Mobile

Twitter alternative Mastodon now has an official Android app

Screenshot_20220419-114047_Mastodon.jpg

Mastodon has been one of the best alternatives to corporate social networks over the past few years, with its decentralized design and open protocols. The platform released its own app for iOS last year, and now there’s an Android app available on the Google Play Store.

Mastodon is a social network with an estimated user base of 4.4 million people and a similar design as Twitter. The back end works a bit like email: anyone who signs up on one community (server) can follow and talk to anyone on any other community, just like someone with a Gmail account can send messages to a Yahoo email, and vice-versa. There’s no centralized database or platform collecting data, and no algorithmic timelines. The protocol powering everything, ActivityPub, is open-source and has been implemented by other social networks. For example, Mastodon users can follow people on PixelFed, an Instagram alternative that supports ActivityPub.

Mastodon app screenshot
Mastodon app screenshot

The new Android app mirrors the official iOS app, with the ability to log into any Mastodon community, send posts, receive notifications, search for other posts, and so on. It can synchronize with Android’s system dark mode (or you can force it to light/dark mode), but there doesn’t appear to be any Material You dynamic colors support quite yet.

Unfortunately, the Mastodon app doesn’t support viewing the local timeline, which is a list of all public posts sent from the current community. There’s also no option to see the federated timeline, which is a list of all posts from all known communities, but I’ve never found that feature useful. The good news is that there are still several third-party Mastodon clients with those features (and different designs), like Tusky on Android or Toot! on iOS.

The app is available for free from the Google Play Store, and it works on any device running Android 6.0 or newer. Eugen Rochko, founder and lead developer of Mastodon, says the app should also be available on F-Droid soon. If you need more people to follow, I’m at @[email protected].

Mastodon (Free, Google Play) →

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