Phones, Google Pixel with Graphene

I am thinking of getting a Google Pixel 4A with 5 G and putting Graphene on it. I just looked and I see someone saying that it is not a good idea to use a Linux phone for daily use.

Can someone elaborate? Or give me a reason not to get the Google Pixel to use with Graphene?

I have a little apprehension in that I tend to use Messaging. I know the folks I sent Messages to will not use one of the better Message things like Signal. Or Threema. As I understand it, I can install the usual Android Message App, although that does blow some of the Privacy stuff away.

Hi @catacombs

I suggest taking a look and reading through GrapheneOS’s website. It is very well written and explains everything.

GrapheneOS is not ‘a Linux phone’. GrapheneOS is developed as a non-profit open source project and is an Android-based, security-hardened, privacy focused, mobile operating system.

There are a number of apps, such as Camera, Messaging, Phone, Calendar, Files & Gallery, that are part of AOSP, and are included with GrapheneOS.

GrapheneOS also includes the Vanadium browser, PDFViewer, and Auditor app.

Please take a look at Why aren’t my favorite apps bundled with GrapheneOS for further information regarding Apps.

The Features page has an overview of GrapheneOS features differentiating it from the Android Open Source Project.
The FAQ page covers a lot of frequently asked questions.

GrapheneOS now has a WebUSB-based Installer, which makes the installation process very simple and easy to complete.

Also, check out the community contact page for information on how to join the offical chat room, a place to ask questions and get support.

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I misled myself by seeing,

Build dependencies

Arch Linux, Debian buster and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS are the officially supported operating systems for building GrapheneOS.

I had thought the ROM was from Google, and perhaps a layer on top of that. That layer relating to Android. And Linux on top of that binder.

I guess these other posters have already have a Google phone with Graphene.

From what I have read: If I get a Google Phone. I should first put a SIM card in it, and then updates all the Android. Use if for a few days, and then the actual change to Graphene can be done with a Web Browser, making sure everything is fully charged, and plugged into mains. Meaning, putting Graphene on the google phone, at that point is not hard. It is not like compiling everything from scratch. I will not know that until I try it though.

Thanks for replying.


May I ask where you read that?

You have the option of course to inject the sim card in first and do incremental OTA updates, however, please remember to connect to a WiFi network so you don’t waste your data plan on it.

Just an FYI, another option is to sideload the updates manually. Personally IMHO, I find it quite a bit quicker to do so.

As a side note, if you do choose to use your stock phone for a few days prior to installing GrapheneOS, that a recent academic white paper was released with insightful information about what data will be collected by Google during that period.

If you like for information, here is a post on this forum about:

Also, @hauntsanctuary commented with Google’s response, which is a great read:

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Over a month ago I was asking questions on the Chat related to Graphene. And on a forum.

Perhaps I should say, I do not have at home internet. I am older and only have a meager Social Security payment for income. Fast, always available, unlimited, WiFi, makes doing some things easy .

I seem to recall that a person said that in order to get Graphene OS to load he needed the phone to be working and updated. Somehow I took that to mean that he had placed a SIM Card into Phone and had activated phone as an Android Phone, that is, the phone had a phone number. I was also under the impression (and I am often wrong) that for a phone to work on WiFi it needed a number, although not an active carrier. I have friends who have limited phone plans but take their phones on plane trips (before Covid) and used them on WiFi. using Viber. I repeated what they said, as I had hoped that someone who had used Graphene for some time might warn me if I am incorrect.

I usually use an unlimited data plan. I know for an Iphone, updates will not download on the data plan, but require WiFi to download updates. Several years ago I had an Android Phone, which would download updates, but only if I was sitting under the correct tower.

That was the phone provided to the poor by the government. Huwai phone that spend all of my resources either uploading backups, or downloading something. Every day, To use the phone for a phone call, I had to do factory reset, drive over and sit under tower for like forty minutes. If I tried to limit the setting to not back up all my data, the phone would drop connections. Like someone said, Google is obsessed to spying on me to the point that limited processor phones are useless.

When you say, side load, I am guessing you are saying that Graphene, after it is on phone an functioning, will download and install Android ROM updates, those that are part of the underlying security of the phone. Not the Google, or carrier nonsense.

I do not want to find myself frustrated by getting the Graphene install to fail, and perhaps be difficult for me to recover. So I set up a plan to use the phone on Android, update it, then install Graphene, and hope I would not end up losing value of phone carrier card.

As I am old, I do not want to be without a working phone for long. I likely will port my current number onto Pixel. Which is as more of a Security Problem than I desire, but, Sending a new number everywhere means not much improvement.

I am constantly trying to scheme a way not to spend so much money on my next phone. This project looks like more than six hundred.

Thanks for any advice. I do not personally know anyone else who is using GrapheneOS.

I do expect that the Pixel with GrapheneOS works smoothly. This is a,not like a lot of Linux, always has something I need to fiddle with.

As an older person with a lot of medical issues, I need a phone that works all the time.

Hope the Bunny was good to you this Easter.

I take that to indicate that time is ticking on Google Pixel Phones already released.

That is support for:
Android Google supplied ROM.
Android itself.
Graphene stops supplying updates?

Can we forecast an end date to support for a:

Pixel 4A
Pixel 4A with 5 G
Pixel 5G

I had been under the impression that doing the config for installing GrapheneOS was straight forward, although could take two hours or so.

Perhaps more time consuming is re-entering all my phone numbers.

Or is it that Google records my purchase date and … ends me

I’m not sure that is the case. Google guarantees 3 years support. Some manufactures even more, at least for security updates. Also, custom ROMs support depends on the team, so it might be longer.

Thanks, removed my post