New phone: Android Pie/One or AOSP?

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Greywander
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Joined: 04 Dec 2014, 07:01

New phone: Android Pie/One or AOSP?

Post by Greywander » 10 Jun 2019, 09:19

I just got a Nokia 6.1; seems it comes with either Android Pie or Android One. I'm really not keen on Google right now, mostly for security/privacy concerns (I'd have waited for a decent Linux phone if my current phone wasn't breaking down), so I was thinking of wiping the OS and installing AOSP. Yeah, it's still Android, and it's still Google, but at least it's open source, so I can reasonably trust that the source code has been checked for things like back doors and data collection.

Anyone have any experience with AOSP? It seems the main drawback is being locked out of the proprietary apps, which is fine since I want to avoid Google products anyway. I'm just concerned that the phone might be missing vital functionality with AOSP. Are there good 3rd party apps to replace proprietary ones? Is AOSP viable for a fully functional smartphone experience? I don't use my phone much, so it might not be as much of an issue, but I'd still want to make sure that the core parts of the phone (calling, texts, camera, music, video, browser, etc.) are working.

Waratzhs
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Joined: 02 Aug 2018, 14:34

Re: New phone: Android Pie/One or AOSP?

Post by Waratzhs » 10 Jun 2019, 10:57

Hey!
There is Lineage OS 16 available with a stable version for your smartphone !
https://forum.xda-developers.com/nokia- ... 0-t3898270 (I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post the link)

It come without any Google apps or trackers etc, if you need google play service for running some app or if you need push notifications you can install instead MicroG https://microg.org/
For a store replacement you can use F-droid and Aurora Store (Google store without google account)

PM if you have any questions for your phone and/or privacy related in general! :)

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Greywander
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Re: New phone: Android Pie/One or AOSP?

Post by Greywander » 11 Jun 2019, 05:58

Thanks for the info! I'd seen references to Lineage OS while researching AOSP, but I wasn't sure what it was and dismissed it. Looking into it more, though, it sounds more along the lines of what I want. Now I'm wishing I'd known this before getting the phone so I could get one that was more readily supported.

Looking at the link you posted, it seems the person maintaining that version of Lineage has discontinued it, but is instead maintaining AOSP Extended (AEX?). I'm not entirely certain what the difference is between the two, but they seem to be comparable (say, like Linux Mint and Arch Linux are comparable but also different)? It seems like it would make more sense to go with the one still being actively supported, but maybe there's a reason to use Lineage OS specifically over AOSP Extended?

Also, having turned on the phone for the first time, it takes me to a Welcome screen with a language selection, and by tapping to continue it says I'm agreeing "to Service terms. Your data will be processed according to HMD's Privacy Policy. The device activation information with a one-time device location will be sent to HMD Global. Mobile data charges may apply."

Haven't gotten a phone plan yet (SIM card slot is also empty), so I'm wondering if it can even go through with sending them my data. I'd rather not, but it seems I can't access the phone at all without doing so. This will, naturally, make it difficult to flash any new ROMs to the phone.

Sorry, but this is all new territory for me and I don't have much of an idea what I'm doing. I can probably figure this out eventually, but any direction is appreciated.

Waratzhs
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Joined: 02 Aug 2018, 14:34

Re: New phone: Android Pie/One or AOSP?

Post by Waratzhs » 11 Jun 2019, 11:08

Greywander wrote:
11 Jun 2019, 05:58

Looking at the link you posted, it seems the person maintaining that version of Lineage has discontinued it, but is instead maintaining AOSP Extended (AEX?). I'm not entirely certain what the difference is between the two, but they seem to be comparable (say, like Linux Mint and Arch Linux are comparable but also different)? It seems like it would make more sense to go with the one still being actively supported, but maybe there's a reason to use Lineage OS specifically over AOSP Extended?
Oh, I didn't see that it was discontinued.

AOSP ROM are the purest version of Android, it is made by Google, which means there is a set of Google apps (GApps) pre-bundled.

Lineage OS use the base of AOSP but doesn’t include any Google app, it is always optional to flash them.

AOSPExtended look more like Lineage OS, it doesn't seem to have Google apps. So from what I understand it's a ROM more customized when Lineage OS ROM are all the same even in a different device.


Basically this ROM is ungoogled and get OTA updates, the dev proposes MicroG already included in the ROM so my opinion is that this ROM might be right for you.

Greywander wrote:
11 Jun 2019, 05:58
Also, having turned on the phone for the first time, it takes me to a Welcome screen with a language selection, and by tapping to continue it says I'm agreeing "to Service terms. Your data will be processed according to HMD's Privacy Policy. The device activation information with a one-time device location will be sent to HMD Global. Mobile data charges may apply."

Haven't gotten a phone plan yet (SIM card slot is also empty), so I'm wondering if it can even go through with sending them my data. I'd rather not, but it seems I can't access the phone at all without doing so. This will, naturally, make it difficult to flash any new ROMs to the phone.
Yes you can go through, you have no data yet on this phone so there are no risk but it can be a good thing not to bring in a sim or activate wifi until you have flashed the new ROM. After you flash the ROM there will be nothing left of the previous one.
Greywander wrote:
11 Jun 2019, 05:58
Sorry, but this is all new territory for me and I don't have much of an idea what I'm doing. I can probably figure this out eventually, but any direction is appreciated.
Yeh no worry I've also been there. I've been in it for a few years and I'm still learning so just ask ! :P
You can learn a lot from the XDA Forum they answer questions quickly enough. I don't know if you are a Reddit user but also recommand you the subreddit r/privacy r/degoogle r/privacytoolsIO

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Greywander
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Re: New phone: Android Pie/One or AOSP?

Post by Greywander » 14 Jun 2019, 02:09

Thanks again for all your help. You've made it so much easier for me to figure things out so far.

I'm currently trying to unlock the bootloader, but it seems that there are no "official" methods of doing so (not for a broad swathe of Nokia phones, at least). From what I gather, certain people are able to generate codes that allow you to unlock the bootloader, usually for a fee ($5-ish, so not a lot). The person working on AOSP Extended has been directing people to a specific forum member for unlock vodes, so I sent them a message. I haven't heard back from them yet (it's been less than 24 hours, though).

I'm also starting to consider the implications of unlocking my bootloader. From what I understand, it isn't possible to re-lock the bootloader once you've unlocked it, and with the bootloader unlocked it becomes trivial to access the device if someone has the know-how. While obviously I don't plan on letting strangers handle my device, you never know when such a situation might occur. After doing a search for it, though, it does seem possible to relock the phone, but only if you are running stock Android.

So I suppose this leads me to two questions:

(a) What can I do in the event the person never responds and gets me an unlock code? Can I de-google stock Android enough to make it secure and private, or is that just not possible? Do I have other options that don't involve unlocking the bootloader?

(b) If I do get an unlock code and successfully flash AOSP Extended, is there a way to secure my device so it can't be accessed through the bootloader, e.g. by relocking the bootloader? I'll ask this one in the forum thread for AOSP Extended as well, as they're more likely to know the answer to that.

I'm really wishing I knew all of this before buying a phone. But eh, you live and you learn.

Waratzhs
Posts: 5
Joined: 02 Aug 2018, 14:34

Re: New phone: Android Pie/One or AOSP?

Post by Waratzhs » 15 Jun 2019, 10:39

Greywander wrote:
14 Jun 2019, 02:09

(a) What can I do in the event the person never responds and gets me an unlock code? Can I de-google stock Android enough to make it secure and private, or is that just not possible? Do I have other options that don't involve unlocking the bootloader?
It's not possible to fully de-google a stock ROM, it will stop working somehow. And even if you delete a maximum of google apps and don't use a account they will still track you (extract meta data, getting your location 1, backdoor pre-installed 2 etc..)

IF you have no choice but to use the stock ROM what i would do is :
-debloat a maximum using ADB (there should be some guides for that) (+privacy)
-encrypt your device (+security)
-using a paid VPN with no log https://thatoneprivacysite.net/ (optional but a + for security & privacy)
-disable Google Play and use instead F-droid (for FOSS apps) and Aurora Store for apps that are on G.Play Store without an account
-use Shelter App = Sandboxing app that may track you, if you use for example Whatsapp or whatever... so they will not have access to your contact, sms, pictures on your phone etc..
-Webapps for an sandboxed web browser
-try to replace a maximum of proprietary app with open source and privacy friendly app (F-droid)

(most of these tips can be applied on an AOSP ROM)
Greywander wrote:
14 Jun 2019, 02:09
(b) If I do get an unlock code and successfully flash AOSP Extended, is there a way to secure my device so it can't be accessed through the bootloader, e.g. by relocking the bootloader? I'll ask this one in the forum thread for AOSP Extended as well, as they're more likely to know the answer to that.
Can't relock it'll erase TWRP and you will not be able to boot anymore on your ROM or a shit like that. What you can do is encrypt your device or use an app to encrypt your files, so people wouldn’t be able to access your data without your encryption passphrase. But you probably don’t need to worry about this too much unless you have reason to be someone's target. If your phone is stolen there is a very high probability that it will be just formatted and then sold.
Greywander wrote:
14 Jun 2019, 02:09
I'm really wishing I knew all of this before buying a phone. But eh, you live and you learn.

Librem 5 or the PinePhone would have been a very good option for you :mrgreen:
I hope you're going to receive an unlock code aha

Sources :
1 - https://arstechnica.com/information-tec ... d-devices/
2 - https://qz.com/1131515/google-collects- ... -disabled/

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