Phone, but you can also pony up and get the ad-free version for $9.99. Grab the Weave for free in the Windows Phone Store.

QR: Weave

Nokia Camera Beta – Best app for photography

The Lumia 520 isn’t known for producing stellar photographs. Mostly because it has a relatively ho-hum sensor, it is a budget friendly phone after all. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t push the limits of what is possible with it. To do that, you’ll want Nokia Camera Beta. The app is more or less like the regular version of Nokia Camera, except not limited to high-end Lumia’s with PureView technology. To get the same features and fine level of control over your camera on the Lumia 520 make sure you grab Nokia Camera beta in the Windows Phone Store.

QR: Nokia Camera Beta

6tag – Best way to Instagram

Sure, there’s finally an official Instagram client for Windows Phone, but it doesn’t come close to the performance and features found in 6tag. The app was recently updated to version 3.0 and brings support for the newest feature on the photo social network, Instagram Direct. That’s a feature you can’t even get in the official version on Windows Phone. It’s free and available in the Windows Phone Store.

QR: 6tag

(Bonus) WPCentral – Best way to get learn about more apps for your Lumia 520

OK, time for a shameless plug. You should probably get our app (WPCentral) for Windows Phone to easily learn, discover, and download new apps for your Lumia 520. We constantly highlight new apps, big updates, and more. Our app for Windows Phone is easily the best portal for staying abreast on all the news and happenings on the platform. It’s free, but you can pay to unlock some extra features. There’s also a new update out right now where Jay really outdid himself with new features and bug fixes. Pick it up in the Windows Phone Store.

QR: WPCentral

And there you have it. The best apps for your Lumia 520 (or any 512 MB device really). Of course your opinions on what apps are a must-have for your Lumia 520 might differ from ours, which is where the comments below come in. Rocking a Lumia 520? Sound off below with some of your favorite apps. Don’t worry about games, since we’ll cover those tomorrow. For now, this is all about apps. 


Reader comments

The best apps for your Nokia Lumia 520


Any chance you'll be make a version for RT? I don't really want it on my phone, but I would love to have this on my Surface RT!

YouTube HD doesn't recognize as Youtube app if you want to open Youtube link like from WPCentral app. Personally I prefer MetroTube because somewhat not confusing to me like myTube O:

And neither MetroTube nor MyTube recognize private videos whereas YouTube HD does. It is the only app that allows me to see the list of my private videos. Not to mention it has the best and more complete on-screen, touch-optimized controls. It's a touch screen mobile app, not a mini PC program and its developer understands it very well.

Yes, there is. But there's also beauty in the fact that anyone can make a statement regardless of other people's opinion. Although I'm aware that my statement about YouTube HD being the best YouTube app in the store is indeed just another opinion. However, I'm willing to defend my opinion since there's already too much attention on other YouTube apps. I believe YouTube HD deserves a lot more love from this website considering it's a premium free app.

So yeah. I agree in whatever is your opinion about. Because I do have my own personal opinion too. Let us praise all these great Youtube app in WP Store and educate people out there who still dosen't know that official Youtube app from Microsoft is being blocked by Google and tell them to use these great Youtube app. I saw them on the official Youtube app review in WP Store. There are still bunch of them.

Actually myTube does recognize private videos- that was my reason for switching from Metrotube. If YouTube HD supports private videos I'll check it out, though.

Last time I checked MyTube it still didn't support private videos. Glad to know it does now because it makes the WP8 platform better. I'll check it out again, but I'll probably stick with YouTube HD because I like supporting free apps :)

My girlfriend's spawn got a 520 for Xmas. He's 9 but already masters windows phone better than his mom

I have all of the aforementioned apps on my 521 except for Weave, mytube & 6tag. I use MetroTube as I carried that over when I upgraded from my HTC HD7. All my friends who have WP8 say 6tag is the best. Is it possible to review the best protective cases available for the 520/521?

Is Bing weather working properly now? For a while the live tile and lock screen stopped working.

In terms of functionality wise, whatsapp is no match for wechat. Wechat can do much more than whatsapp can. And they have roughly same number of users,making them equally popular.
If talking about eBook reader, I'll pick Mohoo reader

Agreed, takes really great low light photos. I was surprised that because of the lack if flash, the photos would be subpar but the 521 takes better photos than all WP7.x phones I've used.

I ordered a Lumia 925 on ATT to check out.  Should have it next week.  Had a Lumia 1020 a few months ago but it was just too heavy for the pocket and I went back to my androids.  Looking forward to trying the 925 out and will use it as a camera if the WP phone etc does not work out.  

Thanks for the app recommendations!

Honestly, I picked up a 520 just to have as a "toy" device and demo all sorts of apps on. It's a fantastic little smartphone, and while it costs only a fraction of the iPhone, it provides vastly more worth!

^^THIS!!!! I thought I would miss out because not having a 92x series phone. It would make my dreams come true if the L1520 could be released to all carriers. If it was available on T-Mobile, I would buy it right now.

I gave my sister a Nokia L620 and got her back on Nokia after she fled to Samsung a few years ago.
Glad to see we agree on the basic apps as I installed her almost all of the ones on this list. I however installed MetroTube instead as I think it's better.

Now all the family is back on Nokia (and, therefore, WP). They don't change phones as quickly as I do so I guess they'll stay with the phones for a few years still. Hopefully in 2016 Nokia will be back to phones in time for them to change their then old phones. Otherwise I guess I'll have to spend some extra bucks to take them to Sony with me. Oh well.

I'll remain with NOKIA until the end. But if I have to move to another OEM it mill be Sony for sure. Let's see the 7 new devices they're preparing and see if NOKIA's Goldfinger will still be properly branded.

I'll also check out these phone and WP 8.1.(atlest we know features till then)

Then I'll decide between Sony 2014 phone series and Nokia.(I"ll also include Moto and LG)

and Yeah! my family already move on from Nokia. I am only the Nokia user in my family.

We got a 520 for my Dad. His 900 is on the fritz. I'm really impressed with the quality of this phone!!!

Award news comments are closed so I'll post here...
There should have been a "don't know" option on the poll. So many questions I just picked a random choise, no idea what they were.

The Bing apps are just great. The app are really well made and the display too nicely on my 920. Hope more Bing apps like fitness come up.

Accuweather needs forecast tile, and ad free version to trump Bing as lock screen and app is a million times cooler!

New 521 owner here (and new WPCentral member), here's my list:

MixRadio-- I love the offline mixes feature, since so far I haven't even activated it with T-Mobile yet.

Pandora-- nothing much different than Pandora on other platforms, but its nice that it is on WP (and ad-free until 12/31--- it would be awesome if they extended that, but I doubt they will.)

Here Maps and Here Drive--haven't used them as GPS yet, but played around with it while a passenger getting a ride from airport to in-laws house. Seemed to work very well, and, just like MixRadio, the offline map/GPS features are really impressive.

Bing Weather -- beautiful weather-related images for the lock screen (until I decided to put a photo of my daugther there instead....but...honestly....the Bing images might come back because they are so nice! :)

Bing Finance -- I like this overall, but I wish the watchlist had a list option. If you are trying to track a whole portfolio with maybe 20-30 stocks, it would be easier to just have a list instead of live-tile style boxes.

Mint - a great new addition to the WP app roster. 

IM+ -- For instant messaging with Google Talk users. I'm a Gmail user, so this was one of the hardest things to give up, but so IM+ does a good enough job. I prefer "imo", which is available on other platforms, but not yet on WP.

USAA --- There's a bit of an interesting backstory to this app-- they had developed an app for WP7, and when they WP8 transition happened and things had to be written, they decided to pull support for the platform. Only in the last month have they re-introduced the app, which includes Deposit@Mobile for check deposits by phone. I've been using my wife's iPad for this, but now I can do it with my own phone.

Nokia Trailers-- For film buffs, this is a great little app for viewing movie trailers. I like seeing Nokia take on Apple/iTunes trailers site head-on here.

Netflix, Hulu Plus, Flixter----glad these are on the platform, though I haven't gotten much use out of them yet since I tend to watch media on Kindle Fire or laptop.

And one totally random app that I came across in the store---Batman-Animated Series--- I used to love watching this show when I was younger, so this was a blast from the past. It's probably totally not legal, and the ads are annoying, but it does have streams of a long list of episodes. The same developer (OOB App Creations) also has apps for Tom and Jerry, Dragon Ball, Duck Tales, Scooby Doo, Animaniacs, and many others. 



I thought you were moving on to moto g or some Sony phone. You should do that now. Android central is a good place for you to be.

Yeah! but I'll wait to see what is in WP 8.1?

I already made a worng decision choosing WP, it was hastily decision and I do not want to do same mistake again while leaving this platform.

I like these apps for the 521:

HDR Camera Pro for high dynamic range photos,

Flash Player to view flash videos,

Crackle for free movies.

Great app selection. Wish the beta apps would just drop the beta and become just that app. My app list would just look cleaner that way.

You Forgot to add:

Camera 360 (Splendid App with awesome filters and frames to make even 520 photos look incredible, PLus It is free! :) )

Fantasia Photo Editor and Freda.

Sam, nokia camera does have some limitations on it to allow it to run on the 520. We cant shoot at iso's above 800 . High end lumias can shoot at isos up to 3200.

That's true but if you try to capture pics on auto settings then you can even get pics upto iso 1600.I have tried this many times.

Go to settings.touch settings.u will see double tap wake up option,if it is not there then tell nokia about such issue,because on Lumia 520 also there is no such option

Have installed and use all the app, except weave. Region issue I guess. MyTube awesome. Wikipedia beautiful. mix radio, so nice.. A lot of app to give compliments. Best app, must have.

I agree with list, except for news reader. I use Nextgen Reader, with unlimited adfree trial, offline reading, etc. The best one especially if you used Google Reader or if you're using feedly.

David your app is awesome and I have donated to it. My daughter has drawn you a picture with your app and I emailed you. Good luck for the future.

My favorite apps which I define as the ones I actually use and just don't have in order to say "Hey! Look at all of my apps" are..

Nextgen Reader...Basically covers all of my news needs. Works great

Film Closet...Very useful for a big movie buff like myself

Gas Buddy...Great for finding the cheapest gas wherever you are. And in California, that helps lol

Tune In Radio...I use it just for listening to the comedy stations

StatGnome Football..Fantasy Football App thay works really well and is always improving

And my favorite of all is Mp3 Finder...for some reason this particular app is no longer available. At first I thought maybe cause of copyright issues, but theres a load of Mp3 Download Apps still there, so I don't know. But I paid for the full version and it's friggin nails and it still works! I've found every single i've searched for. Downloads straight to the mem card. Really smooth.


Agreed about Bing Weather. My favourite weather app. Perhaps not as accurate as The Weather Network, but it has a much more robust live tile.

how about the best FREE apps for Lumia 520.  Many who purchase this phone probably do not want to have to pay for apps on top of the phone.  (Think of this as the poor man's iPhone).   

I am using l520. N smtyms wen i try scrolling thru my homescreen tiles d screen turns black n d tiles appear back after a few seconds.. Cn any1 tel me y is dis problem???? Also sumtyms my tiles hang for seconds. Y is dat so?? Plzzz help

is anyone as obsessed with books as I am? i need somebody to suggest a good book reader for me that wount need me to subscbribe and is free