Dumbphone Privacy

I have an iPhone right now, and I plan on switching soon. Obviously the top recommendation is to get a Pixel and put GrapheneOS on it, but I’m personally checking out dumbphones. If I were to get this, and only use Signal on it, wouldn’t that be fairly private? My threat model is avoiding mass surveilence/control, and I think that this falls under that. Just wondering. Thanks!

I guess if you’re using this phone as just a Signal machine, I guess you’re fine? It’s when you have different apps and such going on that things get more hairy.

Part of the privacy you get from dumbphones is that they’re so basic, meaning you can’t do much with them and thus pump less data into it. The downside is that if you don’t have a custom ROM, there could be processes going on that you don’t have access to or don’t know what they’re doing. If you use a custom ROM, it could be open source so everyone can see what the phone should be doing. With a dumbphone you still don’t know what that could be.

With that Nokia you’re suggesting, you’re still running Android, so there’s Google Play Services running in the background. It would be like a buying an Android phone with limited functionality, but also potentially limited access to making it private yourself in the settings. In fact, it may be as private as Samsung phone or something, only with this phone you are doing way less on it.

So there’s pros and cons. I think that a Pixel with Graphene or Calyx will be more private than this Nokia phone, but this phone may help you be more private than a regular smartphone because you can’t realistically do much on it. Not a bad option if it works for you.

Got it, thanks. Might try and find one that doesn’t run Android :+1:

The trouble with a phone that doesn’t use iOS or Android is that it may be tough if not impossible to use Signal on it. If you’re just using a regular phone, your calls and texts are flying through the air unencrypted and could be logged by the cellular provider.

Another option you can try is to lock down your iPhone. iOS has a decent reputation for being private and you can make it more private by avoid certain things like iCloud. With the new Lockdown Mode that came out, that could give you privacy that’s pretty good, a simplified experience that’s in your control, and you still get to keep Signal so you don’t lose secure communication with people.

I’ll recommend these videos to check out if you wanted to try a setup with your iPhone:

Lockdown Mode came out with iOS 16, so make sure you’re up to date and it should be available in the Settings app.


Check out the Punkt phone - it supports Signal out of the box. I have one I’m testing right now, hopefully we’ll have a video review soon!

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Can you even type on a dumbphone?
Or do you mean just calls through Signal?

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I don’t understand how this works with Signal.
I’m looking forward to you explaining it to me in small words in a video.

The problem with phones is the network carriers. Even if you take out the SIM card you are still giving off a network signal so you can make emergency calls on a SIM-free phone
Your best bet is to get a SIM-free small tablet

Is punkt phones are available on every countries ?

Maybe you need to know that dumbphones aren’t so dumb as you might think they are.
A dumb phone is only dumb, if you never connect it to the internet. If you do, it’s another closed OS.
A lot of the Nokia dumb phones connect to Google out of the box: https://www.reddit.com/r/dumbphones/comments/oldzcl/nokia_6300_4g_and_unwanted_google_integration/

Therefore if you never connect to the internet, you can use ANY phone. If you want to connect to the internet I would recommend using something with a custom ROM.