Minimal phone to use only when necessary, any suggestions?

I have no special secrets, I just find working free for Google, Facebook etc as morally repugnant.

I have so far refused to get a smartphone, and live quite well with a sturdy old Nokia, a navigator for travelling and a camera, plus PC to work and correspond with: compartmentalization is important.

My two children (now 17 and 14) have grown up well on the same diet.

However, I realize having a smartphone for certain “official” tasks (e.g. plane tickets, banking, entering certain offices, etc.) is becoming practically obligatory.

I am looking for a smartphone with a poor camera, no gaming, which hopefully doesn’t tell governments what I am doing and will still be usable five years from now, but can easily use “official” apps, where I can apply /e/ degoogled software, and which we can share in the family, keeping it in the drawer most of the time, if possible dual sim (and usable in Europe where I live).

Great if it could also be easy to repair and with changeable battery, but at least privacy is the main thing.

Any suggestions?

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

! impossible ! your provider give those informations

Samsung Galaxy s4 international LTE [gt-i9505] (jflte/jfltexx) for the drawer

Samsung Galaxy s4mini international LTE [gt-i9195] (serranolte/serranoltexx) for the pocket

Of course,the provider has my data. I was referring for example to the Xiaomi phones which the Lithuanian government says keep sending info to the Chinese government: I imagine the problem there lies in the hardware.

I see it came out in 2013, would that affect the possibility of downloading “new” apps etc like the ones I was talking about?

My s4mini was originaly shipped with android 4.2.2,
it is now running e-0.18-r based on android 11

Major limitations are :
if CPU is less than 2x1ghz
if RAM is less than 1gb
if ROM is less than 8/16gb

Problems are If running OS is older than android 5.0

So 2gb RAM is OK

So one can purchase an android 4.2.2 (less than 5.0), then install /e/ over it making it equivalent to android 11? Sorry to ask so many questions, but maybe there are other people in my same condition, and I certainly know others.

Except for the “vendor” parts like bootloader, hardware and modem drivers

It is one of the goals of custom-android-OS projects :
Providing updated software for existing efficient devices when vendors abandon their products after 2/3 years


My e-0.18-r for serranoltexx is a test build, when official is e-0.13-n
My e-0.9-p for jfltexx was a test build too, but now official is e-0.17-n

@DivestOS is on R for those two devices
(n=Nougat=android.7), (o=Oreo=android.8), (p=Pie=android.9), (q=Quince tart=android.10), (r=Red velvet cake=android.11)

Another question, I hope useful for others too: adding /e/ if I understand rightly does not uninstall default apps that are installed by default on the Samsung, can one really uninstall them, for example with these simple instructions How to Uninstall Apps on Samsung Galaxy S4 ?

Also, once you have the new phones set up, install a tracker-blocking app to get more oversight and control of the hidden connections going on in the background. I’m speaking of connections initiated by any of the applications you choose to install. You can depend on the OS itself (/e/) to not spy on you, but the same can’t be said of any app you install.

Two excellent tracker blockers are TrackerControl and Blokada 5. They allow you to see the hidden connections that apps are making, and block them completely.

Installing /e/ replace all gogol/samsung/carrier software from the /boot, /recovery, /system, /data, /cache, /dalvic-cache partitions

On an “Standard Smartphone OS” even custom OS, the user can’t remove default apps , but it is the /e/ builder who choose default apps

I ask because here:

I read:

> Uninstalling default applications

This has been a long-requested feature from some users. And we agree that there is no reason why we wouldn’t let users uninstall default apps in /e/OS.

It’s not trivial to implement though, and that’s why it’s still not possible today. However, we know how we want to make it possible, so it’s now officially on the 2021 roadmap!

probably means default apps in /e/, not in previous OS

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A FairPhone with /e/ should serve you well.

That’s a current and repairable device you can buy already flashed from the store.

It even comes with a poor camera as per your requirement (small joke, some nag about the cam).

Maybe it’s not what you initially wanted, but the reality is that current smartphones aren’t small anymore and every manufacturer tries to push out the best hardware for the price.

I don’t like the idea of buying and trying to maintain an obsolete device like the mentioned S4, but that’s me.

It’s really hard to find a decent device with removable (I mean : without tools) battery nowadays.
FairPhone is one of them, as long as they have spare batteries in stock …
Obsolete Samsung device’s genuine batteries are hard to find, lots a counterfeit poor batteries are for sale. Also stands for other spare parts (screen, etc).

/e/ is privacy-oriented, and works well without a /e/ Cloud account linked to it :wink:
The problem you could face is that it’s too much privacy-oriented : some apps may not work, lacking Google “base” apps !

My advice for default apps : don’t try to deactivate or uninstall them, they will come back with each update.
Instead, put them in a folder in another screen page, and forget them.

following your wonderful suggestions, I just bought an 80 euro Galaxy s4 mini… It would be great if it worked, using an 8-year-old phone, refurbished, and showing one can survive without selling oneself on the street to Bezuckergates…

I personally could sell pre-installed s4mini for less than 70€, (but not refurbished),
But i have actually no money to buy them less than 40€…

s4mini is good for the pocket with its 4,3" screen, but only 2x1,7ghz, 1,5gb/8gb
For your drawer, the s4 have a mutch more comfortable 5.0" hi density screen, and 4x1,9cpu, 2gb/16gb

s4 series is the last Samsung generation that can be easily opened and repaired as the FairPhone

I’m new here, I don’t know what the policy is on commerce, but feel free to write to me personally at, I can see from your name and flag we are both in the same country

You may want to read the rest of my sentence :wink: :

Leboncoin & aliexpress are the worst places to buy a good battery from, along with ebay.
Many of these cheap batteries are simply rewraped with genuine-like stickers …
You may find this video, from a well-known phone repairer, interesting : Its all a Scam! - Before Replacing Your Phone Battery Watch This - Scams Explained - YouTube