While many are looking to Mastodon as a potential replacement for their favorite social networks, here are some of the best apps for Mastodon available for download on Android.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Mastodon, it’s an open-source social media platform designed to be “federated.” The simplified (maybe more) version is that unlike traditional networks like Twitter where one entity controls data, moderation, etc., there are many instances of Mastodon, all of which are able to interact with each other. others.
If you want, you can host your own Mastodon instance on your own server and domain, while connecting with everyone. Most people, however, will just want to pick up an existing instance of Mastodon and start creating “toots” – yes, that’s what they’re really called. Just like birds “chirp”, elephants/behemoths “chirp”.
Whichever Mastodon instance you want to use, there are a ton of apps available on Android to help you get started on your new social network. Some apps will even help you choose an instance and sign up for it. Best of all, unlike some platforms like Twitter that limit certain features to the official app, the open source nature of Mastodon ensures that even third-party apps can be as good as the official app. So let’s go, okay?
Best Mastodon apps for Android
You can’t go wrong with the official Mastodon app for Android, developed by Mastodon GmbH. Although it was created by the maintainers of the original Mastodon.social server, the app comes with a list of other public forums you can join, divided into themed categories.
The feed layout is clean and simple, with a straightforward timeline. Meanwhile, the search tab offers an overview of the most popular hashtags, news posts, and more. The layout of the notifications can be a little chunky, making it a little harder to scroll through them if you get too many at once, but some may appreciate having the extra details without needing to navigate to another page.
You don’t need to download a full native app to enjoy the Mastodon experience on your Android phone. The website for each instance of Mastodon comes with the option to be installed as a Progressive Web App (or PWA).
The layout on the phones is a little awkward, opting for a full-height navigation rail on the right side, which takes away screen real estate from the message flow. Part of that is because, surprisingly, the Mastodon PWA has a few extra features that the native Android app doesn’t. For example, there is a dedicated tab for direct messages, as well as another that provides a live timeline of all post made by every user of almost every instance of Mastodon.
A disadvantage of the PWA, however, is that you must already have chosen an instance and registered an account before you can fully use the application. Beyond that, if your chosen instance is having issues, you may find that the PWA loads noticeably slow.
To install Mastodon PWA on your phone, just open your preferred instance in Chrome for Android. Once loaded, tap the three-dot menu button in Chrome and choose “Install app”. This will add a Mastodon icon to your home screen and app drawer.
Easily the most popular third-party Mastodon app for Android, Tusky greatly expands the functionality of the official app while maintaining a clean, user-friendly design. Even better, Tusky manages to be free and open source, maintained by a community of developers.
Tusky’s timeline view is simple and should look familiar to anyone who’s used social media. Where the app really shines is in the extra features like scheduled posts, a must-have for social media account managers.
Although Tusky is a free app, available through the Play Store and F-Droid, it is supported by community contributions. You can donate to help keep Tusky free and give back to the developers who invest their time in creating it.
The recent rise in popularity of Mastodon stems from the fact that many users have abandoned their Twitter account. Of course, switching platforms can be difficult, as you have to rebuild your follower count and also follow friends who haven’t made the jump to Mastodon.
This is where Twidere comes in. The free Android app is able to connect to both Twitter and one or more instances of Mastodon. By doing so, you can access the combined timelines of new tweets from those you follow on Twitter and new toots from Mastodon.
The overall experience and design of Twidere isn’t as polished as some of the other options, but it’s currently one of the only Android apps that seamlessly combines Mastodon and Twitter. You can even compose a new post that will be shared on both platforms simultaneously, making it easier to keep your streams in sync.
The developers at Twidere are working on a successor app to overhaul the design, Twidere X, but during our testing the app is currently unable to connect properly to either service.
Fedilab is the only “paid” app on our list today, at $2.49 on the Google Play Store. However, we put “paid” in quotes because Fedilab is still a fully open source application, available for free download on F-Droid, and adventurers can create the application from its source code. The price of $2.49 on the Play Store is just for convenience and to help support app development.
Fedilab’s design isn’t the smoothest or cleanest option on this list, but all of Mastodon’s features are available. Fedilab is also one of the few Android apps available today that helps you choose a Mastodon instance on which to create a new account, perfect for those just starting out.
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