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I'm currently flashing my Samsung A3 (2015) with Lineage OS because I begin to be really annoyed by google's intrusions in private life. But the thing is that I've to admit that google has some great tools (like google maps/Play store), and even if there exists some very good alternatives (like Open Street Map), I'd like to be able to use them when I really need them. However, most of the time they should be "jailed", so that I can call them only when needed.

In an ideal world I'd like:

  • To control what they can access (GPS/file system...) and provide wrong data if needed
  • Shut down them most of the time, and manually start them when needed

It looks like I want a virtualisation/chroot-like solution, but I'd like to use android facilities to avoid an heavy full virtualization.

Any ideas?

Thank you!

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    To do anything significant in this direction your device needs to be rooted. That's the first step. Once that is done they're are a wide variety of tools, apps , Xposed modules that can to a very large extent do what you need – beeshyams Dec 30 '17 at 14:20
  • @beeshyams : sure I'll root it, Xposed modules looks great, thanks! – tobiasBora Dec 30 '17 at 17:43
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Even if you want, you cannot always stop Google from collecting data. For example, read this question.

There are some processes that we, as a layman, can take resort to.

Firstly, go to the apps in settings and deny permissions from the apps. This will prevent apps from getting any unnecessary data.

Secondly, use apps like DataEye. It stops apps and system services from using data as per your choice. Stop all apps from accessing data, except the ones you really need. This way, those apps won't be able to send anything to Google. When you start those apps, DataEye would ask you whether you would like to allow data access. I personally use it to stop apps from showing up ads, and it works great.

Thirdly, I found this. It seems to completely mummify apps as per your wish. I haven't used it, but it has good ratings. If google apps can be mummified, then they'll not be able to send statistics to Google.

  • Oh, you can for sure. See my answer. As OP goes with a custom ROM that ships without any proprietary Google stuff, the solution is to simply not install it but use some proper replacement :) – Izzy Dec 30 '17 at 15:00
  • OK, I was not aware of all that. You see, I'm no developer but only an enthusiast in strict sense of the term. I use Android, and can advise only in terms of a layman. For deeper aspects, we need developers like you. :-) – BuddingPhysicist Dec 30 '17 at 15:04
  • I must disappoint you: with "developers like me" you'd be completely lost – I'm not an Android developer, just an Enthusiast user. Agreed, with some more knowledge than the average Android user has (or I wouldn't have published books and given courses on Android for end-users). – Izzy Dec 30 '17 at 15:06
  • Off topic: you have any online course that I can follow to learn Android? I've got Android Studio installed on my desktop with SDK upto 7.0. – BuddingPhysicist Dec 30 '17 at 15:10
  • Please read again: "I'm NOT an Android developer" – so no, I cannot help you with Android Studio. And my books and (offline!) courses are in German (I give adult evening classes at a center here in my city). – Izzy Dec 30 '17 at 15:13
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If your device is supported by an official LineageOS build, it's also supported by the special LineageOS for microG builds. Those replace the GApps with the more light-weight and privacy oriented microG framework, which should meet your purpose:

  • control location access: µG ships with UnifiedNLP, which takes care for location stuff. It's then up to you to chose location providers. There are some using "online services" – but also some that work completely offline, like the LocalGSM provider I use: it downloads a CellId database for the region you chose, and then uses that to obtain your "network location". So your location doesn't need to be uploaded anywhere. Works like a charm.
  • shut them down: not needed then, see previous bullet point. Nothing is sent to Google that way.

µG doesn't come with Playstore (or any other proprietary Google components), but it covers most of what Google Services does (except for ads and tracking stuff). You can e.g. use YalpStore to access the Playstore (either anonymously, or with your own account data), which even allows updating/installing apps you've bought. Note however that you can neither buy apps with it (you can do so using your web browser), nor can it do "license verification" (so apps relying on Google's vending.CHECK_LICENSE won't work). If you need the latter, AFAIK there are ways to replace the "FakeStore" integrated with µG by the official Playstore app.

PS: Of course you also can integrate µG with your specific custom ROM, and then take care to e.g. chose Playstore over FakeStore from the beginning. But that requires some extra work.

  • Thank you, I did not know this interesting tool, I'll givekit a try ! By the way, I also read some stuff about Open Gapps, what is the difference between these tools? – tobiasBora Dec 30 '17 at 17:38
  • @tobiasBora then you might also be interested in my articles Android without Google: microG and Android without Google: Where do I get my apps now? As for OpenGApps: that's just a re-packaging of the proprietary GApps for devices that ship without them. If you want to follow the path of my answer, you don't want those. – Izzy Dec 30 '17 at 18:32

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