Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Thursday, January 11, 2024 at 23:24

This tutorial is a simple story of how we revive our old phone from 2014 Lenovo S390 which by now it is kind of "expired" e.g. no longer be able to access the internet anymore and awfully limited of features. We managed to enable this phone for daily work purposes including to browse the web, read ebooks, watch YouTube, playback audio/video, download anything, Telegram messaging, even transfer files with Ubuntu laptop and beyond thanks to free software

(Ubuntu laptop to the left showing Nautilus accessing phone filesystem via wifi and a very old Lenovo phone to the right showing full featured Telegram FOSS. Thank you brother Andi owner of Kedai Wali for lending his camera.)



  • Not officially supported anymore. 
  • No longer be able to browse the internet (unless with tricks).
  • Small memory.
  • Slow processor.
  • Old built-in software.
  • Unable to install latest versions of some software.
  • Unable to use KDE Connect. Alternatives needed.
  • Unable to transfer files via USB cable. Alternatives needed.
  • Requires a computer to download some first applications.
  • Broken physical power button.
  • Difficult to access volume buttons.
  • Sometimes requires reboot and shutdown.



Essential programs: 

Conscrypt Provider

This is the first application we installed. This solves the problem of old phone and apps no longer be able to browse the internet because of its older TLS/SSL version no longer supported anymore. It says: "Conscrypt Provider provides TLS 1.3 to apps supporting older Android devices." Get it from F-Droid.  [Version: 3]

Kiss Launcher

The whole of your phone user interface follows your positioning of the phone by both ways portrait and landscape and you are able to find apps by text search like in the desktop. The developer says "93% of users that try KISS for a week are still active users after 3 years." and now we are part of them. [Version:]


F-Droid Classic

Because of the old phone limitations, we can only install F-Droid the Classic version not the regular one. Apparently, it works and still provides many useful applications. [Version: 1.2]

Open Explorer Beta

This is our file manager on Android. We have the best experience with it. It supports both thumbnails and detailed list views, sortings, image/video previews, writing to SD Card, being small and fast etc. [Version: 0.212]

Firefox for Android


This is our main web browser. Surfing modern websites, blocking ads, playing audio and video, save as PDF work very well. Important to note that it also works with DNS over HTTPS (DoH) enabled. Get it from Mozilla. [Version: 68.0]

Fennec F-Droid

This is our secondary web browser. We need two browsers or more because if one failed, one might worked. Surfing modern websites, blocking ads, playing audio and video, save as PDF work very well. Important to note that it also works with DNS over HTTPS (DoH) enabled. [Version: 68.12]


End of essential programs.


Beginning of daily life programs:

Amaze File Manager

To transfer files from phone to Ubuntu laptop via wifi, we use this. To do the otherwise, see Primitive FTPd section. This is an alternative to KDE Connect. It can be used as powerful file manager, too. [Version: 3.8]

Download Navi

This is a very fast multitreaded download manager similar to IDM for Android. [Version: 1.6.2]



This is our Baobab (GNOME Disk Usage Analyzer) on Android. We need it to tell us which folders occupy disk capacity the most. This helps us to remove folders to keep free disk space. [Version: 3.8]


Document Viewer 

This is our PDF reader. We read PDF a lot. To us, this is the smallest, fastest yet comfortable to use PDF reader with bookshelf user interface to show recent books. [Version: 2.7]


File Manager by Tibor Kaputa

This orange logo with three white folders is our alternative file manager. Our main one is Open Explorer. [Version: 4.3.1]



This is our audio player. It plays MP3 recordings just fine with playlist and repeat features. [Version: 6.0.1r63]


My Notes

When we need to digitally write some poems, some notes, some drafts, we use it. [Version: 1.5.1]

Newpipe Legacy

This is our YouTube application, but better. Usually, we use the regular version but because of limitations mentioned we can only use the legacy one instead. All in all, we can still play any video, create any playlist we want, and download videos as many as we want using Newpipe Legacy. [Version: 0.20.8]

Primitive FTPd

To transfer files from Ubuntu laptop to phone via wifi, we use this. To do the otherwise, see Amaze File Manager section. This is an alternative to KDE Connect. [Version: 7.0]

Simple Keyboard

We replace built-in Google keyboard with Simple Keyboard and it is very comfortable. [Version: 5.16]


Telegram FOSS

We use Telegram FOSS daily. We need it for teaching work at our computer course and it works very well* as well as normal communication with family and commercial activities such as dealing with payments etc. [Version: 10.2.6]

*) At the time we write this article, it supports latest Telegram features already such as video conferences, recordings, group topics, folders, stories etc.



To play musics and movies. 

[Version: 3.5.2]

Volume Control by Andrea Mancini

Because the physical buttons are difficult to access, we use this to adjust volume via top menu by swiping it down and tapping its own [+] or [-] button. [Version: 1.0]



This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.