What are the differences between a de-googled phone, a privacy phone, an un-googled phone, and a Linux phone?

No doubt you have heard some or all of the above terms.  Maybe you even searched for one of them to find this site.  In this blog post we will talk about the similarities and differences between them, and how they apply to Private Phone Shop.

What is a de-googled phone?

A de-googled phone is an Android smartphone which has had the majority of google’s services removed.  Ordinarily, every new Android phone comes with the google play store installed, which allows you to install new apps.  Additionally, most come with other google apps such as gmail, youtube, and others installed.

With a de-googled phone, most (or all) of that is removed.  De-googled phones run a custom operating system like CalyxOS or GrapheneOS.  Instead of the play store, de-googled phones use app repositories like the Aurora Store and F-droid for downloading apps.  They also remove gmail and youtube, replacing them with private alternatives like Proton or Tutanota.

Note there are degrees of de-googling.  For some, removing the play store and google apps are enough.  For others, they want to remove every trace of google from their phone, no matter how small.  However all of the phones that we sell are considered de-googled phones.

What is a privacy phone?

While there is no clear-cut definition, a privacy phone can be considered a phone that is focused on privacy, and uses apps and services that do not track or spy on you.  This would encompass de-googled phones, linux phones (see below), and possibly even feature phones (aka “dumb phones”) that do not run Android or iOS.  Traditional Android phones and iPhones would definitely not qualify.

What is an un-googled phone?

An un-googled phone is essentially the same thing as a de-googled phone.  According to a popular internet search engine, the phrase “un-googled phone” is roughly 10x less popular than “de-googled phone,” so we use that phrase instead.

What is a Linux phone?

Technically all Android phones are Linux phones.  The Linux kernel forms the foundation of Android, serving as the interface between the phone’s hardware and the rest of the operating system.

However, the phrase “Linux phone” has come to mean a smartphone which is not running either iOS or Android.  These include the Librem 5, Pine Phone, and Ubuntu Touch.

While these phone offer a private alternatives to Android, in many cases the hardware is somewhat lacking.  Such phones also lack the millions of apps found in traditional app repositories like the play store.  Instead, you are limited to whatever apps developers make available for that platform.