Can free applications be installed on Android?

Free applications for Android

If you are a lover of free software, you are probably wondering: Can free applications be installed on Android? The answer is that, although there are not as many options as on the desktop, there are several alternatives.

Although there are still some attempts to create free operating systems for mobile devices, it is almost impossible to escape the duopoly of Google and Apple. However, this does not mean that we have to completely give up our freedom.

Can free applications be installed on Android?

The answer is yes. You just have to know where to look for them. There are 3 options:

  1. Search for them in the Google application store (Google Play)
  2. Download and install them manually.
  3. Search for them or install them from alternative stores.

Search them in the Google store

Although Google Play does not usually discriminate by license type, you can find applications in the Google search engine using keywords such as Android and free software. Blogs dedicated to open source also usually make lists. You just have to get a name, go to the link and it will direct you to the corresponding download page of the official Android store.

Download and install them manually

It is not the most recommended method since There are no automatic updates and may pose a security risk. You just have to download the APK file from the project page, transfer it to the phone and click on it. The device will ask you to authorize manual installation.

Find and install them from alternative stores

In this case we have the best of both worlds. We can easily find the type of application we are looking for and we do not have to deal with updates since the alternative store takes care of everything. Some alternative store options are:

F-Droid

Of the alternatives to Google Play it is  the store best known by lovers of free and open source software.

In reality, these are two different services.  On the one hand, a web catalog of traditional applications in which we can search and also download applications to install manually. On the other hand, we can choose to download an application that, when we install it on the Android device, will take care of the download process. installation and update.

Remember that if you choose to download applications manually, you will have to activate the option to install packages manually in the device's developer options.

Regarding the applications that we can download, F-Droid gives us the choice between two types: source and binary. The source are APK applications built by the store itself from the original code while the binaries are uploaded by the developer himself. In any case, most applications correspond to the first type.

Aurora Store

This store does not is specialized exclusively in free software. Rather, it is an open source application focused on privacy since it allows us to download any title from Google Play without having to use Google libraries.. This is very useful if you installed a free variant of Android. Topic that we will talk about in future articles. What you won't be able to do is download new paid applications. If you want to access the ones you already had, you must log in by sharing your data with Google. Otherwise, what you do will be completely anonymous since Aurora Store only collects IP addresses.

The data that Google accesses if you log in with your account are:

  • The IP address of the device.
  • Searches and downloads carried out during the current section.

For anonymous logins, Aurora Store creates a Google Play access token and a different IP.

Another great advantage of Aurora Store is that it allows you to pretend to use a different device to bypass model and brand restrictions.

The latest version available at the time of writing can be used from Android 5 onwards.

If you want, you can recommend free applications for Android in the comment form.


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