Setting up an Android device without logging into a Google account is an uphill battle. I get the feeling the OS has extra inconvenience built-in on purpose when not logged in.

Example 1: In Launcher 3 you cannot move the Google search bar on the home screen - even if you disable the Google app.

This basically forces you to go and find an alternative launcher. I found the Microsoft Launcher to be a good replacement.

@sam Wow, I'd love to read a post about your whole setup. Have you done any network analysis to see how much phone-home-ing is still happening?

@dietrich It's still very much a work in the progress... Currently using Exodus Privacy ( and NetGuard ( to analyse apps pre/post installing.

For most things I'm using web-apps in a browser with tracking protection. For twitter/mastodon etc this is perfectly usable, and I'm already familiar with the threat model.

@sam Haven't tried Exodus Privacy! Just started using NetGuard - seems not quite granular enough control, but not familiar enough with it yet to know for sure.

@sam Ok, @exodus + NoRoot Firewall is the combo that gets me the OS-wide tracker blocking I want. Too manual, but very functional.

The dream would be a firewall app that works like NoRoot but uses the Exodus data as opt-out filters...

@sam @exodus Turns out NoRoot Firewall is closed source, which is a bit dodgy for this purpose.

I figured out how to block requests to specific hosts in NetGuard. Just a bit hard to find and clunky to manage (per app vs global filters).

Biggest downside is you can't use private DNS or any other VPNs while using NetGuard 😦

@dietrich Yes, I didn't yet find a solution which fulfills all the requirements, though it just seems to be a UI issue. I'm thinking this could be a good Ghostery side-project, which can leverage the database of tracker owners to make this more accessible.

@sam I was thinking similar... looked through the NetGuard source and Disconnect tracker json yesterday. Does Ghostery use a different list?

@dietrich Yes, Ghostery has it's own list. This is being merged with the open source WhoTracks.Me mappings though ( We're also collaborating with AdGuard to improve the coverage of mobile trackers (


@sam Oh awesome. I wonder if anyone's done research comparing different tracker lists...

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