Finalising the setup wizard without consenting to Google's TOS

I’m kinda stuck setting up a new device. After a few screens, there’s one to join Google by accepting their Terms and Conditions.

I’ve not interest in this, and I don’t want to enter any sort of relationship with this third party.

It seems the UI is missing a button to “Not accept”, for those who don’t want to enter a contractual relationship with Google.

Is this an oversight or am I missing something obvious?

I was under the impression that Fairphone was Dutch, so I expected they’d be subject to the basics in EU privacy law (e.g.: making an “I consent” button the only choice is obviously disallowed).

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You can skip this step if you do it right at the first boot. (At least that was possible when I last factory reset a phone)

Otherwise the option to skip is missing in the UI for some reason :man_shrugging:

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I guess this can’t be fixed without returning it and buying a later updated version once they fix it, right?

Oh, no skipping possible:

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This will not go away as long as you use an OS that has GApps included. If you dont want this you have to use e/OS or Iode OS without Google Apps

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I totally forgot that step :man_facepalming:
I thought you were talking about the Google Account setup, that one’s skippable on first boot.
Just did a factory reset and indeed, there’s no easy way around it.

But as @yvmuell said, you are running a OS with Google Play Services built in. While you can use it without a Google account, a lot of the functionality depends on connecting to Google servers, like downloading and installing OTA updates for example. They obviously need your consent for that.

If you don’t want to have anything to do with Google (and I understand that), you’ll have choose one of the other options available.

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The problem is that I can’t change the OS without agreeing to this either. It seems like a rather non-trivial.

Imagine if you next Philips TV forces you to sign an agreement with Facebook; the “I definitely don’t agree” use case obviously needs to be contemplated.

The design most laptops follow works well; you can change the OS without running any of the pre installed stuff and without signing up with any advertising partners.

Yeah, you can skip creating credentials, but signing up is still compulsory.

My intent isn’t to use that OS though: I purchased from Fairphone because I really like their hardware philosophy. I was under the impression that the hardware was more open and I didn’t have to commit to their software (which I don’t like in the least).

Maybe I’m too use to dealing with laptop manufacturers and not phone manufacturers?

This isn’t a laptop (and those are getting increasingly locked down too).

And this…

…is already a reality as well. There are countless TV manufactures that require you to accept some kind of TOS before using the device.

I understand your frustration, I really do, but this has been the state of Android for a lot of years now. Normal users want to easily install their random proprietary app from the Play Store and if that doesn’t work they won’t buy the device. For that to happen, Fairphone has to get the phone certified by Google and that includes (among other things) shipping with Google Play Services.
Fairphone is still a business after all.

If you don’t agree with that tradeoff, there is the option to buy the exact same device Google free with /e/ preinstalled.


Edit: One last note

I personally have set up 2 FP4 without a Google account, that screen wants your consent to the TOS, you aren’t creating an account.

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I’ve heard good things from Fairphone, but honestly know little of /e/; I’ve mostly heard negative things from them, especially on the privacy front.

The advertise themselves as a de-googled Android, but seem to mostly be a closed-source LineageOS fork (though they somehow don’t present themselves as this?).

They’re not very transparent, it’s unclear why they made their fork, nor why they decided to make it closed source, nor in what specific ways they diverge from LineageOS.

Honestly, they sound pretty shady. And they also don’t have all the same colour choices.

I honestly want to buy the hardware and just that. use the hardware I’ve bought.

Sorry if my wording was not perfectly accurate; the setup wants me to “enter into a contractual relationship”, as it’s described in those ToS. I’m not a lawyer and “Signing up” sounded close enough.

You can buy a FP4 with another OS preinstalled

From Iode (probably not yet as still in beta) Murena (e/OS)

And if this is all not privacy friendly enough for you, you might want to check if Volla Phone is available in your country, or the Libre Phone or…

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I have two FP3 no problem. I don’t have a google account. If I want to use the default Android, which is licensed by Google I have to say yes, but that’s it. I don’t require an account, Google get no private identifying info from me.

This is all done before the phone connects to the internet or network, no info can be sent to Google.

Phone stays bootlocked, unrooted. I use adb to get rid all the google apps, keeping carrier and keyboard for example then download apps I want.

I have one on Android 10 and one on Android 11, could the A11 on the FP4 be so different ?

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Unfortunately, FP4 comes with Google apps preinstalled.

As @amoun said, you could setup your FP OS without internet connection and then debloat it from most of the Google packages.

Or you could install one of the alternative operating systems which doesn’t contain Google apps preinstalled.

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Subjective.


“The /e/ ROM is a fork of Android and in particular the LineageOS flavor of Android.”
(https://doc.e.foundation/what-s-e)

“/e/ is forked from LineageOS.”
(https://doc.e.foundation/support-topics/about-e#is-e-a-combination-of-lineageos-and-microg)

What is the “it” you are referring to?

“Is /e/ open source? Yes - all source code is available on our /e/ Gitlab. You can compile or fork it. Some prebuilt applications are used in the system. They are built separately from source code available here or synced from open source repositories such as F-Droid. We ship one proprietary application though (read the statement).”

(https://doc.e.foundation/support-topics/about-e#is-e-open-source)

https://doc.e.foundation/support-topics/about-e#is-e-a-combination-of-lineageos-and-microg

https://doc.e.foundation/what-s-ehttps://e.foundation/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/e-state-of-degooglisation.pdf

You’d better not let me choose a side :wink: .

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This was my plan, but it seems that entering into agreement with Google is a per-requisite to using a non-Google OS. It seems nobody actually tested this scenario.

My only course of action seems to be to send it back and wait for this to be fixed, but not getting any reply from support.

This will not get fixed in my eyes, you cannot use Google without consenting to it, and by setting up the phone you automatically use Google. So the only way in my eyes would be to buy one from e/OS or wait that Iode will sell pre-installed phones

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The problem is, one MUST set up Google before opting out. It’s also not possible to set up something else without entering into this agreement either.

My assumption is that this has been a silly oversight, and not that Fairphone has opted to do this deliberately. If I’m wrong I’ll bring this up with the Dutch Data Protection Authority. I did pay €630 for this, so expect to be able to use without any agreeing to any shady stuff.

I would disagree. When you want to use a phone with GApps installed you cannot do this without agreeing to their TOS. Its not about cookies, so there will be no opt out. If you dont want to agree to Google TOS you have to buy a device without Google. I dont see that this is against GDPR. Not sure what the price has to do with this?

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What’s your background with smartphones if I may ask?
Because what you assume to be a “silly mistake” by Fairphone to my knowledge is exactly done like this by any Android™ smartphone manufacturer (I deliberately put the “™” after Android because I guess the Google-free phones by Huawei and tablets by Amazon won’t have it of course; but they aren’t Android™).

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I understand that one must agree to Google’s terms if one wants to use Google’s services.

I do not want to use a phone with the software that’s pre-installed. I want to delete the software that’s per-installed, but in order to do so I need to sign up with Google.

Fairphone thought of the possibility of users NOT wanting to use Google’s stuff, and even allow removing it, but only after signing up with Google. That is the problem. The “you must opt-in first before you can opt-out” approach.

Mostly pointing out that this is a device I paid for and expect to be able to use it. Expectations for a paid product are not the same as some free service.