Wikipedia is a very large encyclopedia available in all languages, it is one of the biggest websites in the internet, and has lots of information in it, one of the most impressive things in it, is that they offer their Databases Dump to download for Free!
Internet is very popular these days, however in some countries it is not, you might not get internet in all places, and you want to carry wikipedia with you in your Laptop, smartphone or tablet,
First, Wikipedia Databases is in “.xml.bz2” a very high compressed amount of data, and in offline wikipedia you won’t find pictures, but you might get tables and references.
Basically Offline Wikipedia apps convert wikipedia extension to it’s suitable extension, and if you want to use your computer for this conversation progress, it would take a lot of time (based on processor and memory), so they offer their “already processed” databases, these applications is available everywhere, On windows, linux, MacOS, Android and iOS.
you will surely find your free apps in Windows, linux, MacOS and Android, but in iOS, apps are expensive or useless,
i personally prefer the app Prizma, it offer 250,000 articles for free in EN language, i will mention it later with more info.
so lets start with :
Windows has too many free wikipedia offline apps than you think, as it the most popular os, check out the list below :
Kiwix is a very popular and good Wikipedia offline app, it uses “.zim” extension, you can download many languages databases of wikipedia, it is available to download in their website, and they have torrent files also.
this app is really impressive, it can read the original “Xml.bz2” after processing them, you can simply download your suitable database (any language) from the wikipedia dump download, simply go http://dumps.wikimedia.org/backup-index.html and view your preferred database, then choose the file that have “**db-name**page-articles.xml.bz2”.
you can easily download new database if you are looking for newer version of wikipedia.
and there are many other apps for windows I didn’t mention here.
the open-source distributions based on Linux kernel, don’t have lots of free wikipedia offline apps, Kiwix is available for Linux, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to install it on my OS, check this list :
the open-source wikipedia offline application is also available for linux as they mentioned in their website and it is the same as windows.
this amazing dictionary app has offline wikipedia database available in “.aardict” extension, it is not frequently updated, however english wiki offline database last time updated was in nearly April/2014, so it is good, it is really fast and quick, database is about 14GB in size, and available to download in torrent (it have 5+ seeders), i personally use this app for english wikipedia.
wikipedia dump reader is available to download at softpedia, It can read “.xml.bz2” official XML wikipedia offline extension, and almost compatible with any language and frequently updated, however it needs some time to process database first, and it is not fast in searching and launching.
Android-based systems has the most popular Wikipedia offline app Kiwix available to download freely at google play store, it is probably the best one for android, there are others too.
iOS operation system has a very limited offline wikipedia apps in the appstore, i tried the wiki offline 2 app from appstore, however their server seems down and not working (can’t download database or view dev website), and other apps like minipedia is expensive (10$) and pro version has only 250,000 articles from 4.6 million articles in wikipedia.
*UPDATE : new app “Kiwix” is now for iOS and is completely free!
Prizma is very fast wikipedia application, it’s english 4 million database is 7GB in size and price is 6$, which is considered very good, although database is a bit old (2013) but it has too many info inside, i tested it in iPhone 6 Plus running iOS 8, it works but a little buggy and not fully retina, you can have test database of 250,000 articles for free at the size of 1GB, i would really recommend this app, although it is not updated a year ago (2013) but it works well.
Kiwix is now available in app store for FREE! I would really suggest to use this app if you are searching for free wikipedia offline solutions! it uses .zim format (highly compressed) as way to store wikipedia data and the developer of this app is “wikimedia” the same creator as wikipedia, you can expect better quality than others actually.