Fairphone has long been the go-to brand for anyone looking to buy an ethics-focused mobile, but as the handset relied on bog-standard Android 9, it was still pumping out your personal data to Google servers. Now the Fairphone 3 has switched to the e/OS/ system, so your personal data on the phone should (in theory) be ‘unGoogled.’
The new operating system on the phones is built on an open-source, privacy-first design, and will be available on the Fairphone 3 from May 6. As it uses Android OS at its core, a lot of general-use apps should be readily available on the phone.
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But because e/OS/ is founded on a super-private, anti-Google stance, a lot of other apps like Gmail and Maps will be absent on the phone.
Instead, you’ll have to rely on pre-installed, home-built alternatives for mail, maps and messaging services. Even the default search option will be based on the ‘e’ platform, rather than the Google engine.
One handy feature of the e/OS/ system is an additional privacy tool, which lets you see if there are hidden data-trackers in your apps. This should give you better control over who’s snooping on your smartphone activity, and blocking this kind of unwanted data flow should improve your battery performance and bandwidth too.
Related: Read our Fairphone 2 review
So while this phone might not be well-suited to Google devotees, it’s a good fit for anyone looking to ramp up their privacy.
Fairphone products don’t pack any ground-breaking specs, but as the company’s phones can easily be upgraded or recycled – and tend to use components from Fairtrade supply chains – buyers can rest easy knowing that they’re not funnelling money into questionable corporations.
If you’ve already bought the latest version of the Fairphone and want to switch to the e/OS/ system, you can download it from May 6 via the company’s website.
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