Android Starters - a 3rd Opinion

Fond of testing out new phones? Fond of using LineageOS and other custom ROMs? Yes, me too!

It can be just a pain to keep track of all those apps, so I created this list to help myself and others. I try to stay away from big companies that spy a lot and also rather tend to open source wherever possible.

PS: Don't run dry - always keep looking for alternatives. Always try to have another app as fallback. As so often in life, relying solely on one single thing will bring DOOM!

PS2: Still work in progress...

TO
Third OpinionList by Third Opinion, last updated 2023-02-17
  1. Basics

    The very basic stuff to get you started and keep going

  2. LineageOS icon

    Even though not everything google is gone, it still is the best approach with a wide user base.

    • Mobile OS
    • FreeOpen Source
    • Android
    • Android Tablet
    • ...
    Homescreen
    Notification Shade
    Settings
  3. F-Droid icon

    Probably your first stop to get more apps. It is an app store, has much less stuff than google play but it get's you covered for starters... and it opens the door to the next appAurora.

    • App Store
    • FreeOpen Source
    • Online
    • Android
    • Android Tablet
    • ...
    F-Droid screenshot 1
    F-Droid screenshot 2
    F-Droid screenshot 3
  4. Aurora Store icon

    Your second stop for even more apps: An alternative to google's play store - no account needed, of course.

    • App Store
    • FreeOpen Source
    • Android
    • Android Tablet
    • F-Droid
    • ...
    Aurora Store screenshot 1
    Aurora Store screenshot 2
    Aurora Store screenshot 3
  5. Naked Browser icon

    Best browser I have ever seen on android, its pro version is totally worth the money, rly! You might wonder, why is a browser essential? Well, check your cookies... a bare minimum of privacy is just not negotiable

    • Web Browser
    • FreemiumProprietary
    • Android
    • Android Tablet
    • ...
    Naked Browser screenshot 1
  6. Fennec F-Droid  icon

    Firefox on Android, a good replacement for the builtin chrome. Also supports many good addons like ublock and noscript...

    • ...
    Start page
    Fennec F-Droid  screenshot 2
    Extension support
  7. FX File Explorer icon

    Your swiss army knife to handle your files. Its free version only lacks network support (see mixplorer) and really easy to handle.

    • ...
    FX File Explorer screenshot 1
  8. MiXplorer icon

    Your other swiss army knife to handle your files. And this one also supports a lot of networking (samba, webdav, sftp and file hosters). Needs some learning but its versatility pays off quickly.

    • ...
    MiXplorer screenshot 1
    MiXplorer screenshot 2
    MiXplorer screenshot 3
  9. Magisk icon

    OPTIONAL but the way to go when you need or want root... and the special goodies for it are listed in https://forum.xda-developers.com/t/collection-of-magisk-modules-v2.3575758/

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Android
    • Android Tablet
    • ...
    Magisk screenshot 1
  10. 2nd Line of Defense

    Still essential needs but with a hint of additinal luxury

  11. AdAway icon

    Splendid adblocker and best with root (see magisk).

    • Ad Blocker
    • FreeOpen Source
    • Android
    • Android Tablet
    • F-Droid
    • ...
    AdAway screenshot 1
    AdAway screenshot 2
    AdAway screenshot 3
  12. Conversations icon

    They claim "The very last word in instant messaging". Well, centralized messengers are certainly not a solution and how can they be trusted without source code?

    With a jabber-client like conversation you are in a federated space like email - it is as resilient as the internet itself without a single point of failure.

    • ...
    Conversations screenshot 1
  13. MessagEase icon

    Weirdest keyboard ever but within a week you master it. After that you can write with a single hand on a bumpy bus ride or even on a horse. Bonus: Most people probably would never ask again for your phone once they fail at first :D

    • ...
    MessagEase screenshot 1
  14. K-9 Mail icon

    Simple email for simple needs... if that is not good enough then take fair email.

    • Email Client
    • FreeOpen Source
    • Android
    • Android Tablet
    • F-Droid
    • ...
    K-9 Mail screenshot 1
  15. FairEmail icon

    Quite frankly, the gold standard for email - the settings are so vast, you better bring some wine and cheese and lots of time! For exmaple, it can remove the tracking from your emails.

    • Email Client
    • FreemiumOpen Source
    • Android
    • Android Tablet
    • F-Droid
    • ...
    Compose message view.
    Setup screen.
    Messages view with dark theme.
  16. Tuta icon

    Free email included. And it is always a good idea to have a spare email.

    • Calendar App
    • FreemiumOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Online
    • Android
    • iPhone
    • iPad
    • Self-Hosted
    • Flathub
    • F-Droid
    • ...
    Mail View
  17. KDE Connect icon

    Like fax machines - the more computers have it, the more useful it becomes. Share freely and quickly anything within your home network. Or shut down your computer. Or just use your phone's screen as mouse. And it just keeps getting better.

    • Mobile Remote Control Tool
    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Android
    • iPhone
    • Android Tablet
    • iPad
    • KDE Plasma
    • Sailfish OS
    • Plasma Mobile
    • F-Droid
    • ...
    KDE Connect screenshot 1
  18. The Finishing Touch

    Absolutely optional but some apps I keep having for years now and dragging them from one phone to another...

  19. Simpletask Cloudless icon

    Organize your notes, your ideas, perhaps even your entire life! Or at least your shopping list ;)

    • ...
    Simpletask Cloudless screenshot 1
  20. OsmAnd icon

    Got lost? Well, don't! Splendid maps that get better and better, including hidden paths!

    • ...
    OsmAnd screenshot 1
    OsmAnd screenshot 2
    OsmAnd screenshot 3
  21. Kiwix icon

    How to fill your 256GB memory card? Well, you can start with a complete copy of wiki - that'll be 80GB already - all the knowledge of the world at your fingertips! https://wiki.kiwix.org/wiki/Content_in_all_languages

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Android
    • iPhone
    • Android Tablet
    • iPad
    • Wine
    • ...
    Kiwix viewing a page on Paris
  22. Spectroid icon

    Seomthing beeping? This might help to figure out if it's a coil in your computer or just tinnitus :D

    • FreeProprietary
    • Android
    • ...
    Spectroid screenshot 1
  23. Google Translate icon

    Dang! For this one thing I have not found a worthy replacement. Yet...

    • Translator
    • FreeProprietary
    • Online
    • Android
    • iPhone
    • Chrome OS
    • Android Tablet
    • iPad
    • Google Drive - Docs
    • ...
    Google Translate screenshot 1
  24. Sky Map icon

    Rather a toy, but a very good one and easy to use.

    • ...
    Sky Map screenshot 1
  25. GPSTest icon

    Need to check if your GPS works?

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Android
    • ...

This list was created by Third Opinion Apr 12, 2022 and was last updated Feb 17, 2023. The list has 22 apps.

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