Let’s admit it. Google’s Play Store is the single largest app store available at the moment but there’s no doubt that it does a significant amount of tracking as well. After all, the Mountain View company is the world’s largest ad broker and data is today’s biggest currency. Besides that, there are several apps in Google Play that exploit the company’s privacy and security policies to track user data and perform malware attacks.
What is F-Droid and is it safe?
F-Droid is an app repository that only provides Fully Open Source Software (FOSS) with no tracking or hidden costs. It offers to focus on privacy and security with safety precautions like avoiding leakage of browsing data, sending all data through HTTPS, Tor support, and converting supported languages in the metadata so as to not reveal your location.
Hence, F-Droid looks like a good bet when it comes to safety of your data. That being said, we cannot guarantee that F-Droid, or any other apps store, is 100% safe, or safer than the Play Store itself.
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Best alternative apps on F-Droid to replace your existing apps
You can install F-Droid like any other app on your phone and browse over 2000 apps that are available for download for free.
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of best apps that you can download from F-Droid. Some of the apps listed below could even replace the app that you’re using now while the others will add more functionality and productivity features on your phone.
Note: You need to install the F-Droid app first to be able to install the Android apps given below.
NewPipe is the open-source alternative to watching YouTube videos but that’s not the thing it specializes in. The app not only lets you watch YouTube but also supports subscriptions, floating player, downloading videos and audio, view history, queue videos, local playlists, and subtitles.
Besides that, the app is more privacy-orientated than YouTube since it saves your data offline by not using proprietary Google APIs that generally collects your watch history data. NewPipe also doesn’t require you to sign-in to Google and you can bypass regional restrictions with the app.
This app is a fully-featured email client, with support for POP3, IMAP and Push IMAP accounts. You can log in using multiple accounts and can export your settings and account configurations when switching between packages. Additional features include multi-folder sync, flagging, filing, signatures, BCC-self, and PGP/MIME.
Download: K-9 Mail
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In order to access Facebook without its own tracking and invasive features, F-Droid offers Face Slim which is a lightweight replacement to the otherwise memory-hogging Facebook app on Android. The app weighs at 1.3MB but includes full Message functionality and provides features that aren’t present on the official app. Additional features include dark mode support, a basic mode for usage in low-speed networks, personalization inside the feed, and more.
Download: Face Slim
Twidere for Twitter
Twidere is the only open-source app that’s officially supported by Twitter. The app comes with a built-in image and map viewer, direct messages that support conversations, multiple account support, secure and direct login with a username and password. There’s a night mode option that lets you enjoy dark theme as well as options to mute filters, schedule tweets, customize tabs, avoid ads and promotions in your timeline.
Firefox preview might be an open-source app but Fennec F-Droid is a version of Firefox stripped of any proprietary bits found in official Mozilla’s builds.
Download: Fennec F-Droid
An open-source alternative for Reddit is Slide which is material-designed, ad-free, and packs an array of features for power users. The app comes with support for over 12,000 theme combinations, has offline capabilities complete with images and gifs, Gallery and shadowbox modes, Synccit integration, multiple accounts support, and more. In terms of bonus features, Slide offers Image Flair support, replying to comments without opening a new window, a filter system to block content, viewing and deleting browsing history, and casual subscriptions that won’t show up on the front page.
ownCloud is a self-hosted cloud storage option that lets you manage files, contacts, calendars, music, pictures, and more through its app. The service allows you to browse all of your ownCloud synced files, create new ones, edit existing files, and share files to others. ownCloud supports syncing of content across all devices and you can define different paths for different types of files before uploading.
Open Camera as the name implies is an open-source camera app that offers full manual controls, customizable hotkeys, HDR support, widgets, external mic support, and multitouch zoom. The app comes with an auto-stabilize option, different focus modes, face detection, burst mode, and silenceable shutter which are something that many default camera apps don’t offer on their own.
Download: Open Camera
Amaze – File Manager
To replace your existing file manager, F-droid lists the Amaze app which is a file manager that follows the Material Design guidelines. In addition to basic features like cut, copy, delete, compress, and extract, the app offers the ability to work on multiple tabs, theme support, a navigational drawer, and an app manager. With Amaze, you can quickly access bookmarks, history and search for any files that are present on your device with Root explorer support for advanced users.
OsmAnd is a Google Maps alternative that utilizes OpenStreetMap for capturing maps data and is available for free. The app provides turn-by-turn directions, voice guidance, offline support, lane guidance, automatic re-routing, and searching for places like gas stations, museums, restaurants, and also any geographical coordinates. The app offers offline viewing with data consumption of under 200MB for a specific region.
OpenVPN for Android
OpenVPN is an open-source client to create a VPN without root. The app can be used to connect to any services using OpenVPN certificates.
Download: OpenVPN for Android
AntennaPod is an open-source podcast manager that offers you instant access to both free and paid podcasts from publishers and independent podcasters. You can import and export feeds through gPodder, OPML, RSS URLs, and the iTunes podcast database. The app provides users with powerful automation controls that can be used to save effort, power, download episodes and delete them.
You might be used to tethering your mobile data for use on your computer but what if we tell you can reverse that process and use your computer’s internet connection on your Android device using SimpleRT. The app, unlike others, works without root and can set custom DNS servers, and sports multiple tethering.
While AdAway is also an open-source alternative, it only works on rooted phones. That’s why, we have listed the DNS66 app which can block ads, malware, and trackers by creating an encrypted server to filter ads including popup ads, intrusive Ads and even advertisements across the web and apps.
Ever thought of gifting a smartphone to the elderly ones in your family? That’s a nice idea but it’s important to know that they might find it difficult to get through their day using the modern UI that Android and iOS offers. BaldPhone solves that problem as it dumbs down your smartphone with simple tools that can be easily accessed by the elderly.
When you install and open the app, you will be greeted with large-sized icons and shortcuts that are basically displayed as the default launcher. In addition to that, the app offers shortcuts for Contacts and Phone, Voice Assistant, Alarms, Notifications, Voice Assistant, and WhatsApp. However, the highlights of BaldPhone comes in the form of timely reminders for pills and an SOS button in case of an emergency, both of which can help the elderly in an immense way.
Have you tried using apps from F-Droid? What do you think about them? Let us know in the comments below.