I am required by work to use all things Google as my entire staff use it for work related collaboration etc. My company has set up authentication for security such that I cannot even log into any of my work Google accounts without authenticating.
This is beyond me and I don’t really understand how things work. I really want a de-Googled phone since I would be using my phone for both work and personal. But is there any point then in getting an /e/ phone? Is there any point in me even getting someone to de-Google my phone for me if I have to use Google apps? When I use the Google apps do I now have more control over my privacy or does using all the Google apps just cancel out any benefits I gain from having an /e/ phone or a de-Googled phone?
Thanks for any help you can provide!
Depending on where you live, you might be able to demand your employer to provide a phone dedicated for work. It’s a tool just like any other, you are not required to bring in your own computer, chair or paper for the printer are you?
The counter argument would probably be around the lines of “these apps are free, they don’t take much space, etc, etc”. You should reply to that by saying you are concerned with the separation between personal and work life, and prefer to have those completely separated. In some countries, it’s already illegal to contact employees outside of business hours.
The next best thing is to use a separate phone only for that purpose. At this stage, someone around you surely has an old phone that still works that they may be able to give you. If not, second hand market is your friend and you can get them real cheap. Remember that it only has to work, don’t concern yourself with security and nice features like camera, etc. If your employer demands you to have a ‘decent’ phone (maybe because you need a nicer camera, or a certain version of Android) that’s your opportunity to bring the issue of the work phone up.
If this all fails or second phone is not an option for you, you can still get some benefit by using an Android feature called Work Profile (I suggest installing an app called Shelter to handle this for you) and install all the required Google apps inside of that isolated environment. Make sure to restrict as many permissions as possible specially to those apps that don’t need it, as things like location and (many) other data points will be collected regardless.
Hey, to your question I think having googled android with google apps would be even worse, because google is also collecting data through their android system. Still because you are absoloutly wright I would suggest the app (not sponsored etc.) RethinkDns. You can have more controll about googles connections, but because I have no google apps I can not tell you if blocking connections or smt. different might create app internal problems. Correct me if I am wrong.
Thanks all for your replies. I 100% agree with you reflective_popcorn but without getting into all the details about the company I work for basically what you’re saying is not an option.
What I really need an answer to (since I have no understanding of how all this stuff works) is this: Is there any point in me getting a de-googled phone if I am required to use things like Google mail, drive, sheets etc? I don’t understand how all the apps function. Is there any difference in a de-googled phone that you end up downloading the Google apps onto versus using a regular Android phone that is all Google when it comes to your ability to control all the privacy options? I get that there is something very wrong when I use anything on my current phone and Google wants access to everything. For years I’ve denied permission but now I cannot function at work since my entire company uses it. So I have no choice. But since my phone is dead and I need a new one, I’m trying to understand if there is a difference and hence my question is if there is any point in getting a de-googled phone only to add google apps back on? Do I have more control over privacy options now or is it no different than getting a regular Android phone? And of course I will do what I’ve always done which is deny permissions wherever possible. I never use location, tracking or even access to my pictures or contacts etc but unfortunately I’m running into problems now.
A bit of a conundrum I guess.
The idea of a degoogled device with Google apps in a work profile (using Shelter as mentioned) may be a good idea but can you be sure the needed apps will all work properly. I don’t know.
If you get any other phone I would suggest not using the OEM stock ROM. As mentioned earlier some do a lot of stuff in the background that I’m sure you don’t want to deal with. OnePlus’ OxygenOS for instance seems to have a lot of system files with network access for no apparent reason.
TrackerControl showed a long list of them all apparently accessing oneplus.net or some such.
As some would suggest, if nothing else, put a custom ROM of your choosing on a device along with GApps. For the most part you only have to deal with Google stuff and not vendor-supplied cruft.
Thanks for your reply…is there any way you can explain everything you said in simple? I’m just a minimal phone user…not a tech person. I don’t even use smart phones the way most people do. I use basic texting and don’t even use data. On the occasion when work requires it I will turn on my wifi and get onto the necessary google apps that I need to use. Usually I do as much if not all that on my laptop. It’s when I’m out and about and need to reply to work things that I am ‘forced’ to use my phone.
Given the really light usage and it being mostly for work, I would think the whole process (acquiring phone, unlocking, flashing a ROM, flashing GApps - if not included, setting up) seems like overkill.
On the other side, putting Google apps on a de-googled or microG-based ROM and finding that some may not work properly would result in frustration and swearing.
For this situation I would probably consider a mid-range device with a stock Android that is as minimal as possible. I do not know the state of modern/current Android but going from memory and my devices;
The Essential PH-1 had a no-bloat firmware. Closest to Google’s. Teracube was also quite minimal followed by the Motorolas.
As the phones were purchased directly there was no carrier bloat. Then there’s vendor bloat if you go with some of the others like Samsung (haven’t had one since early TouchWiz days).
But really I don’t know. Keeping it simple and practicing safe computing/phoning seems all that is needed for the scenario.
I think that /e/ may not be the best choice for your needs.
A suitable compromise might be to install LineageOS with a minimal GApps package. That will give you a phone that starts out pretty well de-Googled, and is free from manufacturers “bloatware”, and you only install the Gogle apps that you actually need for work.
You can see officially supported LOS devices here. If your device is not officially supported, you may be able to find an unofficial build by searching on the XDA forums