Graphene OS on Google Pixel phones - privacy, security and battery life.

Tuesday 7 September 2021.
The Graphene OS logo.

The Graphene OS logo

Graphene OS takes the Android Open Source Project (ASOP) and makes it a more privacy and security focused operating system. Graphene OS doesn't include Google apps and services, which collect data on users, sends them to Google and impacts battery life.

So I use Graphene OS to extend battery life and enhance my privacy and security. I also like the history behind how it came into being, despite thinking it could be a clever ploy to get people like me to install it. Let's just say I like an underdog, which I hope lead developer Daniel Micay won't mind being called.

With big thanks to the Graphene OS community (something I want to get more involved in) I've found the best way to install Graphene OS on a phone, is via another phone. The installer phone doesn't need to have Graphene OS on it in order to complete this task for the installee (new word?).

Once installed, there's the question of how to install your favourite Android apps. This can be done with the Aurora Store which is similar to the Google Play Store. I'm not sure what impact Aurora has on battery life yet, but will update you when I know.

If you want to avoid proprietary software and instead use Free and Open-source Software (FOSS) then the F-Droid store is a good place to start. I particularly like Organic Maps as a replacement for Google Maps.

So, here's how I go about setting up Graphene OS.

Things you need

  • The Google Pixel phone to be setup (installee)

  • Another Google Pixel phone to do the setup from (installer)

  • USB-C to USB-C 3.1 Gen2 cable

  • Internet access

Install

First make sure you've copied everything you need from the installee phone, especially backups from chat programs and their related passphrases. Then open the Graphene OS web install guide and very carefully follow instructions.

Install F-Droid store

Once Graphene OS is installed:

  • open the Vanadium browser

  • download and install F-Droid.

Install Aurora store

  • Open the F-Droid app

  • Search for "Aurora Store - A Google Playstore Client"

  • download and install.

More to follow

As I make the move anyway from apps that require Google apps and services, I'll update this section with what I've done.

Until then, happy installing (-: