Limitations with using /e/ on FF3

Hi everyone,

I’m still completely new to /e/ and I wanted to understand a bit more about what I can expect.

Basically, my old Android phone broke and now I decided to get the Fairphone - that’s when I discovered that I can choose between a regular Android OS or the /e/ mobile OS.

I’m a UX designer, so it’s crucial for me to have access to a lot of common apps (also Whatsapp, Google, etc. even if I try to move away from it myself)

Do you have any list of common apps that don’t work on /e/? Any other limitations that I have to expect?


PS: Hope this is the right channel? I wasn’t sure.

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

  • Pretty much anything that is available in the Play store can be installed using either Aurora Store app (installed from /e/'s own ‘Apps’ app). Some are also available directly from ‘Apps’, but that app has been a bit flakey up to now (in my humble opinion). I have chosen to use only Aurora or F-Droid.
  • WhatsApp definitely works.
  • MicroG - the built-in alternative to Google’s Play Services - allows you to register and sign in to a Google account for any apps that need one.
  • As someone who has done a little work in UI design, I find the UX of /e/'s Bliss launcher to be pretty unpleasant, though others seem to like it. I use either OpenLauncher or Lawnchair on my /e/ devices, which are both closer to the ‘standard’ Android Launcher and Homescreen.

See the first post in this thread, which contains (editable) lists of apps which do and do not work in /e/. It’s pretty new, and not exhaustive yet. Please do add to it: when you install an app that isn’t yet in either list, please add it to the relevant list.

Define “crucial” and “access”.
If that means Apps dependent on Google services should work for you 100% of the time, then /e/ in its current form (i.e. including microG, which prevents you from installing the real Google services) is not for you.

Whether an App is dependent on Google services is visible in Aurora Store search result lists, for instance.

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Thank you so much for your replies!
@petefoth: That list is really helpful! So if I understand it correctly, all apps listed under “Not Working with microG” cannot be used on a FF3 with /e/ - correct?
I’ve actually only been using Pokemon Go and Uber from that list.

@AnotherElk: Let me think of some examples:

  • A client is using GSuite and wants me to collaborate on Google Docs and gives me a Gmail address. (happened in the past) Could I use Google Docs, Hangouts, Gmail, … on the phone?
  • Google (as well as other well-known apps) are often setting the standards when it comes to UX design (like Google’s design language Material Design). Sometimes I like to install apps from Google, Facebook, etc. just to analyze them from a UX perspective.

Of course, there are also workarounds for these issues - I just want to understand upfront which workarounds might be necessary :slight_smile:

You plan to use

  • an Android Custom ROM not certified by Google
  • not supported by Fairphone
  • still in beta stage
  • coming without the genuine Google services
  • replacing them with an Open Source reimplementation of parts of them
  • which even for the parts it covers can conceptually never reach 100% compatibility to the original over time, because Google can at any moment break compatibility by changing something on their side which microG would need to catch up on (again, as this really happens from time to time)

to seriously, professionally use Google-dependent Apps?
You really think you can work around this?

Here’s what you could try, if you really need some extra thrill in your work environment:

  • /e/ is a degoogling effort for reasons.
    Drop /e/ and install LineageOS once it’s going official (in LineageOS terms), as LineageOS is closer to AOSP than /e/ and contrary to /e/ should still have everything in it the genuine Google services themselves need to work.
  • Install the genuine Google services via Open GApps or similar packages.
  • To play it safe with your Google account, have a look at Google’s device registration for the use of Google Apps and services on non-certified Android OSes …

Still no Fairphone support, automatic nightly builds you have to check yourself for possible functionality regressions after every update you install … but running Google-dependent stuff much better than /e/, conceptually. Have fun :wink: !

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With workaround, I meant that I can use my computer for most things that require Google applications.

Thank you @AnotherElk, that was super helpful! Now I understand a lot better what to expect :slight_smile:

That’s the idea. You just need to be aware that the list is ‘crowd-sourced’. Someone has added each entry based on their individual experience, with a specific device, /e/ ROM, and version of the app. There is at least one instance of an app (Spotify) that is in both lists. It is possible that an app in the ‘Not Working…’ list may work with your device, but it’s presence in the list is a good indication.

With luck, the lists will become more useful and more accurate as more users contribute to them, so…