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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<title>Liberate Your Device - Free Your Android!</title>
<meta content="Learn how to regain control of your data, with a free operating system and free apps" name="description" />
<meta content="android smart phone operating system drivers apps Replicant OS LineageOS F-Droid FoeBuD e.V. fsf ansol free software phone mobile phone open source GTA04 Maemo/MeeGo Mer Tizen Carrier IQ spying spy analytics" name="keywords" />
<p id="category"><a href="/activities/android/android.html">Free Your Android</a></p>
<h1>Liberate Your Device!</h1>
<div id="introduction">
<div class="image" id="hello-free-droid">
<img src="/activities/android/robot.png" alt="Liberated Android Robot" />
Even though Android is mostly Free Software, devices usually come with proprietary software and services
that prevent people from using them in an independent and autonomous way.
Liberate your Android device: learn how to regain control of your data, with a free operating system and free apps!
<div id="subpages">
<div class="half">
<h3><a href="#Apps">Free Software Apps</a></h3>
For beginners it is easiest to start with liberating
mobile apps. We introduce to you dedicated Free
Software app stores and present some apps for the most
common use cases, for example messaging, navigation,
or games.
<div class="action"><a href="#Apps">Liberate your apps</a></div>
<div class="half last">
<h3><a href="#OS">Free Software Operating Systems</a></h3>
Most operating systems on phones you can buy are not free. They contain
pre-installed proprietary software which limit your freedoms and harm your
privacy. Advanced users should therefore install a mobile operating system
that is as free as possible.
<div class="action"><a href="#OS">Free your OS</a></div>
<h2 id="Apps">The Apps</h2>
For most people, the <a href="">Google
Play Store</a> is the only or the main source for their
applications. It doesn't even tell you whether an app is Free Software
or not, let alone its license. Unfortunately, most apps from this or
other markets are proprietary. Even if you install a Free Software app,
there is no reason to trust the downloaded binary. Using Google
Play also requires a Google account, and is itself proprietary software.
It is recommended to not use this market at all.
<h3 id="F-Droid">F-Droid</h3>
<div class="image left">
<img alt="F-Droid" src="/activities/android/f-droid.png" />
The <a href="">F-Droid initiative</a> was started to
change the sad Free Software app situation in the Android world. It
builds a repository of easily-installable Free Software apps for the Android
platform. There is an Android client application that makes it easy to
browse Free Software applications, install them onto your device, and
keep track of updates. Apps available on F-Droid do not contain hidden
costs, are safe for children, and are transparent about possible
<a href="">antifeatures</a>.
The F-Droid repository contains details of multiple versions of each
application. You can also easily create and add own repositories. But
since the initiative is <a
href="">very active</a>,
developing in a decentralised fashion and open to collaboration,
creating own repositories is not really necessary. Its goal is to
include all useful Free Software Android applications and to keep up
with their updates.
We collected some information about how you can <a href="/activities/android/help.html#Apps">help out F-Droid</a>.
<h3 id="selection">Selected apps for common use cases</h3>
Nowadways, we fortunately live in a world in which we can choose from
various Free Software apps for almost any use case. This sections aims
to present a small selection of apps which are fitting for
starters. By no means can such a list be ever perfect for every individual
case. We also recommend you to look at the complete <a
href="">F-Droid repository</a> or app
recommendations by <a href="">PRISM Break</a>, <a
href="">Me and My Shadow</a>, or <a
href="">Security in a Box</a>.
<h4 id="browser">Web browsing</h4>
In F-Droid you can find many web browsers for different
audiences. Probably the most well known is Mozilla's <a
href="">Firefox Mobile</a> which is
available in a completely Free Software edition as <a
Another alternative is Firefox' GNU rebranding <a
href="">IceCatMobile</a>. Users who
prefer lightweight and privacy-aware apps may also want to try <a
href="">Firefox Klar</a> (also
known as Firefox Focus).
<h4 id="email">Email</h4>
<a href="">K-9 Mail</a>
enables its users to add multiple email accounts and offers a
wide range of options. It also supports integration with
encryption apps like <a
and is able to read GnuPG encrypted messages.
<h4 id="im">Instant Messaging</h4>
The situation of Free Software apps for instant messaging is
complicated. While there are 100% Free Software solutions like <a
href="">Conversations</a> and Zom
(for XMPP/Jabber, iOS users can use <a href="">ChatSecure</a>), <a
href="">Delta Chat</a> (using
email) or <a href=""></a>
(using Matrix), they probably will not be very widespread among your friends
because their user bases are relatively small. Other apps are completely or
mostly Free Software but have other antifeatures like dependencies on non-free
servers and libraries, or no server federation, for example <a
href="">Signal</a> or <a
href="">Wire</a>. There are several initiatives to make instant
messaging as free, secure, decentralised, and user-friendly as possible, and we
hope to be able to make clearer recommendations in the future.
<h4 id="multimedia">Multimedia</h4>
Plenty of Free Software apps aim to make you enjoy audio and video
on your mobile phone. Notable apps are <a
as a lightweight interface for YouTube which adds some unique
features, the <a
Player</a> for videos, or <a
to listen to thousands of radio stations. Podcast listeners may
like <a
<h4 id="outdoors">Outdoors</h4>
When you are travelling, your mobile phone can be a helper for
you. <a
knows public transportation networks of countries and cities all
over the world. <a
serves detailed offline and online maps of whereever you are
right now, and also includes navigation when riding your bicycle
or car.
<h4 id="games">Games</h4>
F-Droid contains various mobile games for almost any taste. For
example puzzlers may enjoy <a
while block sandbox fans can play <a
in single as well as multiplayer mode. For fans of 1010! there is
<h2 id="OS">The Operating Systems</h2>
An operating system is a collection of software that enables you to use
your phone and run other applications on it. Even though Android is <a
free</a>, many phones ship with proprietary components and add-ons. Some
phones also have a locked <a
href="">boot loader</a>
which prevents you from booting and installing other operating systems.
If you want to buy an Android phone, make sure that the boot loader can
be <a
<p>On some devices it can only be unlocked with clever hacks
and their manufacturers tend to declare your warranty void when you unlock their device's boot loader.
But, given European Directive 1999/44/CE, just the fact that you modified or changed the software of your device,
is not a sufficient reason to void your statutory warranty.
<a href="/freesoftware/legal/flashingdevices.html" title="Does rooting your phone invalidate its warranty?">See Carlo Piana's and Matija Šuklje's analysis</a> for more information.
There are
also companies that ship their devices with an unlocked bootloader or
provide you with the means to unlock it. Besides that, it is a good idea
to check if there are free versions of Android <a
href="">supporting the device</a>.
<h3 id="Replicant">Replicant</h3>
<div class="image left">
<img alt="Replicant" src="/activities/android/replicant.png" />
<a href="">Replicant</a> is a
distribution of Android that is 100% Free Software. Since it does not
use any non-free drivers, it currently works on a limited number of
We ask you to help Replicant extend its support to more devices. You can <a
code</a>, and <a
devices</a> to the Replicant team for testing purposes.
<h3 id="LineagoeOS">LineageOS</h3>
<div class="image right">
<img alt="LineageOS" src="/activities/android/lineageos.png" />
<a href="">LineageOS</a> is a version of
Android which you can use without a Google account. Even though it is
usually more free than the software your device comes with, freedom
is not its main objective. While LineageOS works on <a
href="">most Android
devices</a>, it makes use of <a
device drivers and firmware</a> which are fetched
from a device and included in the ROM. LineageOS is the most popular fork of the discontinued CyanogenMod project.
LineageOS does not contain Google Play services by default which
is good for your freedom. However, if you really need some of
these proprietary apps or libraries you can try the Free Software
implementation <a href="">microG</a>.
We collected <a
about how you can help to ensure that LineageOS and other operating systems become as good as possible, and
how to identify and remove non-free parts.
<legal type="cc-license">
<notice>Portions of this page are
modifications based on work created and shared by Google and
used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0
Attribution License. Android is a trademark of Google Inc.</notice>