submitted 2 weeks ago by nolight@lemm.ee to c/android@lemmy.world

I have a Pixel 7, stock Android 14. It is my only phone and I love the stock system. But I am trying to gradually ditch Google and its services, for reasons well-known in this community and Lemmy in general. How much would I gain/lose using a custom ROM with/without GApps?

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[-] Streusel@lemmy.world 25 points 2 weeks ago

G-Pay and Android Auto are the things that can be very usefull but can not be replaced unfortunate.

[-] Magister@lemmy.world 12 points 2 weeks ago

I pay with my phone since 2016, don't even have a wallet anymore. On my previous phones I installed custom ROMs and too often after a g-pay update or whatever, I had to install all kind of magisk modules and scripts and hiding app or fake testpass or whatever to have my g-pay working... for days/weeks until the next upgrade that borked eveything and you have to explore XDA and find all the trick to re-enable it, until the next time etc. It goes boring pretty fast. My latest phone I kept the bootloader locked and OEM rom.

[-] BradleyUffner@lemmy.world 1 points 2 weeks ago* (last edited 2 weeks ago)

Android Auto works perfectly fine for me on custom roms.

[-] monty33@lemmy.ml 2 points 2 weeks ago

What roms have you used AA with?

[-] BradleyUffner@lemmy.world 2 points 2 weeks ago

Lineage on a Pixel 6 Pro

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[-] d3Xt3r@lemmy.nz 20 points 2 weeks ago* (last edited 2 weeks ago)

One thing others haven't mentioned is SafetyNet/Play Integrity and Widevine L1. You can spoof basic integrity but not hardware attestation (AFAIK), so any apps which check for it may not work (typically banking apps and some games). You'll also lose your Widevine L1 certification, which means streaming apps will suffer - Netflix will go down to SD resolution, others services might do something similar (or even not work at all).

Naturally, without the Play Store you'll also lose access to any premium apps or apps/addons you've unlocked with IAPs, unless the app offers an alternative activation method.

Finally, there are many apps which may not even work without Google Play Services. microG or GrapheneOS' sandboxed play services could help, but YMMV - and you'd still be using Google's services in the end, which kinda defeats the whole point. So I wouldn't recommend microG/Sandboxed Play Services.

If you mainly stick to apps on F-Droid though, most of this shouldn't be an issue. So maybe before switching, ask yourself, can you live without your favourite closed source app(s), and use a FOSS alternative(s) instead?

[-] nolight@lemm.ee 8 points 2 weeks ago

Thank you for the extensive reply! This covers the question perfectly. Your comment made me realize that I am not ready to ditch some services at this point in my life. The good thing about privacy is that your decision is very rarely black or white. You can gradually flow towards more private solutions over time, giving up and replacing things you use little by little.

[-] lemmyvore@feddit.nl 9 points 2 weeks ago

If you still want to improve your quality of life you can take the middle ground, which is to keep the stock ROM but unlock bootloader and install one that includes Magisk, which in turn will give access to root and Magisk modules that can do all kinds of interesting things.

Some examples:

  • Backup and restore apps and their data.
  • Low-resource firewall and controlling network access for apps.
  • Faking permissions for apps (like allowing contacts but giving out an empty list).
  • System-wide adblocking.
  • Interface customizations.
  • Call recording.
  • Automation (Tasker).
  • All kinds of other tweaks and features too many to list, like using Mozilla or Apple's location services instead of Goggle's, or adding undo/redo to the long press menu etc.
[-] nolight@lemm.ee 3 points 2 weeks ago

Thanks! I've tried rooted stock for a while, but gave it up because the updates weren't showing up. I didn't know you could use any FOSS solutions to location services, I'll have to research it more. I'll give it a try once I finally decide to unlock the bootloader (I've relocked it afterwards, a big mistake).

[-] lemmyvore@feddit.nl 2 points 2 weeks ago

The location solution is also part of MicroG, it's an apk called UnifiedNlp that takes modules that can do all kinds of cool location things. Alternative online services like Mozilla and Apple are just one example, you can also download offline maps for wifi hotspots or mobile cells, or create your own mapping as you go by using GPS (when available).

[-] atrielienz@lemmy.world 10 points 2 weeks ago

Anything and everything powered by the Assistant. Hold for me, spam protection, visual voicemail, call screening, direct my call, wait times, and possibly live translate. If you don't live in the US a lot of this may not matter. But if you use these features you'll lose them with a custom rom. If you're degoogling then disregard (I see what you say in your post, but I figured a heads-up might still be worth it).

[-] TheInsane42@lemmy.world 6 points 2 weeks ago

I love custom roms and even developed for CyanogenMod and LineageOS. However, that was for Samsung, Nokia and Motorola. Those roms have loads of bloatware. The Pixel has no or little bloatware.

When going without Google, custom rom and f-droid is the way to go. With gapps, the advantage will be that you get longer updates, as custom roms usually get more updates. That is, as long as somebody is interested in the device and developing for it.

Also, when rooting, the official roms usually refuse to update, a problem that doesn't exist with custom roms.

[-] onion@feddit.de 5 points 2 weeks ago

Out of box Pixel is full of annoying promts and notifications, GrapheneOS just leaves me alone

[-] kick_out_the_jams@kbin.social 1 points 2 weeks ago* (last edited 2 weeks ago)

There's basically no comparison between the bloatware on Samsung and Pixel.
I felt most annoying prompts and notifications with the Pixel were solvable where Samsung is a constant battle.

And then the alarms don't seem to go off reliably.

[-] Grunt4300@lemm.ee 6 points 2 weeks ago

I've been running Calyx OS on my 4a for around a couple years now. It was a bit of an adjustment at first but now I don't really miss much of anything. I rarely need to use anything from the Aurora store, just mainly FOSS apps as there is a replacement for just about every Google app you could think of. The only thing I have come to miss lately is not being able to use Android Auto, since I just got a car that has that functionality. But that is a slight complaint.

[-] nolight@lemm.ee 1 points 2 weeks ago

Great to hear that! I am very tempted to try Calyx, especially now that it has A14 builds for panther. Do you use GPay by any chance? If so, does it work consistently throughout updates?

[-] Grunt4300@lemm.ee 1 points 2 weeks ago

I have never used it so I can't say, though I haven't heard any talk of it not working, do with that what you will.

[-] jalsk@lemmy.world 4 points 2 weeks ago

In general, the stability of custom roms and random bugs you encounter may be more than with officially supported operating systems. It might be totally fine, but if you’re the only person who has encountered a random bug and no community dev is interested in fixing it right now, it might stick around for a while.

If it’s your only device and you need it to work, I might recommend trying it out on a secondary device first to make sure it works for what you need.

Philosophically I agree and am aligned with open source and free apps, but the reality is I don’t have the time or patience at this time in my life to deal with that kind of thing. Your calculus might be different though.

[-] nolight@lemm.ee 2 points 2 weeks ago

Exactly what I am facing right now. I consider myself a privacy-concious person, but there is just no way of getting some things working consistently with open-source ROMs. The only major factor for me is GPay, which has become the only way I pay for things nowadays.

[-] onion@feddit.de 4 points 2 weeks ago

You can put you card in the phone case

[-] nolight@lemm.ee 1 points 2 weeks ago

My bank doesn't require a physical card and I don't have it, checkmate xD

[-] Osiris@lemmy.world 4 points 2 weeks ago

One major annoyance is contact/calendar syncing. DAVX works great but you do need to set up your own provider. I ended up using my NAS, synology has apps that do that

[-] lemmyvore@feddit.nl 1 points 2 weeks ago

If you need one online, mailbox.org includes CalDAV/CardDAV with all their email plans, the cheapest of which is $1/mo.

[-] pruneaue@lemmy.blahaj.zone 3 points 2 weeks ago

My experiences come from using Calyx for a couple years in the past and I've been using Graphene for a few years as well now.

You lose a couple of things. The main ones have already been mentioned by others (GPay and Android Auto). Theres some other stuff you might miss. Now Playing doesnt work, AI camera features, weather on lock screen, etc.
Most of the stuff you might miss are annoyances, and some can be worked around fully with other apps. Nothing too major. With microG or Sandboxed google play, none of the apps i want/need to use are broken. That wasnt the case even a few years ago on microG, but things have gotten a lot better.

[-] nolight@lemm.ee 2 points 2 weeks ago* (last edited 2 weeks ago)

It's good to know, thank you. Is GPay completely out of limits on Calyx (or any ROM in general)?

[-] pruneaue@lemmy.blahaj.zone 3 points 2 weeks ago

I believe so, yes. From my understanding, google blocks custom roms from being able to use the service.

I've heard before that with root you can spoof it, but its not easy or convenient.

[-] Pat@kbin.run 1 points 2 weeks ago

it's pretty easy and convenient currently. install magisk delta (for proper magisk hide support) and playintegrityfix and things should work no problem.

been using google wallet on lmodroid without issue. even have a module installed for unlimited google photos backups :)

[-] RaoulDook@lemmy.world 2 points 2 weeks ago

Nothing. Nothing of value is lost by ditching the garbage pile of stock Android.

I would never use a stock Android phone for any longer than it takes me to unlock the bootloader and get open source Android installed.

[-] TheInsane42@lemmy.world 4 points 2 weeks ago

Same. Made the mistake to buy a Samsung A13 assuming itnhas a rom. Alas, just the 5G, I have the 4G. Bootloader is already unlocked though.

[-] algorithmae@lemmy.sdf.org 3 points 2 weeks ago

So banking apps are worthless, got it 👍

[-] RaoulDook@lemmy.world -1 points 2 weeks ago

Yes, I have never used one because it's dumb to keep access to financial stuff on your easily stolen or lost mobile device.

[-] algorithmae@lemmy.sdf.org 3 points 2 weeks ago

You have a password and a computer, no?

[-] RaoulDook@lemmy.world -2 points 2 weeks ago

Yes and they stay safely at home, with encrypted drives and behind a good firewall.

[-] PeterPoopshit@lemmy.world 2 points 2 weeks ago* (last edited 2 weeks ago)

My 2 cents is that you usually need an unlocked bootloader so you can load xposed and get privacy apps that spoof or block certain permissions per app. That is the unconditional indispensable killer feature for me. Sure, using this stuff isn't 100% bulletproof but I'm at the very least making my information more expensive to harvest and at most making it so that governments and corporations have to hire actual/better hackers to steal my info.

[-] Darkbug@lemmy.one 1 points 2 weeks ago

I had to stop running custom roms a few years ago since I need wifi calling. I hate the bloat but where I live now doesn't have cell service.

[-] spookedbyroaches@lemm.ee 1 points 2 weeks ago

Does WiFi calling not work on Grapheneos?

[-] Darkbug@lemmy.one 0 points 2 weeks ago

From want I've seen and read, you need the carrier specific apps and settings baked into the os.

[-] spookedbyroaches@lemm.ee 2 points 2 weeks ago

Dang, I have /e/os and can make WiFi calls and never downloaded any carrier apps. Maybe it's specific to the carrier.

[-] Darkbug@lemmy.one 1 points 2 weeks ago

What carrier? Maybe something has changed.

[-] shalva97@lemmy.world 0 points 2 weeks ago

Macdonald's app will not run on custom ROM

[-] TootSweet@lemmy.world 0 points 2 weeks ago

I'm glad I've never had an iPhone or Android phone with Google Apps. It's the "conveniences" that ensnare you.

[-] nolight@lemm.ee 4 points 2 weeks ago

Yeah, I don't get why you'rr getting downvoted, I completely agree with you. Once you've tried it, there's no coming back, that's why microG and other workarounds exist.

this post was submitted on 21 Nov 2023
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