Warning: Simple Mobile Tools sold to controversial ZipoApps publisher

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 5, 2023
Updated • Dec 7, 2023
Apps, Google Android

Simple Mobile Tools, a collection of free and open source applications for Android, will soon be owned by the controversial publisher ZipoApps.

All Simple Mobile Tools have a few things in common: they are open source, free, and extremely well designed and optimized for specific tasks. We reviewed several of the apps in the past, including Simple Keyboard and Simple Gallery Pro. All apps are available on F-Droid and also Google Play. Pro versions of apps on Google Play are available for a price, while they are free on F-Droid.

It looks as if Simple Mobile Tools will soon have a new owner. The lead developer and project owner confirmed that a sale is in process on the project's main GitHub page. While sales are not uncommon, it often matters to whom something is sold, as it determines the future direction of development.

In this case, it is ZipoApps that looks to become the new owner. The company is notorious for acquiring apps, adding advertisement and tracking, and premium options to them to increase revenue.

On its website, ZipaApps describes what it does in one perfect sentence: "We are ZipoApps, we acquire the best apps and take them to the next level". It describes itself as the "world's leading yielding apps company" and that it understands "how to monetize mobile apps". Users fear now that the same fate will befall Simple Mobile Tools.  Free apps of the project on Google Play already include the "contains ads" label.

Simple Mobile Tools alternatives

As soon as the word broke that Simple Mobile Tools might be sold, a fork of all apps was created. Naveen Singh, a contributor of the original project, has forked all apps under the new name Fossify and promised to maintain them.

There is also this thread on Reddit that lists alternatives for each of the Simple Mobile Tools apps.

Closing Words

There is little chance that Simple Mobile Tools stays the same if the apps are sold to ZipaApps. The most likely outcome then is that ads are introduced as well as premium subscription options. The F-Droid listings won't be updated anymore and will stop working eventually.

Users may switch to forks, but the system is lucrative enough for companies to pursue it.

If you run Simple Mobile Tools from Google Play, you may want to keep a good eye on their updates, as these may introduce changes that you may not agree with.

Now You: do you run Simple Mobile Tools?

Article Name
Simple Mobile Tools sold to controversial ZipoApps publisher
Simple Mobile Tools, a collection of free and open source apps for Android, will soon be owned by the controversial publisher ZipoApps. 
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  1. Mystique said on January 1, 2024 at 6:34 pm

    Another decent alternative app is Gallery by IacobIonut01, it does not support anything below Android 11 OS right now though but they are considering to offer support for lower versions of Android however it will come at a loss of some features. It might be worth keeping in mind as a seemingly completely independent Gallery app too.


  2. Mystique said on January 1, 2024 at 6:16 pm

    Just as a bump to this FossifyOrg have released a few apk’s for their Gallery app fork. They are currently on version 1.0.2 which seems to be pretty decent.

    1. Dennis said on January 4, 2024 at 7:06 pm

      I’ve just noticed that Fossify’s Gallery app is available at F-Droid now.

      I hope replacements for SMT’s Dialer and SMS Messenger will arrive soon…….

  3. Mystique said on December 7, 2023 at 4:12 am

    It’s not about him selling his company its about him selling to a known scumbag. I know money talks but surely he could have found a better company to sell it to. It shows zero regard for your user base. It’s about having integrity.

    We all know how it works. The biggest scumbags have the deepest pockets and I fully expect these apps to become nothing more than a vessel for said company to extract as much money out of the end users as possible using whatever method they can get away with.

    This is also a case where Google absolutely fails on all fronts and how people usually end up on the receiving end of security related issues.

    My comments are lagging so you’ll probably not be aware that the links are dead for the new fork because they changed the name. There is another group which has also put up their hand to fork development too but I doubt anything will come of it.
    What hasn’t been covered is what will happen to the people that were on the PRO versions of their app such as the Gallery app. Will the forks just remove any restrictions and work off the PRO source and ignore the non pro version will all donation flags be removed? We don’t know anything at the moment really.

    There are a few alternatives available for Gallery such as WSTxda’s QuickPic Gallery mod but the video player is very bare bones but it isn’t too bad. Aves Libre isn’t bad either, I have been using that for a few months. It’s not exactly the same as Simple Tools Gallery but it is decent nonetheless.

  4. Mystique said on December 6, 2023 at 9:02 pm

    I am assuming that this is the correct URL


    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 7, 2023 at 6:24 am

      Thanks, the project link was changed. I replaced the link with yours!

  5. Mystique said on December 6, 2023 at 8:59 pm

    Link to FossifyX yielding a github 404

  6. Bobo said on December 6, 2023 at 5:01 pm


    You missed the point. The old users are getting an update soiled with adware. That’s the equivalent of your Bed And Breakfast turning overnight into a place where every bed is full of bedbugs and for breakfast you get a shit sandwich. Nobody told you about it beforehand.

  7. Simple Dick Moves said on December 6, 2023 at 4:55 pm


    “how much did you donate to the Simple Tools cause?” ..Just shut the F**K UP, besserwisser.

    I spent quite e few days translating all their apps to my language, and I would not have done that if it wasn’t for a good and FREE cause. I feel I have the right to remove all my translations now since I won’t be seeing a penny from the future profits.

  8. TelV said on December 6, 2023 at 12:07 pm

    Happens all the time. As soon as an app becomes popular it’s acquired by some conglomerate or other and subsequently exploited for all it’s worth. WhatsApp is a good example of that. At one time ad-free, but subsequently acquired by Facebook (META) and well, you know the rest of the story…..

  9. Dennis said on December 6, 2023 at 4:10 am
  10. Shiva said on December 5, 2023 at 11:27 pm

    Ma porca… It is already enough for me to have to follow and waste time with the PC for some security and privacy. Let’s add that if I were not forced by progress I could still be comfortable with a Nokia 3310. Okay, let’s not exaggerate, I admit some convenience but the Smartphone is on my nerves no matter what, maybe it’s the word ‘smart’.

    Found time to learn about apps and while I was at it I removed some junk with UniversalAndroidDebloater. I considered SimpleMobileTools to be a ‘simple’ and excellent alternative to some default apps. The alternatives exist and I am not even pissed off at the developer who I thank on the contrary for the effort.

    I will take a look at the forks, however there is one option I liked with SimpleContacs: ‘Show contacts to SimpleDialer and SimpleSMS’.
    Thanks for the alert.

  11. Anonymous said on December 5, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    I don’t think mentioning that the company is Israel-based mattered. Sure it’s a bad company and it’s messed up that I’m going to have to uninstall apps I know and love but Martin, please delete that, you’re adding fuel to the growing antisemitism in the world.

  12. svim said on December 5, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    Thank you for posting this article Martin.
    This is a bummer, I have three Simple Mobile Tools apps on my phone. Looks like I’ll be looking at some of those suggested alternatives soon.

  13. Bob said on December 5, 2023 at 6:28 pm

    I hope he got millions for it as they were great alternatives to the data-mining ones. Good to see they got forked and hopefully they can be maintained.

    Does any one know what is going on with f-droids governance? I read over on lemmy there might be problems.

  14. akg said on December 5, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    thanks , martin for information. I use most of the simple mobile tool apps ,because they are very great and ad free. most of the apps in playstore are full of tracking and ads ,now I have to look for alternatives.

  15. Benjamin said on December 5, 2023 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks ! This is real news !

  16. bruh said on December 5, 2023 at 2:21 pm

    We used to use a variety of their android apps as part of our android MDM solution for work tablets – we noticed a few months ago pay-walling started to affect functionality, we had to start dropping the apps.

    What can you do, people want to be paid for their work, I never thought the apps were overly amazing or impressive, but they did work.

    A lot of the time honest and hardworking people are left jaded or driven to the dark side because they offer a solution or a project they put their heart into, they expect most people to be leeches but they severely underestimate the problem, and need to make big changes to stay afloat.

    Not saying that’s what happened here, but it happens and is very sad. Some amazing projects are discontinued because people love to take and don’t love to give back.

    1. Benjamin said on December 5, 2023 at 2:39 pm

      ..problem for me is, i can (want) only support by european SEPA bank transfer and that is usually not available. If possible i regularly support open source projects kind a habit of me to do that…

  17. Anonymous said on December 5, 2023 at 2:07 pm

    You got to be kidding me. This was my alternatives for all the crappy apps that have ads and tracking.

  18. John said on December 5, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    I don’t have any of their tools installed and don’t really know much about the company. The news that Simple Mobile Tools was sold was big news among practically all the sites I follow. Huge, in fact.

    It begs the question… aside from being Open Source, did the company also promise no tracking, no ads? Or… maybe they just derived good will by the implication that Open Source somehow also equals no tracking, no ads.

    If that’s the case… like many others… I wonder what their price was? How much money did it take to cash in?

    One good thing came from this. The company did provide the sources (along with the licenses) to allow anyone to fork and continue work. I’ve seen too many closed source apps get bought out and simply cease to exist a year later..

    1. bruh said on December 6, 2023 at 1:50 pm

      The software didn’t do anything apart from the basic functionality, hence why people liked them so much.

  19. Simple Dick Moves said on December 5, 2023 at 12:14 pm

    Changing the name by dropping the last “s”, keeping the orange colored icons and redirecting all old links to this new garbage is a deceiving bastard move. Just grab the proprietary release of the gallery app from github and you’re good to go. That’s the star of the show. The rest of the apps were not that great, some really not good. All of them easily replaceable, actually. I am a translator of these apps and contemplating an equally dick move in retaliation to the developers betrayal.

    1. VioletMoon said on December 6, 2023 at 3:40 pm

      @SDM–“retaliation to the developers’ betrayal . . .”

      No betrayal–it’s business as usual, an open source developers’ dream!

      Not only in technology, but all over the world, the idea is to start a business, make it profitable, then sell the business a few years down the road.

      Where I live, it’s all about catering to tourists. Start a bike touring business; a Bed and Breakfast; a small eatery; a drop-off and/or motel laundry service–the goal is to isn’t to remain imprisoned in a business, but to make the initial effort to establish a viable company that someone else can afford–time and money. Sort of like Twitter and Musk [Musk, I honestly thought he had more common sense].

      I admire Simple Tools Mobile developers for amassing a huge following and developing a few worthy tools; my only concern, however, is I really doubt their acumen with money and how money works. In other words, as a group, they may think $10 million is a fortune–it isn’t; so they most likely gave away a $150 million project for a pittance.


      And those who whine–how much did you donate to the Simple Tools cause? That’s why they prefer to sell rather than wait for a $1 cup of coffee donation.

      1. Nada said on December 7, 2023 at 12:21 am

        “an open source developers’ dream!”

        Maybe for some, but far from everyone.

      2. Peter Parker Kent said on December 6, 2023 at 9:19 pm

        “And those who whine–how much did you donate to the Simple Tools cause? That’s why they prefer to sell rather than wait for a $1 cup of coffee donation.”

        This. I had paid the FairEmail developer for pro features back in late 2020 and bought the “Thank You” app from the SMT developer(s), too, around the same time in order to support both. I am also continuing to put my money where my mouth is for such tools even in very recent times.

        A YouTuber I follow put it pretty succinctly: “The Internet is becoming pay-to-win” [in the context that people need to start financially supporting companies/developers/services they utilize.] How much more so for privacy-focused efforts!

        I hate to come across as annoying about this, but the sentiment routinely needs to be put out there.

      3. VioletMoon said on December 8, 2023 at 2:04 am

        @ Peter Parker Kent–Yes, “people need to start financially supporting companies/developers/services they utilize.”

        Old news, but years ago, so many readers/commenters stepped up when Martin explained that a good tech blog requires some basic financial backing and asked for more financial support.

        He discovered [much to his chagrin] that he was better off financially accepting Softonic’s generous offer.

        @SDM — Get a load of this one: “I spent quite a few days translating all their apps to my language.” Wow! A few days! Pat you on the back, friend; maybe a small claims case in Federal Court.

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