How to find out whether a mobileOS runs on a specific FP version?

Now, the time to switch the OS of my FP2 starts coming. Although meanwhile there are many alternate ROMs/OSes besides the vendor Android images, it’s very hard to determine whether an OS found runs on my FP or a specific model.

Is there a method to check, a set of requirements (besides x GB RAM and so on) I can check or a procedure to go through to know in advance, whether I’m going to have (bigger) issues with this or that mobileOS?

If you search the forum you will find many options, see


In general if an alternative OS build does not state exactly that it is made for a specific phone it won’t run on that phone. Those phones are not generic enough to have one OS build to cover more than one model. Therefore the list on the previous post is a good starting point.


I think Sailfisch and Ubuntu might be a bit too “special” however Lineage and e/OS both work well on the FP2. I never tested divestOS. When you want to stick to GoogleApps LineageOS is the way to go.

In the list you should have links to the forum topics to start with.

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Most if not all of them require Google. If I had no problem with it, I could use the default Android…

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What do you mean by “require Google”?

If I look at the list, basically all alternatives do not require Google by my understanding.


If you haven’t previously installed adb and fastboot, you can download them from Google.

You are aware that most of the OSes in the list are still Android OSes and thus are based on Google’s Open Source Android base AOSP, as all (all!) stock and custom Android OSes out there are, and thus the main chunk of OS code running on the phone was still done by Google, regardless of which stock or custom Android OS you choose?
But downloading some command line tools from Google is bad.

I think coming from this point of view your main subjects of research from now on should be Ubuntu Touch and Sailfish, these are not Android. But you might still not like install requirements.

What other Android OSes than the stock one do is reduce dependencies from Google Apps and services as well as limiting Android-inherent data connections to Google servers (to different degrees depending on the OS).
Perhaps they have a point with these priorities? But they still require at least fastboot, if not adb, too.

Since I don’t know how to get around at least using the fastboot command on phones shipped with Android … Pure Linux phones without Google involvement are out there.
The performance of the PinePhone (even the Pro) is atrocious (says the internet), and the Librem 5 is kind of expensive (and currently ships in 52 weeks according to the website).

In any way, currently it’s pick your poison.


The Fairphone B. V. portrayed the Fairphone Open OS as ”completely de-googled“. Reading your post – as you are one of the most active users, as far as I can overview it – Fairphone Open OS (looks like a false-branding of the ”product“ FP Open OS.

A user/consumer/private individual using tools like a hammer, root access, adb or fastboot to get into their device is far away from a major corporation with more than one de-facto-monopoly which has just manufactured and, too, sold the device keeping it defective by design.

(To be continued…)

Personally, I would agree, I have a real logical problem applying the term “degoogled” to anything using Android. I use Android nonetheless, I picked my poison.
In reality, the questions for me are: Where’s the harm, where’s the fix, how to put it into terms?

Not many will see downloading and using the adb and fastboot commands as a considerable harm. You want to do so, ok, nobody’s stopping you.

AOSP as a base for phone vendors or custom ROM communities to build their Android OSes on is Open Source, no huge problem there apart from Google doing the main work and stewarding it. Don’t like Google involved at this level already? Off to Linux phones or Apple.
But AOSP is not what most users want on their phone, because where’s their Google Mail, their Google Maps, their Google whatever, this AOSP can’t do a thing they’re used to. Google manages to bind users with their well-known Apps and services and has managed that what most users perceive as “Android” necessarily includes these Apps and services, else it’s not considered Android (visible e.g. everytime somebody asks how to get back “to Android” from a custom ROM which is also Android).
And then a smartphone OS needs to make some calls to function as expected. Android calls of course go to Google servers by default.
The Google Apps and services as well as the connections to Google servers are the harm privacy-conscious users are aware of.

The fix is more complicated.
If you look at examples like PinePhone or Librem 5 you get an idea of how incredibly difficult it is to operate completely outside of a well-established technical eco-system and to still somehow make a usable product emulating this eco-system so that people will be willing to use the product. You want to have a smartphone for reasons, so it better behave like a smartphone.

So, what can be done within an existing eco-system perhaps, which is somewhat open to doing your own thing, so that the entry hurdle could be much lower for users?

Getting rid of Google Apps and services is what most Android custom ROMs will easily do out of the box, because they legally can’t preinstall them anyway. Preinstalling Google Apps and services is what phone vendors have to get a Google certification for their stock Android OSes for. Custom ROMs don’t get this certification, and mostly don’t want to.
Because there’s no huge loss, of course, instead this creates some freedom. On most Android custom ROMs you as the user can decide to install Google Apps and services in a capacity of your choice (Google will not stop you), or you just don’t install them at all (but many popular Apps need them and will not work without them).

Getting rid of the server connections is tricky if you don’t want to expose users to a really rocky experience.
Some Android OSes will invest the effort and do this, but they need replacements. So if you want to know what they do, some reading is always required.
One example. Here’s the documentation of what /e/OS is … /e/OS product description - a pro-privacy mobile operating system and cloud services … and here’s which Google connections are still left in /e/OS … Anonymous calls to Google servers. Most of the connections are because they include microG in the OS. And they include microG in the OS to have some compatibility with Google-dependent Apps people are used to. Their choice, and so they have a lot of users. But notice how even if they would get rid of microG (and most of their users along with it) there would still be something left to do.
It’s complicated.

So here we are.
What is “degoogled” and what is not? And if in the Android realm nothing can be degoogled in a pure interpretation of the term, how would you tell users what you are doing when applying certain degoogling steps, especially considering nowadays’ average attention span? Assuming you actually want users, that is.

You as a user can still inform yourself to a degree you are content with. Your choice how far to go down the rabbit hole, but in the Android realm you don’t need to go down awfully far to have an idea of what an Android OS without certain Google elements is and what it’s not.


Nice write up ~ thanks :slight_smile:

There are a few things I’d like to add.

What aspects of the need to download adb and fastboot from Google bother you, Nepomuk?

Is it connecting to Google servers?
In that case I see a couple of options. Maybe you could ask a friend to do the download and then give you the files (it’s actually one ZIP file that gets downloaded and just needs to be extracted, not installed). If you are on Linux, you can usually install those tools from the repos of your distro, but then those versions tend to be not very up-to-date and might not work properly. Or you can use the bundled tools from the installers of Fairphone OS, Ubuntu Touch or /e/ (and probably more).

Is it executing software by Google on your PC?
Maybe then you could have a friend (or Fairphone Angel who’s willing/capable) install the OS for you. Or buy it pre-installed from those projects that offer this.
Not sure if the source code for the platform tools is available, just in case you’re ok with compiling the tools yourself if you don’t trust binaries created by Google.

And maybe two things in addition to what AnotherElk wrote.
In order to flash a new OS on a phone you first have to boot the stock ROM, complete the setup wizard (with the possibility to skip most or all steps), enable the developer options to then be able to unlock the bootloader. Before this, installing a new OS is blocked. Which means you have to run Google software on your phone once in order to get rid of it. And in case of the FP4 you’d have to at least enable networking during the steps of the unlock procedure as it requires an internet connection to check the unlock code. Again, this might be ok, if somebody else does it for you.

And as AnotherElk said, most alternatives are based on AOSP, which might be a blocker for you.
But to my knowledge, even Ubuntu Touch requires a minimal Android container running on the phone, even if the system is Linux, because it needs those Android components to be able to access the hardware (that was developed for Android).


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