Ways to Block Google on Android Devices

If you use an Android device, installing a custom deGoogled ROM is the obvious best practice, but even on regular Android, there are still ways to limit Google’s spying. Some suggestions:

  • Skip the Google sign-in when setting up the device. (Don’t even have a Google account at all.)
  • Disable as many pre-installed Google apps as possible.
  • Disable any OEM apps you don’t need, especially if they make connections to Google, Facebook, etc.
  • Use F-Droid as your primary app source.
  • Install privacy-respecting apps: keyboard, email, messaging, etc.
  • Use Aurora storefront with anonymous login if you must install an app from the Play store.
  • Install a tracker-blocking app and enable one or more pre-loaded blocking lists. Examples: Blokada 5, TrackerControl, etc. The tracker-blocker will reveal the secret connections that apps make in the background; block them or replace the apps with nicer ones.
  • Use one or more privacy-respecting browsers, with privacy extensions such as NoScript, uBlockOrigin, etc.
  • Use a privacy-respecting search engine.
  • Limit which apps can use background data or connect to the internet at all.
  • Set a custom DNS provider that respects your privacy.
  • Use a mobile provider that doesn’t datamine their customers.
  • On home WiFi, a Pi-hole instance can further limit unwanted background connections emanating from any device on your network.

The Android device will still contact Google’s servers, so even the above actions won’t entirely stop Google’s data collection. But that doesn’t mean we should make it easy.

And if at all possible, switch to a deGoogled ROM. Or the Librem 5 or Pinephone, of course.

[I’ll add any further suggestions from the community to the above list.]


I like this guide for some other steps too related to general privacy (some overlap but felt worth sharing due to AppX inclusion and a few other items):


I’m pretty sure this isn’t FOSS, but I use lucky patcher. It has the ability to fake in app payments but I usually use it to view an apps proccesses and diable them at will.


These are great suggestions! About this one, “Use a mobile provider that doesn’t datamine their customers,” can you (or anyone else) shed some light on which providers might be best (and worst)? I’m looking to switch my carrier (in the U.S.) in a few months, and I could use some guidance.

I suspect all the majors do (or have done): https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/your-phone-carrier-is-selling-your-personal-data-heres-how-to-tell-it-to-stop/

As for the resellers/MVNOs, here’s what Ting (my current and favorite provider) has stated in the past: https://help.ting.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360006756013-Selling-Ting-customer-location-data-for-marketing

Best to check the privacy policy of any carrier you’re considering, and choose an ethical one. Also adjust any available data privacy settings in your account.

EDIT: And of course, there’s AweSIM and LibremSIMple!

In system settings, security & privacy, look for apps with usage access, disable google. I don’t know if this will do anything but apps usually get closed down in the background that have this disabled, accubattery is one such app that needs it.

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The question I have is, does following the suggestions versus having a degoogled ROM have any significant benefit at all? I ask because mainly I am wondering if google can still make a fingerprint of the device in question or not?

Google can, but it’s a question of denying them as much additional data about your activities as possible.

By way of analogy, if you had a water leak, would you prefer a slow drip or a wide-open firehose?

Of course, a degoogled ROM is better, though. See this white paper (PDF) about /e/ Foundation’s degoogling.

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I suspect all the majors do (or have done): https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/your-phone-carrier-is-selling-your-personal-data-heres-how-to-tell-it-to-stop/

Good advice, but check periodically also. My carrier created “a new program” and opted me in without notifying me. I discovered it by reading an article on a privacy website.


So, the question is…what are the privacy/data leakage concerns or tradeoffs between all these OSes (/e/, GrapheneOS, LineageOS). My understanding is that they are roughly the same when it comes to removing google services only. Where they may differ is additional privacy/security features.

Is there a European carrier that respects privacy?

True. And some put more effort into enhanced security, whereas others are more focused on privacy and “googlectomy.” Also several of them can only be installed on a couple of devices, mainly Pixels, while others can be installed on any of about 200 different devices.

You would think that they all would, since GDPR came into play. But…

in my experience, the level of spam and data leaks is way down since GDPR is in place. But, there are still eavesdropping rules that exempt the govs with regard to telecoms.

And in case another reason is needed:


Guess it’s time to use Simple Dialer, since my default/only phone app is the Google Dialer on this phone.

I do like the feature set for spam calls, and was more “OK” using it vs the Google Messages app (never used it, always disable/remove as best as able) but still nice to be informed so thanks for the link!

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You can install a tracker blocker, if you haven’t already, and that should reveal suspicious activity, if any, when dialing (I’m assuming). Then it can be blocked.

Not the best test but it appears to use/have:


I could try with the other apps closed to be 100%, the last one is probably due to me having the toggle for spam caller detection enabled (as the option calls out some data being sent to Google).

Exodus shows the following for trackers: https://reports.exodus-privacy.eu.org/en/reports/242190/

As I said above this is something I kind of enjoy using compared to my last device, but still nice to know all the same.

Can you still make and receive calls if you block those? I suspect spam protection wouldn’t still work, if it’s controlled by Google…which is kinda weird, since they’re not your network.

There’s an f droid app called yet another call blocker that I use, works pretty well for me.

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