The problems that we all have with our “smart” mobile phones are two-fold – first, their vendors decide on how long you can use them with their support, second, they spy on you, me, and us all.
I wrote about the first problem lately, with Zuleikha’s Google Pixel 3a being supported until recently. It still runs Android 12 which is newer than what the vast majority of people have on their phones (according to Google’s stats), but it won’t get the next version 13 or any further security updates, thus it will be increasingly insecure.
There are mostly two alternative operating systems to remedy that, namely LineageOS and /e/ which is also based on LineageOS (and both are based upon the Android Open Source Project, or short AOSP). The differences between these are mostly that LineageOS by itself doesn’t use Google services (if you don’t install them), and is a bit harder to install especially for beginners, while /e/ comes with microG services which mostly replace Google’s services (which spy on you). There’s also a fork of LineageOS with microG, keep that in mind as well.
About that ‘spying’ and privacy part: here are two videos in German which concentrate a bit more on that part, and less on the sustainability aspect, so the first one also mentions GrapheneOS and CalyxOS, two alternatives in regard of security rather than longevity:
So yes, both GrapheneOS and CalyxOS run fine – on Pixel devices as long as these are supported by Google. But if the sustainability *and* the security aspects are equally important to you (as they should be to us all), then have a look at /e/ and/or at LineageOS, with or without microG.
/e/ by the way has its ‘Bliss’ launcher which looks much more like iOS rather than Android, but that could be changed with a few (non-mouse- but finger-) clicks. The look of it really reminds me of the iPhone SE (2020) I had for a while from my former employer, while LineageOS has the same ‘MaterialU’ (or whatever the name is) design language that the AOSP and also Google’s own Pixel devices are using. So choose your poison here, can’t discuss about aesthetics…
And /e/ also supports a number of devices still older than the ones supported by LineageOS, like for instance Google’s Nexus 5 (made by LG which was wonderful). It will still run a fork of Android ‘Nougat’, but hopefully by now a bit more secure than the original one…
There are many more videos, also in English, which explain all the differences between these operating systems, just wanted to push some of my own relatives into the general directions with the two from above.
And as always, thanks for reading, and for viewing.