Wikimedia Apps/Android FAQ

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General info

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.

Of course, the app is still under development, and does not yet have some of the features that are available on the Wikipedia mobile website, such as watchlists, collections, and notifications.

Where can I find the latest release notes?

The most recent changes to the app may be found in the Play Store listing for the app, or here.

Who develops the Android app?

Check our team page to find out more

What devices are supported?

Our app works on all Android devices running version 2.3 (Gingerbread) and higher.

As of September 30 2015, we have ended active support for the app on devices with Android version 4.0 and below. If you have a device that runs Android Gingerbread, Honeycomb, or Ice Cream Sandwich, 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. We will, of course, continue active development of the app for devices with Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich MR1) and higher.

What features are available on the Android app?

  • Explore feed

The home screen of the app now features a feed of recommended content for reading. Each "card" in the feed represents a single page, or a short list of pages, for you to read. The types of cards you might find in the feed 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: a reminder to continue reading an article from your browsing history (saved locally on your device).
  • Because you read: a short list of reading suggestions based on a recently-read article from your history.
  • Random article: a completely random article.
  • Today on Wikipedia: opens the actual "Main Page" of Wikipedia.

If you don't want to see a particular card in the Explore feed, you can swipe any of the cards away to dismiss it.

The feed also includes a Search bar at the top for easy access to searching Wikipedia, along with voice-enabled functionality.

  • Search for articles

Tap the "Search Wikipedia" bar at the top, and type your search term. The app will give you a list of Wikipedia articles based on your search query. The app automatically searches articles based on their title, as well as their full text, to provide the best possible match.

  • Set/change Wikipedia language

Searching Wikipedia is performed only in a single language which, by default, is set to the language of your Android device. To change the Wikipedia language, go to the main app menu (top left) and select "More", then select "Wikipedia language".

  • Search within page

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

  • Read in different languages

From the top-right menu (three dots), select "Read in other languages". This will show a list of languages in which the current article is available for reading.

  • Share interesting facts to social media

When you long-press on the text within an article, you can highlight portions of the text, then use the buttons in the top menu to "copy" the selection to the clipboard, or "share" the selection. If you select "share", you will be able to share the selection as plain text, or an image card that contains the text printed on top of the most relevant image from the article.

  • Reading List

You can add a page to a reading list, which acts as a sort of bookmark of the pages. You can have more than one reading list so that you categorize the pages in your list. The pages in a list are made available offline so that you can read it later. You can turn it off, separately for each reading list, if you do no want it offline. You will be able to access you Reading list from the bottom menu in the App's Home page (may change with different versions).

  • Nearby

Go to the main app menu (top left) and select "Nearby" to see Wikipedia articles about places near you, based on the GPS location of your device. We do not store or track your location over time.

  • Editing

Tap on the "pencil" icon next to section headings in an article to start editing. Note that Wikipedia articles are formatted using MediaWiki formatting.

Offline reading and data

Can I save articles for offline reading?
You will be able to save articles offline by adding them to a Reading list. Articles are made "Available offline" by default. You will be able to access the Reading list from the bottom menu in the App's home page (may change with different versions).
Are saved pages synced with other devices or browsers via my account?
No, currently we don't have this functionality. Unfortunately, if you delete the app's data your saved pages are gone.
Can I access Wikipedia for free with your app?
If your mobile carrier supports Wikipedia Zero, the app will automatically access Wikipedia for free, and it will notify you when you are within a Zero-rated network. If you do not see a notification about this in the app, you may be charged for accessing data from Wikipedia.
Does your app track me? Do you use my data?
Yes, we do track some of your actions. Sending usage reports can be deactivated by going to the "More" option of the left navigation menu, and unchecking the "Send usage reports" checkbox.
What information does the usage report contain?
Different data is collected, 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. This is all used to better understand user engagement, and guides us to improving and enhancing the features that the app offers.
How does Nearby work?
When you click Nearby, the app requests access to your geolocation data, and offers you a list of up to 50 articles that are within 10 kilometers of your location. Nearby doesn't track your location or store your geodata.

Readability and adjustments

Can I change font size and background color?

From the top-right menu (three dots), select "Font and theme".This will allow you to increase or decrease the text size, as well as switch between a Light and Dark theme.

Can I listen to media or watch videos on the app?

Yes! When an audio clip appears inside an article, tap on the "Play" button to start playing the audio. When an article contains a video clip, tap on the video thumbnail to start playing the video.

Download and bug reporting

I am an Android developer, may I fork your app?
Please do. Our repository is available on GerritGerrit. Please check details for contribution.

Can I download an APK version to install the Android app without a Google Play Store account?

APK files (for both the beta and stable versions of the app) are available on releases.wikimedia.org. Note that the app won't auto-update when installed this way.

Is the app available on F-Droid?

Yes, as of August 25, 2015, there are updates to the F-Droid version again.

Where do I report bugs?
  • If the app crashes, it will automatically display a dialog that asks you to specify what you were doing when the crash occurred. It will then automatically draft an email (in your preferred email app) that contains the report, which you can "send" when ready.
  • If you see another bug (and not a crash) or have a suggestion or feature request, you can send feedback here.

Editing

Do I have to be logged in to edit?

No. You can edit without creating a username or logging in, but note that your IP address will be associated with your edits, and will be visible to anyone who reads the page's history.

Can I upload pictures?

Not yet.

Can I view a page's history and talk pages?

This is not yet supported in the app.

Security and Permissions

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 preferences and saved pages will be synchronized between devices when you are logged in. (This feature is currently under development.)
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 Location permission (ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION)?
This permission is required for the app to find your current location when using the Nearby feature. (This permission is not required to use Nearby, but you will need to manually move your map to your current location if the permission is denied.)
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 Android releases.
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). This permission is also used by the app's Nearby feature, which checks the quality of your network connection to determine how aggressively it should load the graphical map tiles.
Why does the app need the Boot Completed permission (RECEIVE_BOOT_COMPLETED)?
The app allows you to make edits to articles, as well as to the Wikidata descriptions associated with the article titles. After making an edit, the app starts a background service that listens for notifications from the server. If another user reverts an edit that you made, or leaves a comment on your Talk page, you will receive a notification via the app on your device. And if you happen to restart your device, this service needs to launch automatically, so that it can continue listening for notifications (without needing you to start the app explicitly). This is why the app needs to receive an event when your device initially boots up.
Is the connection between the app and Wikipedia encrypted?
Yes, all network traffic from the app is performed over HTTPS.


Getting in touch

If I have a question or a suggestion, how do I reach out?
You can email us at: mobile-android-wikipedia @ wikimedia.org