F-Droid is a nice app store that provides free and lean software. The idea of using old phones with modern software from F-Droid is quite obvious. There are several problems with e.g. F-Droid and Android 4.x but there are also several hints in this forum. Please help to collect them. This is a wiki thread, that means, most users can edit this post.
A post about old software and security
Helpful android apps
- F-Droid Classic version 1.2 (2021-06-01) supports Android versions >= 4.4 (will be the last version to support Android 4.4)
- Mounts2SD is a script for devices with low storage capabilities, but It can be used for a lot of things and is useful on almost any device, even those without external sdcard. It needs root and can configure swap, zram, mount optimzations and other things.
Using the PC to get F-Droid apps
- with Izzy’s repo browser you can browse the archive repo and there you get a download link
- GitHub - mvdan/fdroidcl: F-Droid desktop client (from Does Fdroid works on old devices, such as android 4.2? - #13 by petit.boeuf )
- fasheng/deployidroid: 在PC端利用F-Droid开放仓库一键部署和备份Android应用程序, 可替代钛备份 - Deploy and backup Android applications from F-Droid repository in PC side - deployidroid - Gitea: Git with a cup of tea (from Does Fdroid works on old devices, such as android 4.2? - #13 by petit.boeuf )
About android, F-Droid and other versions
- Running on old Android versions | F-Droid - Free and Open Source Android App Repository
- (F-Droid) Dropping support for Android 4.x
- (F-Droid) Bumping the minimum supported Android version to 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich aka android-14)
- Why is the android requirement for some applications so high?
- Izzy’s repo browser shows the min Android version in the details
- table with android versions and last available F-Droid version
- Wikipedia: Android version history with Android version/API level
Firefox/Android version history
A list of Firefox versions and comments which Android version support has ended is available at
Firefox for Android - Wikipedia , e.g.:
- Version 68.11.0: July 27, 2020. Last version to support Android 4.1–4.4, also the last version to display the about:config page in consumer releases…
The certificates (and ssl versions) can be too old
- Conscrypt Provider | F-Droid - Free and Open Source Android App Repository provides TLS 1.3 to apps supporting older Android devices. App Developers will need to add code to their apps to make use of this provider.
- Lack of TLS 1.2 breaking apps in older Androids, more details about conscrypt and the background
- Ship our own CA certificates for old devices by ByteHamster · Pull Request #4497 · AntennaPod/AntennaPod · GitHub
- No trusted server certificate error (Android 2.1)
- Gpg signature - No more SHA1 please!
- The F-Droid archive repository is included, but not activated, in F-Droid and F-Droid classic. (it crashes my Galaxy J1, maybe because of low ram (512MB). If your phone has no problems, you may get the old apk versions which can be used by old Android versions)
Preparing an old phone with less bloatware
Getting rid of old software may improve the responsiveness of your phone.
- do a factory reset to your phone
- When starting first, don’t add your wifi to prevent google and other software to update
- Deny everything to google and other software, e.g. Samsung App Store.
- remove or deactivate every preinstalled software you don’t need (maybe keep the browser to install F-Droid)
- activate your wifi
- install F-Droid classic or something similar, either from SD-card or using the preinstalled browser
Supported apps and their versions ordered by android version
With Izzy’s repo browser you can browse the different versions of an apk in the F-Droid archive repo. The details of the apk lists the minVersion “minimal Android version” and you get a download link for old APKs previously offered in the F-Droid repository.
Use CTRL+f to search the apk list below for a program.
Android 6 (Marshmallow, API 23)
- Android 6.0 (API 23) and up: F-Droid (latest stable)
Android 5.1(.1) (Lollipop, API 22)
(comment: was 5.1.1 too unimportant to mention?)
Android 5.0 (Lollipop, API 21)
- aTalk 2.9.2 - 2.9.4
- Conversations 2.10.1+fcr(42022) - 220.127.116.11+fcr(42024)
- mail (a.k.a. monocles mail) 1.05 (6)
- Quicksy 2.10.1+fcr(42022) - 18.104.22.168+fcr(42024)
Android 4.4 (KitKat, API 19)
- F-Droid Classic version 1.2 (2021-06-01) (will be the last version to support Android 4.4)
- Stork IM 1.5.1(11) - 3.0.27(90)
Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean, API 16)
- blabber 3.0.6(324) - 3.0.8(326)
- Briar 1.4.3, later versions could also run, but have a “self-destruction” included
exploitable security issues before briar 1.4.22!
Briar had exploitable security issues before version 1.4.22: https://briarproject.org/news/2023-three-security-issues-found-and-fixed/
- Quicksy 2.9.3+fcr (2021-01-05)
Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich, API 15)
- mail (a.k.a. monocles mail) 1.04 (5) 2022-07-17 (last version for android 4.0.3, version 1.0.5 needs android 5.0)
- Xabber 22.214.171.1244-open(644)
Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich, API 15)
- F-Droid 1.12.1 (2021-04-16) (MinVer 4.0, target 7.1)
Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread, API 10)
- F-Droid 1.2.2 (2018-04-24) (MinVer 2.3.3, target 7.0)
Android 2.3 (Gingerbread, API 9)
- VLC 3.0.13 (2018-07-26)
Android 2.2 (Froyo, API 8)
- F-Droid 0.100.1 (2016-06-22) (MinVer 2.2, target 6.0)
Android 2.1 (Eclair, API 7)
- Yaxim 0.9.1(51) - 0.9.3(53)
Android 2.0 (Eclair, API 5)
- F-Droid 0.66 (2014-05-01), maybe 0.69-test (2014-06-02)
Android 1.6 (Donut, API 4)
- F-Droid 0.55 (2013-11-11), maybe F-Droid 0.56-test (2013-12-26)
Android 1.5 (Cupcake, API 3)
- F-Droid 0.45 (2013-05-25)