Escaping Google’s walled garden on handhelds [3]: Using Lineage OS – 1

So last time I wrote about the installation experience for Lineage, now it is time to have a look at early impressions of using it. Along the way I discovered some stuff about the Nexus 5X. It turns out that it was first shipped with Android and the final official release of Android for it was 8.1. Also that the last time Google sent a security update package for it was last December. So as far as Google is concerned they no longer feel a need to continue updating Android on this phone.
On the other hand the version of Lineage I was able to flash to it is 15.1 corresponding to Android 8.1 and they are currently working on a release called 16.0 which will be Android 9 so it is possible I could get a later version of Android for this phone that what Google is prepared to support, provided the developers are able to produce an Android 9 release for the “bullhead”.
Although I am not using it as a full replacement for the Nexus running Google Android just yet, as I haven’t yet switched back to using it as my day to day phone, initial impressions of Lineage are pretty good. It doesn’t come with many apps of its own, but one can choose to install one’s own from various sources. Of course you have to be sure the sources are reputable and are not going to contain spyware or malware or whatever. I was able to access a site called apkmirror to get first of all the Youversion Bible app and install that. I then didn’t install any more apps for a while.
I am currently planning to install the F-Droid app to be able to access their app store (and possibly the Amazon app store as well, although I will be carefully considering that option since I want to steer clear of apps from big multinationals that could do unwanted things on the phone). For further security certain things that are built into Lineage will be activated and the app store apps will be disabled when they are not actually being used. In addition the phone will not be rooted as this is not really necessary as I only plan to use regular apps on it, not ones that need root permissions. All of these measures mean hopefully no security issues with apps from outside the Play Store. However there are many apps that use Google Play Services, and those simply will not run on Lineage.
At the same time I deliberately chose not to have social media apps on my phone and only one email account that is being checked regularly because I simply decided I don’t need to have access to social media when away from home. This means apart from the phone and text messaging, the main thing the phone would be used for when not actually at home is reading my Bible or possibly listening to music (it depends on how well the battery lasts). Any time I was away from home for any period of time I can take my tablet with me and use all these apps on it but for regular day to day stuff I won’t need any social media apps on my phone. Also I intend to use an Open Street Maps app instead of Google Maps.
So yes it is possible if one is willing to make a few sacrifices about what apps are really essential, to escape the “rat race” of having your phone taken over by gigantic multi national corporations to make enormous profits and just get back to the basics of the convenience of having a phone you can carry with you and which can perform a small number of additional functions.
One of the bonuses so far which is partly because Lineage gives control of the ability to run an app in the background is very much increased battery life. Although I haven’t used my phone much in the last couple of days, it is currently 37 hours since the last charge and the battery capacity is 73% which is absolutely unheard of for this phone. If I used it I could expect it to go down a bit faster, but I am still going to get heaps more use out of the battery than I have before. So this phone will probably last a lot longer. Then I suppose I will have to work out what I can replace it with.

I am also planning to install the Android Studio app developer software and maybe some other F/OSS app developers to see what I can do with them, and whether I can develop an app to replace the Auto DND app that I use. But ultimately the replacement for a lot of apps is to use a web browser instead.