This story was originally published and last updated .
Understandably, some people want to live their digital lives with as little Google as possible, and are willing to go to fairly extensive efforts to get the advertising juggernaut off all of their various devices. On Android, this can prove difficult: almost no smartphone on sale right ships Google-free, and of those that do, there are serious feature gaps to consider, among other things. Enter microG, a way to reduce your reliance on Google's apps, advertising, and tracking by using a de-Googled custom ROM. We'll show you what you need, how to get it set up, and what you need to know about using it.
The Fairphone 3 is the perfect choice for somebody who values a repairable, environment-friendly phone, but just like most other handsets, it runs an Android version with Google apps out of the box — not ideal for someone who is additionally looking to take the Californian company out of the equation. That's where a new cooperation with /e/OS, the de-Googlefied Android version based on LineageOS and microG, comes in. The foundation behind it will start selling the Fairphone 3 equipped with its Android fork on May 6.
Technically speaking, Android is open-source. This means anyone can look at the operating system's code, or change it - this is how OEMs like HTC and Samsung add their own tweaks. That openness has often been a rallying cry for hardcore Android enthusiasts. Why use a closed platform like iOS, when you can have a free and open-source platform?
But even from the beginning, there were components of Android that were closed-source. The Gmail app, Maps, Google Talk, and the Play Store were some of the earliest examples. To combat the always-present fragmentation of Android, Google offers many APIs through the Play Services Framework.