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Seeing as I hardly ever use any Google apps in the first place, I was considering transitioning to a "de-Googlefied" Android setup sometime in the not too distant future and thought it could be a good topic to start a thread on. I have one friend who has done this already and seems to work ok for them outside of some notification issues with certain apps that they don't care about anyhow.

 

Is there anyone here with experience of this? What are your thoughts?

 

Below are some resources I have to hand on this subject. Please post if you have any others!

 

[Note that since I have not gone down this road myself, I cannot speak from experience for most of the below. So try at your own risk etc.]

 

Edit: See my follow-up post below which might be a better starting point: 

 

 

Background general reading:

 

Alternative app stores and repositories:

 

Services (Micro-G):

 

Alternatives to Google apps:

Spoiler

YouTube [also PeerTube / SoundCloud / Bandcamp ]
https://newpipe.net/

 

Keyboard... numerous. e.g.:

https://anysoftkeyboard.github.io/

https://github.com/florisboard/florisboard

 

Maps... numerous, e.g.:
https://organicmaps.app/
[this has long always been my favourite map app in any case]

 

..what else does anyone ever use from Google??

 

Edit: See a better list below now that I have gone down this route in practice:

 

 

 

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I try to minimize using google apps like play, using a third party browser to access gmail and anything else rather than an spy/batt draining app. Gmaps is already built in so I don't see too much benefit from going after another. I don't watch youtube a ton on my phone and it's through a browser not the app. Bitchute an alternative with less arbitrary censorship/agenda that plagues yt.

Of course Google is the OS maker so it's just minimizing it, for that I could see getting Motorola phones which seem to be stock android with no bloatware.

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  • 6 months later...

IMO one comes a long way (on any phone\brand\android version\OS flavor) by just using these 2:
https://adbappcontrol.com/ to uninstall\disable anything one does not want\use\like.
https://netguard.me/ to control all app's data activity.

Navigation\driving alternative to Google, am using https://wego.here.com
If one wishes, becomes just a GPS > all needed maps downloaded to phone, data off (or netguard killing eventual connection attempts).

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1 hour ago, 6730b said:

IMO one comes a long way (on any phone\brand\android version\OS flavor) by just using these 2:
https://adbappcontrol.com/ to uninstall\disable anything one does not want\use\like.
https://netguard.me/ to control all app's data activity.

Navigation\driving alternative to Google, am using https://wego.here.com
If one wishes, becomes just a GPS > all needed maps downloaded to phone, data off (or netguard killing eventual connection attempts).

 

noice! saved those links for future reference, thanks 🙂 

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  • 2 months later...

well , degooglizing your life is not easy however its the best decision i ever made.

 

i replaced this with this :

- GMAIL with proton mail ... more secured.

- MAPS with Sygic  .. amazing free software without adds and u can pay for traffic update.

- PLAY STORE with AURORA Store and dont look back

- GOOGLE CALENDER with PROTON CALENDER.

- CHROME with Brave or firefox

- GOOGLE SEARCH with duckduckgo and i cant be more happier

- YOUTUBE with Newpipe and YES you can save playlists locally on Ur device without google account.

 

now lets bring the big guns !!!


universal-android-debloater    so far its the most efficient app to debloat android for me.  link below 

 

https://github.com/0x192/universal-android-debloater

 

i use Samsung device. u wouldn't believe the amount of hidden apps working in the background. i removed around 137 apps :classic_ninja:

 

NOW lets talk about the benefits from doing that :

 

- my Samsung note 20 ultra which used to survive the a day of battery @ 1% .. now work for 2 days straight !!!!!!

-  the phone is really fast and i'm using battery saver all the time !!!

-  no tracking from google for whom  cares about that like me !

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh wow, I really need to give an update on this. Maybe it helps to clarify matters if we first distinguish the different stages you might wish to consider when cleaning up your Android phone:

  1. Debloating by disabling pre-installed apps from Google, manufacturer and service provider via:
    •     (a) the standard app settings UI.
    •     (b) ADB or one of the apps debloating apps mentioned above for this for those apps that cannot be disabled from the settings menu.
  2. Disabling Google Play Store and replacing it with F-Droid (and optionally Aurora Store just for any remaining apps you really can't live without from the Google Play Store, or find replacements for from F-Droid.)
  3. Replacing any apps you use that do not conform to your values on ethics and privacy etc. with alternatives.
  4. Disconnecting any Google or other accounts from the phone to leave it account-free.
  5. Disabling Google Play services
  6. Removing some or all Google sub-systems from the OS.

I would say everyone should really be aiming to do the first three of these.


#1a I guess pretty much everyone does already (hopefully!). Some people might find 1(b) more intimidating and it is often fine to skip it and move on to the next steps. But it is straightforward to do it in an entirely risk free manner (see below) and can be very much worthwhile or even a basic requirement for some phones – particularly if you live in the US where service providers have been known to pre-install malware (I experienced this for myself with a second hand device originating from the US).


#2 I would recommend simply because the Google Play Store is a bloated mess, and the F-Droid ecosystem is much more user friendly. It will also significantly increase the range of apps you have access to (and particularly with regard to more ethical options), which helps a lot with step #3.


#3 is the most obvious and simply. You can easily try one little change or alternative app at a time without having to do it all in one go.

 

#4 really comes down to your own preferences on privacy and whether you have any real need for connected accounts like email.

 

The final two I would suggest only to people who are more technically inclined:

 

#5 can be a bit of a pain. It is misleadingly named and rather than simply working with the Google Play Store to keep your apps updated as you might first assume, it also includes a whole range of other Google services that they combine all together into this single package:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Play_Services
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Mobile_Services
It is quite likely that you do not want or need many of them, but there is a high likelihood of there being something in there that trips you up or prevents some other app from working.

 

#6 I believe can only be achieved by installing a custom ROM. Here might be a good place to start:
https://openandroidinstaller.org/

 

The choice of options will depend on your device. /e/OS looked like the best choice for my needs, but I haven't tried it yet. For a good introduction see:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNjnMEMWMLY
and for their de-Googled credentials see:
https://e.foundation/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/e-state-of-degooglisation.pdf
https://doc.e.foundation/calls_to_google_servers

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

I went through the first five steps later last year with a Samsung S7. For debloating phones I use ADB directly which I find to be very simple using the command:

adb shell pm disable-user --user 0 [PACKAGENAME]

 

There are some guides you can look at for more details on this:
https://www.xda-developers.com/disable-system-app-bloatware-android/
https://www.xda-developers.com/uninstall-carrier-oem-bloatware-without-root-access/
https://www.makeuseof.com/uninstall-android-app-adb-system-apps-bloatware/

 

I don't use any additional software as some of them suggest, so my approach is somewhat of a hybrid taking the simplest aspects of the above. Basically it's following the steps outlines in the second link above, except replacing the uninstall command to instead use the disable command from the first guide.

I also make a combined disable command to disable all the packages I wish to in one step. I can explain it all in full if anyone would like. Here is the full list I ended up disabling on that device:
https://forum.xda-developers.com/t/help-thread-galaxy-s7-ask-any-question-noob-friendly.3341138/post-87571683


Make a backup first and don't disable anything if you don't know what it is. As you can see in that thread, my first attempt was too aggressive it seems as phone would not complete the boot cycle, but was easy enough in the end to recover with the right combination of button presses to reach the recovery menu to factory reset it.

 

I forgot to measure the default boot time beforehand, but after doing this the device now boots up a whole lot faster compared to an S7 Active I have (which is basically the same hardware and has also been more basically debloated but still with Google Play Store and Google Play services in place – I will soon remove the former from that too, but might keep the latter in place).
Keep in mind that if you ever factory reset the device all the disabled packages will be restored.

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Finally (onto the fun part!) here are some of the alternative apps I recommend:

 

F-Droid app store and Aurora front end for Google Play Store:
https://f-droid.org/en/
https://auroraoss.com/
https://gitlab.com/AuroraOSS/AuroraStore
https://f-droid.org/en/packages/com.aurora.store/

 

File send / sync LocalSend & Syncthing (-fork)
https://localsend.org/#/download
https://f-droid.org/packages/org.localsend.localsend_app/
https://f-droid.org/en/packages/com.github.catfriend1.syncthingandroid/

 

KeyboardsAnySoftKeyboard and FlorisBoard
https://anysoftkeyboard.github.io/
https://f-droid.org/packages/com.menny.android.anysoftkeyboard/
https://github.com/florisboard/florisboard
https://f-droid.org/packages/dev.patrickgold.florisboard/
I use ASK which is good once you've spent the time going through all the different configuration options in fine detail. But also keeping an eye on Florisboard (no word suggestions in that as yet but I like the default design).

 

Internet BrowserMull
https://f-droid.org/packages/us.spotco.fennec_dos/
The clear winner for me, not just from the points mentioned in this comparison table:
https://divestos.org/pages/browsers
But also because I like the UI. The option to move the navigation bar to the bottom makes a lot of sense for phone ergonomics. I also tried Bromite but didn't like it as much and it seems to currently be behind with updates.

 

Maps & NavigationOrganic Maps
https://organicmaps.app/
Again, the clear winner for me out of a few different options around.

 

Notes
https://f-droid.org/packages/com.farmerbb.notepad/
Lots of different options in this space, but this one is my favourite for simplicity.

 

File Manager Amaze

https://f-droid.org/en/packages/com.amaze.filemanager/

 

System wide ad blockingRethink: DNS + Firewall
https://f-droid.org/packages/com.celzero.bravedns/
There are a couple of other options which I haven't compared, but this is the one I use (in "DNS (battery saver)" mode) and it has been working well for me.

 

Messaging apps / communications / social is a whole other thread really...

 

2FA*
https://f-droid.org/en/packages/com.beemdevelopment.aegis/

 

YouTube*
https://f-droid.org/en/packages/org.schabi.newpipe/

 

* – I don't use either of these final two types of service on phone myself, but these seem to be the most recommended options.

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Forgot to include one of my favourites in the above list:

 

SMS text messagingQKSMS

https://f-droid.org/en/packages/com.moez.QKSMS/

 

...and here's a fun little bonus I just discovered today:

 

Calculator and function plotter – ArityCalc

https://f-droid.org/packages/org.woheller69.arity/

It can make some really beautiful animated 3D plots 😎

Spoiler

image.thumb.png.2e68f066b76b29e28575b8d21e0455a2.pngimage.thumb.png.eeacfc7b32ffb01116932e4dc8cef01a.png

 

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why the heck would you want to be google free? bizzaro world. google apps are fast and efficient. let me guess they are spying on you and your kiddys

ZEUS-COMING SOON

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            Vivobook 15x oled

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Speaking for myself, I prefer to support human beings who are driven by a sincere motivation to help others. I also very much value my short time of existence in this life, on this beautiful planet, and thus take responsibility for my choices with an eye as to what kind of world they are contributing to.

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  • 2 weeks later...

old comments but they do it for money. they are not volunteers, if they were i'd see it. they are not

 

i'd like to add nice write up and thanks. I'll check out some of the apps im all for free but I think what motivates most to steer away from google is paranoia people just get overly cautious. but yes sometimes these big companies are motivated to mine data and intrude on our daily lives I get that. but I'm sure google is a clean company care to share a link as I can't find any factual reasons to avoid google. they are not amazon, amazon uses robots and helps as little people as possible.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/02/08/13-reasons-google-deserves-its-best-company-culture-award/?sh=50df50bb3482

ZEUS-COMING SOON

            Omen 16 2021

            Zenbook 14 oled

            Vivobook 15x oled

 

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I am on the same page as OP (any many others). There are quite a few reasons to avoid and divest from Google. Those have been rehashed many times, and to some people the rationale will always remain abstract or questionable, but here is my take again:

* Yes, they mine huge amounts of data (a googled Android phone sends home 10x more data than an iPhone) and destroy people's privacy under the pretense of being nice - this has huge implications for the society that deserve a gigantic separate thread I'm not going to open for the lack of time alone (see The Social Dilemma on Netflix)

* They very quietly but still overtly invest the proceeds in R&D on super-intelligent AIs, effectively working on deprecating people as intelligent species. The co-owner Larry Page gloated about this objective of theirs and supposedly called Elon Musk a "specieist" for questioning that policy. Seriously?

* Sundar Pichai made $250M last year lol. Social justice? He is a smart guy but not $250M/year smart, sorry. He hasn't really taken any huge entrepreneurial risks to deserve that kind of reward. That's a few times the comp of Tim Cook BTW. 

 

Are they the worst? The answer is clearly "no, Microsoft, and probably Meta are", but that doesn't mean we have to choose the slightly less bad option. 

Sure, they provide some services, but are any indispensable? Nope, apart from the core search and YT perhaps which can't be accessed anonymously from any system. Of all the FAANGs, Amazon would be the hardest to ditch for me, fortunately they are not really pushing the envelope on AI to the same extent Microsoft, Google and Meta do.

 

As for GrapheneOS, it looks really good, and that's how they make money: https://discuss.grapheneos.org/d/2701-how-graphene-os-makes-money

It's also open source, so people work on projects because they want to have this product available, and no corporation will provide it...

 

@Reciever Have you had a chance to try Graphene on your Pixel yet? I say try but that's probably a one way street into custom ROMs. 

 

I'm tormented between just taking a lame shortcut into iPhone and this. Arguably the best large phone on the market currently is the Samsung S23U, which (apart from tbe ridiculous price tag) unfortunately has no great degoogling options available, and is even worse than Pixel in terms of dealing with data in stock state. Arrgh.

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"We're rushing towards a cliff, but the closer we get, the more scenic the views are."

-- Max Tegmark

 

AI: Major Emerging Existential Threat To Humanity

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  • 1 month later...
2 hours ago, ryan said:

you should try n code your own OS. less headaches

 

While always a possibility, I’m not sure how reinventing the wheel would help in a discussion about a current OS.

If you have suggestions on where to start, please feel free to open a thread about it.

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some members are into programming and well versed in making apps like HFM. I think it's a a safe comment. as for reinventing the wheel I don't see how making an alternative is like reinventing the wheel. did microsoft reinvent the wheel by copying Apple.

ZEUS-COMING SOON

            Omen 16 2021

            Zenbook 14 oled

            Vivobook 15x oled

 

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4 hours ago, ryan said:

some members are into programming and well versed in making apps like HFM. I think it's a a safe comment. as for reinventing the wheel I don't see how making an alternative is like reinventing the wheel. did microsoft reinvent the wheel by copying Apple.

Making an app is not the same as building an OS that you will be praying doesn't get you sued for infringement. 

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I like how we are debating a nonsensical suggestion at best. Even if creating one’s own OS was an option (practically impossible for a single person in a reasonable timeframe, no matter how talented, taking into account the sheer amount of effort involved alone), it would certainly cause significant headaches - for many reasons, including the one mentioned by @Reciever

"We're rushing towards a cliff, but the closer we get, the more scenic the views are."

-- Max Tegmark

 

AI: Major Emerging Existential Threat To Humanity

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  • 1 month later...

We already have Ubuntu Touch, Volla OS, /e/OS, LineageOS, DivestOS, PostmarketOS, CalyxOS, GrapheneOS, etc. Probably it would be more useful to go help out with one of them unless you have a very good reason for starting from scratch.

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