Android phone - is Pixel the only available option?


i’d like to know, it the Google Pixel the only available option, privacy-wise?

I see that grapheneOS (and also calyxOS, even though i’d prefere graphene because of the reasons listed here) practically supports just pixels…

I’m asking because it pretty costly… 400€+ for me is way out of my budget for a new phone,

EDIT: yoo guys thank you to everyone, you just convinced me to make a solid investment. i will get a pixel 6a. i guess i will try to spend less on every other thing i spend money on… i guess less coffee is also good for my health too

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If you’re looking for an Android device, Pixels are where it’s at. This is the case for multiple reasons:

They might be more expensive than what you’re currently comfortable with spending, but you also have to keep in mind that whether we like it or not, phones nowadays are only useful/viable as long as they’re receiving full security updates. This cannot be provided after the OEM stops supporting the device, despite confusing claims by some.

Therefore, you may be able to get a device for less than what a Pixel 6a goes for, for example, but you’re not going to be getting 5 years of support, but 2 or 3. That means that in the long run, the price evens out, or Pixels maybe even come on top.

Pixels also provide hardware security features that significantly enhance your privacy and security that the OS cannot provide. What’s especially unique about Pixels is that they provide all of those features for alternative OSes as well, instead of whatever they ship with, making it easy (and secure) to use an OS like GrapheneOS on it.

As it was mentioned here, we also do recommend DivestOS, but we do not recommend buying a device just to install DivestOS. If you already have a device that is supported, you can use DivestOS as a harm reduction method. Buying a device to install DivestOS is not recommended, and even the developer of DivestOS himself recommends GrapheneOS. This is something that we should probably make more clear on the website, so that nobody is misled into buying a device just for DivestOS.

If you’re still not able to get a Pixel (new or used), the next best thing would honestly be a used iPhone, or an iPhone SE. They typically get updates for even longer than Pixels (~6-7 years) and are also quite secure and private, provided that you don’t use iCloud or any other features like that. Just make sure that it is a relatively new iPhone that will be receiving updates for a while, as like Android devices, you need to make sure that the device is getting full security updates.


Has not much to do with documentation, binaries is one thing, but mainly the hardware of Pixels is a lot further when it comes to security. Another advantage is that Pixels allow for custom signing keys. This enables the option to relock the bootloader with a custom key. DivestOS has also succeeded doing so on a hand full of other devices however the functionality and security are both less than what you can get with a Pixel. Thus only this is really recommended when buying a new device.

Costly depends on how you look at it. Google Pixels offer longer updates than most other android phones and therefore stay secure. If you buy any other phone it usually doesn’t receive more than 2 years of updates or sometimes even less. Iphones are cheaper if you look at update provisioning and how long you could use them, but they are not as great for privacy as a phone with GrapheneOS would offer you. I would recommend that over any other android phone.

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Google Pixel + GrapheneOS is the most secure phone on the market, I suggest you invest into one and harden your mobile device.

AFAIK only Google openly provides all the necessary documentation and binaries for a project like gOS to work. You will probably not see any other phones being supported soon unless they strike a deal with a manufacturer or something. :slight_smile:

From Frequently Asked Questions | GrapheneOS

Many other devices are supported by GrapheneOS at a source level, and it can be built for them without modifications to the existing GrapheneOS source tree. Device support repositories for the Android Open Source Project can simply be dropped into the source tree, with at most minor modifications within them to support GrapheneOS. In most cases, substantial work beyond that will be needed to bring the support up to the same standards. For most devices, the hardware and firmware will prevent providing a reasonably secure device, regardless of the work put into device support…

But practically, yes, only Pixels.

Privacyguides does recommend DivestOS as well, which supports other less expensive devices.

Depends on your threat model and what tradeoffs you’re willing to accept.
Security & Privacy vs price vs usability.

If you just want to generally be more ‘private’, using a cheaper device that supports divest OS is likely fine.
Also depends on your usage of the phone too as there may be more app compatibility issues with DivestOS (im too lazy to pull up any evidence for that assumption).

A very crude sxample is like this:
i could drive a 5 star safety rating Tesla for $80k (Graphene) OR
a 4 star safety rating Toyora Camry for $30k (Divest)
Or you can stick with your 2 star 1990 Hyundai.
(Note numbers dont represent the actual scale of difference and are only illustrative).

There is no right or wrong answer here, just whats right for you, which is impossible to say without more background.

There are other very secure options such as running Phussons AOSP GSI or compiling AOSP from source for full control, which i think PGuides should mention as a Rec for extreme threat models as Graphene hasnt had an extensuve trusted third party audit, so youre just trusting the devs or that others skilled enough have audited the code.

However I wouldnt recommend those options for you as they dont match the threat model Im assuming you have, both are very technical, have significant usability drawbacks and if your threat model is that extreme you probably shouldnt be using a phone anyway.

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