Is there a possibility to sync google contacts on /e/os or another de-googled OS compatible with Fairphone 5 (by installing Google Services)?

Hello,

I had a Fairphone 2 and I tried /e/OS and Fairphone Open OS and managed to used all the apps I need (even Waze which relies on Google Services and other paid apps related to my Google account).
The only thing that I did not manage to do was to synchronize the contacts of my Google account (...@gmail.com) through these OS. And that is something I absolutely need for now.

Now I bought a Fairphone 5 and I am trying to start using it directly with a de-googled OS.
So my question is : has anyone managed to synchronize the contacts of a Google account on a de-googled OS ? Like /e/OS of Fairphone Open OS (or something similar that could run on a Fairphone 5).

For information, my goal is to get out of Google but step by step. That’s why I first would like to get out of Android but I would still use the Google Services. Once I manage to go further, I plan to get rid of the Google Services also.

JH

Hi,

I’d assume by registering any Fairphone with Google should automatically give the option to enable data synchronization.
/e/ OS on FP4 and latest Android R for FP2 have account registration implemented for different providers such as Google.
They keep it in the settings->accounts menu. Select an account from the list, sign in and if you like enable synchronization.
On my FP4 I can see two corresponding account types for most providers. 1. Main account; 2. account for address book/calendar/contacts.

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Hi fpjh,
Your post raises a number of points that it’s worth clarifying.

  1. Android is not Google, though it is largely financed by them. While iOS is only developed and visible to Apple and only used on their devices, Android is a solution theoretically devised to run on any compatible device, and it is developed by Google, other manufacturers and volunteers, at source, as an open source project. I suggest that you read this page, in particular the section on governance.
    Most phones that are not manufactured by Apple, run a version of Android (other alternatives exist such as Ubuntu Touch). But these versions mostly contain elements that are not open source (including Google’s own phones, and indeed ‘stock’ Fairphone OS). So /e/, FPOOS, Lineage are all Android; what distinguishes them is that they are much more “open” than versions typically provided by manufacturers. Another important advantage is that they are maintained for different specific devices typically for much longer than the manufacturers’ versions (with the notable exception of Fairphone for example).
    Google comes in for a lot of criticism, rightly in my opinion, but we should remember that we do have them to thank, for the Android project, and the fact that at source it is open. Google could have followed a route similar to Apple and had their own closed OS. Why they didn’t, is debatable and this is not the place for that debate.
  2. Contacts are a collection of data, managed on the phone in a local (on the phone) database that can have several sources. This database is accessed (for read and write) by the apps that you have given “Contacts” permission - including your Contacts app itself.
    The source of each contact record can be: a) local - you input the data through a Contacts app, and choose to store the contact only on the phone; b) synchronized with an external contacts database.
    At present you have contacts hosted by Google. As Patrick1 says, you can configure an account in Settings to enable those contacts to be synchronized into your phone’s local database.
    If you want to move your contacts out of Google hosting, then either you’ll move them into purely local data (NOT recommended!) or you’ll move them to some other hosting provider. Murena, run by e foundation that also provides /e/ OS, would be an option (open to you regardless of whether you run /e/ or any other version of Android). In that case you could do the following:
  • Create an account with the new hosting service.
  • Configure the new account in Settings, alongside your Google account. In both cases you will need an app to manage the data synchronization. A typical example would be DAVx5.
  • Wait for your Google-hosted contacts to synchronize.
  • At this stage I would advise you to export all your contacts to a backup file, if you haven’t done that already. VCF format recommended.
  • You can then, either use your Contacts app (doesn’t matter which, as long as it’s properly designed) to re-allocate the management of each contact to your new account (look for ‘Move to another account’). However as far as I know this can be done only one contact at a time. Some apps may offer a mass-selection transfer. Search the forum, and wider, for “move android contacts to another account”.
    What many people do is, having exported all their contacts to .vcf, then delete them in the app. Wait for synchronization to delete them from the Google hosting list. Then import from the .vcf (the app should ask to which account they should be allocated, indicate the new account).

To conclude, you can’t “get out of Android” unless you move to some other solution like Ubuntu Touch.
For the moment, if you need to leave your contacts with Google, you can use a de-Googled version of Android to synchronize your Gmail contacts using DAVx5 without any other Google-sourced software. This is thanks to the fact that Google have included CardDAV protocol in their back-end API, so that it can be used by apps like DAVx5.

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Hi Patrick1,
thanks for your answer.
I had searched on /e/OS and FairphoneOpen OS on my FP2 and nowhere I could add Google Account except by being redirected to a mail application and there it synchronized only the mails and not the contacts if I remember properly. I think I was missing some information provided by @OldRoutard in his message he posted 1h ago.

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Hi @OldRoutard,
thanks for this detailed answer !
Most of this I already know. But you are right I wrote a too short summary when writing I “would like to get out of Android”. I mean I would like an OS that respects more my privacy in the end and not send too much data to Google like the apps I use and when and … Android as such is not my concern.

From your message I learn that I need an app to sync my Google contacts, like DAVx5. I will try this.
I am still doubtful about the part “Configure the new account in Settings, alongside your Google account” since this was something I did not find in the Settings, how to configure a Google account in such an OS.

For information, regarding my contacts I need them to be synchronized on an hosting service.
I have several Google accounts for now.

  1. One account is shared with my wife who will stay on a standard Android based OS with an easy way to synchronize Google contacts. For this account I need a solution to sync these contacts (that will remain hosted by Google) on my FP5.
  2. Another account is personal. For this account, I plan to switch them to a Murena account. I had in mind a solution based on a contact export but the hints you gave in your message may help me. But one prerequisite is first to sync the contacts of a Google account, which I did not manage last time… So let’s see.

I will first try to install /e/OS on the FP5 and then try as you say.

I managed to install /e/OS (Install /e/OS on a Fairphone FP5 - “FP5”).

I then installed Aurora and F-Droid.

I searched for DAVx5 in Aurora with my Google account but it requested to pay more than 5€ so I did not install it.
I tried to configure my Google account in the Settings but nothing worked.
I even tried to add a cardav URL in the credential page in the Settings since I was given the option to provide one, based on what I found (Google Contacts Carddav Url - Stack Overflow or another URL that a free trial sync app showed me) but still it did not work. I had managed to see my Google data in the free trial sync app but I needed a solution free for more than 2 weeks.

I then searched for DAVx5 in F-Droid and there it was free.
I saw a similar login screen as in the standard /e/OS/ settings (user + password OR user + password + URL OR advanced) but then I noticed below a choice specific to “Google” and after a multi factor authentication process, I now can sync my contacts with my wife in both directions (phone to server and server to phone).

Thanks a lot @Patrick1 and @OldRoutard !

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Well, you migh also use “app lounge” integrated into /e/OS.

Yes I know but I prefer F-Droid as it is universal.
And now that I switch to IodeOS I only have F-Droid and no longer the AppLounge