When talking about alternatives to the Google Play Store or free code applications for Android, F-Droid is a name that is always repeated. But you have stopped to think about what this platform is. Many say that it’s an app store like Google Play Store, but 100% free and transparent. While that is true in practice, theoretically F-Droid is very different from the Play Store. In fact, F-Droid is more like APK Mirror than the Google store.
So that you understand once and for all what exactly it is and how to get the most out of it, right away we will tell you everything you need to know about F-Droid and why it is different from the Google Play Store.
What is F-Droid and what is it for?
In a nutshell, F-Droid is a repository of open source applications for Android. It is incorrect to say that it is a store, since in a store you can buy things. In F-Droid you cannot buy anything because all the apps that it allows you to download are free, although they offer you the option to donate to the developers.
In case you don’t know, open source apps are applications whose source code is free: anyone can see and review how they are made from the inside, either to search for bugs, vulnerabilities or threats, or to contribute to their development. Normally, these apps are free (because, otherwise, anyone can copy them and make them free anyway).
So all in all, F-Droid is a place where you can download open source apps (and also games) for free. Yes indeed, in this repository you will not find free applications like WhatsApp or free games like Clash Royale, since they are not open source, but proprietary software (their developers do not share the source code and do not allow anyone to review how they are made from the inside).
Differences between F-Droid and Google Play Store, why are they different?
We have seen before that F-Droid is not a store like the Google Play Store, but that is not the only difference that separates these two platforms. Here is a list with all the differences between F-Droid and Google Play Store:
- F-Droid apps do not require Google Mobile Services (GMS) to workwhich are required for many of the apps downloaded from the Google Play Store.
- In F-Droid all the apps and games are free, while in the Google Play Store there is paid content.
- F-Droid is a repository that only offers apps and games. Instead, the Play Store is a store where you can get applications, digital books, movies, series, music, subscriptions and more digital content not limited to apps.
- In the Google Play Store, most apps and games are proprietary software, although there is also free code content. By contrast, F-Droid only has open source software.
- Being a 100% open source repository, F-Droid respects your privacy more than Google Play Store and is safer to download apps. And it is that F-Droid does not collect data from your Android or track your activity. In addition, it is very unlikely that you will find apps with viruses on F-Droid, as in the Google Play Store where dozens of malware sneak in every month.
- The browser version of F-Droid allows you to download apps in APK format to later install them on your mobileunlike the web version of the Google Play Store which can only redirect you to the in-app store or send the download to your mobile.
As you can see, although it works as an alternative to the Google Play Store, F-Droid is far from being a complete application store capable of replacing Google’s. We consider it a complementbecause most people could not use only this repository on their mobile to download the apps and games they need.
Where to download F-Droid and how to use it?
f-droid not found in google play store, since Google does not allow apps in its store that allow you to download other apps for your Android. Therefore, the only place where you can download F-Droid is its official website:
Download | F-Droid APK
After clicking the link above, tap the F-Droid Download button on the page that opened to download the latest F-Droid APK. Once the APK is downloaded, tap on it and select Install. If you need more help with this, check out this step-by-step guide on how to install an APK file on Android.
With the F-Droid APK installed, you can now open the app. The first time you open it you have to wait for the repositories to update. Then, you can press the magnifying glass button to search for apps by name or press Categories to find apps by type.
In the section “Latest» you will be able to get the most recent apps uploaded to F-Droid, «Near» is a function that allows you to send or receive apps via F-Droid, in «Notices» you will see the notifications of the repository that are usually notices to update the apps, and in «Options» you can configure F-Droid at your whim. It does not have more, the platform is that simple.
How to install Android apps from F-Droid
Don’t know how to install an app from F-Droid? Don’t worry, it’s that simple:
- Open F-Droid and enter the app file that you want to install on your mobile.
- Press the button Install.
- Wait for it to download and then click on Install again when a new android window pops up.
- Google Play Protect may ask you if you want to allow the app to be installed. tap on Allow.
That is all! The app will finish installing and you can use it like any other app on your phone. The advantage of installing apps like NewPipe with F-Droid is that they update automatically, just like they would if they were on the Google Play Store. A) Yes, you can always enjoy the latest versions available with all the news and bug fixes that include. Incidentally, F-Droid also lets you disable automatic updates if you prefer to stick with a particular version.