Frequently Asked Questions

What phone do you recommend?

Sorted by patch level and price.

  • Any newer Google Pixel, eg. 3/3a/4/4a/5, but notably not currently tested working
  • Google Pixel 2 (taimen/walleye)
  • OnePlus 5/5T (cheeseburger/dumpling)
  • Essential Phone (mata)
  • Google Pixel 1 (marlin/sailfish)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (klte)
  • Google Nexus 4 (mako)

What tablet do you recommend?

Of note, the bottom two only have 2GB of RAM.

  • Google Pixel C (dragon)
  • Google Nexus 9 (flounder)
  • Google Nexus 7 2013 (flox)

A note on Google Pixels

Any Verizon, Telus, Rogers, EE, or IMEIs starting with 35 cannot be bootloader unlocked. In general always avoid carrier variants.

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 than 3GB of RAM
  • Less than 32GB of storage
  • Less than a 2000mAh battery
  • Released before 2016
  • Non-Qualcomm SoC, eg. MediaTek/Exynos/Tegra/OMAP
  • Kernel older than 3.18

And for the best experience:

  • At least 4GB of RAM
  • At least 64GB of storage
  • At least an MSM8998 SoC
  • At least kernel 4.4, preferably newer.

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 devices support incremental/delta OTA updates?

Previously all devices were supported, however there were issues on many legacy devices failing to properly apply them. Now only update_engine/AB devices are currently supported.
As of 2021/08/29 that is:
Amber alioth avicii blueline bonito bramble cheryl coral crosshatch enchilada fajita flame FP3 guacamole guacamoleb marlin mata pro1 redfin sailfish sargo sunfish taimen walleye

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. You are otherwise free to e-mail patches to us if you prefer.

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?

No.

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?

No.

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/supported?

DivestOS does not support or encourage the use of root or runtime modification frameworks.
Such tools will break the following functions:

  • Bootloader locking on verified boot capable devices, preventing the system from booting.
  • Verified boot on capable devices, preventing the system from booting.
  • Incremental delta OTA updates, will fail to flash.
  • You will not be able to use the DivestOS recovery. DivestOS recovery only flashes same-signed ZIPs.
  • Lineage add-on backuptool is removed from DivestOS, you will have to reflash your changes every update.
  • Will break the trust model that AOSP employs and reduce the integrity of the system.
Here are some common use cases of rooting and alternatives if available:
  • Network Restriction: DivestOS already lets you restrict network for each app by connection type (cellular/Wi-Fi/VPN) and when in the background.
  • Ad/Tracker Blocking: DivestOS includes a tailored HOSTS file by default for such blocking. The user can further choose to use an alternative DNS or use a local VPN app such as DNS66 or NetGuard.
  • Permission Control: Modern AOSP provides far more control of permissions then older versions.
  • Data Spoofing: You can run apps in a work profile via Shelter/Insular or in a separate user profile to minimize data available to apps when granted related permissions.
  • Backup: DivestOS includes SeedVault on Q and R for backing up apps and their data to Nextcloud or USB OTG.
  • Overclocking: Most mobile system-on-chips have their RAM stacked above the processor. Heat kills. Overclocking can and will reduce the life-span of your device.
  • App Removal: Modern AOSP already lets you strictly disable most system installed apps. Furthermore DivestOS already includes far fewer system apps compared to most other ROMs.
  • Battery Saving: Modern AOSP lets you prohibit apps from running in the background completely and has more advanced idle battery saving features.
  • Battery Analysis: You can use Battery Historian via ADB for extremely detailed battery usage reports.

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 3,000 FOSS apps!