App Sources (Android)

- Reading time: 2 minutes -

Different sources for Android apps

One and the same program for Android can often be installed from several sources. The reason for this is either data protection (Google dependency) or up-to-dateness or possible special or test versions.

  • F-Droid (external)
    All applications that can be obtained via F-Droid are free and open source. “F-Droid” means “Free Android” apps, so to speak; the service is funded by donations. Detailed background information can be found on the pages of “” (external) and in ZDF-Interview from 22./24.12.2018.
    Sometimes applications may not appear in F-Droid until a few days after they have been published in the Google Play Store. This is due to the source code check that is carried out before each release.

    • F-Droid - App
      Updates are downloaded automatically here and this source is independent of Google.
      Link to download the APK file directly: >> here << (external)
      Step-by-step instructions (external) to install F-Droid from mobilsicher.
    • via Internet page
      Programs can be downloaded directly via “” (external) or alternatively “” (external) (English language) without registration.
    • From another device**
      Within the F-Droid app, apps can be sent via Bluetooth directly to other devices that do not have F-Droid installed.
  • Google Play Store (external)\
    Convenient source via which updates usually run completely automatically in the background. However, the user can also choose to have newer versions displayed first before installation.
    Not an option for Google-free devices, of course.

  • Directly from the developer
    … or directly via the project page or development platform (Bitbucket, GitHub, Gitlab, SourceForge, …)
    -> The latest, usually daily updated version is often available here. Note:
    When downloading programs/apps directly, the user must install them themselves and keep them up to date on their own responsibility. An auxiliary program for this is “APKTrack” (external), which is also available via F-Droid.

Unknown sources

In the Android settings, the option “Installation from unknown sources “ can be activated once or permanently during an installation. However, this is not an additional security problem - there is also plenty of malware or software with trackers and advertising in the Google Play Store. Therefore, before every installation, you should critically question whether the requested permissions are actually required by the program and whether the publisher is trusted. Instead of “unknown sources”, it would actually be more appropriate to say “installation from Google-independent sources”.

More information on this at (sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection): (external)

Tip: Check for ‘trackers’

On the “Exodus-privacy” (external) page, programs/apps can be checked for trackers (possibly unwanted program parts for behaviour analysis).

The number and type of permissions are also displayed here. Example: