Misunderstandings about Android vs. De-Googled Phones

Live - De-Googled Phone Misunderstandings, + Q&A

This video is designed to help clear up some mis-understandings that some people have regarding Android phones vs. de-Googled phones. The de-Googled phones definitely have major privacy and safety advantages over Android phones. Click the video to learn more about the value of moving to a de-Googled phone.

NOTE: Rob is a jazz musician, and the video starts with 3.5 minutes of him playing some jazz on a small electronic keyboard. So feel free to enjoy the music or skip over to ~3.5 minutes into the video.

Here are some clips from this video’s transcript.

In the heat of his discussion, Rob Braxman often said Google when he obviously intended to say de-Googled. So I’ve noted those changes below.

06:36 What’s the advantage of the [De-]Google[d] phone, since Google is going to find out who you are anyway? Even with a [De-Google[d] phone, versus, you know, your Android, normal Google Android, because they will identify your old phone and see that you should switch phones, and you’re going to be the same person. So therefore they’re going to find you anyway and track you and…

07:03 NO! Absolutely incorrect. Absolutely incorrect. So just, we just want to make sure we’re clear on that. First of all, when you have a [De-]Google[d] phone, and i’m going to use this one, which is a Pixel. So this is a Pixel. This is a Google Pixel 4A. When you have a [De-]Google[d] phone, first of all, you never, ever, log into the phone. The phone doesn’t have a login.

07:45 So if you have a standard Google phone, obviously Google knows everything, because you logged in. It’s called deterministic. They know exactly who you are because you logged into the phone. So there’s no hiding who you are. I mean you could do, play any game you want, with the baseband modem, or whatever tricks you want, and delete this, delete that, and I don’t know what you’re gonna do, or get rid of the play store, and disable this. There’s nothing you could do on the Google phone because you sucking logged in! Okay?

08:22 Now you’re gonna say, Well, I don’t have to log in. Okay. Let’s start with the thing about you logging in. If you’re logged in, you pass the IMEI off the phone, because that’s one of the things that Google does. They take the IMEI, the International Mobile Equipment Identity (identifier), which is the unique identifier of this phone. That’s a unique serial number of this phone: the IMEI. So they got the IMEI of your phone.

08:52 Okay, so now you say I’m not going to log in. Well you’re right. That’s not going to do any good, because they can still see the IMEI, whether you’re logged in or not. They can see the IMEI because it’s a Google Android. So yes, if you have a Google phone, whether you log in or not, the moment you log in the first time, it doesn’t matter if you log in the next time or not, because they got the zucking IMEI.

09:34 Now let’s say that this is the [De-]Google[d] phone. I never log into a [De-]Google[d] phone. There is no login. So what do they know about the phone? Well, guess what? On a [De-]Google[d] phone, Google does not, or a third-party app, Google included, does not have access to the IMEI.

10:00 So the IMEI is available only to system apps. There is no system app on a [De-]Google[d] phone because there is no Google. Google is the only system app. There is no system app on a [De-]Google[d] phone. So they cannot get the IMEI, and Android doesn’t let you read the IMEI anyway, unless you’re a system app.

11:25 Rob starts talking about a Google phone running wi-fi scanning. Google scans the towers around every identifiable Google phone, so they can triangulate its location. That goes on 24/7, as long as the phone is on and broadcasting and receiving signals.

But that doesn’t happen on a de-Googled phone. Yes, there’s wi-fi, but since the de-Googled phone has never logged into Google and, thus, its IMEI isn’t known, it’s more transparent to wi-fi and less personally identified.

If you value your privacy and safety, get serious about de-Googleing your life.


Glad I signed up for this forum because I am having problems opening Telegram and their support is poor.

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Welcome back to the forum, @Mguag. Glad you came back.

I’ve never had a problem with Telegram, so I don’t have enough information in your question to know just how to answer you. But I’ll give you some possibilities. Come back with more details if this doesn’t do it for you.

Your question about Telegram doesn’t tell me whether you’re talking about using it on a phone (which flavor: Android or iOS?) or on a desktop or laptop (which distro flavor?). So I don’t have much to go on in giving an answer. Providing that kind of information with any question helps others respond more appropriately to your query.

Generally I can say that if you’re talking about using Telegram on a phone, if you downloaded it from a Big Tech app store, in Linux it’s best to uninstall that and download it directly from Telegram.org. That page shows you options for Android, iOS, PC/Linux, and Mac.

I don’t know the methods for Mac or iOS, but in Android, you have to go into your Settings app and give permission to “Install from Unknown Sources,” which Android really doesn’t want you to do, with good reason many times, but not when it comes to avoiding Google in Linux. How to do that varies with different Android versions.

My Android phone is only on Android 9. Since it’s hard to find, I went into Settings, and then used the Magnifying glass/search box at the top of Settings to look for “unknown,” and it led me directly to “Install unknown app,” and a tap on that response took me directly to the section and even highlighted the link to click: Install unknown apps." That will likely work for you, if you’re on Android and your question is about Telegram on Android.

If this doesn’t give you exactly what you need, check back here with more details of your equipment/distro/phone, etc., so I can be more precise in your answer.

Thanks for the info. I downloaded Telegram on my iPhone X using iOS App. It has been working fine for months until it stopped updating. I did all the recommended fixes and finally deleted the app. During the reinstall, all goes smoothly until I have to verify my country code and phone number. Then I get repeated msg to check my internet connection. Having no trouble with my phone using internet for anything else, so I don’t think it is a phone problem

We’ve been told to install the app from Telegram.org, since the apps in both app stores can be cut off by those two stores. That’s generally called side-loading–getting an app from a different store. I’ve done that with my Android phone. I changed permissions in the phone to allow apps from other sources, and then installed the app from the Telegram website. After it was installed, I changed the setting back to disallow side-loading.

When I went to ‎Telegram Messenger on the App Store, to get an app from them for Telegram, Telegram said “this app is available only on the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.” So it looks like you may be stuck with using the one from the App store.

I haven’t heard any comments in the chat, when I’ve been in there, about this problem for iOS users. So don’t have personal knowledge of it.

I did a search for side-loading on iPhones and found a number of suggestions. I know very little about using an iPhone, so I’m not qualified to evaluate these options.


Thanks so much for your help. I will check out your links. I can still use Telegram on my MacBook pro, just can’t reload the app on my iPhone.

I have a Asics Windows 10 laptop I want to change to linux. Any suggestions where I should start? I am a 68 yr old newby, and not a whiz at software or computer knowledge, so I need basic step by step instructions. Also need to decide on a distro. I have been using the MacBook almost exclusively, so that is what I am most familiar with. Any advice you can offer is appreciated!
Also, I learn best following clear written instructions. Any suggestions?

Hi @Mguag The place to start is I don't know where to start! - Your Linux Introduction, here in the forum. Bookmark that page. You may find many answers there.

That will guide you through deciding on a distro, based on your need for a pc, how to create a bootable usb drive with your distro on it, and how to boot up your machine to run the live distro on that usb.

Before you start doing anything about using the usb to install, you need to watch one or more videos about how to do the installation process, for a Linux distro. You’ll learn more about various distros by watching videos on installing them.

I recommend that you scroll down that page to find the video called “Ubuntu Complete Guide.” it’s a large, black video image, of a man beside that video’s title. Click on that video to learn about the whole process. Whether you decide to use Ubuntu or some other distro, that will give you the basics of how to do an install. It will also show you how you an install the distro along with Windows, if wish to do that. Or you can wipe out Windows and put only the distro on your machine, if you wish that.

Spend some time on that page looking at any videos that seem relevant to you. Watching videos is probably the easiest way to start getting familiar with this process of coming over to Linux.

When you decide on a distro, if you’re unsure about it, look for videos on installing the distro you want to install. If you don’t already have a video for your distro, do a web search like this: installing Linux Mint (if that’s your chosen distro) on Windows.

You have to educate yourself to make this trip easier for you. It’s not hard. It just takes learning some new things, which you can do from watching applicable videos.

Start educating yourself in the process and you’ll be up and running soon.

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