Hardening e OS for privacy

Hi guys, just got my pre-installed S9 from you guys (2 days early!) & very pleased so far. I got it to prevent the constant surveillance of Goolag & Apple, as well as to have more trust my microphone especially isn’t being used - I’m sure I’ve had targeted advertising based on conversations I’ve had over certain things. Anyway onto some questions:

  1. The native Apps store - I notice I can install apps such as Whatsapp and Instagram from this store. I take it that any app I install from here is going to suffer from the trackers that are native to those apps correct? Does e OS in some way reduce their tracking or is it just a tradeoff that you have to accept?

  2. Apps like Instagram / Whatsapp if downloaded - are these able to turn on and off things like your location on a regular basis, like they seem to be able to do on a normal Android & iPhone?

  3. I have read something about using ‘Containers’ to install apps? These somehow ringfence the apps?

Is there any other tips or suggestions you have to ‘harden’ the privacy on your e phone? I plan to use Firefox and Brave browser

Setup a good VPN


Regain your privacy! Adopt /e/ the unGoogled mobile OS and online servicesphone


Hi, welcome in the community :slight_smile:

  1. Yes the Apps Installer doesn’t select the apps in it because the e Foundation wants to let people choose what they want/need. If you just want open source apps, you can select it in the settings. And yes applications aren’t modified so WhatsApp has trackers.

  2. No if you restrict permission. Advanced permission control can be found in Settings > Privacy > Trust > Privacy Guard > Long press on an app.

  3. Yes you can install “Shelter”, available in the Apps Installer, that will create a work profile to isolate the apps you want from the other apps.

I personally have a VPN and AdAway (Magisk (root) is needed for that).

1 Like

Thanks! It’s good to be here :).

Some followup ques:

  1. if an app is available from both the Apps & the F-droid store, is it better to install from F-droid? Or is there no difference?

  2. I have heard Bromite is excellent for privacy but I cannot find it on either the Apps or F-droid store. Should I be doing something differently?

  3. also it seems like Tor browser is not on f-droid, only ‘Apps’ which seems strange?

Thanks in advance!

Keep in mind that Android only allows one VPN service at a time. This means, when you use Blokada on your normal profile, a second VPN connection won’t be possible from within your work profile. So incase you have tracking apps in Shelter, they will still be able to connect to tracking services unless you disconnect the VPN in your normal profile and re-connect in your work profile.


  1. It’s always better to install them from F-Droid as F-Droid has strict guidelines for the apps included in their repository. For example, all apps in F-Droid have to be free and open-source. F-Droid apps are also not allowed to include any tracking/analytics libraries. These strict guidelines do not apply to the apps from the Google Playstore as they have their own rules. Google Playstore apps are the same apps that are included in the /e/-appstore.

Telegram would be a good example to further illustrate this. If you check the Exodus database here https://reports.exodus-privacy.eu.org/en/reports/org.telegram.messenger/latest/ , you will notice that the Telegram app on the playstore includes Google Firebase Analytics and Microsoft Appcenter Crashes. The same app on F-Droid https://f-droid.org/en/packages/org.telegram.messenger/ does not include these tracking libraries.

You can check out the F-Droid Inclusion policy for a list of detailed criteria for their apps.

  1. Bromite is a forked browser version of Chromium which embeds several privacy enhancing features and ad-blocking by default. You don’t have to install it on your own as Bromite is already integrated in the default Browser shipping with /e/

  2. Tor Browser is not yet directly available in F-Droid. Check https://support.torproject.org/tormobile/tormobile-7/
    As mentioned on the page above, you could still add their repository to your F-Droid App and download it over this way.


Hi @exyna!

This means, when you use Blokada on your normal profile, a second VPN connection won’t be possible from within your work profile.

I have a VPN with a service that uses Wireguard on Android. Is Blokada something setup already within e/ too?

So incase you have tracking apps in Shelter, they will still be able to connect to tracking services unless you disconnect the VPN in your normal profile and re-connect in your work profile.

I didn’t realise VPN could block tracking services? I thought they just routed traffic through a different IP?

It’s always better to install them from F-Droid
Okay excellent to know, I will always check there first to do this

And thanks @pierrot, done!

Hi @Aloha109
Welcome to /e/land.

The adblockers use a local VPN to filtre domain’s before outing to the internet.

As @piero mentioned, adblocking is not done directly by the VPN service. The VPN service is used to force all traffic through Blokada. Blokada then checks each request if it should be passed through or simply be blocked based on the DNS.

For a more in-depth explanation, you can visit their blog here: https://block.blokada.org/post/2018/06/17/how-does-blokada-work/

Thank you both. To be clear I have not yet installed an Ad blocker. Are you referring to the case whereby if I install Adaway or Blokada, I will run into problems? Or am I missing something whereby Blokada is in fact part of /e and I am not realising…

Adblocking is only integrated in the /e/-browser but not in the OS in general.

When I was talking about that android only allows one VPN service at a time, I was referring to @Anonyme 's post that you could isolate tracking apps in a seperate environment to isolate them. What I meant is that incase you use Blokada, only one of your profiles (normal or work profile) will be able to use the VPN interface.

1 Like

To follow up on this.

Is it possible to simulatneously use:

  • Wireguard VPN AND Blokada on Main profile
  • Tracker Control on Shelter work profile where I have the worst tracking offenders?

Or is it that Blokada will function as a standalone VPN too, and I don’t need Wireguard in that case?

I suppose I want to block ISP providers logging my internet history, as well as blocking as much as possible Gulag and other corporate tracking.

  1. No, it’s only possible to use one at a time as both need to access the Android VPN interface
  2. If you use Tracker Control on Shelter, then you can’t use Wireguard/Blokada at the same time. However, Blokada and Tracker Control work in a pretty similar manner - I’m not exactly sure what the (dis-)advantages of each app are though.

If you want to do local ad-blocking AND connect to a VPN at the same time, you need an app which integrates both. Blokada actually offers a paid service called Blokada Tunnel that allows you to do this. If you choose to use their service, they will route your requests through one of their Wireguard VPN servers after local adblocking is done. Your ISP therefore should only see the connections to the Blokada Wireguard VPN. At the moment, it is not possible to use our own Wireguard VPN with Blokada Tunnel and you are forced to use one of their servers. An issue has already been opened to address this: https://github.com/blokadaorg/blokada/issues/520

1 Like