PDA personal use app list

Last updated : 1/5/2022

- Introduction -

Gallery | Simple Gallery Pro

Video | MPV for Android

Music | AIMP

Camera | Snap | OpenCamera | GCam Go | Graphene Camera

Notepad | SimpleTextEditor (maxistar)

Document reader | Librera

Drawing | Simple Draw Pro

Calculator | Default prebuilt | OnePlus Calculator

Calendar | Simple Calendar Pro | Etar

Clock | Default prebuilt

Keyboard | Default prebuilt | Simple Keyboard (rkkr)

Launcher | Nova Launcher

File Manager | Default prebuilt

Console emulators | AetherSX2 | PPSSPP

Root managers | Magisk

SD Maid

Firewall | AFWall+

Hosts manager / ad-blocker | AdAway

App Ops / Permission Manager | Rikka AppOps

Kernel Manager | SmartPack | No Gravity App

Backup app | Neo Backup

App Manager | Warden

YouTube client / downloader | Newpipe

Other apps I can't categorize here | Split APK Installer

- What I don't use & will never use -
Kernel "optimizers" / "tweakers"
Patcher apps
Cloud storage
DRM media streamers / screamers

- Apps that I'm still conflicted about -
App Store
Browsers

Introduction

This article is to list out the Android apps that I use. It's just as nutshelled as the ROM list, since it uses the same format.

All apps I've mentioned here will run without internet and/or Goolag Play dis-services, unless mentioned otherwise.

For the past archive, here's the link.

No other mentions, as Simple Gallery Pro is pretty much the only gallery app worth installing & using.

Simple Gallery Pro

Simple, open source & straightforward gallery app. Can exclude folders, hiding its media from curious eyes (but not the file manager and/or any other gallery apps you may have installed). Lacks subtitle support for videos though, so I end up pairing this with another video app.

As this is one of the Simple Mobile Tools apps, it features customizable themes which extends to the app icon (the app icon customization is for Pro variants) & is written in Kotlin. Unfortunately, they're hosted in GitHub.

Links:

Video

Dishonorable mentions :

MPV Android

A port of MPV, for Android. While its file browser interface leaves much to be desired (I use Simple Gallery to browse the gallery anyway, so it can be ignored), it has the subtitle support Simple Gallery lacks. MPV also supports music playback, although its interface is too ill-suited for it.

Links:

Music

Theoretically, I could combine Music & Video if I were using VLC and/or MPV. However, I'm not a fan of such approach.

Dishonorable mentions :

Honorable mentions :

AIMP

Short for (maybe?) Artem Izmaylov Music Player, or as I've enjoyed calling it, Artyom Is Music Player, this is the best music player on Android IMO. It has enough great features for me to rely on it, including theme customizations & manual playlist creation. Unfortunately, it is closed source.

For those who dislike Scoped Storage, 3.10.1052 is the last version without it.

Links:

Camera

No dishonorable mentions (Except for AOSP Camera2 which has a terrible UI), since I don't use my cameras that much to the point of needing GCam in my daily life. However, I occasionally use GCam Go if it's prebuilt in the ROM.

Snap

The inbuilt camera app for LineageOS & some other ROMs, mainly Lineage-based ones.

No links can be provided, as it's prebuilt.

OpenCamera

An alternative camera app in case I don't like a prebuilt camera (AOSP Camera2 immediately comes to mind). Interestingly enough, this is made & hosted at SourceForge (a rarity considering most Android developers are GitHub users).

A fork of OpenCamera is prebuilt in /e/.

Links:

GCam Go

A lite GCam that could be inbuilt in some ROMs. I personally dislike its lack of interface customizations & the fact that none of the GCam ports are open source.

I won't provide links for GCam mods (except for GCam Go by Greatness as I have decent luck with it & it doesn't have any Play Services dependency). Most GCam builds requires Play Services (or at least Gcam Services Provider) to start working, & there is too much versions for GCam mods that finding the one that works the best for you can be a frustating challenge (maybe try OpenCamera / Graphene Camera, it might not be the best but at least there's only one (or two if counting F-Droid build of OpenCamera) variant available).

Links to proven variants by Greatness:

Note : Don't install another GCam port if you have one installed.

Graphene Camera

A camera app based on Android CameraX library, made by GrapheneOS.

Links:

Notepad

Honorable mentions :

SimpleTextEditor (maxistar)

Highly simple text editor, with support only for plaintext. Interface seems easier to use than Simple Notes IMO.

Links:

Document reader

Librera Reader (Pro)

A feature-rich document reader that supports various formats, including PDF.

Links:

Drawing

Simple Draw Pro

Simple Mobile Tools' drawing app. Simple & straightforward, though you may want to use some sort of stylus.

Links:

Calculator

Honorable mentions :

Default prebuilt

Actually, the prebuilt calculator on every ROM is usable enough, save for the lack of theme customizations (depending on what's inbuilt).

No links can be provided, as they're a prebuilt system app.

OnePlus Calculator

A calculator app made by OnePlus. As an OEM-made app, it's interestingly nice that it works without Goolag dis-services. Otherwise, it's just like the default prebuilt calculator, complete with its lack of theme modifications.

For the record, I used the 2/9/2020 build, & also blocked internet access for it, just in case.

Links:

Calendar

Dishonorable mentions :

Simple Calendar Pro

Simple Mobile Tools' calendar app.

Links:

Etar

A calendar app prebuilt in some custom ROMs, such as LineageOS & crDroid. In a nutshell, it's AOSP calendar without Goolag sign-in demand on opening, & after getting used to how it looks, I'd say that it isn't as bad as I thought it would be. However, one ugly side of this calendar is that it's not available on GitHub releases - F-Droid & Play Store only.

Compared to Simple Calendar, Etar is unable to set events without a calendar account.

Links:

Clock

Honorable mentions :

Default prebuilt

The prebuilt clock app is usable enough, ignoring the lack of theme customizations. On Pie, Graphene-A12, and A10/A11 (with disabled dark theme); it looks like shit, with its all blue theme (it's not as bad in A10 & A11 with dark theme enabled, but still, it doesn't have theme customizations).

No links can be provided, as they're prebuilt in every ROMs.

Keyboard

I prefer to disable any kind of swipe typing, autocorrect, autocapitalization, word suggestions, & all other BS cruft (including sound) built into a keyboard app. Vibration stays enabled as I ended up getting a bit too used to it after trying it out in early 2020.

Dishonorable mentions :

Honorable mentions :

Default prebuilt

The prebuilt AOSP keyboard is fine enough, though it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of customizability.

Some ROMs inbuilt GBoard, & while it's better than AOSP keyboard (more themes, adjustable length), it also comes with Go-ogle telemetry, & swipe typing is enabled by default. As a result, I tend to block this app from ever connecting to the internet.

No links can be provided for AOSP keyboard, as they're prebuilt in most ROMs. As for GBoard, I won't be linking any download links.

Simple Keyboard (rkkr)

Similar to OpenBoard, it's basically AOSP keyboard with more customizations. However, it's lighter than the former & packs in less offensive cruft than both OpenBoard & AOSP keyboard (no spellcheck, swipe typing, word prediction bar, emoji BS). Thanks to these factors, it's now my prebuilt keyboard replacement of choice.

Simple Keyboard is not a part of SimpleMobileTools' app suite, despite the name.

Links:

Launcher

No dishonorable mentions for now, aside from Nova requiring Prime unlocker for full features & Lawnchair denying icon pack installation when a "piracy tool" is installed.

Nova Launcher (Prime, 7.0.57)

The best launcher for me, with lots of customizations. It's unfortunately closed source, but that's what you get with permissive (read : cuck) licenses like Apache License - you may fork an open-source software & close-source it. Also, it has some sort of telemetry that can be disabled in Nova Settings > Advanced > Error & usage reporting (and/or disable internet access for Nova Launcher).

To get the Prime unlocker, you might want to collaborate with someone with a Goolag account & extract the APK from their PDA. Just keep in mind that you will need a Goolag ID that "paid" for the Prime unlocker if you're running a GApps-infested ROM.

As for the Nova Launcher itself, I'll link the version I'm currently using to APKMirror.

File Manager

Default prebuilt

Prebuilt & available in the ROM from the get go. Enough for regular uses, but couldn't read anything else outside /storage (SD Maid handles everything else outside /storage). As of A11, the default file manager is unable to write to /Android/obb.

No links can be provided, as they're prebuilt in every ROMs.

Console emulators

Unless mentioned otherwise, BIOS files are required.

Dishonorable mentions :

Honorable mentions (as far as ones I haven't personally used yet) :

AetherSX2

A new (and actually pretty stable despite being in Alpha stage) PS2 emulator for Android, it has made waves on the internet (probably thanks to a terrible alternative being terrible). However, at the moment of writing (24/1/2022), it's closed source (planned to go open source after stable release). The developer also seem to dislike using APK installations, as he doesn't recommend it (he recommends Play Store instead) & refuses to provide community support for it (ok for anything too weak for PS2 emulation, not so much for those who refuse Goolag walled garden but would like to ask for issue fixes).

5/2/2022 update : The site has cuckflare "protection" (not present when I last checked it in 26/2/2022). Combined with the Discord usage (which is a not ideal for FOSS app development) & the developer's preference for anti-FOSS Play Store (not to mention AetherSX2 source code isn't up yet), I doubt AetherSX2 will be released as FOSS. But still, if AetherSX2 is released as FOSS despite all of those flaws, I'd be personally grateful.

16/3/2022 update : r/AetherSX2 is downed, and the redditors commenting there actually supported the developer's decision in taking it down (not that I can actually agree with them). I personally don't care much about the subreddit since it seems inactive the last time I opened it before it went down (and I see little (if any) evidence of demands there).

Links:

PPSSPP

The only PSP emulator anyone should use. No BIOS files required.

For those who dislike forced Scoped Storage, 1.11.3 is the last version without it.

Links:

Root managers

This covers root solutions & root managing apps.

Mentions :

Magisk

The de-facto root solution, with the added ability to hide root from apps.

Flaws I want to mention :

Links:

SD Maid

SD Maid is a category upon itself due to the things it do.

On first run, will search & ask for root permission before requesting storage & usage access.

List of root-dependent features I'm using :

Links:

Firewall

Mentions :

AFWall+

A firewall client for Android using iptables. Requires root access.

Links:

Hosts manager / ad-blocker

Mentions :

AdAway

Internet access is needed to update hosts file.

Since 5.1.0, AdAway has a setup wizard that allows you to pick between root / VPN, and persists until either mode is selected. AdAway can also automatically check for updates, which could be disabled in Preferences > Automatic updates.

Links:

App Ops

Starting with A10, the AppOps feature is replaced with AOSP's new Permission Manager. These App Ops apps generally requires root access, & can be considered a replacement for the missing AppOps feature. Also, starting with A11, some apps now take AppOps into account, making AppOps apps usage not as practical as it used to be.

Rikka AppOps

On first run, it will launch a setup tool to determine which enhanced privilege it will use (root / Shizuku / ADB). From 4.0.0 & onwards however, it uses Shizuku.

Has ads that can't be turned off without buying the "Pro" version, though it could be mitigated if AppOps doesn't have internet access.

Permission tuning : Allow; Allow in Foregorund; Deny.

Links:

Kernel Manager

Requires root access.

Dishonorable mentions :

SmartPack

The sane choice for kernel managers. Fork of the now-discontinued Kernel Adiutor. I no longer used this for some time as I no longer find any purpose in doing so.

Advantages compared to common kernel managers such as Franco (FKM) & EX:

Flaws that I see & could be removed if you fork and/or self-compile SmartPack:

Links:

No Gravity App

The recommended kernel manager for No Gravity Kernel. Not included with the kernel, so it has to be installed separately, if required.

Advantages compared to common kernel managers such as Franco (FKM) & EX:

Flaws :

Links:

Backup App

Apps that backup your app data. Requires root access.

Mentions :

Neo Backup

A fork of the open-source and inactive OAndBackup, aimed at keeping it alive beyond 202x. After trying out release 7.0.0 (when it was OAndBackupX), I can conclude that it's currently shaping up to be my backup tool of choice, even if it has some imperfections.

OAndBackupX was renamed to Neo Backup in 27/3/2022, but no "Neo Backup" apk is up yet as of now.

Links:

App Manager

Requires root access.

Honorable mentions :

Warden

My current personal app manager of choice. Not updated past 2020 & has an update checker that can't be disabled, but works just fine without internet access. In addition, its interface is clunkier than MyAndroidTools & it is a rather inactive one-dev-show.

Links:

YouTube client / downloader

Requires internet access. I can no longer recommend any YouTube clients (other than Invidious for Android, if it even exists) as they rely on Google not randomly breaking things with backend updates. This recent issue on NewPipe (archive.org) should explain as a decent example.

Dishonorable mentions :

NewPipe

An open source YouTube front-end that used to be decent, and still has some advantages compared to both official YouTube & YouTube Vanced, such as support for some platforms like Peertube & ability to download videos. However, starting with 0.20.x, it has gone too far to be an alternative to anything.

Advantages compared to other YouTube clients (such as Goolag's official YouTube client & YouTube Vanced):

Flaws I can see:

All Newpipe links (other than the issues) removed, I can't recommend this app as a YouTube client alternative anymore (or any YouTube client for that matter). Besides, even if I could recommend Newpipe again (as either a YouTube OR PeerTube client), I still wouldn't since it's still relying on the big G (unless support for YouTube is removed and NewPipe becomes a PeerTube client for Android).

Other apps I can't categorize here

Split APK Installer

An useful asset for installing split APKs, which has became more common in the Play Store, no thanks to some app soydevs making it popular (and Goolag forcing all new Play Store apps to use this accursed format). No longer maintained.

Links:

What I don't use & will never use

Kernel "optimizers" / "tweakers"

The likes of FDE.AI, LSpeed, NFS Injector, MAGNETAR, & LKT. In short - questionable benefits (I dunno, 3 more FPS in the "latest" excessively bloated AAA game you're playing that you won't normally detect?) with loads of issues (random reboots, stuff randomly turning off, unfixable Redmi K20 "Pro" bricking after FDE.AI is installed, etc.).

KTweak is better in every regards compared to the crapshoots above (there's an actual thought & purpose for the tweaks, for example), but I can't justify installing this when I don't have any need for kernel optimizers / tweakers.

Patcher apps

The likes of Lucky Patcher & Uret Patcher. Here's a short list explaining why I don't bother with them (at least for myself).

Cloud Storage

Why should I bother relying on a storage controlled by someone else & can only be accessed via internet, when I have microSD & USB drive (maybe add in an external hard drive as well) ready to be drawn out at all times?

DRM media streamers (or screamers according to RMS)

The likes of Netflix & Spotify. Just as I don't want to rely on internet-only storage, I would also like my media to run on whatever app I want to, not just an online-only, DRM-laden, snowflake dis-service.

Also, keep in mind the "DRM" word here refers to Digital Rights / Restriction Management, not Direct Rendering Manager.

Apps that I'm still conflicted about

App Store

These require internet access to work.

Dishonorable mentions :

Honorable mentions (not so bad, but still problematic) :

Browsers

Let's be frank here; all browsers in Android suck, and do not match the level of quality provided by Pale Moon in the desktop. Until there is a browser that meets my (admittedly arbitrary) standards, I will keep this section in the "conflicted" category.

What I look for in a browser (alternatively, Luke Smith has a good article here, which I mostly copied):

Dishonorable mentions (don't use these, seriously) :

Mentions for the ones not yet used :

Honorable mentions (imperfect, but alright to use. Listed from worst to best) :

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