2 years-ish after "Fully functioning Android without Google mobile"
Time has gone by and some lessons have been learned, hence me revisiting my old post (https://email@example.com/fully-functioning-android-without-google-mobile).
After re-reading the original blog post I was surprised that everything is mostly the same, sign that it has been working good since the very beginning.
In these 2 years-ish one of the main issues I faced was certain instability with my Fairphone. After reading many different possible causes it turned out that Fairphone developers update with certain regularity the phone modem firmware. Those updates get included automatically on the FairphoneOS (the preinstalled OS in the phone). However, LineageOS doesn't include those updates and one needs to update them manually.
Fortunately, Fairphone developers have a Github repository where they publish the firmware updates.
Once we have that zip on your phone file system we can install it with the tool of choice to install firmware and OS updates (I use TWRP; which I have installed in my recovery boot mode, not using their optional app).
Besides that, nothing has changed much:
- Browser: TorBrowser, Firefox Preview (internal name Fenix)
- Apps store: APKGrabber
- Chat: Signal
- App hash checker: Hashr
Orfox app was ace while we didn't have an official app, thanks guys! So now I use the latest version of TorBrowser, that now is an official app from the Tor Project (One can get it from F-Droid)
I personally like the new Firefox Preview - it's internal name is Fenix. It has an special emphasis on privacy and it is very stable, though it is still in development.
The old APKUpdater got some issues when there was an update on one of its package providers. Then there was this lovely guy who decided to add a patch to fix the issue. Because of reasons of package names and authors, in the end a new app was created with the old APKUpdater and the new fix and the fix provider is more active than the old APKUpdater.. So hurrah!
Recently I have been reading about distributed (P2P) messaging apps.
I stumbled upon Signal, which is almost everything I wanted from the usual main ones. On top of that it was a lot of fun to read about one of the authors' (Moxie Marlinspike) business practices experiences and reactions to them.. :D
App hash checker:
I have stop using Checkey. Perhaps I shouldn't have, but I got confident that the apps I download that have viruses.
Now I use Hashr (from F-Droid) to check the hashes of the apps before installing them.. I find it more usable for I can copy the hash from the web page and paste it in Hashr and it will calculate and compare..
The astonishing, in your face, conclusion is that it is possible to have Android without the Google Services; and not only that, it is very stable.. proof of it is that I haven't changed many things from the original experiment.. I guess that I can't call it an experiment any more :)