I daily a Pixel 4a with GrapheneOS and I love it. It ticks all the boxes for the experience I wanted to achieve for the 2 years that Ive been using the device.
I normally use my phones for 4-6 years as Im not physically hard on devices and have used Roms and custom OS to extend usability of the software until the physical device starts to fail or battery is no longer worth replacing.
Times have changed a bit, and I am now more sensitive to Software EOL (end of life), and and with more privacy invading techniques I have been looking at cutting back use on certain types of tech and considering a “dumb” phone.
With the Pixel 3a’s port to almost 100% compatability Ive been looking very very seriously at Ubuntu Touch.
It not only extends the life of the software with ongoing updates, it also take a step backwards in capability from Android. Due to lack of apps its almost a bridge between smart and dumb phones.
My question for this group is: would it be better to just keep using out of date GrapheneOS when EOL hits or would there be any benefit to switching to an unlocked boot loader Rom like Ubuntu Touch or Lineage?
My threat models allow me to use old devices for an extended period if there are not extreme threats to the software side. I do not currently bank, pay bills on my phone. My phone is 50% signal messenger, 30% web browser and 20% camera.
Divest OS is a vastly diverged fork of Lineage OS but it supports locking the bootloader on Pixel devices. Updates roll out very quickly and the maintainer is very active in the XMPP / Matrix rooms, I suggest you join if you have any questions about the project or need help installing.
Google Play Services is unsupported so if you were using that on Graphene OS you can’t do so on Divest OS as it takes a more FOSS approach.
@radiance111 I have not looked into divest os, the locked boot loader is very appealing! Thank you for sharing that. A lineage fork is probably going to be better overall then Ubuntu Touch… But then unknown of using an alternate os is also tempting. I currently use F-droid and Aurora store. I do not use google services on Graphene, so it should be about what Im use to. Ill just miss the perks of device id changing each time i connect to wifi, and perhaps some of the graphene permissions
@Perk1ns I have seen some youtube videos of the signal app on Ubuntu Touch. I believe its called axolotl. So if that works the big 50% box is ticked. Techhut recently did a review on using Ubuntu Touch and showed that the browser was pretty stable and the camera while no google camera was good quality… (Link I used a Linux phone for 30 days - YouTube) his complaints were that the connection continues to drop and reconnect and if you are in the middle of something becomes very annoying. This fault in particular depending on frequency could drive me crazy… That alone may be enough to try an Android rom first.
I also noted that e/os supports the Pixel 4a now, so that may be worth investigating or testing as well…
I was hoping that Ubuntu Touch would support the Pixel 3 XL, mine needs repair and I just cant justify the time and money trying out Touch would have been worth it.
I’m going to shop and compare pricing of a 3A vs repairs of the junk Pixel phones I have.
Update: I found a local Ebay store with Pixel 3A XL 64 GB models for under $75 USD. Oh and on Amazon my Pixel 3 XL with cracked screen is worth $13 trade in.
Divest OS implements the network toggles, mac address randomisation, automatic wifi and bluetooth disable, hardened_malloc and secure exec spawning. Many Graphene OS features are available in Divest OS.