Personalized Ads on a degoogled phone?

Hi guys,

I use 1 Xiaomi Mi8 and 1 Xiaomi Redmi 7. Both with /e/OS. Mi8 for daily business and Redmi 7 for Whatsapp and Instagram. Until now I had the feeling that I get less personalized ads displayed. So far so perfect. :yum:

But this weekend something strange happened to me:
I had a conversion with someone about a Robot Lawn Mower for his garden. Later he sent me a Link to an offer by personal mail. (not a free mailer and Link was opened on my Mi8 with the Nine Mail App)

The next day I received advertising in Instagram regarding Robot Lawn Mower (on my Redmi 7)
Coincidence? :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth: I have my doubts.

How can this be? OK, Nine App has 3 Google Tracker. But I am using AFwall+ and Advanced Privacy.
Or is XIAOMI itself listening to me, even on a degoogled phone? :face_with_peeking_eye:

Anyone experienced something like that? How can I improve my concept? Because this it’s really annoying and somehow scary.

Recommendations and feedbacks are welcome.

Best regards

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

The link was opened with a mail app? - I guess the mail app used your browser or a part of your browser and this component left a cookie which was then used later.

I als had the idea about the Cookies. But Insta and Whatsapp are on another Cellphone. And I don’t synchronize the Browsers between devices.
Yes, the app is called Nine from

Ah, OK.

So how does AFwall+ switch off the trackers? As long as you don’t forbid their network activity they will probably still do their job.

The first step would be to log the entire traffic the mail app causes for a while. Perhaps you have already a log in AFwall+, don’t know. Normal traffic of a mail app is accessing the configured mail servers (IMAP, POP3, SMTP, Exchange). And all other traffic is probably unwanted. The second step is then to block the unwanted traffic, based on addresses or ports.

actually, AFwall+ doesn’t block trackers by default. How should it? Netguard has a possibility to add a black- (or blocklist) with unwanted URLs. But AFwall+ doesn’t have this option, as far as I have seen. For that reason we have Advanced Privacy onboard.

But really, I think I have to check logs and trace the traffic leaving my cellphone for a while. Boring job, but I am afraid, it’s the only way to track this down…
I am also trying out Warden now. Should also be able to deactivate the trackers and loggers. Someone experienced with that?

This article has a few “natural” explanations:

there could be other explanations of ads matching chat topics: a person could have googled a product and forgot about it; a person’s interlocutors could have googled or engaged in social media with the information, and the ad was shown to the person because of their connection or mutual interests

In case the other person is on Instagram, too, and you’re connected there this doesn’t seem too far fetched to me.

I use RethinkDNS from F-Droid for that. This has detailed logs for every app by default switched on, you can see what happens and switch that off. So you can achieve a very clean and predictable traffic of a mail app. It allows blocking apps in general for mobile (or wifi) access (I use this for streaming apps and installers) and has also large block lists for ad and malware servers.

@irrlicht : will RethinkDNS use the VPN slot?

Thank you

Yes, of course it does.

Good point, but bad for me. I am already using ProtonVPN. But I am monitoring now the traffic of my Cellphone with my Network Firewall for a while. :disguised_face:

Perhaps the data did not tracked from your phone A to display Ads on phone B. Instagram & Whatsapp can listen around even when are not used. Thus, even if you opened the link on phone A but the conversion is captured by whatsapp or Instagram on phone B and used to target you with ads.

I like this thought. Also the article from adguard is interesting to read.
I this particular point we are talking about my father. He has no Instagram. But we are on different ways connected. Including Whatsapp. And this could be a possible way…

Simply stop using ad-based services… :wink:


I am getting closer and closer to reach this goal. But I wasn’t able to replace all my Apps with F-Droid Apps yet! I am at 70% (more or less) :unamused:

Replacing all apps with an F-droid alternative is almost impossible for most people.

I think you will achieve much more by deleting your account(s) you still have with Big Tech companies like Google/Meta/…

1 Like

but every replaced app, is a good app! I also like the approach to get rid of unnecessary Accounts…

I see, there can be a plenty of possibilities still to transfer unwanted data! Let’s keep working on our privacy…

1 Like

I arrive somewhere in a foreign country, and after some time the tv shows half the ads in my language. But I don’t mind because I buy mostly in real life stores.

This topic was automatically closed after 90 days. New replies are no longer allowed.