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Questions regarding software and settings on /e/

Edit: some answers put directly to the questions.

Hi there, after my FP2 unfortunately is not working anymore (runs very unstable after seeing some water) I opted for a FP3 and directly installed /e/. Now I got some questions.

All installed apps are on the “main screen” or if I install more then the screen page can hold, a new one is added. But I can’t manually add one. I also didn’t find a way to group apps together. And there is no option to swipe up and have all the apps there.
What do I need to install in order to achieve this?
How can I uninstall or at least disable (not just force a stop) of preinstalled apps which I don’t intend to use? (Mail, calendar, …) I can’t even remove the icons from the screen.

A different launcher. There’s a ton of them.
If you need some inspiration … Android 7 Nougat / 8 Oreo / 9 Pie: Home screens / Launchers

With a different launcher you could remove the icons from the home screen.
If you really want to uninstall system Apps … First Steps after installing /e/OS | removing bloatware

There is an app preinstalled named OpenKeyChain. My first move was to install f-droid and it right away wants to update this app. The /e/ app store doesn’t see any such update (Is there any use of the /e/ app store if I don’t have a google account?) The questions is now, as a system build in app, do I run into problems updating it via f-droid?

Camera App. That HDR is causing crashes is well known. I also have difficulties with the zoom. It always takes a while and the app easily starts trying to refocus again. Also pushing on the screen to focus on a certain point instead of the middle seems very difficult. Anyone experienced similar problems and has a workaround? (I changed the settings from “focus auto” to “focus locked” for now and the behavior got a little better.)
Also were did the predefined settings for landscape and sunset and such go?

Location. Is there a problem with the location on FP3? The preinstalled Weatherwidget is always off by some kilometers as it seems.

MicroG, my second move was to disable everything under the MicroG settings. Is it possible to set this up in a way, that I only benefit from the push functionality?
Explanation for the question: At the moment I have installed the f-droid telegram version, which always has an icon active because of the issue of not using gcm but needing to be active to receive in a timely manner, new incoming messages?
I’m also using conversations which under /e/ always displays an information of the connection status of the accounts set up. I never had this with LineageOS. Can I disable this?
In general, I would like to understand better the privacy implications (What data goes were when using which option) of using different things. Where can I find information about this?

Root. I read it is possible but I need to keep the bootloader unlocked? Any other things to keep in mind? I read when installing root, the data partition gets wiped, so currently installed apps settings are lost, is this correct? (I’m asking mainly for the omemo keys of conversations and if I can back these up and restore them).

Encryption. Does anyone has experience with this jet? (Devise rooted, not rooted, experience with system updates)

About encryption: as far as I know the data partition on /e/ is always encrypted. During the beta testing OTA updates went fine (I didn’t root my FP3) with encryption.

modem.zip Under LineageOS it was “necessary” to manually update the model file. How is this handled with /e/?

Situation seems not clear at the moment.

LineageOS for FP3. I saw a thread that there is a 16.x Lineage OS under development. I assume they want to benefit from the work /e/ is doing, so that’s why they also stick to 16 and there will not be a 17 anytime soon?

PS: I miss my FP2 (and its size) with LineageOS snief I do appreciate the more mature look and battery life of the FP3. If anybody thinks a more detailed write up of FP2 vs FP3 from the perspective of a google free OS user might be of interest to the community, let me know.)

I can’t answer all of your questions and maybe some of my responses are just a personal take.

The default launcher is called “Bliss” and it’s basically designed to mimic Apples iOS. It’s completely beyond me how people find this convenient to use. But then, when someone has worked with Linux all their life, using Windows might feel extremely clumsy, even if millions of other users are happy with it.
Solution for you: try out another launcher (can’t recommend one because on non-/e/ phones I always stuck with the default launcher).

About encryption: as far as I know the data partition on /e/ is always encrypted. During the beta testing OTA updates went fine (I didn’t root my FP3) with encryption.

I think at the moment no-one really knows how the vendor updates can be updated conveniently when /e/ is installed.
If somebody knows which partitions need “modem.zip like updates” I guess one could download the latest install package from the Fairphone page, extract the files and manually flash the neccessary partitions with fastboot. But I guess one would need to keep the bootloader unlocked for that.

About the Lineage developtment my guessing is that it’s easier to create the initial port with the same Android version the stock ROM runs with. I assume that’s why they started with LOS 16 (and IIRC they started before the /e/ collaboration was announced).

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A different launcher. There’s a ton of them.
If you need some inspiration … Android 7 Nougat / 8 Oreo / 9 Pie: Home screens / Launchers

With a different launcher you could remove the icons from the home screen.
If you really want to uninstall system Apps … First Steps after installing /e/OS | removing bloatware

The pre-installed Weather Widget seems connected to Bliss launcher.
I use a different launcher, and I don’t have this Widget anymore.

As for location … is the location in e.g. Magic Earth correct for you?

Unlocking (and locking) the bootloader will automatically wipe the data partition for security reasons.
Whether installing Magisk really requires this, I don’t know. (I saw this mentioned here somewhere, too, but I didn’t root, so I can’t say for sure.)

Since Fairphone and /e/ are official partners, I would expect Fairphone to hand over their firmware changes to /e/. But I don’t know how to verify that.
There is no modem.zip you can flash on the Fairphone 3.

You would have to ask the developers, but [ROM][UNOFFICIAL] LineageOS 16.0 for FP3 was started before /e/ was officially released for the Fairphone 3.

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Thanks to the two of you so far. As always most helpful.

@Ingo You wrote somewhere (at least I think so) that you just installed /e/ for testing but you will not stick with it. May I ask what you are using now and why?

@AnotherElk
It is only the location widget. Osmand seems exact.

If you really want to uninstall system Apps

The really makes it sound like you would not recommend it?
And maybe another general question. LineageOS was still using google DNS or the location provider or something like this? How is this for /e/?

Then I wouldn’t bother with the Widget.
Most probably it will be gone anyway once you get rid of the Bliss launcher.

I just wanted to make it sound different than getting rid of icons.
I personally have uninstalled system Apps back with the stock OS, and now with /e/, too.

Here is an overview of what /e/ brings to the table … https://doc.e.foundation/what-s-e … although part of this list are things which they just got with LineageOS already, as I see it, there is no distinction between the two OSes there.

Sure. I stick with the OS that comes preinstalled. The only extra degoogling/privacy enhancing things I did were

  • using the normal settings (e.g. not allowing WiFi/Bluetooth scans even if disabled; not allowing Google to keep my location history, etc.)
  • calendar and contacts are stored in my self-hosted owncloud and not in my Google account
  • using Blokada as ad-blocker (with two or three exceptions added like Twitter)
  • removing the google search app via adb (the bar on the home screen stays but now does nothing if accidentally tapped)

For my FP2 I was using LineageOS with GAPPs pico + maps, chrome (in case something doesn’t work in Firefox and IIRC it replaces the rendering engine for embedded WebView components so that I profit from chrome’s security fixes) + youtube.
Main reason to go with LOS was because it always was ahead in major Android version so that it was more likely to get security fixes longer (which turned out to be true: LOS for the FP2 is still updated, the last FP(O)OS update was end of last year with one more update in beta stage since half a year).

Not sure if I’ll switch to LOS once it arrives on the FP3. The stock ROM works well enough for me.

I guess I’m simply not the target audience for /e/. I do appreciate choice, though, and I’m well aware a lot of people were asking for a de-googled FP3 so I did what I could to assist in that by joining the /e/ beta testing (and now trying to get UBports GSI running).

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