30 Days In, My Pixel 6a with GrapheneOS

I’ve been using ROMs to remove Google’s crap on my Android phones since the Motorola DROID. In the last few years I’ve used both LineageOS for microG (on my Pixel 1) and CalyxOS (on my Pixel 3a), relying on microG for push notifications. At the end of December 2023 I purchased a used Pixel 6a.

The majority of the applications I use day-to-day don’t require Google Play Services or push notifications. And I didn’t want even an open source client that’s constantly connected to Google. Moreover, I wanted to segregate my phone into multiple profiles, so even when I run something that’s privacy-invasive, not every spying app is enabled at once. This is why I opted to give GrapheneOS a try, and I’m glad I did.

Screenshot of my phone's home screen with a colorful wavy wallpaper.Switching between profiles is sometimes tedious, but to me it’s worth it.

So here’s my current setup:

Private DNS Provider: NextDNS

Owner Profile:

  • NO Play Services
  • Aegis – MFA client
  • AirGuard
  • Amethyst – Nostr client
  • Aurora Store – Google Play client
  • Bitwarden – Password manager
  • Brave – Default browser
  • Breezy Weather
  • DAVx5 – Contacts and calendar syncing to Nextcloud
  • DuckDuckGo – Secondary browser for logged in accounts
  • Eternity – Lemmy client
  • F-Droid Basic
  • Gadgetbridge – For my PineTime
  • Glider – Hacker news client
  • Magic Earth – Proprietary (but supposed to be privacy-centric) navigation
  • Fossify Gallery
  • Fossify Messages
  • Molly – Signal client
  • NetBird – Mesh VPN client
  • Nextcloud News – RSS reader for Nextcloud
  • Nextcloud Notes – Notes client for Nextcloud
  • Organic Maps – Open source navigation, used as a fallback
  • Sayboard – Offline voice-to-text keyboard
  • Silence – Block calls that aren’t a contact
  • Tor Browser
  • Transdone – Remote control of qBittorrent
  • Tusky – Mastodon client
  • Tuta – Mail client
  • URL Radio – Streaming radio client

Work Profile, which is almost always turned off:

  • Sandboxed Google Play Services
  • Allworx Reach – VOIP Client
  • Aurora Store – Google Play client
  • AuthPoint – Watchguard MFA
  • Kace GO – Helpdesk client
  • Keeper – Password manager
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Teams

Personal profile, which is almost always turned off:

  • Sandboxed Google Play Services
  • Aurora Store – Google Play client
  • Bitwarden
  • Deco – TP-Link mesh Wifi client
  • Kasa – TP-Link camera client
  • Google Voice
  • Govee Home – IoT device client
  • Nextdoor
  • Smart Live – Another IoT device client
  • Vivint – Home security client
  • WW – Weight Watchers client

Beerstagram profile, which is almost always turned off unless I’m at a brewery:

  • Sandboxed Google Play Services
  • Aurora Store – Google Play client
  • Google Camera
  • Google Photos
  • Instagram
  • Nextcloud – For photo uploads
  • Tusky – Mastodon client, to post to mastodon.beer
  • Untappd – Social network to track the beer I drink