One of the reasons I am not a heavy smartphone user is privacy concerns. However, the truth is that I have a smartphone and I use it, so clearly being aware of a problem and not acting on it is not going to fix it any time soon.

This is why I have finally decided to move to a different operative system for my Fairphone 2. After researching the right OS for my needs I landed on DivestOS. I won’t go into the technical details underneath the software because the website is fairly rich in this regard. Let’s see the practicals, instead.

First of all, I backed up the important data on my phone. This means PGP keys, OTP settings, and everything else that Google was not already saving for me. I then downloaded the required fp2 images from Device Downloads. After that, I moved to the Bootloader/Installation page and went through the Prerequisites section by making sure USB debugging was enabled on my phone and by running the following command on my laptop:

sudo apt install android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot

Since DivestOS is a fork of LineageOS, I preferred to follow the Install LineageOS on FP2 steps instead of the ones over at the Fastboot section of the Bootloader/Installation page. Why? Because I am a newbie at smartphone flashing and I wanted clear instructions on how to proceed.

The installation went smoothly. I then set up the few apps I need, making sure everything from my VPN to basic email was working as expected. The only problem I soon discovered is PosteID, which is the app I use to handle SPID, the digital identity system the Italian government offers to access online administration services. Luckily, there is a workaround to avoid the PosteID app which relies on good old SMS for part of the authentication process. It’s limited to 8 messages every 3 months, but that is enough for me.

When I started this de-googling project I knew I was sacrificing comfort in favour of more control over my digital life. How much the whole operation is worth only time will tell.