Is it possible to use Android apps on the Librem 5?

Would I have to run a certain operating system like LineageOS? Is it even possible to run LineageOS? Or would PureOS be able to run Android apps?


There is talk of getting anbox support, though I don’t think it will be available at launch.
This would allow running Android apps from PureOS.

I have no idea whether LineageOS will work initially, but it should be possible for the Lineage community to make it work, since the info about the Librem 5 should be very open. It would just be a matter of getting the development support they need, unless there’s something I’m overlooking.


From the FAQ (

Can I run Android apps?

Not day 1. However there is a lot of interest in including a isolation layer that will be able to power Android applications natively. We have added that as a stretch goal to quantify the effort.

Can the Librem 5 phone run Android?

Very likely, even though we will not expend resources to test this.

Will the Librem 5 be able to run Anbox or Shashlik?

We will test the capabilities of powering Anbox or Shashlik to allow users the ability to run Android applications within PureOS on the Librem 5, but our long-term goal is to utilize native applications that adhere to our strict philosophy. Enterprise clients or users who require Android applications may choose to to run a Android applications within an isolation container, so this is the reason for testing this type of configuration. We have a stretch goal to help with this developmental effort to have Android apps run in isolation.

As Linageos is Android…


I really hope this is a focus, as it’s a deal breaker for me and likely most users. The only reason I sponsored the phone is because I thought it would support Android apps, and if it doesn’t do that then on day 1, I’m selling it on Ebay as soon as I get it.

I have several Android apps I need for basic daily usage, like the app made by my city’s local train authority that tells me when the next train arrives. I’m not going to continually miss trains out of some blind devotion to “libre” software. The chance of the city ever developing a native “PureOS” app is 0%, and that’s unfortunate, but that’s a reality that needs to be understood. When I enrolled at a graduate school, they required that I install a 2-factor authentication app just to login to their crappy website, and they only supported iPhone and Android, which they failed to mention when I signed up. Can you imagine a Purism-only owner who enrolled in a school, only to realize they need to throw out their new phone because it’s not supported? I’m sure there are thousands of similar examples other people have.

It’s a huge mistake to think companies and developers will support a phone that has 0.00001% of the market. Android is open-source. There’s no reason why Purism can’t be compatible with it.

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It’s not a focus because there is much more important things to take care first, like making sure that the OS runs properly on the hardware on day 1.

Depends on what you estimate as “vital”, for my part as long as it does phone calls, sends SMSs, has got a calculator, browse the web and plays my music in my car through jack I’m fine (BTW a lot of modern phones fail at the last one and that really sucks), for all the other things I just use the “old way”.

Purism knows it’s a niche market, as far as I know they targeted that niche market and since it’s based on ARM GNU/Linux the catalog of apps/software is already in pretty good shape.

Well, Yes and No, the base of Android is open source but most of what is around it isn’t (and using just base Android without what is around it is not a very good experience).

There is, Android is very bad concerning privacy (which is the focus of the Librem 5).


Hey purism , I just wanna let ya know Im here because this phone ISNT android . I AM the 0.00001% .

So about deb linux apps . Will it be most of the current catalog that will run on this phone ? Will they be mobile versions or desktop . One app Id reaaaaaalllly love is clementine music player …

And the price is a bit much for 2012 specs. Gotta admit . 649 is alot of money for a53 / 3gb / 16gb .

Is there any wiggle room on that ? I mean 649 will get you the latest flagship hardware on android .

Buuuuuut I dont want android . at all . It would just be nice if the price reflected the product .

I realize youre putting in alot of hardwork to make this phone a reality . lot of man hours . But a better price than 649 would move more units so money would be coming back to you regardless. Cause the hardware itself ? Im not seeing anything near 649 bucks worth .

That being said im probably still going to buy one regardless :smiley:


I suggest to start writing the ebay announcement mate, because it was clearly stated at the beginning that the android compatibility wasn’t a priority. If I remember correctly, it was one of the stretch goals, but it wasn’t achieved.


Well if you pre-ordered with the early bird price you could have got it for $599, and with the Librem 5 you don’t pay for the hardware specs but for the liberty that the phone gives you.

For me it does reflect the price, it’s a freedom enabler and privacy protector phone with a all new smartphone OS (Linux isn’t new to smartphones but GNU/Linux is), it just depends on which side of the spectrum you look at.


They are both. (look at convergence on this forum, also just for the “learn something interesting” factor I recommend you to search for ubports/Ubuntu Touch convergence)

It’s probably going to be here (didn’t checked Debian ARM testing’s repo to make sure it’s here), but I would recommend you to look at more touchscreen friendly music players like Gnome Music for Gnome and GTK based environments and Elisa for Plasma 5 and Qt based environments.


Already on it buddy. It’s a shame too, because that means this project is dead and the Purism team is wasting their time. You can’t sustain a business if you only have 10 customers.

And if you don’t believe me, then anyone in the market for a Librem 5 phone? I dare you to buy mine.

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Just get a Pixel with GrapheneOS, it will be much more “free” and “private”.
Don’t even have to mention usable.
I wonder if Purism can take iOS vs AOSP vs their OS and make real analogy chart,
with real world privacy+security+attack scenarios. Let’s see, doubt it. Seems they will
prefer to push the “Librem One” way and preach to the choir who already paid for the devices.

You can when it’s a “yes dear leader” sect. They won’t ask for apps, they will think it’s
better for their freedom. Ask how many North Koreans want to use Whatsapp, or WiFi :slight_smile:

That being said im probably still going to buy one regardless

Heh, “probably”. Yes, remember that Purism. He hasn’t bought one, but he might if you design it to depend on Linux apps that don’t exist and would need to be ported to embedded hardware that almost no one develops for… Better abandon all that support for the 1 billion Android apps that work great and do everything everyone needs…just to be safe. We wouldn’t want a phone that is usable on day 1.

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I have already bought one, otherwise I probably would buy yours, sorry.

Good luck with the transaction! :wink:

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I hope you won’t get BlackBerried :slight_smile:
They had a good vision as well, just not sustainable.
And users voted with their feet and wallets.

Anyone who thinks it will be some revolution, Jeff Bezos failed with
an Amazon phone, just FYI. Let’s have this talk in 2021?
Marked on my calendar.

first of all . Yes Probably . Im going to need to see working devices with some user feedback before I shell out 700 bucks . And second I never said anything about it hinging on linux apps that dont exist . By the way clementine music player exists and ive been running it on every linux machine I ever had . and the whole point I would be buying this phone is to delete my google account period . youtube , google play all that .

And purism said that apps already in the software portal for debian machines should world . So if thats the case you should have virtual alternative to any real world software sans gimmicks like seismometers and games specifically ported to android . I dont need or want any of that .

the main feature im looking for is a a hierarchical folder view capable music player . Which most linux catalog music players can do .

and a decent web browser with atleast html5 if not flash . Other than that I dont need all that android mess and having google spyware installed on a device that the whole idea is to be a linux phone is contrary to why Im even interested in this device .

Im PROBABLY going to buy this phone unless once released users find it too buggy to operate or call and sms capability isnt there,

Im not a rich person that can throw 700 bucks at hopes and dreams . Although I will say purism so far has exampled a fairly well running prototype its exhibitioned in videos . I really hope this project succeeds .

World needs functional linux alternatives to the spyware everyone else is selling .

Yeah I hope they manage to get android apps to run in a sandbox, I dont think for example many Swedes will be willing to use this unless they can use BankID with it, myself included. Its an online identification app, used extensively in our society and its quite hard to function without it.

Im guessing that more countries have something like this as well.

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Fact is that its already possible to run Anbox ( and thus Android apps ) on the current emulator image.

Anbox isn’t perfect though and it also has some screen issues on the emulator ( the bottom handle overlaps the window )

I guess in the end it will just come down to the hardware, but since Anbox is already running on some ubports supported devices I would be surprised if it wouldn’t work on the Librem 5.

To give it a try you can install it yourself on the emulator:

$ sudo apt install snapd
$ sudo snap install --devmode --beta anbox


$ sudo modprobe ashmem_linux
$ sudo modprobe binder_linux

start “Anbox Application Manager”

To install apps you will need to use ADB ( )

$ sudo apt install android-tools-adb

Download an apk of your desired app using the browser ( e.g. from or any other obscure package source )

$ adb install whatever.apk

After installing you can run the application through the “Anbox Application Manager” or copy the .desktop file from ~/snap/anbox/common/app-data/applications/anbox to ~/.local/share/applications to access it directly from the menu


I do not think that the price is for “2012 specs”. The price is for unique privacy and quite reasonable considering that it is the only phone in that category (with privacy as the most important goal). There have been/are other Linux phones but not without proprietary parts. Focus has been on privacy and open software from the begin and hardware is - quite right - on second place. As with all Linux installations it is only necessary to have hardware which does not limit the installation of Linux software. I am running Linux on 20 years old computers which are very useful (especially since I upgraded with SSD).

Personally the hardware specs are less important for me and the look completely insignificant. Fortunately there are many good looking phones with terrible hardware specs and bells and whistles so everyone can have what he likes. Right now this is such a new direction that you cannot have both worlds but - who knows - it can be possible in the future … An open Linux phone with good privacy could even be cheaper than the snooping devices. Anyway I am glad to be one of the first to help the project to proceed.


How much are you selling it for? I do agree with you, it’s a useless phone without all the android apps. I’ll give you a hundred bucks for it. Deal?


:canada:That was some Avro Arrow level shit and you know it, yank!:canada:
(sorry :slightly_smiling_face:)