Wikimedia Apps/Android FAQ

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General

Where can I download the app?

You can find our app on the Google Play Store: open the Play Store app on your device and search for "Wikipedia".

If your device does not use Google services, you may also find the app on other third-party app stores such as F-Droid, or by downloading the latest APK directly.

What is the difference between the Android app and the mobile web version of Wikipedia?

The Wikipedia App provides an optimized and streamlined experience for searching and reading Wikipedia content. Being a native app, it allows articles to load faster, and with less data usage. It also delivers a more responsive interface that is more consistent with other Android apps that you love. It adds features that are not available (or not possible) in the Web version of Wikipedia, such as saving pages to the device for later reading, and sharing content and images from articles to your favorite social media apps.

How do I donate to Wikipedia?

You can donate at any time by going to the "More" menu in the main screen and selecting Support Wikipedia. Unfortunately we cannot currently accept donations using Google Pay, or using your Google Store credits.

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I already donated; why I am getting asked to donate again?

Due to our strict privacy guidelines, we don't actually connect your app usage or user account to your donation history. This means you may see a donation request in the app even if you have previously donated on the web.

Do I need to be connected to the Internet to use the app?

You do need a connection to download articles, and to use the Explore feed. However, if you save articles to your reading lists, they will be available for later reading, even without an internet connection.

What devices are supported?

Our app works on all Android devices running version 5.0 (Lollipop) and higher.

As of January 2020, we have ended active support for the app on devices with Android version 4.4 (KitKat) and below. If you have a device that runs an older version of Android, you will still be able to install the app from the Play Store, but it will be a "frozen" version of the app, and will no longer receive updates, with the possible exception of occasional critical security patches or crashing bugs.

General features

Search

You can search Wikipedia from any of these locations in the app:

  • From the Explore feed in the main screen, by tapping the "Search Wikipedia" box at the top.
  • By tapping the "Search" icon in the bottom toolbar in the main screen.
  • While reading an article, by tapping the "Search" icon in the top toolbar.
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Search within an article

From the top-right menu (three dots), select "Find in page". You will be able to type text to search within the current article, and the search results will be automatically highlighted and scrolled into view.

Explore feed

The home screen of the app features a feed of recommended content for reading. Each "card" in the feed represents a single article, or a short list of articles, for you to read. The types of cards you might find in the feed (depending on their language availability) include:

  • In the news: articles about current events.
  • Trending articles: today's most-visited articles (based on total view count).
  • Featured article: today's featured article on Wikipedia.
  • Featured picture: today's featured picture from Wikimedia Commons.
  • Continue reading: quick link back to reading an open article in one of your tabs.
  • Because you read: a short list of reading suggestions based on a recently-read article from your history.
  • On this day: events in history on this day.
  • Randomizer: opens a view which generates random articles to read.
  • Today on Wikipedia: opens the actual "Main Page" of Wikipedia.
  • On this day: Events in history on this day.

How can I customize the feed?

If you don't want to see a particular card in the Explore feed, you can tap the overflow menu on that card (three dots at the top-right), and tap "Hide this card".

You may also tap the overflow menu on any card (three dots at the top-right) and select the "Customize the feed" option, which will allow you to choose which types of cards to show, the order in which they will appear, and the languages for which they will be shown.

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Reading lists and offline reading

To save an article for later reading, tap the "bookmark" icon in the bottom toolbar:

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This will automatically make the article available for reading offline, i.e. even when you are not connected to the internet. When you bookmark articles, they are saved to a default reading list called "Saved", but you can also create different reading lists of your own, and categorize your saved articles however you like.

Articles saved to a list are made available offline by default so that you can read them later. If you do not want certain articles to be available offline, you can go to the reading list, and press-and-hold the specific article. You will then see a list of options for that article, which includes an "Available offline" checkbox. You may access all of your reading lists by tapping the "My lists" button on the main screen.

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When you are logged in to the app, your reading lists are automatically synchronized to your Wikipedia account, so that your lists will be restored if you install the app on a different device, or uninstall/reinstall it on the same device. Your reading lists will also be available if you log in to the iOS version of the app. However, at the moment your reading lists are not accessible from the desktop or mobile web version of the Wikipedia website.

Readability and themes

When reading an article, tap the "Theme" button in the bottom toolbar. There you will see numerous options, including:

  • Increase or decrease the text size for reading articles.
  • Change the color theme between Light, Sepia, Dark, or Black. (The Black theme is particularly useful for devices with an OLED display, since it will save battery power by keeping most pixels black.)
  • Whether to "Match system theme". Since Android itself now supports a light and dark theme, the app can automatically adjust to the system setting. If you do not want to match the system theme (i.e. if you want to use the Dark theme in the app, but keep the device in the Light theme, you'll need to unselect "Match system theme").
  • Whether to dim images. When using the Dark or Black theme, dimming images may be an additional benefit for distraction-free reading.
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In-article conveniences

  • Tap the "Contents" button at the bottom (or swipe from right to left anywhere in the article) to see the table of contents for the current article. Tap on any section in the table of contents to jump to that section in the article.
  • Tap on references (superscript numbers) to see a popup that describes the reference in detail.
  • Tap any image to view it full-screen; pinch to zoom the image, or swipe left or right to view other images that appear in the article.
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Editing

General

To start editing any article, tap on the "pencil" icon next to one of the section headings in the article. Note that some articles are protected from being edited by anonymous users or users with too few edits.

Wikipedia articles are formatted using MediaWiki formatting , also known as wikitext. When you edit a section of an article in the app, the wikitext syntax will be automatically highlighted to assist with formatting.

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Do I have to be logged in to edit?
No, you can edit without creating an account or logging in, but note that your IP address will be associated with your edits, and will be visible to anyone who looks at the edit history of the article.
Can I upload pictures?
Not yet.
Can I view the edit history of an article and talk pages?
This is not yet supported in the app. If you scroll near the bottom of the article, you can tap on links to the edit history and Talk page of the article, which will open those links in your default web browser app.
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Suggested edits

If you are keen to start making contributions to Wikipedia, the app provides you with various types of editing suggestions, presented as a continuous feed that you can swipe through. Go to the main screen of the app and tap the "Edits" button at the bottom to see the types of suggested edits that are available. These include:

  • Article descriptions: Add short descriptions to articles that are missing descriptions. These descriptions are shown when searching Wikipedia on your desktop or mobile device, and in various places in the app.
  • Image captions: Add captions to images on Wikimedia Commons that are missing captions. These captions are shown when tapping on images in articles to view them full-screen.
  • Image tags: Add tags to images on Wikimedia Commons. These tags will be used to make images more searchable and better structured.
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Contribution history

You can view your own contribution history by going to the main screen and tapping the "Edits" button at the bottom. This will show you the total number of edits you've made so far, your current edit quality (based on how many of your edits were reverted), among other statistics. To see more details about each of your previous contributions, tap on the statistics card. This will show a full-screen list of each of your edits.

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Notifications

If you are logged in to your account, you can receive notifications about your account activity. These notifications will automatically pop up along with other system notifications in your device's status bar. The types of actions for which notifications are sent include:

  • Message(s) left on your User Talk page.
  • Another user thanking you for an edit you made.
  • One of your edits being reverted.
  • Security notices regarding your account.

To see all of your current notifications, tap the "More" button at the bottom of the main screen, and select "Notifications".

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To choose which notifications pop up in your system status bar, tap the overflow menu (three dots) in the Notifications screen, and select "Notification preferences".

You can mark a notification as "read" by tapping on it, and selecting "Mark read and archive". You may also view all of your archived notifications by tapping the overflow menu (three dots) in the Notifications screen, and selecting "View archived".

Troubleshooting

If the app does not seem to be receiving notifications correctly, please consider these suggestions:

  • Make sure that you are logged in to your account in the app. Try logging out and back in.
  • Make sure you have notifications enabled in the app. Go to the Notifications screen (from the "More" menu on the main screen), then tap the overflow menu at the top right, then select "Notification preferences". Make sure that the "Poll notifications" option is turned on.
  • Make sure you haven't denied the app to show notifications from the system status bar. Android allows you to selectively allow and deny notifications to be shown from any app that tries to show them. To make sure that the Wikipedia app is allowed to show notifications, go to your system Settings, then go to "Apps and Notifications", then look for the "Notifications" selection. This should show you a list of all apps that could show notifications, along with a switch to enable or disable notifications for that app. Make sure that the switch is enabled for Wikipedia.

Languages

Wikipedia content exists in more than 300 languages, and you can select one or more of those languages to be used in the app.

When the app is first installed, it defaults to the system language of your device. If you have more than one keyboard language installed, the app should automatically detect those languages and add them to its list of languages.

Set/change Wikipedia language

To change the Wikipedia language, go to the "More" menu in the main screen, tap "Settings", then select "Wikipedia languages". From there you can add, remove, and rearrange your preferred languages. (Your topmost language will be used by default when searching Wikipedia.)

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Read an article in a different language

When reading an article, you can tap the "Language" button in the bottom toolbar to see other languages in which this article is available. (Note that not all articles will be available in all languages.)

Privacy and Security

Does the app track me? Do you use my data?

Yes, some of your actions within the app are tracked, so that we can continue to improve our features. Sending usage reports can be deactivated by going to "Settings", which can be accessed from the "More" menu in the main screen, and unchecking "Send usage reports".

We also have crash reporting to help us fix bugs. This is separate from usage reporting. If a crash is detected, we automatically send reports to helps us find the reason and fix the issue (This really helps us a lot!). All collected data is anonymous. You can disable crash reporting by going to "Settings" and unchecking "Send crash reports".

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What information do usage reports contain?

Various kinds of data are collected, the specifics of which can seen on the event logging page. For example, it records the average delay between typing a search term and receiving search results, or the number of times the Share button is clicked, or whether the font size was increased or decreased. We use a service called AppCenter to report crashes in the app. When you choose to send us a crash (which we're immensely grateful for!), it tells us where in our code the crash occurred (the stack track across all active threads), and other diagnostic information such as the Android version and device type. This data cannot be used to personally identify you. This is all used to better understand user engagement, and guides us to improving and enhancing the features that the app offers.

Why does the app need the Identity permission (GET_ACCOUNTS)?

This permission is required so that the app can integrate with your user account on Wikipedia, so that your reading lists and other preferences will be synchronized between devices when you are logged in.

The app does not access any non-Wikipedia accounts on your device, nor any other aspects of your identity.
This permission is only required in Android versions earlier than 6.0 (Marshmallow). For Android 6.0 and above, this permission is not required.

Why does the app need the Photos/Media/Files permission (WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE)?

This permission is required because the app allows you to save images that you browse to your local device. It's also required so that the app can temporarily save images for sharing via other apps (as in Share a fact).

This permission is only required for older versions of Android.

Why does the app need the Full Network Access permission (ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE, ACCESS_WIFI_STATE)?

This permission is used by the app to determine the state and quality of your network connection, and adjust certain aspects of its performance accordingly (e.g. loading lower-quality versions of images when on a limited connection).

Why does the app need the Startup (Boot Completed) permission (RECEIVE_BOOT_COMPLETED)?

The app provides a feature that lets you receive notifications on your device about your Wikipedia account.These can be notifications about articles that you've edited, messages on your Talk page, thanks from other editors, etc. This can be turned on if you login to your account and enable notification polling. The service that checks for notifications runs in the background, and needs to restart itself automatically if your device itself is restarted. This is why the app needs to receive an event when your device initially boots up. If you do not enable the Notification polling feature, then the Startup permission is not used for any other purpose.

Is the connection between the app and Wikipedia encrypted?

Yes, all network traffic from the app is performed over HTTPS.

Does the app require Google services?

No, Google Play Services are not required for the app to work properly. However, when they are available, the app will use Google services for certain features, such as push notifications. No user information or personal data is sent to Google.

Troubleshooting

I'm blocked from logging in or editing, what should I do?

If you have not made any edits to Wikipedia, but still find yourself blocked from logging in, creating an account, or making edits, it probably means that your IP address has been blocked, not "you" specifically. When you use your device on a mobile network, or on a shared WiFi connection, your IP address may be shared with many other users. These other users might have made unconstructive edits to Wikipedia, which resulted in blocking the IP address. Sometimes an entire range of IP addresses might be blocked, and your IP address might simply fall into that range. Also, public proxies and VPNs are generally blocked, too. If your IP address is blocked, try joining a different WiFi network.

Note that the Wikimedia Foundation does not administer the blocking of IP addresses; instead, this work is done by a global community of volunteers and administrators. For information about blocking and appealing a block on English Wikipedia, please see the information page at Help! I've Been Blocked.

My edits are being reverted / I disagree with certain administrative actions.

There is no central authority over Wikipedia. The Wikimedia movement is based in part on the premise that good articles are achievable through the checks and balances editors provide for each other. When editors disagree on how to achieve these goals, they must resolve disputes through consensus, drawing on the wider community where necessary. You can read more about the dispute resolution processes on English Wikipedia at w:en:WP:DR.

How do I report a typo or other error in an article?

Wikipedia is the world's largest encyclopedia that anyone can edit! If you see a typo or other error in an article, click the "pencil" icon or highlight any text and tap "Edit here" from the popup menu. This will show the wikitext of the article which you can then edit and save.

If you make lots of edits, we recommend you log in to your account, so that you can keep track of your work, talk to other editors and join the worldwide Wikimedia community.

I see vandalism in an article. What should I do?

If you see text or images in an article that are clearly vandalism, you can always edit the article by tapping the "pencil" icon to the right of the article section that contains the vandalism. You can then remove the offending text and publish the edited content.

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I see information that is biased or factually incorrect. What should I do?

If you see text in an article that may be incorrect, biased, or generally low-quality, you can join the discussion about that article on the corresponding Talk page for the article. You can access the Talk page by scrolling near the bottom and tapping the "View talk page" link.

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Miscellaneous

Reporting bugs

  • If the app crashes, it will automatically send a crash report to us, assuming you haven't disabled crash reporting in Settings.
  • If you see a bug (not a crash) or have a suggestion or feature request, you can send us feedback here.

Who develops the Android app?

Check out our team page to learn more.

I am an Android developer. May I contribute?

Of course! Check out our app hacking page.

Getting in touch

For any other inquiries, please email us at: mobile-android-wikipedia @ wikimedia.org