Best Android Apps from the F-Droid App Store

Last Revised: February 13, 2019

Living without Google Play on an Android phone is easier than you may think. A big portion of that is thanks to the generous community surrounding the F-Droid project. Over the past few years I've slowly replaced proprietary applications and services on my Android device with Free/Libre Software found in F-Droid. In addition to the apps below, I would highly suggest installing a freedom-respecting operating system such as Replicant (or if your device is unsupported like mine, go with the next best thing - LineageOS).

[Below is a subjective list I've curated based on my most frequently used and favorite Android apps from the F-Droid repository]

KISS Launcher

Screenshots of the KISS Launcher application for Android

Keep It Simple, Stupid. KISS Launcher is a search based home screen launcher that's low on resources and high on productivity. A huge selection of options allow customizing every aspect from theme interface, application icons, search provider, application aliases, and more. Your most recently used application gets placed on the bottom of the screen, moving upwards as you open new apps. This creates a uniquely tailored home screen based upon the apps that you open most often. Snappy, intelligent, and fully customizable. Traditional 'app drawers' feel bogged down in comparison.
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License: GPLv3 [Download from F-Droid]

Conversations

Screenshots of the Conversations application for Android

An easy to use XMPP client with built-in support for OMEMO and OpenPGP end-to-end encryption. If you have friends who are using the XMPP protocol, this is the app to have. Also supports group chat! You can use the JMP service to send and receive SMS messages and pictures with a real phone number. **NOTE** JMP is an optional paid service and is not required for functionality of Conversations.
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License: GPLv3 [Download from F-Droid]

Fedilab

Screenshots of the Mastalab application for Android

Federation is the future. If you're on the decentralized social media network Mastodon, you need a good client. Fedilab doesn't feel overwhelming like most other social media apps. When I close the app, I can come back days later, weeks later, and my news feed is still at the same position I left it until I decide to refresh.
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License: GPLv3 [Download from F-Droid]

K-9 Mail

Screenshots of the K9 Mail e-mail client for Android

The default e-mail client in Android is terrible, and don't get me started on using the G-mail client for privacy's sake. K-9 Mail has been around for as long as I can remember and it only gets better over the years. Manage multiple e-mail clients and color code them to separate confusion. Supports PGP, push notifications, and works flawlessly with third party applications like Gadgetbridge.
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License: Apache 2.0 [Download from F-Droid]

Speedmeter

Screenshots of the simple Speedometer App for Android

Sometimes you just need an app that does one thing and does it well. I have a vehicle that has a faulty speedometer and I wanted to be able to use my phone to tell how fast I was going - and nothing else. Simple, elegant, and gives me basic options like switching between KPH and MPH as well as my average speed.
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License: GPLv2 [Download from F-Droid]

Gadgetbridge

Screenshots of the Gadgetbridge wearable device app for Android

I never would have gotten into wearable tech if not for this app. Gadgetbridge has woken me up on time every day for the past two years. I started out with a Pebble watch because it was one of the original supported devices of Gadgetbridge, and have since gone to a Xiaomi Mi Band 2, and presently an Amazfit Bip. Gadgetbridge allows you to synchronize your activity and display notifications on your wrist as well as advanced features like firmware updating your device. ALL without proprietary software or using the original vendor's.
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License: AGPLv3 [Download from F-Droid]

TV KILL

Screenshots of TV KILL IR blaster TV turn off Android app

Does your device have an IR Blaster? If so, consider this app a must-have. Turn off the TVs playing advertisements at the doctors office, or have a little fun at BestBuy by turning off an entire row of TVs (I don't recommend this as you might get kicked out... wait, actually I highly recommend this!). So many ideas at your fingertips. Works well at restaurants, fast food menu displays, and even some generic ad displays around town.
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License: GPLv3 [Download from F-Droid]

Anuto TD

Screenshots of Another Ugly Tower Defense game

Okay, all productivity aside... this is the most addicting free software game I've ever played. Another Ugly Tower Defense pays respects to popular tower defense games such as PixelJunk Monsters. It's simple. Stop the enemies with strategically placed weapons before they reach the other side of the level. Hand drawn-style graphics give the game a unique charm, while keeping you focused on the overall gameplay mechanics. I still haven't made it past level 62. Shucks!
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License: GPLv3 [Download from F-Droid]

Other notable mentions...

  • Ameixa (GPLv3) - Elegant icon theme for Android launchers such as KISS Launcher. Monochrome version also available.
  • AndrOBD (GPLv3+) - On Board Diagnostics reader that supports most newer vehicles.
  • NewPipe (GPLv3+) - App for playing YouTube videos without nonfree javascript.
  • Nextclouud (GPLv2) - Synchronize your files seemlessly between devices.
  • OpenVPN (GPLv2) - Always keep it running in the background. Useful for protecting your data when connecting to public wifi hotspots.