A workshop about flashing lineageOS on a Samsung Galaxy S3.
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Setup a Google-Free mobile phone

Sources:

Research

Risks

Liberating your device from google voids the warranty.

If it fails and your backup does not work correctly, you risk that contacts or data are not available anymore.

If you have to use unofficial LineageOS or TWRP builds, because the device is not supported, the installation can fail. Then you'll have to flash the stock rom, and restore the backup. It's a nasty effort.

If you have to flash the stock rom, you can only login and use the phone, when you log into a Google account, that already was logged into the phone before you flashed it. Be wary if you bought the phone second hand/online.

Step By Step

Back up data before flashing

Install Firmware

Install TWRP and lineageOS+microG https://lineage.microg.org/#instructions

TWRP

Download TWRP image (see above)

Install ADB on the computer: https://www.xda-developers.com/install-adb-windows-macos-linux/

Enable USB debugging

  • Tap seven times on Settings/About Phone/Build Number to enable Developer Settings
  • Enable Settings/Developer Settings/USB Debugging

Create adb connection

  • Connect phone to computer with a micro USB cable
  • Linux: execute adb devices -l
  • On the phone, confirm that you want to allow this computer to do debugging
  • If the device doesn't show up, try a different micro USB cable

Boot the phone into download mode:

Flash TWRP:

  • Either with fastboot: fastboot flash recovery twrp-xxx-xxx-xxx.img
    • can be different, e.g. on the huashan device, the recovery partition is called boot.
  • Or with heimdall (you might need to install it first): heimdall flash --RECOVERY twrp-xxx-xxx-xxx.img
    • If it doesn't work, try heimdall flash --RECOVERY twrp-xxx-xxx-xxx.img --no-reboot and reboot manually afterwards. Careful: only reboot if the flashing is finished.

LineageOS

First boot into the recovery mode:

  • Either with adb: adb reboot recovery
  • Or with the recovery mode key combination of your device.
    • Note: this is not the same combination for the download mode.

Then go to Wipe + Advanced Wipe to wipe the following partitions:

  • System
  • Data
  • Cache
  • Dalvik

Then go to Advanced/ADB Sideload, swipe to the right, and execute adb sideload lineage-xxx.zip on your computer.

If adb sideload doesn't work, use a micro SD card:

  • Copy the lineage-xxx.zip to the micro SD card
  • Insert the micro SD card into the phone
  • Boot into Recovery mode/TWRP
  • Go to "Install", select the file from the micro SD card, and install it.

Reboot to start LineageOS!

Secure Phone

  • Encrypt phone
    • Load the battery to 100%
    • plug it into a charger
    • Start Encryption process: Settings/Security/Encrypt Phone
  • Install F-Droid
  • Root phone with Magisk
  • Install cryptfs
    • First configure your lock screen PIN, then configure device encryption password
  • Install wrong pin shutdown

Install apps

On F-Droid, you can get open source apps for almost any purpose. If you need Google Play Store apps, you can install them via the Aurora store. You can install the Aurora Store on F-Droid, too.

Some recommendations:

  • DAVdroid: sync Contacts & Calendar with ownCloud
  • Firefox Klar: private browser
  • OsmAnd~: offline maps with https://openstreetmap.org
  • Offi Stations: public transport connections. Different networks are available
  • Briar: End-to-End encrypted serverless Messenger
  • Conversations: End-to-End encrypted XMPP Messenger
  • DeltaChat: End-to-End encrypted E-Mail Messenger
  • ownCloud: store your data in a private cloud. Ask mailto:tech@lists.links-tech.org for an account

And if you really want proprietary shit software on your device: