Installing GrapheneOS on a Pixel Device

As you may know, I like trying out alternative operating systems. I bought a Pixel 6 device and installed GrapheneOS on it. The web installer instructions are pretty easy to follow, and I was able to do it in less than an hour. It took longer to do the Android updates it recommends doing before installing GrapheneOS.

The initial screen is bare. If you just needed to do messaging and calls, it would get the job done. It is possible to install a sandboxed version of Google Play. It works pretty much the same, although I found that some apps that rely on the wifi network or cross-app verification do not work. For example, Nextcloud Notes can not be used with the Nextcloud app authentication because of the sandboxing. The same is also true of apps like Orbi, Sonos, et al that cannot access what they need outside the sandbox. So, I’m either not using these apps or using alternatives.

It also flashes when booting that the operating system has changed, but it doesn’t present a problem. You just have to wait a few more seconds for the phone to boot.

Overall, if you need a flawless experience. I’d stick with the stock OS. If you can deal with a few things not working for better security, or at least worth trying it out, you might want to consider trying it. It is possible to go back to the stock OS later, and it could provide a useful learning experience.

PSA: Your Call Is Important to Us

If I’ve been on hold for 30 minutes, listening to an automated message telling me:

  • My call is important to you
  • An apology for the wait

It’s a classic case of “I cannot hear what you are saying because what you are doing is talking too loud”. If I’m on hold that long, you’re telling me through your actions that my call is not important to you. And, the only real apology is corrected behavior. If you keep doing it, it’s not an apology.

More importantly, when I finally do get to talk to some person, I’m more likely to believe that the person working for this organization is in a culture where lying is the norm, and it will shade our interaction.

Accessing a Locked Android Phone Not Displaying A Keyboard

I use AnySoftKeyboard as my keyboard of choice on Android. It’s great, except when my SD Card becomes corrupted. When that happens, AnySoftKeyboard no longer works. If my device is locked at the time, there doesn’t appear to be a way to type in my password to unlock the device.

There is a solution to this problem, if you have enabled Developer options and USB debugging on the device. Boot into recovery (Volume Up, Home & Power, all at the same time). Start adb on the device. Connect it to your computer with adb and reboot. Then from a command prompt on the computer, type in the following:

$ adb shell input text password && adb shell input keyevent 66

This will basically work just like the displayed keyboard on your device. keyevent 66 is the equivalent of Enter. Then, you can reformat your SDCard in Settings. Then, reboot the device and you will be good to go.

e Foundation

“We build desirable, open source, privacy-enabled smartphone operating systems.

https://e.foundation/

e Foundation is a recent fork of LineageOS. It looks like it supports older devices, such as the t0lte device (aka Samsung Note 2) that I had to upgrade from when LineageOS stopped supporting when they rolled out Android 9, Pie. So, of course, I’ll be trying it in the next few months.