Alternate-OS Smartphones

Phone Privacy

Shouldn’t your privacy be protected by default on your personal devices? (Image by Biljana Jovanovic from Pixabay)

Interested in a privacy-oriented smartphone?

  • Would you like to avoid allowing Apple (on iPhone) or Google (Android) access to all of the data on your smartphone?
  • Would you like to avoid contact-tracing?
  • Would you like to get the capabilities of a smartphone without all of the spying nonsense?
  • Are you pissed-off at Big Tech in general? (WE ARE!!)

We’ve loaded a number of alternate operating systems on specific models of Android phones where the user can unlock boot-loaders and compatible operating systems are available. We’ve installed CopperheadOS, GrapheneOS, LineageOS, and /e/ on phones over the past few years with good success. Now we’d like to help you get an alternate operating system on your phone.

Note that any phone that can successfully connect to a network has some degree of tracking built into it … or the system wouldn’t know where to route your call! However, geolocation using ranging from cell towers is a far cry from the accuracy that can be built up when your phone adds GPS coordinates plus WiFi and accelerometer information. These can be combined to gain an extremely accurate coordinate fix. The contact tracing systems used by iOS and Android use Bluetooth to determine the range to devices nearby and use that to determine if you’ve been close to somebody “of interest.” We are told that this will only be used for medical purposes, but does anybody seriously believe that?!

Could you be targeted orĀ canceled for being associated with somebody with the “wrong” political affiliation, or for having views that the government doesn’t like? It wasn’t long ago that this type of discussion was the topic of wild conspiracy theories, but more and more people are waking up to just how bad the unholy alliance between Big Tech and government can be when it comes to your privacy and liberty.

Note that no clever privacy phone can solve issues related to poor OpSec, leaving certain options on when they aren’t needed, or even (perhaps especially) choosing to install the wrong apps. However, it should be noted that large improvements can easily be made versus stock iOS or Android operating systems.

The future: Linux smartphones

Some will correctly observe that phones running mainline Linux distributions are on their way and we believe that these will be the best answer for privacy in the long-term.

Phones include the PinePhone ($150-$200) and the Librem5 ($800). Some have also adapted Unbuntu Touch to run on older phones that originally ran the Android OS.

We’ve tried different distributions on the affordable PinePhone and we believe that the platform has great promise. We support these efforts and really look forward to seeing the PinePhone become a suitable daily-driver phone. It just isn’t there, yet. This could change in just a few months, especially with all of the interest in privacy that is booming right now. Currently device operation is iffy, battery life is poor, and there isn’t much software available (which, of course, varies by distro).

In the long-term even the drivers and hardware components will be open-source and will have a high level of support to ensure that the OS stays secure. Then we’ll be able to gain a level of trust that won’t be matched by other options. We aren’t there, yet.

For the moment, we believe the most cost-effective approach is to purchase a compatible Android and run LineageOS or /e/ on it.

Right now: De-Googled Androids

We have multiple phones in our house running on /e/ and we love this operating system. It is based on LineageOS, which is also a great operating system. Both can be loaded without any Google Apps, so that your phone will run without all the built-in spyware and tracking systems. Some even report that their battery life is significantly improved. /e/ even comes with microG preinstalled, which will allow the use of apps that rely on some of Google’s services without sacrificing your privacy.

These phones will run Android apps, but if you value privacy you’ll either get APKs directly from trusted sources or use alternate stores like F-Droid and to access open-source apps that can be reviewed and trusted.

Contact us today!

We can determine if your existing phone will accept an alternate operating system or help you find one that will. If you’d like to take some time to look for yourself, try these links:

Then, if you can visit us in SW Ohio, we will flash it for you in-person for a small fee in cryptocurrency. If not, we can still offer advice for anybody who is daring enough to try it for themselves.

Please use the contact form below and we’ll be in touch!