The free and open source software I use on my phone

The free and open source software I use on my phone

I don’t use my phone that much at all, so this post won’t be as interesting as the previous two where I discuss FOSS (free and open source software) that I use on my laptop. I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 with the operating system that came with – Android with Samsung flavour on top. That’s far from being FOSS. You can find several FOSS Android OS (operating systems) here, but that means installing them manually on your phone or find a phone that comes with one of them installed. I can’t install one on my phone because I will lose the NFC Payments option from Samsung if I install another OS, and I use NFC payments all the time. Basically, that’s what I use my phone for: to pay, and for the maps (GPS).

Anyways, I do use some FOSS apps that you may find useful. What I noticed is that these apps are so simple and straight to the point that you’ll love them. If I need a calendar app then for fuck sake let me have one that has that function, and don’t add bloatware (google!) like when certain holidays are, friends’ birthdays, and who knows what shit I don’t need. These FOSS apps are also voided of ads, which is amazing.

The first thing to do is to replace the Android Play store with F-Droid. That’s the place where you’ll find FOSS apps.

Basic apps: calculator, calendar, file manager, music player, notes, audio recorder.

ScreenCam: app for recording screen – has many options even an option to save as GIF.

Currency – super fast currency converter.

Barcode Scanner – scans bar codes and QR codes.

Document Viewer – PDF reader.

Always On AMOLED – for screens with AMOLED to enable the function of always on display (useful little thing).

NewPipe – amazing replacement for the YouTube app. The app is super fast, you can listen to videos as audio in the background, you can pop-up videos, and even subscribe to channels without a YouTube account. Also, no ads ;). Once you use this you won’t use the YouTube app anymore.

KeePass2Android – perfect password manager. Though this is FOSS, you can’t find it on F-Droid. So download it from the Play Store.

Brave Browser – browser based on Chromium that blocks ads, can download torrent files, and blocks all kinds of trackers. Super great browser. That’s also available only on the Play store even though it is FOSS.

OsmAnd – Maps and Navigation. A perfect replacement for the Google Maps. You have to tweak it a bit here and there, but once you get a hold of it it is more feature rich than perhaps any closed source and paid alternative.

Blokada – the best FOSS ad-blocker I tested so far. Super simple to use and you need to root access. Blocks everything except some popup video ads in certain apps/games.

LibreTorrent – simple, download torrents.

Signal Messenger – best encrypted messenger. You can audio/video call, make groups, send files, and pretty much everything you may need to do with such an app.

KDE Connect – connect your phone to your Linux computer. Can’t tell you how useful this is. I can send files from one to another, see notifications from phone to my laptop; if I copy something like a text or URL form one device, I can past it to the other one; I can use my phone as a touch pad, or media controller (remote). This is perhaps the most useful app I used.

Survival Manual – offline guide of how to make a fire or even hunt animals :)) – who knows when I may need it.

 

And so, that’s what I mainly use on my phone. You can use F-Droid to find tons more apps. There are a few closed source apps that I still use because there are no better FOSS alternatives that I could find. AdGuard (premium version) is still the best ad-blocker out there; Google Weather for checking the weather – although there are tons of such FOSS apps, the Google Weather is so simple and intuitive I didn’t find anything close to it; Gmail for email – can’t find a better mail client with a better spam filter; Google Photos because you can store unlimited photos and share with everyone; Cerberus – anti-theft app; Some ISS trackers and some Astronomy apps like SkyView Free, or Stellarium; RadioGreen for listening to radio; Symptomate – AI symptom checker – pretty neat; WiFi Map – find free WiFi networks or passowrds for them to be able to connect.

8 Replies to “The free and open source software I use on my phone”

  1. wanted to draw your attention to some open source, decentralised services. I don’t know if you heard about them:
    social networks: diaspora*, mastodon
    youtube alternative: peertube (peertube.video)
    cloud: nextcloud
    You should definetely check them out or try disroot.org, providing different services.

    1. oh yes I know about them, thanks! i have yet to try the social networks, but i will very soon. peertube.video seems super great i will have a closer look. didnt know about that one. nexcloud i didnt manage to set it up…did you manage to set it up for yourself? I am going to make a huge list of these kinds of software for the current TROM book i am working on so these suggestions come in handy. If you think you can help me out with this let me know we can keep in touch over email or riot 😉

      1. try a ready image for raspi:
        ownyourbits.com/nextcloudplus
        was super easy to setup and configure with a webUI (I think I didn’t even need to use ssh until now).
        Unfortunately I don’t think I’m a big help other than that.

        1. Thanks! I may try it – i would really like to have my own backup server at home, but will see how much it may costs me.

  2. you should try these apps:
    adblocker: blokada
    K9 Mail (material), use a good spam filter on your mail server (or try disroot.org)
    set up your own nextcloud, and backup your photos to there (disroot only offers 4gb for free, so set up your own cloud on an raspberry pi for example)
    weather: forecastie.

    Give disroot a try!

    1. Yup using blokada for a while now (as i said in the article). k9 mail i know about but i use thunderbird on my laptop and use no mail on mobile. and hehe yes i use forecastie too.

  3. A nice site with recommendations about FOSS is prism-break.org
    There I found about SyncThing an application which you can Synchronize files and folders between your pc and smartphone and other devices.. recently I’ve lost my smartphone and was stolen. Too bad I hadn’t installed any antitheft software like Cerberus… Because you don’t know when you will lose a phone (I hope never for all) I recommend an antitheft application and syncthing for all important files(I Synchronize camera’s folders, screenshots and keepass kdbx database…)

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