I recently dived down into the world of privacy and looked at how many privacy advocates would physically remove the microphones and cameras on their phones by desoldering them.

However, when I researched how to remove the radios (e.g. Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, and the standard cell radio that connects to cell towers), I came up with nothing. I couldn't even find much on what they looked like or where they were even located on the phone's board.

So my question really is, where are these chips on the board and what do they look like? And can I even remove them at all?

  • 1
    Usually smartphones use a "System on Chip" (SoC) which means everything is integrated into one chip. So removal is next to impossible. Even if there would be a second chip, the chance would be high that the phone stops working if the chip is removed. You should better buy a tablet and keep it on AirPlane mode.
    – Robert
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 17:19
  • Just install a decent antivirus program. And keep passwords complex and secure. Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 20:28
  • There is also the PinePhone or PinePhone Pro (although not really Android devices) that have physical switches to turn on/off various radios in the device including the cellular radio, WiFi, GPS, etc.
    – acejavelin
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 21:41
  • @acejavelin I double checked and the pine phone does have dipswitches to turn off the wifi, gps, bluetooth, cameras, microphones, headphone jack and modem. By switching off the modem, does that mean the phones cell radio is turned off and will not be able to connect to a cell tower at all? Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 20:46
  • Yes, that is correct, turning off the "modem" switch powers off the cellular modem and it will no longer have any connectivity to the cellular network. That said, realize this is a Linux hobbyist device... not a "polished" Android device like from a regular Android device manufacturer, it isn't exactly a daily driver for most people.
    – acejavelin
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 21:09


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