How F-Droid protects your privacy and freedom with libre software
What is F-Droid and why you should use it
If you are an Android user, you probably know that the default app store for your device is the Google Play Store. But did you know that there are other app stores that offer different kinds of apps, some of which are not available on Google Play? One of these app stores is F-Droid, a free and open source Android app repository that focuses on libre software.
Libre software, also known as free software or open source software, is software that respects your freedom and privacy. It means that you can use, study, modify, and share the software without any restrictions or limitations. Libre software is often developed by communities of volunteers who collaborate and contribute to the software's improvement.
F-Droid is not just an app store, but also a client app that makes it easy to browse, install, and keep track of updates on your device. It connects to any F-Droid compatible repositories, which are collections of apps that are curated and maintained by different organizations or individuals. The default repository is hosted at f-droid.org, which contains only bona fide libre software.
In this article, we will explore the features and benefits of F-Droid, how to install and use it on your Android device, how it compares to other app stores, and some frequently asked questions about it.
F-Droid features and benefits
F-Droid offers many advantages over other app stores, especially if you value your freedom and privacy. Here are some of the main features and benefits of F-Droid:
Free and open source software
As mentioned earlier, F-Droid only hosts libre software apps, which means that you can use them without any restrictions or limitations. You can also access the source code of the apps, which allows you to verify their functionality, security, and quality. You can also modify the apps to suit your needs or preferences, or even create your own versions of them.
Free and open source software also promotes innovation and collaboration among developers and users. You can contribute to the development of the apps by reporting bugs, suggesting features, translating texts, or donating money. You can also join the communities of the apps you use and interact with other users who share your interests.
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Privacy and security
F-Droid respects your privacy and security by not requiring any personal information or account registration to use it. You can download and install apps anonymously, without giving away your identity or location. You can also choose which permissions you want to grant to the apps you install, or even disable them completely if you don't need them.
F-Droid also ensures that the apps it hosts are safe and trustworthy by verifying their signatures, scanning them for malware, and checking their licenses. You can also see the changelogs of the apps before updating them, so you know what has changed in each version. You can also enable automatic updates for the apps you want to keep up to date.
Easy to browse, install, and update apps
F-Droid has a simple and intuitive user interface that makes it easy to browse, install, and update apps on your device. You can search for apps by name, category, or tag, or browse through the latest or most popular apps. You can also see detailed information about each app, such as its description, screenshots, ratings, reviews, permissions, dependencies, versions, source code link, website link, donation link, etc.
Installing an app from F-Droid is as easy as tapping on the install button and waiting for it to download. You can also Installing an app from F-Droid is as easy as tapping on the install button and waiting for it to download. You can also download the APK file of the app and install it manually if you prefer. Updating an app is also simple, as F-Droid will notify you when there are new versions available for the apps you have installed. You can then choose to update them individually or in bulk.
Customizable and extendable
F-Droid is not only an app store, but also a platform that you can customize and extend according to your needs and preferences. You can add or remove repositories that host different kinds of apps, such as games, experimental, or non-free apps. You can also create your own repositories and share them with others. You can also change the appearance and behavior of the F-Droid client app by adjusting the settings, such as the theme, language, notifications, data usage, etc.
F-Droid is also compatible with other apps that enhance its functionality, such as Yalp Store, which allows you to download apps from Google Play without a Google account, or OAndBackupX, which allows you to backup and restore your apps and data.
How to install and use F-Droid
If you are interested in trying out F-Droid on your Android device, here are the steps you need to follow:
Downloading and installing the F-Droid client app
The first step is to download and install the F-Droid client app, which is the app that allows you to access the F-Droid repositories and manage your apps. To do this, you need to enable the installation of apps from unknown sources on your device. This may vary depending on your device model and Android version, but generally you can find this option in the settings under security or applications.
Once you have enabled this option, you can go to the official F-Droid website at and tap on the download button. This will download the APK file of the F-Droid client app to your device. You can then open the file and follow the instructions to install it.
Browsing and searching for apps
After installing the F-Droid client app, you can launch it and start browsing and searching for apps. You will see a list of categories on the main screen, such as internet, games, multimedia, etc. You can tap on any category to see the apps that belong to it. You can also swipe left or right to see the latest or most popular apps.
If you are looking for a specific app, you can use the search function by tapping on the magnifying glass icon on the top right corner. You can enter the name of the app or a keyword related to it. You can also use filters to narrow down your search results by category, license, or repository.
Installing and updating apps
When you find an app that you want to install, you can tap on it to see more information about it. You will see a description of the app, screenshots, ratings, reviews, permissions, dependencies, versions, source code link, website link, donation link, etc. You can also see a list of similar apps that you may like.
To install an app, you just need to tap on the install button and wait for it to download. You may need to grant some permissions to the app before it can run on your device. You can also download the APK file of the app and install it manually if you prefer.
To update an app, you just need to tap on the update button when there is a new version available. You can also enable automatic updates for the apps you want to keep up to date.
Managing repositories and settings
To manage your repositories and settings, you need to tap on the three horizontal lines icon on the top left corner. This will open a menu where you can access different options.
To manage your repositories, you need to tap on repositories. This will show you a list of repositories that are enabled or disabled on your device. You can enable or disable any repository by tapping on its switch. You can also add a new repository by tapping on the plus icon and entering its URL or scanning its QR code. You can also edit or delete any repository by tapping on its name.
To manage your settings, you need to tap on settings. This will show you a list of settings that you can adjust according to your preferences. Some of these settings include:
Theme: You can choose between light or dark theme for the F-Droid client app.
Language: You can choose between different languages for the F-Droid client app.
Notifications: You can enable or Notifications: You can enable or disable notifications for new app updates, new app installs, or repository updates.
Data usage: You can choose whether to download apps and updates only on Wi-Fi or on any network.
Cache size: You can choose how much space to allocate for the F-Droid client app's cache.
Expert mode: You can enable or disable expert mode, which gives you more options and information about the apps and repositories.
F-Droid alternatives and comparisons
F-Droid is not the only app store available for Android devices. There are other alternatives that offer different kinds of apps, some of which are compatible with F-Droid. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Google Play Store
The Google Play Store is the default and official app store for Android devices. It offers millions of apps, games, books, movies, music, and more. It also provides various services, such as Google Play Protect, Google Play Games, Google Play Pass, etc.
The Google Play Store has some advantages