Wikimedia Apps/Android FAQ
- 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?
- 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 4.4 (Kitkat) 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 (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.
- Picture of the day 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.
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.
Since version 2.7.221, there is also an option to "Customize the feed" that allows you to choose which types of cards to show, and show them in a preferred order.
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 "Language". 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. Pages saved to a list are made available offline by default so that you can read it later. You can turn it off, individually for each page in a reading list, if you do not want it offline. You will be able to access Reading lists from the bottom menu in the App's Home page (may change with different versions). You can synchronize reading list across devices. See Synced reading lists
As of December 2019 the Nearby feature has been removed from the Android app for reasons including extremely low feature usage, ongoing maintenance issues that are out of the Android team's control, and community concern about the location permissions that Nearby required. These concerns made it infeasible to continue to support the feature. We thank those who have used and enjoyed Nearby in the past.
Tap on the "pencil" icon next to section headings in an article to start editing. Note that Wikipedia articles are formatted using MediaWiki formatting.
Synced reading lists
- Are saved pages synced with other devices or browsers via my Wikipedia account?
- The synced reading lists feature is available as of version 2.7.232, released on April 20, 2018.
- How do I get the synced reading lists feature?
- Beginning with version 2.7.232, Android app users are able to sync their reading lists to other Android devices they own, as long as those devices are running the latest version of the Wikipedia Android app, and the user is logged into the app on each device. (If users are logged out, or if syncing is not enabled, then reading lists will be stored locally only.)
- I'm having trouble syncing. What should I do?
- If you are having trouble syncing your reading lists, please make sure that each device is running the latest version of the Wikipedia Android app, that you are logged into the app on each device, and that you have enabled syncing for your account. (You can enable sync via the app settings menu.)
- When will synced reading lists be available on other platforms?
- Reading list sync is available on Android and can sync to the iOS app (versions 5.8.0 and later). Articles may also be added to synced reading lists from the desktop web via the new Reading list browser extension.
While there are no immediate plans to add the synced reading list feature to desktop or mobile web, we encourage you to occasionally check back for further updates.
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 Reading lists from the bottom menu in the App's home page (may change with different versions).
- Can I access Wikipedia for free with your app?
- Please note that Wikipedia Zero has been discontinued.
- Depending on your carrier, access to the Wikipedia app may be done in the normal rate, a reduced rate or for free. This still depends on the carrier's arrangements and you should ask them for details.
Privacy and Data Sharing
- Does your app track me? Do you use my data?
- Yes, we do track some of your actions. Sending usage reports can be deactivated in the "Settings". You can access the "Settings" from the top-right menu (three dots) in the main screen of the app. You can disable usage reports by turning-off "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 if you wish. This can be done by turning-off "Send crash reports" in the "Settings".
- 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. We use a service called HockeyApp to report crashes in the Android application. When you choose to send us a crash (which we're immensely grateful for!), it tells us where in the code the crash originated from (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.
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, Dark and Black 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 Gerrit. 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 report us, if you have enabled crash reporting.
- If you see another bug (and not a crash) or have a suggestion or feature request, you can send feedback here.
- 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. You can view links to the mobile web version of the history and the talk pages 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.)
- 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).
- 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.
Installing to external media
The app allows itself to be installed or moved to external media (e.g. an external microSD card) on your device. If you move the app from one location to another, keep in mind that it can introduce unexpected behavior.
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
- Where can I read more about the team and what it does?
- See Wikimedia Apps/Team/Android.