Going off the grid - part 2

2020-03-08 - 21:03 by ~steph

Well that was unexpected. I kinda forgotten that this awesome community existed until I stumbled upon the ssh key I use to login. And so here we are.

First thing first, I promised to write about my ditching google. So here we go:

Getting rid of Google, for good.

Something that has been bothering me for a while was that it is practically impossible to get rid of Google, even though you try hard. I am using a lot of open source programs instead of proprietary ones. I host my own Searx instance, use my own cryptpad, host my own email and all of that good stuff. I run linux on my laptop and PC, so I don’t have any bad trackers on those. There is only one device that I can’t get out of Big Brother’s hands. The telescreen (or smartphone in 2020).

I own an android phone. Not surprising, as I find phones by Apple priced ridiculously. The thing with android phones is, Google is kinda baked right into them. You almost can’t setup a new phone without an Google account. You need one in order to download apps.

Not that companies like Apple do this differently. You need an iCloud account in order to even boot the device. Even the Kindle from Amazon has an option for logging in.

Now I wanted to get rid of Google, but without actually breaking the phone. Android has this one app that controls almost everything on my phone. Things like notifications, network based location, in app maps, background tasks like synchronization. It’s all bundled inside this one app: Google Play Services.

It’s the only app with root access to my phone. It has to in order to download and update apps from the Play Store heedlessly. And I want it, along with all the other google stuff, gone.

So I would need to find a replacement for this. A polyfill. And luckily, I wasn’t the only person to think that.


In order to replace the Google Play Services app I needed a replacement. Since my phone didn’t originally came with Google apps installed, I had to install them manually. This allowed me to test with turning off all the permissions this app had (because it was just another app), but this lead to almost all of my apps breaking. Every single app I opened showed me an alert: “This app needs Google Play Services to work correctly”. Everything was broken. So I knew that just deleting all of Google off my phone wasn’t enough.

Then I stumbled across this video from Wolfgang’s channel:

He mentions a package called MicroG, that replaces the Google Play Services with a open source app. Exactly what I needed. So that was what I installed. I used the Lineage for MicroG image to make my life even easier.

That’s where I’m now. It works amazing, I can still use most apps (except for the Mc Donalds app, but that is okay) and most apps get tricked into believing it’s actually Google Play Services.


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Last generated on Fri 04 Feb 2022 08:31:01 AM CET