There’s no denying that Google’s Android is a popular and sophisticated operating system, but it also captures every piece of valuable data from your smartphone.
Some individuals have developed alternate methods in response to privacy-invading services such as Google. /e/OS, a new mobile phone operating system accessible with a Windows installation, is one example.
What Is /e/OS?
The codename /e/OS refers to a free, open-source, privacy-friendly version of Android. It is a “version of a version” since it is based on the famous Lineage OS ROM.
The non-profit initiative is the brainchild of Gail Duval, the creator of the once-popular Mandrake Linux distribution.
Why Should You Try /e/OS?
Most of us have never paid to use a Google product, despite the fact that it is one of the world’s most successful enterprises.
Google’s riches is mostly derived from the use of your data to make you a target for advertising.
The more you use its services, the more the company learns about your preferences, habits, where you go, who you meet, and other personal details.
Google Android and applications like Gmail, Maps, and Play Store play an important role in this profile-building process.
Even if you don’t think handing over your personal information is a concern, consider the power the firm is gaining by having access to the personal data of billions of individuals, not to mention companies and other organizations.
These records are examined by proprietary algorithms, and no one outside of Google understands what Google can do with that information.
Concerns about the company’s influence have become so severe that the US Justice Department has filed one of the biggest antitrust lawsuits in history against it.
There are methods for protecting your data from Google, but since its tentacles stretch deep into Android, these methods may be akin to putting a band-aid on a bleeding wound.
1. /e/OS Offers Increased Privacy
Unlike Google’s Android, /e/OS is intended from the ground up to protect your right to privacy. The e Foundation is not a company that collects user data; rather, it is a non-profit that is mostly supported by contributions, with the tagline “your data is your data.”
To protect your personal information, /e/OS has replaced all closed-source Google applications and services with verified open-source alternatives. The Magic Earth map software is the sole proprietary app offered.
On the network, this means that your /e/OS device minimizes connections to strange servers in remote locations, saving you money on data as well as battery life.
/e/OS also allows you to choose which DNS server to use, and your phone will not ping Google servers by default, even for time checks.
To augment GPS, the system employs Mozilla Location Services for geolocation functionality.
2./e/OS Will Give Your Device a New Lease on Life
Most new phones come preloaded with Google, device maker, and network operator applications and services, many of which we never use.
Bloatware consumes storage space and is sometimes difficult or impossible to remove. Many of these programs also operate in the background all the time, using vital processing power and RAM.
With this unnecessary software removed from /e/OS, your phone will operate substantially quicker, and your battery should last longer on a single charge.
As a result, /e/OS is a viable alternative even for older phones. Models such as the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Google Nexus 4 were introduced in 2012!
Running /e/OS on older devices also gives you access to security upgrades that repair vulnerabilities and issues in phones that makers and Google have long abandoned.
3. /e/OS Runs Your Favorite Android Apps
Other alternative mobile OS solutions, such as Ubports and Postmarket OS, have a severe dearth of applications. This is where /e/OS shines as a potential option.
Almost all of your favorite applications should function thanks to the MicroG framework, which spoofs the defunct Google Play Services, and /e/OS includes a shop with over 60,000 of the most popular downloads.
Every program in the market has a privacy rating, as well as an analysis of trackers and needed permissions.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, you may use Aurora Store to download any free program from Google Play.
To back up your notes, tasks, calendar, images, and other information, /e/OS features ecloud, its own secure email and file syncing service. You receive 1GB of storage for free, and subscriptions for additional storage start at roughly $4 per month for 20GB. Nextcloud may also be used to host a personal ecloud instance.
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4. /e/OS Is Financially and Environmentally Sustainable
With the economic uncertainties brought by the epidemic and the desire to build a more sustainable environment, you may think that upgrading your equipment every year or two is overkill. Instead of replacing your phone, you may upgrade and protect it by replacing the (presumably out-of-date) OS with the current /e/OS.
Because /e/OS consumes less data and has fewer background activities, your phone will use less energy than a typical Android smartphone.
Furthermore, the e Foundation is transitioning its infrastructure to use only renewable power. The majority of its servers are now powered by zero or low-emissions sources, and the transition should be complete by next summer.
A setting is also being developed to allow an energy-saving dark mode in all built-in /e/OS programs.
5. /e/OS Is Constantly Updated
The project started with a clone of Lineage OS 14 based on Android 7. It has so far provided updates for Android 8 and Android 9.
The developers are hard at work on an Android 10 version, which is now accessible in beta for select OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Essential smartphones.
Once you’ve installed /e/OS on your phone, downloading the newest update is as simple as a few clicks. After a fast reboot, you’ll discover that the most recent operating system has been installed while keeping all of your programs, settings, and folders.
6. /e/OS Is Pretty
The e Foundation wants /e/OS to be as popular as possible, and it recognizes the significance of appearance. It created Bliss, a new launcher that serves as the home screen and app menu. It’s a simple yet appealing design that seems trendy and lively.
If Bliss doesn’t suit you, you can simply replace it with any third-party launcher available in the app store.
7. /e/OS Has Big Plans for the Future
The e Foundation’s goal is to make installing /e/OS as easy as possible in order to provide everyone the opportunity to break free from the Apple-Google duopoly. The introduction of the Easy-Installer for Windows is an important step forward, but more work is needed to expand the number of supported models. For additional information about installing /e/OS, see the section below.
Meanwhile, the crew is continually porting /e/OS to new phones, with the Fairphone 3 being the most recent addition.
In addition, the creators are working on a “Privacy Center” software to give consumers more control over their data.
Unlike Android’s present befuddling labyrinth of privacy settings, this will be a one-stop shop where you can identify trackers, modify permissions, monitor for privacy breaches, deactivate app features, and fake geo-location information.
Another significant initiative is the integration of Progressive Web App (PWA) technology into /e/OS. PWAs operate in their own “sandbox.” This means they have significantly less access to your data than regular applications and don’t run as many background services, allowing them to be quicker, more efficient, and safe.
What Are Progressive Web Apps and How Do I Get One?
The developers are also working on a wizard that will assist you in selecting which programs will be installed when you install the OS, enabling you to personalize the system from the start. The option to delete built-in applications altogether is also being worked on.
How Do I Get /e/OS?
If you’ve ever flashed a ROM, you know how difficult it can be at times. The e Foundation’s Easy-Installer, which is available for Windows and Linux, attempts to make the installation procedure as simple as possible. The program guides you through the process of flashing /e/OS step by step. Just keep in mind to back up your data!
The Easy-Installer currently supports the following Exynos versions:
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
- Samsung Galaxy S9
- Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
More models are being added to the installer, but if you’re feeling brave, you can also install /e/OS on 111 mobile phones via more complex ways.
If you live in Europe, you can get reconditioned handsets with /e/OS pre-installed like the Samsung S8 or S9 for half the price.
/e/OS: The Final Verdict
/e/OS is refined and dependable, but it is unlikely to overtake Google or Apple as the most popular platforms. However, it may fill a significant market niche among customers who seek a reliable phone with little background voodoo.
The project has fulfilled many of its early promises to increase your privacy, and with excellent Android app support and a strong connection between users and developers, /e/OS seems to be here to stay.
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