Our best apps are now paid

Tibor Kaputa
4 min readNov 3, 2018

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As shocking as it sounds, it really isn’t as bad as it seems. Read on.

All of our apps in the Simple Mobile Tools suite have been free since the beginning with a “Purchase Simple Thank You” dialog appearing occasionally, unless you already had it installed.

But, the introduction of the new monetization model resulted in some of the suite’s most popular apps to cost a tiny amount. It is a one time payment, so once you purchase an app, you will never have to pay for it again. Not even after you get a new device.

Also note that if you uninstall any paid app within 2 hours, you will automatically be refunded. If you want a refund anytime later, just contact us at hello@simplemobiletools.com and you will get it. That makes it really easy to test them out.

Less popular apps from the suite will continue to be free. Since free apps on Google Play cannot be switched to become paid, brand new apps had to be published to make them paid.

Why should you upgrade?

The Pro apps have been developed for multiple years now and so they already have many new features, better design, color customization, more stability, language translations and performance improvements. Their average rating on Google Play is above 4.5, so you really don’t have to worry about the quality. Since the free app versions won’t be developed anymore, the difference will always grow. Let me list just a few of the most important changes in the new paid app versions.

Simple Gallery Pro:

  • new advanced photo and video editor
  • quick photo rotation with gestures
  • batch file renaming with using patterns
  • password protection for individual folders
  • HEIC/HEIF, APNG, AVIF file support
  • printing support

Simple Calendar Pro:

  • time zone support
  • printing support
  • attendee support and email reminders at CalDAV synced events
  • widgets
  • tasks
  • new view, a combination of monthly and daily views

Simple Contacts Pro:

  • improved duplicate contact merging, can be disabled altogether
  • font size customization
  • optional private contact sharing within our apps
  • quick call options for WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal and Viber
  • customizable ringtone per contact or group

Simple Notes Pro:

  • checklists
  • font size customization
  • widgets
  • note password protection

Simple File Manager Pro:

  • recent files tab
  • storage analysis tab
  • batch file renaming with using patterns
  • font size customization
  • customizable date and time format
  • home screen shortcuts
  • printing support

Simple Draw Pro:

  • zooming and panning support
  • printing support
  • eyedropper
  • file importing support
Simple Gallery Pro promo video

Why am I doing it?

Developing these apps takes a lot of time. As their popularity is clearly growing, working on them is actually our full-time job - this is not a hobby project anymore. It isn’t just about coding, though. We spend a lot of time reading and replying to feedback/reviews on Google Play, emails, Facebook, etc. Since the apps involve so many different aspects of Android and programming in general, it takes a lot of research, too. For example, just because you don’t see us doing anything on Github for a day doesn’t mean we had a day off. We were likely researching a particular feature, which we even do on the weekends.

Being able to focus on development without having to worry about money will have a dramatic impact on app quality.

We were already making some money via Simple Thank You and other support, but we wanted to scale it further. We could be making much more at a full-time programming job, which we have had offers for, but we didn’t want to go that way. If we had to work on these apps only in our free time, progress would be really slow and their quality would be diminished.

What does this mean to you?

Well, we would recommend getting the new app versions, which will have “Pro” appended to the app name on Google Play. The launcher name on your device will remain unchanged. Once you migrate your data from the old app to the new one (which is optional), you can delete the old version. The icons look the same, so you can identify the old version by the version number. To see this, go to Menu -> About and check the bottom of the page. Version 5.x is the old app, while all new Pro versions are 6.x. They also have “Pro” appended to the number.

Your settings will be reset to default values, so you might need to go back and change them how you would like. You will also have to migrate any locally stored items like Calendar events, contacts in Simple Contacts, and Notes.

The philosophy of the apps remains untouched. All apps will still be ad-free, open sourced on Github, and won’t require internet access and weird permissions.

What about Simple Thank You?

It will still be around and required for Shared Theme to work. Technically, Shared Theme needs one app that will take care of the synchronization, and it cannot be decentralized. It will still be paid, but we made it cheaper.

Why no ads?

Adding ads in the apps would require adding an Internet permission, which would discourage many people from using them, and it would go against the whole concept of the apps.

That’s it for now. I hope that you understand our decision and will support it. We wanted to make it clear where are we getting the money from. Unlike many other apps, we are not collecting or selling your data and we are not forcing any ads on you, either.

Thank you!

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Tibor Kaputa

Freelance developer preferring open source whenever possible. Messing around Linux and Android most of my time. https://www.simplemobiletools.com