Staying Private with stock Android?

The important part is, that the usual Android initial user setup will ask for a Google account, but you can just skip that step, if the phone vendor didn’t change this.

before customroms I used to just remove all* packages (yep all, dialer and contacts and messages) from a stock android and replace them with f-droid alternatives - and to my surprise things kept working and its useable.

You can keep the playservice to have paypal run. It will certainly reduce the “network footprint”, but I can’t speak to by what amount you gain “privacy”. Also the connectivity check you can point to any domain via adb settings, DNS is in your hands etc. There are some scripts to automate the whole affair

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Do not log in! If you resist that temptation then any android phone can be managed.

The goal here would be to never have to use this phone, only to have it if needed. I care about data privacy but the PayPal issue has shaken me somewhat- i need the functions of a smartphone to work and in my mind, i have to plan for the unlikely (yet possible) reality that apps I need may cease functioning at any time.
These are all good suggestions that i’ll be sure to take into account if I go through with the plan.

I like this! How is it done? Via adb?

@HellsBells, I’ll just add, for that stock phone, remove or disable absolutely every app you don’t need, continue with your present privacy measures (NextDNS, DDG, etc.), check the Exodus Privacy score of every new non-FOSS app you consider, and only allow the minimum functionality they require to work. (Some connections are not blocked by tracker-blockers, because they’re not technically trackers, but you don’t necessarily have to allow them.)

Yes, via ADB.

Perhaps you could search the internet if anybody has done this on your device before, sometimes there are lists of what can be uninstalled safely without hampering phone operation. At least there should be lists of bloatware which can be uninstalled.

Also search the complete Settings for Google stuff.

Before I used /e/OS, I used the stock OS of my device in such a way, worked really well.


Thanks for the tips. Tried to uninstall a couple of bloatware apps (e.g. com.facebook.katana) on my old Asus Memopad 8, which has [EDIT: does not have] an unlockable bootloader, but unfortunately only got “Failure” as a response. I was able to use pm block... successfully, but I don’t know if this is any better than disabling directly in the tablet settings… (?)
Anyway, good to know the info.

There’s also pm disable-user --user 0 in case you want to try.

Do you really believe that they will track those things after you’ve turned it off in your Google account privacy setting?. If they were caught doing that - and they would be - there would be hell to pay for them.

This from Google’s own website…

" * Some location data may continue to be saved in other settings, like Web & App Activity, as part of your use of other services, like Search and Maps, even after you turn off Location History."

There is sufficient lack of interest in reading ts & cs by users and a propensity for obfuscation by companies that many people would miss something like the statement above.

Furthermore, Google has form for collecting data secretly and then blaming some unspecified developer for failing to remove some test/debug code. This is how wifi triangulation happened.

Oh, can we catch them, please? The EU can always use a few billion EUR (whatever for) :slight_smile: .


I did read that, and I also turned off all the other stuff, including Web & App Activity, Search history and and Maps history.

Yes, a very long time ago, and at no point did they claim that they were not collecting that data. I have never seen evidence - or even any credible suggestion - that Google are collecting any data that they say they are not collecting. If they were, they are under so much scrutiny that it would have been made public

I’m sure plenty of people - governments, regulatory authorities, the EU, paranoid conspiracy theorists - are trying, and would let us know if they found anything. The conspiracy theorists will just claim that the lack of evidence, is proof that it is happening :slight_smile:

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Well I guess you are more trusting than me, which is fine. But if Google can be trusted, why is so much effort going into de-Googling Android phones? Surely we could just log in & change the settings and everything will be just dandy.

For the record, didn’t wanna kick off a debate on how dirty Google is :laughing:.

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From my point of view, it’s because I don’t want a load of proprietary bloatware on my devices, all of which are pretty old with not a lot of resources (compared to modern phones). I don’t have any need for Play Services (store, music player, reader), Google maps, Gmail). Other people have different motives.

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basically what @AnotherElk proposed in a for-loop, the list in this post is even taken from the same fairphone forum thread. If you find a list for your device you might skip some mismatches, but this works. Check and alter the linked .txt files though.

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Thanks! I’ll check it out.
P.S. I accidentally wrote previously that this tablet’s bootloader was unlockable, but I meant “not unlockable.”

I thought stock android cannot be fully degoogled at Google is too deep in the system :thinking:

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