Frequently Asked Questions

What phone do you recommend?

For a phone that 'just works', we recommend basically any Pixel or Nexus device. They are easy to unlock and receive fantastic support from the community.

  • Pixel 4: Highest security and performance (note: untested)
  • Pixel 3: High security and performance
  • Essential Phone: An easier to obtain Pixel 2 alternative ($70-$120)
  • Pixel 1: Solid price/performance ($60-$100)
  • Nexus 4: Extreme budget ($30-$50)

What tablet do you recommend?

Like the phones, we recommend any Nexus device. Of note, the bottom two only have 2GB of RAM.

  • Pixel C: The fastest tablet supported by DivestOS ($100-$150)
  • Nexus 9: A larger Nexus 7 ($60-$100)
  • Nexus 7 2013: Well rounded tablet ($30-$60)

Any other guidelines for choosing a device?

Yes, please for your own sake avoid devices with the following:

  • Carrier branding
  • No access to fastboot and/or requiring to create an account
  • Less then 3GB of RAM
  • Less then 16GB of storage
  • Less then a 1500mAh battery
  • Released before 2014
  • Non-Qualcomm SoC, eg. MediaTek/Exynos/Tegra/OMAP
  • Kernel older then 3.4

And for the best experience:

  • At least 4GB of RAM
  • At least 32GB of storage
  • At least an MSM8996 SoC
  • At least kernel 3.18, preferably 4.4

I want to sell devices with DivestOS preloaded, what should I know?

Selling devices with official builds of DivestOS installed is OK and within the license. Some preferred suggestions:

  • Handle the sale in good faith.
  • Do not market DivestOS as a magic bullet of privacy and/or security.
  • Verify the GPG signature and checksums of the builds you download/install.
  • Use Extirpater + factory reset to ensure no previous user data remains.
  • Ensure the device firmware is up to date before flashing.
  • Use the DivestOS recovery if supported.
  • Do not modify any system partitions such as /system, /vendor, or /boot.
  • Lock the bootloader if supported.
  • If the device requires a token to unlock the bootloader provide it to the user.
  • Leave it at the setup screen.
  • Leave the default wallpaper.
  • If you preload apps only source from the existing F-Droid repositories.

If you are not using official builds of DivestOS:

  • Make it clear to your users that it is unofficial.
  • Use the branding variables in the scripts to rename it.
  • You must make your sources available to your users under the original repositories' respective licenses.
  • Consider upstreaming any appropriate changes.

What about that gaping hole that is the baseband processor?

We are in dire need of free hardware, but we don't have many options available currently.

Why are you hosting on GitHub and GitLab if they are proprietary?

Because a lot of people have existing accounts on them which reduces the barrier to entry for contributing.

Why isn't DivestOS based on X ROM?

LineageOS has superb device compatibility across the board. Our build scripts are mostly universal so adding an alternate base if needed is easily doable.

Can you support X device, that doesn't have an (un)official LineageOS port?


Can you support X device, that does have an official LineageOS port?

If there is enough demand, yes.

Will you add that one theme engine?


Why did you remove the weather providers?

Because they all transmit your location on a somewhat fixed schedule over HTTP.

Why did you only partially remove VoLTE?

Many carriers are phasing out their 2G/3G cell towers. Soon it will only be possible to make calls using VoLTE.

Should I use the 'XG only' network mode option (if available)?

2G has no encryption, 3G has decent encryption, and LTE has end-to-end encryption (simplified, 3G and LTE still have many leaks). Malicious cell interception devices capable of intercepting 3G/LTE are very expensive kits, so the lesser ones downgrade you to 2G where they can work. These network modes offer enhanced protection against interception by pinning to a mode. As always there are various other ways for your device to be compromised or to have your data intercepted.

Which to use? If your device has VoLTE available, you should choose 'LTE only'. If it has LTE but you can make calls over 3G, choose 'LTE/3G only'. If it does not have LTE, but can make calls over 3G, choose '3G only'. If you can't make calls over 3G, you will sadly have to use the regular LTE or 3G modes (which happily downgrade to 2G).

Why haven't you completely changed the default DNS servers?

Currently Quad9 (after trying many other public resolvers) is used for DNS fallback and for tethering. Switching it by default for cell would break VoLTE, SMS, MMS, and Visual Voicemail. And switching it for Wi-Fi could potentially break access to some LAN devices.

Why isn't root included?

You do not need root access on your daily driver cell phone.

Why are you wasting your time with Android? Its clear that Google has been slowly killing AOSP every release!

Android is a legitimately fantastic operating system and no other mobile platform has as many open source apps as it does. F-Droid as of March 2021 has over 3000 FOSS apps!