I’ll add a few more things I’ve learned from using GOS on a Pixel 6 as a daily driver without google. To clarify, I don’t use play services and I use an Anonymous login to the Aurora Store. I love my GOS running phone these are just some downsides to prioritizing security and privacy in the world we live.
The SMS app is old and has limited functionality. Sometimes I can’t send pictures in texts and I can’t react to messages but I can see other people reacting to my messages. I rely on Signal for messages and message reactions now. Also, I’ve learned in a small handful of situations that if my phone is turned off for days and someone has SMS messaged me during that off time that I most probably will not see that text. Hard to notice that but I now of at least 5 times this has happened to me when I never had that problem before on an iPhone. There is no better text app in my opinion FYI. I’ve seen the question asked many times and there are some alternatives out there but I don’t like any of them. Using Signal as my primary asynchronous messaging app is fine for me.
About the camera… taking pictures through the messaging app often crashes GOS so the phone has to restart. Sometimes I can fix this by clearing my camera cache but in general it’s a little touchy for me. Selfies through the camera app would crash the phone regardless for a few months there before I learned the clear cache trick. In general the camera for me has been majorly problematic - crashing my phone and glitching quite often to the point where I couldn’t rely on it for taking pictures on trips or during family time. This still happens sometimes.
Vanadium only offers five search engine options and no custom choice, which I find slightly perplexing. DuckDuckGo is an okay choice for me but I would prefer a custom option to write Searx in, for example. Also, with such a unique browser I struggled with syncing my bookmarks to other devices cross platform until I discovered Raindrop.io. LOVE Raindrop and highly recommend them. I can Share a link in Vanadium now and pipe it to my Raindrop app to reference links cross platform - brilliant!
The default image gallery is very basic - I suggest Aves as an alternative.
Aurora Store won’t notify you of app updates - you have to manually check. I’ve gotten used to it. Most apps work great but forget about banking apps and any cash apps like Venmo etc. Also, the Trezor app doesn’t work and neither does Uber or Lyft. Also an app I have for a smart lock at one of my businesses simply won’t work on GOS. Some apps will tell you they require Google Play Services to run but they run anyway without it, like Element, Monarch and some home security camera apps.
Backing up is inconvenient unless you have your own Seed Vault setup. I use Syncthing to synchronize my obsidian vault and my pictures to my Desktop computer.
I turned location finding off mostly but I’ve found that Sygic works well for maps and navigation and I can pay the $25 a year for premium through their app since I can’t use Aurora Store.
USB C adapters for ethernet connectivity work great if you have a good adapter - ask for recommendations if it’s important to you because I can’t remember the brand I was told worked well. The uGreen brand I bought cut out after a few minutes. The wifi in airplane mode connectivity option is probably my favorite part of GOS and helps me feel super secure.
There were Google Pixel problems with DACs but they were supposed to fix them this past June. I haven’t had a chance to confirm if they were yet. Something to know if you’re an audio person.
The GOS community on Matrix is very good all things considered and super helpful - I pop in there when I can