I recently learned that some technically-minded bloggers and webmasters have been publishing lists of their default apps, that is, their go-to apps for common use-cases. I have written several articles on apps I use and fun apps I came across and tried. I figured that it would be fun to share my own list of “default apps” along with with some notes on apps that may be interesting to readers who are looking for a app-based solution for one purpose of another. Before I start my default app list, I will set forth a few notes and ground rules.

For purpose of this survey, I consider an “app” to be something that I installed on a device. I am distinguishing apps for this list from services I use but have not installed anything for (those will feature in their own section).

All of my computers run Linux. The two computers I use most often, my workstation and a mini PC designated for TV use, both run EndeavourOS (a Linux distribution based on Arch Linux). I lightly use two laptops running Fedora and two laptops running Bodhi Linux (based on Ubuntu Linux). My phones and regular tablets all run LineageOS, which is based on Android. My two primary ereaders are from PocketBook and run PocketBook’s Linux-based operating system. I note this since my app selections are influenced by what I run on my devices.

Screenshot of Obtainium app on Pixel 3a XL running LineageOS with several
Screenshot of the Obtainium app on my LineageOS Pixel 3a XL. Many of the apps listed here (and Obtainium itself) are on my default apps lists below.

I have some apps installed that I do not use often. For example, I have a calendar app and tasks app on my phone, but I do not use either regularly. I will focus on listing apps that I use on a regular basis, but I am not setting strict criteria on what constitutes a “regular basis.” I studied a selection of the default apps lists to glean an idea of what sorts of apps people are listing.

I will separate apps into three main categories: Linux apps; LineageOS apps; and services I use that have apps I do not use. In some cases, I may list an app for both computer and mobile if I use it on both. I will also set aside one section for PocketBook.

Finally, my list of default apps is up to date as of December 7, 2023. I do not plan to keep this list up to date because my intention is to list my default apps as of this moment. I may make another list in the future (perhaps in late 2024 or some time in 2025) if there are enough changes to make doing so worthwhile.

Update (12/9/23): Added gallery section to defaults. Update 12/11/23: Added terminal to computer defaults.

Defaults for Computers and Mobile

Type of AppComputerMobile
Mail ClientThunderbirdK9 Mail[1]
Web BrowserFirefox[2]Mull[3]
File ManagerThunar[4]Ghost Commander[5]
GalleryShotwellLineageOS Gallery app
Markdown EditorGhostwriter[6]Markor[7]
Password ManagerKeePassXCKeePassDX
Two-Factor ManagerAuthenticator[8]Aegis Authenticator[8]
File SyncingSyncthingSyncthing
Local File TransferWarpinator[9]Warpinator[9]
VPNMullvad VPN (CLI)[9]Mullvad VPN


  • [1] I also have the Tuta app on my phone since I have a secondary Tuta address.
  • [2] I also use the Mullvad Browser and Brave for different purposes. However, Firefox is my general default browser.
  • [3] I use Firefox Klar almost as often as Mull but I consider Mull my primary browser. I also have Chromium-based Mulch for installing progressive web apps.
  • [4] I use the default file manager on all of my computers. I tabbed Thunar here instead of the others I use since that is the default on my main workstation, on which I use the XFCE desktop environment.
  • [5] I also use Material Files.
  • [6] I wrote a full review of Ghostwriter in 2021 (the review holds up well despite later developments in Ghostwriter). I explained in an article that I use Ghostwriter to draft all of my articles (including this one). Were I to designate a primary note-taking app (I saw many of the lists did so), Ghostwriter would be my choice since many of my “notes” are markdown files organized in different directories.
  • [7] Markor is technically my Android markdown editor but I have almost never used it for writing. My main use-case for Markor is saving links into different markdown files through Android’s share functionality. Thus, for me, it functions primarily as a bookmarking and link sharing app (I sync my Markor folder with my computers via Syncthing). Regarding bookmarking, I sometimes use an email-chat client called DeltaChat to send a message to self.
  • [8] I keep my 2FA codes separate from my password manager. I always create codes in Aegis but I usually access them on my computer with Authenticator. The key store is synced with Syncthing.
  • [9] Most of my files are synced between my devices using Syncthing. On occasion, I have a reason to send a file that I am not syncing. I usually use Warpinator but I sometimes use Croc, KDE Connect (see my article on using KDE Connect on my BlackBerry Classic), or DeltaChat, depending on the specific situation.
  • [10] I have the GUI Mullvad app for desktop but I usually use the CLI.

Defaults for Computer Only (Desktop)


  • [1] I have a large amount of cloud storage with Filen but I prefer to sync my documents (especially important documents) locally with Syncthing. I use Filen to back up media, games, and less important documents. There is a Filen app for mobile devices but I have never used it.
  • [2] I use Calibre to manage ebooks but Foliate to read them. With that being said, I do not read many books on my computer.
  • [3] I like Mousepad as a simple text editor but I sometimes use Ghostwriter for this purpose.
  • [4] I use Zim Wiki sporadically but I am trying to get a better hang of it for some projects I am working on. I also use Firefox browser bookmarks and sync my backups. However, my browser bookmarks are for saving web pages I visit often or things I want to keep temporarily.
  • [5] I recently started using Zotero, which is intended as a citation and research manager, for bookmarking content and PDFs from around the web.
  • [6] I also have VLC.
  • [7] I also have Steam and RetroArch, the latter of which I designated as my default retro games launcher and manager.
  • [8] I only use Kodi on my mini PC that goes with my TV. However, I use it almost daily so it certainly qualifies as a default app.
  • [9] I run Winbox through WINE (via Bottles, which I wrote about in the context of running Windows visual novels) to manage my MikroTik router.

Defaults for Servers


  • [1] The New Leaf Journal is hosted on a Hetzner VPS server I manage with Cloudron. I installed WordPress via Cloudron.
  • [2] I run Gitea and Memos with a container app hosting service called PikaPods. You can visit my Gitea and Memos instances.

Mobile Only (LineageOS)


  • [1] There are two apps on F-Droid called Simple Keyboard. The developer of one sold the app to a for-profit company that will most likely turn it into adware (see my recommended alternatives). Fortunately, I am and was using the other Simple Keyboard.
  • [2] Obtainium installs apps from source. I also have Droid-ify installed, but I use that to search for apps instead of installing them. I use FF Updater to manage my mobile web browsers but I installed FF Updater through Obtainium.
  • [3] I also use Handy Reading as a read-it-later tool since it can save articles from outside my feeds. For saving articles for other purposes such as sharing in our weekly newsletter, I usually send links from Handy Reading to a markdown file via Markor. I do not sync my feeds to my desktop but I have a separate browser-bound reader called mPage which I use to track updates and a few other things separate from Handy Reading.
  • [4] Ominvore is a terrific new open source read-it-later app and service (can be self-hosted) that allows users to subscribe to newsletters with special email addresses. I primarily use it for a few sites I follow that do not offer feeds, but I also use it as a read-it-later tool since it handles some formatting better than Handy Reading. I do not use it to subscribe to feeds (that is all done with Handy Reading). I sometimes access Omnivore from my desktop web browser.
  • [5] URLCheck is technically my default browser app. Every time I open a link, URLCheck asks me what I want to open it with and if I want to strip any parameters from the link. This is particularly useful for me since I open links with different apps.
  • [6] A fork of Geometric Weather, which appears to no longer be maintained. It is my preferred weather app because it supports AccuWeather as a provider.
  • [7] An open source app for keeping track of walks.
  • [8] Requires root to use most effectively.

Mobile (PocketBook Color & PocketBook InkPad Color)

  • Ebook Reader and File Browser: KoReader


I use KoReader on my PocketBook Color and PocketBook InkPad Color as my primary ebook reader and web browser. I also have it installed on my computer and phone but I do not use it often on those devices.

Services With Apps I Do Not Use

Note that none of the above links to services are affiliate links. I include them for reference purposes only and do not stand to gain if you spend money on them.


  • [1] Posteo offers a web app but I access my emails through Thunderbird and K9 Mail. I currently use Posteo to host my contacts list but I access it through apps on my devices.
  • [2] I have a premium SimpleLogin account but I have never used the app.
  • [3] I have a regular Privacy account but have never had any reason to try the app.


This concludes my “default apps” list for December 7, 2023. My strict interpretation of the premise (focusing on “apps”) necessarily excluded some other important things I use with my computers. These include, but are not limited to, some of my favorite Firefox extensions (e.g., uBlock Origin), search engines (I do not have a default, however), and other resources. Nevertheless, it was an interesting project to bring this list together. While I am satisfied with the apps I use, there is always a chance that I will stumble upon something new. For example, I only recently started regularly using Zotero (desktop) and Omnvore (mobile). I may make a new list in the future if there are enough app changes to make doing so worthwhile.