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Using Degoogled Phone Isn't as Hard as You Might Think

Posted on May 17, 2022

By BlackPirateX. 1509 words. Read by 8 minute(s).

What is a degoogled phone?

Vanilla Android is FOSS (Free and OpenSource Software), but the android that you get preinstalled in most phones isn’t completely FOSS. It has a blackbox, which is called Google Play Services. A lot of android apps and all google apps relies on this. Sure it provides features like instant notification, but privacy is a nightmare. Degoogling a phone means removing this blackbox, by installing a different flavour of Android which doesn’t ship with Google Play Services by default. LineageOs is a popular example.

Why I did it?

Privacy!! That’s the major reason. But I get some extra advantages like better battery backup, zero notifications etc. (See below for all the advantages / disadvantages).

How I did it

I own two phones. The phone I used for degoogling is Redmi K20 pro, (indian version). I installed Octavi Os. It is very very feature rich and customisable. In my ecperience it is very stable. It has both gapps (with Google Play Services) and vanilla (without Google Play Servuces) version. I went with vahttps://calyxos.org/nilla version. (I didn’t go with E Os , Graphene Os or Calayx Os simply because my device does not supports it.) After flashing vanilla version you have a choice to flash gapps or not, and becuase I am trying to degoogle my phone, I am not going to flash gapps. The vanilla version does not comes with any web browser out of the box. So connected my phone to my laptop through usb and transffered Bromite. At this point my phone is very much ready to use.

Apps that I use

I try to stick with FOSS (Free and OpenSource Software) apps as much as possible. My main source of apps is F-Droid along with Aurora Store (For those apps which are not avilable on Fdroid). I have added few extra F-Droid repositories.

Below is a list of all the apps that are currently installed on my device.

Advantages

There is few advantages of using a degoogled phone. The obvious one is privacy. While it is true that using a degoogled phone makes you more private from google, it has other advantages too. Your battery backup would be excellent. Around 9-10 hours in single charge for a 4000mAh battery. I have noticed less heating while using degoogled phone. Phone is also faster than it outherwise be with google apps.

Disadvantages

Depending on how much you are into google ecosystem disadvantages can be almost none or very much. For me I only use google photos and youtube. Google photos does not work obviously, but you can youtube get working with youtube vanced. As for google photos I have decided to keep it locally and then take backup to my laptop every month or so. Google maps does not work at all. (even with microg I cannot get it working properly). Other than these few problems there is nothing that effects me. Now let’s talk about all the other problems that you are likely to face if you are using android with Google Play Services.

Despite its disadvantages you might want to try degoogling your phone, at least once and see if its going to work for you or not. If you are using propietory software most of the times, maybe you might wanna switch to FOSS alternatives. Most FOSS apps are not relient on Google Play Services.

Most fundamental things like calling or texting works without any hiccups. It is very much possible to live with a degoogle phone and avoid big tech as much as possible.

If you have anything to comment about this post, you can mail me at comments@blackpiratex.com, I’ll be waiting for your email.

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This post is tagged with: software, privacy,