Simplified Privacy

DeGoogled Phones 101: The Basics

Q: What is a degoogled phone?

A: The term “degoogled phone” refers to an android with a custom open source operating system that does NOT have telemetry with Google. Its purpose is privacy.

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A: What is Android?

A: Android is an open source project created by Google. It is a framework for an operating system, but this open source version isn’t what you actually get when you buy a regular smartphone.

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Q: I bought a regular smartphone from a normal retail store. How does the phone I just bought differ from the original open source Android operating system?

A: Google modifies the operating system to include spyware which sends back to Google:

1) all your internet traffic;

2) your location 24/7 (from both GPS and Wifi triangulation);

3) your phone’s contact list;

4) audio recordings of conversations; and

5) much, much more

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Q: Can I just turn off Google’s spyware from the settings? For example, can’t I just turn off location tracking?

A: You can turn off location in the settings, but all this does is prevent third party applications from being able to access location data. It does not stop Google itself from recording it back to the mothership. You can not turn off Google’s spyware from the settings section. It is involuntarily baked into the operating system.

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Q: So how do I free myself from Google’s tracking?

A: You’ll need to “degoogle” your phone, which means erasing the proprietary operating system that came with it and installing a new custom privacy focused operating system.

The process of getting root access (or “most powerful control of it”) and erasing Google’s OS is called “rooting.”

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Q: What are the most popular degoogled phone operating systems?

A: There are 3 popular open source phone operating systems focused on privacy:

1. Calyx

2. Graphine

3. Lineage

Calyx is very similar to the original open source Android operating system.

Graphine builds upon the original operating system, but with more security features.

Lineage is not recommended by our firm for privacy on a real physical phone due to its integration and reliance upon Google services. However, we do recommend Lineage for fake phone emulators on PC virtual boxes if you are trying to isolate annoying proprietary apps from finding anything else about you. We discussed how to do this here.

Phone Numbers

In our next article, we will discuss the getting a phone number and service more in-depth. And if you really want to learn how to become a ghost, subscribe for free to our new content by email, by Session messenger, RSS feed, or Nostr.

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