Download all of Wikipedia on your phone
There's a lot of data on the public internet — and vast amounts get added every day. But, how much of it is useful to anyone, and how much of it is conceivably useful to you?
The answer is
Download all of Wikipedia on your phone and never be without the useful internet ever again.
Why download Wikipedia
I downloaded Wikipedia about a year ago and have used it more than I expected. Here's some of the benefits with real life examples:
- You get access to information on almost everything when there is no internet. When the internet is patchy on a train, when you're underground, or in the middle of the ocean.
- Saving money on data. Especially useful while travelling when data is likely to be more expensive. You can look up the history of towns your train passes through, the culture of your destination, and solve culinary mysteries without having to chew anything.
- It's better for your brain than social media. Removing some of the friction required to use Wikipedia — reduces the likelihood you'll spend time on social media. Wikipedia has much healthier rabbit holes. (This list of unusual articles is always a good starting point.)
- It's a nice reminder of the breadth of human interest. Every article on wikipedia was written by a human being who cared about the topic. When I'm feeling down, especially about my writing, I remember that people care enough to write about pocket lint — and I feel less blue.
- Resilience from global catastrophe and forced boredom. At any moment society could collapse or you could find yourself hiding at a party. It's best to be prepared.
- It weighs much less than a hard copy.
How to download Wikipedia
There are a number of ways to download Wikipedia, a complete list is available on (no surprise) Wikipedia. The most user-friendly way is to download an app to do it for you, and the most user-friendly app is Kiwix.
Kiwix is available on both Android and iOS. It's free, open-source, and can be used for other content — like iFixit or Stack Overflow.
Wikipedia weighs in at around
102 gigabytes (GB) with images and
60GB without. It's a big file — too big for a lot of phones. However, Kiwix also allows you to download subdivisions of wikipedia — like the top
1 million articles at
43.53GB, mathematics articles at
2.63GB, or only ice hockey articles
Here's how to do it:
- Download Kiwix for your platform of choice: iOS, Android, Everything else.
- Open the app
- Navigate to
Library. (You have to hold down the bottom right menu button)
- There are lots of options for downloading subdivisions of Wikipedia. Scroll down to the heading that simply says
Wikipediato see the options for downloading all of English language Wikipedia.
- Choose the download size that is right for you.
- Make yourself a cup of tea and sit patiently next to your WiFi router.