How to live without a cellphone?

Greetings everyone, I am new to this site and the privacy lifestyle. Sorry if these sound like dumb questions. Due to privacy concerns and the ever increasing state of mass surveillance, I have decided that I eventually want to completely live without a cell phone/smart phone. The things that I mostly use on my smart phone are GPS (for navigation and finding stuff), music streaming, texting/calling (but I can always just use my laptop with E2EE messaging software for this instead), and social media (which I can just use on my computer instead). Finding my way around will probably be the toughest but most important thing for me once I get rid of my mobile phone. My question is, what are some ways that I can navigate and find my way anywhere without GPS. How did people survive and find there way to places before GPS and smartphones were invented? Lol! I know that you could probably just use paper maps, but how would you find places like restaurants, court houses, shops, specific addresses, etc.? Also, what are some good devices I could buy that doesn’t connect to internet or network, can’t be tacked or traced, that I can download and play music on, take pictures/videos, but could also possibly connect to WiFi without being tracked. I was thinking about getting an older or used iPod Touch, but can those be tracked/traced? What are my options here? I would like to see if anyone who is older or anyone who lives without a cell phone can give me some suggestions. Thanks!


While I understand your concern for privacy, it doesnt seem reasonable to live without cellphone these days. Surely you need other people to talk to, and that includes non-privacy concious folks. Privacy is only truly meaningful if you have a private life to protect so it would not be desirable to cut off yourself completely.

An iPad/iPodTouch/deGoogled tablet and LTE wifi modem should cover most of normal privacy enthusiast requirements we need. Just dont forget a VPN to mask that traffic.

For GPS and Mapping App, you can use OpenStreetMap as an alternative for mapping application. Unfortunately I dont know any privacy respecting traffic routing app we can use.

For Music, you can use a completely offline player and MP3, FLAC, etc…

For Social Media, just use their respective web application when on the go.

EDIT: grammar, dont post when you just wake up and dont forget to read preview


One additional thing that I’d like to add that you could also look into using an Android device with a custom ROM. But that depends on whether or not the device you own currently has good support for it. Privacytools also has a section on it.

But like @hauntsanctuary already mentioned, I’m not sure if it would fit your situation and you need to has some knowledge in order to set it up. Just something worth checking out I think.


If your threat model is such that you can’t even have a cell phone, you shouldn’t even be on a forum like this.

Hell, even Snowden has a cell phone, he’s just careful about what he installs on it or how he uses it.

Sometimes we go a little too far with “privacy” and ruin our real life experiences.

I’d instead suggest you sit down and map out your real threat model, and then change your habits based on that.


I think it would make more sense desoldering the camera and the microphones if you’re so worried about, and still, if you still use Silicon Valley’s social media I don’t see why would you want to stop using a phone if they can get almost the same data. With things like GrapheneOS or postmarketOS, and the new FF with better privacy I would say we’re starting to see good times for smartphones in terms of privacy.

1 Like

Here in Egypt GPS is sucks (yeah even google one) so just ask people ? when i try go to new place i try ask my dad and my classmates to tell me which way is better

Everything can be tracked. but yes its good from side that your cellphone provider won’t know you are here but probably apple will know so all i could say yes use iPod without connect it to internet or do but blacklist all apple’s domains, idk

Also who said live without cellphone ? you can get old school phone or use your current smartphone with Faraday cage and if you want listen to music you can get mp3 player or something


In my humble opinion, you should start by writing down why you’re breaking up with your cellphone. Sometimes we overwhelm ourselves way too much with privacy/“healthy” relationship with our phones that forget such think as critical thinking and convinience. Of course, privacy DOES MATTER but you shouldn’t give up somethign as convenient as cellphone just because it intrudes your privacy. Control over tech is possible, it only depends from yourself.

And remember one important thing - privacy won’t stick just because you use certain services for a week and nothing else. It may take from a month to over a year. At least this is what happened to me: my mind needed over a year to get comfortable with certain privacy-minded position.

Nevertheless, if you still want to get rid of your phone, here’re the alternatives for things you asked:

  • For navigation, nothing is better than asking local people or viewing maps. Of course, it might feel weird for both you and the person you ask, but you’ll get comfortable with that. As an alternative, you can use OpenStreetMap on your PC to search for certain locations. You might take a notebook with yourself where’s the whole route written down.

  • As for music, there are many MP3 Players like iPod Touch and others. If you require Net-free device, you could search for old Walkman Players. Right now I have myself and it feels wonderful, it’s functionality should fit every basic need.

  • For photos there’s a camera. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Just a camera.

Still, I recommend you to take some time and think about the reasons of getting rid of cellphone. From my personal experience, living without a smartphone is hard as hell in today’s hyperconnected world. I won’t say that you should urgely check latest news, Facebook, Snapchat and etc. It’s all mindful usage and self-comfort. You can transform smartphone from a surveillance device to your privacy-minded assistant. It only depends on yourself.

1 Like

You could use an old type cellphone. I use a Nokia C2-01. You only really need a phone for calling and texting. I remember life before the internet and smartphones. You don’t need Google Maps and you should’nt be using it if you care about privacy. Buy a hard copy map of the area you live in or use Open Street Maps

1 Like

Basically every device can be tracked as soon as it connects to other devices. However, you can buy devices with a small number of interfaces (e.g., a laptop without Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC, GSM) to gain more control.

Keep in mind: more interfaces in a device → more processing units in a device → more (outdated) firmware in a device → more potential security vulnerabilities in a device.

And read the answer of @danarel:

If your threat model is such that you can’t even have a cell phone, you shouldn’t even be on a forum like this.

1 Like

On top of those things maybe look into Faraday bags if you are really worried about cellphone tracking.



Do you think it is a security risk to use a old cell phone? I use a Nokia C2-01. But I only use it for calling and texting. There are no software updates because it is not supported anymore.

1 Like

Thanks for the good advice. I do still eventually want to be able to live without a cellphone. I know that it’s pretty hard nowadays to live without one. Of course I would still use my computer to be able to do things, use the web on it, and communicate with people through it.

[quote=“hauntsanctuary, post:2, topic:3209”]
iPad/iPodTouch/deGoogled tablet and LTE wifi modem
[/quote] Can these devices still be tracked in any way?

I’m also concerned about the potential health problems from long term exposure to cell phone and wireless radiation. Thanks for your reply and advice.

1 Like

[quote=“danarel, post:4, topic:3209”]
Hell, even Snowden has a cell phone
[/quote] I thought Snowden didn’t have or use a cell phone. I’ve heard he doesn’t even have one.

1 Like

[quote=“esmailelbob, post:6, topic:3209”]
blacklist all apple’s domains
[/quote] What does that mean and how would I do that?

1 Like

Thanks for the advice. I want to eventually live without a cell phone because it can be a huge distraction for me and can be very addicting, and I want to be more social face-to-face with people without all the distractions. I’m also concerned about the potential health issues from long term exposure to cell phone and wireless radiation.

1 Like

What about small Linux devices? Are they more secure and private?

1 Like

Do you happen to know if OpenStreetMap’s open source code has been independently audited and is safe and private to use?

1 Like

It’s seemed like he hasn’t, but more than once he’s mentioned that he doesn’t use Twitter from his cellphone.

1 Like

Hey there. I work within the healthcare industry and is very much involved in day to day working with radiation for a living. There is no reasonable concern for you to worry about the non-ionizing radiation from your cellphone. Worst it can do is heat up iron-containing substances and there is not nearly enough watts for it to heat anything inside you.


I don’t really know how someone could hack that if it has no internet connection, it is obviously possible, but there are so many models and brands and different OSes that the chances of that happening, plus the attacker would need physical access to it, are very, very slim. I’m no expert, though.

1 Like