Is it unreasonable to buy a phone in order to try GrapheneOS?

With the holiday season approaching I am considering buying a used Pixel to try installing GrapheneOS. I do own a Pixel, but I’m scared of breaking it and losing everything.

Is it reasonable to buy a used Pixel to experiment with GrapheneOS, or is the risk low enough that I should just do this on my current phone?

  • Buying a phone is a reasonable, safe bet
  • GrapheneOS is ok enough to not need a backup phone
0 voters

Share more thoughts if you have them!

I daily GOS with GMS, and I do not find anything lacking that I wouldn’t also from stock. I come from Samsung with it’s more powerhouse UX (admittedly bloated), but yeah it’s running fine for me. The only thing is sometimes GCam’s pics take a touch longer to process after they’ve been taken.


This isn’t really a realistic fear so long as you’ve backed up your phone (either using Google/Androids default backup solution) or use another method to back up your phone (which you should 100% be doing regardless of whether or not you try GrapheneOS).

Beyond that, I recall the process of installing GOS being pretty straightforward and I haven’t encountered reports of people bricking their devices.

As to your poll question, I think either approach is reasonable, it just depends on your priorities and your situation. I don’t see any need to buy a second device due to risk, but I also don’t see any harm in it.

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For the record I do take backups every night with Google’s automated process, lol.

Reasonable is a matter of what finances you have at hand. Personally, I would not buy another device. I will say that you can brick your device, but it is very unlikely. The process is very well documented, and so long as you follow the instructions, you should be fine. I personally recommend you do the WebUSB installer, for that reason. I’d advise you to read those instructions, not follow along to a video, as things do change.


same opinion, if you follow the steps of the web installer there is almost no chance to brick your device.
the only way i can think of is using a damaged usb cable or unplugging it in the middle of the process.

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I faced the same issue recently. I also agree with what everyone is saying. Make sure to take a complete backup of your phone. If you don’t like Graphene OS, albeit slightly more difficult, it is entirely possible to go back to stock. Graphene OS, at least for me, doesn’t significantly change the user’s day-to-day operation of your phone. However, there were some mistakes I made, so here is some tips to avoid them.

  1. Make sure to double check every app on your phone to make sure you can use it as it would be downloaded, not containing any non-account tied data (Hint: If you need the data, use SeedVault to back it up so you can restore it on Graphene OS)

  2. Transfer/Backup your 2FA codes! I made this mistake and I had to use recovery codes and re-setup 2FA on all my accounts. I recommend putting everything into an auth app that allows for exporting before you wipe your phone. (I recommend Aegis, but there are other options)

  3. Make sure all your photos are backed up! (Google Photos isn’t the best option because then you have to download it on Graphene OS and keep using it to keep your photos) (unless they have some download all option, I am uninformed) Honestly the most simple solution is to just use a USB thumb drive and after you decide if you want or don’t want Graphene OS, then import everything.


Okay so here are some things I’d suggest for installing grapheneOS so that it goes smoothly. If you follow all of these instructions then you should be good to go and you’d have to be really, really unlucky to brick your phone.

  1. Install ubuntu on bare metal. While most spins should work I assume vanilla is the easiest to work with.
  2. Use a reliable USB-C cable. The one your phone comes with is decent enough if you have a USB-C port, otherwise look for another one you might have that’s reliable.
  3. Have a stable internet connection.
  4. Use the web installer to install grapheneOS.
  5. Use the Brave Browser with default settings (but shields disabled) to install grapheneOS. They recommend chromium based browsers, so best to use one.

Assuming you follow all of these steps, you shouldn’t really run into any problems at all (other than waiting for it to install because it’s not instant) and within an hour you should be good to go.


actually the install guide says to disable Brave Shields for the install :nerd:

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oh mb forgot (edited post)

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Realistically the chances of something breaking is slim to none. It’s literally just clicking some buttons in order on their website to install it on your phone, and works pretty much like standard Android.

Back up important documents and files, pictures, videos, 2fa seeds etc. As long as you take your time and not rush through things, there’s no reason to spend a bunch of money on another device.

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It’s all of those types of things that make me nervous about the upgrade. I’m scared that there will be something important that I left on my phone that I will lose.

Besides files, photos, videos, and 2FA seeds, is there anything else I need to make sure is backed up before install GrapheneOS?

Also, is there a way to recover from a backup on GrapheneOS if you’re using Google Backup? I’m sure that will depend on whether you install Play Services, but I wonder what that workflow looks like.

I mean, it’s complicated and individual. If you can afford it, sure, why not? If your budget is a bit thin, maybe not. As others have said, the odds of anything going catastrophically wrong are pretty low, and can largely be mitigated by backups. So it depends on your situation. You almost certainly won’t see any practical benefit, but if it makes you feel better, that is itself a benefit, and if you can afford it, then go for it, you’re an adult.

(Of course what you should do is donate that money to an effective charity which actually helps actual people, but I’m assuming that’s off the table.)

There is advantages to having an extra handset lying around. I have two phones, and I find it quite helpful, but I’ll fully agree that it’s not for everyone. Also I didn’t have to buy the second one, it was a gift from someone, so that helps.


I decided to go ahead and buy the new phone. What put me over the edge is that the Pixel 8 is so much smaller than the Pixel 6 I currently own. I have relatively small hands so even a phone like the Pixel 6 has me stretching and balancing the phone in awkward ways to use one-handed.

My plan is to switch my stock Android situation to the Pixel 8, try GrapheneOS on the Pixel 6, put GOS on the Pixel 8 if I’m happy, and either find another use for the Pixel 6 or sell it. It’s a bit exaggerated, but at least I know I have a phone with all my info intact at all times rather than hoping something doesn’t go wrong with a backup.

Thanks for all the feedback!