All I do on my phone is call and take notes on things I need to do. I don’t have any sensitive information. Do I need a custom android rom which is privacy focused?
The best answer anyone here can give you is that the decision entirely depends on you.
Consider someone configuring a laptop, if they use their laptop for basic tasks, they likely do not need 32GB of RAM, the latest processor or 1TB of storage space. Ultimately, there will be no difference in their laptop experience if they decide to get those features or not. The same idea applies here, if you feel like your use case is quite minimal and a custom rom would not provide any benefits over stock OS, don’t use one. If you like the features custom roms offer or feel like you would need to use one in the future, then do so. If you don’t mind me asking, which rom do you have in mind?
Personally, I think if you truly and literally only call and take notes on your phone, it makes more sense for you than for anyone else to get off stock Android. The downsides of switching will not effect you in the way they do to many people who use their phones much more heavily. Literally any device can handle calls and simple notes. If you have a pixel phone switching to GrapheneOS would have no downsides for your use case. If you don’t, an iPhone would meet your needs perfectly and be less invasive than stock android. Heck even a linux phone or dumb phone could probably meet your needs just fine.
On the other hand, if all you do is call and take notes, and you aren’t concerned with the contents of those calls or possibly notes being known to Google, or the metadata about who you call and when/where as well as who your social/work/activism circles and contacts are, and your location data, home and work locations, etc, then your exposure might be limited to a level that you are OK with.
But are you sure these are the only things you use your phone for? No Maps/navigation? No pictures? No Google searches or browsing? No Messaging?
tl;dr in my eyes the more basic your usage, the more sense a google-free custom ROM makes.
Stock Google one. GrapheneOS screwed me over as just when I got my phone they stopped supported my Pixel and now i can’t even download GrapheneOS for it
EDIT: Of course, I’m not entitled to a GrapheneOS given it’s literally free, although I do feel it’s bazarre that they don’t even have an archive for unsupported versions
That’s because Google has stopped updating your model. Which in turn means that GrapheneOS are no longer able to keep it adequately secure. If you want GrapheneOS then you need to get a newer Pixel which is still supported.
Alternatively, if you prefer to use your current phone then your best bet is probably DivestOS. It is degoogled and regularly gets some security updates. Which, while far from perfect, is a lot better than the zero updates from Google.
First off, I’m sorry that you had a negative experience and I can understand your disappointment, but they didn’t “Screw you over.” Their policy on device support is stated in their FAQ, and they have pretty good reasons for the approach they take…
But more importantly, it seems that you may not understand why GrapheneOS drops support. Graphene never drops support for devices until AFTER Google stops supporting the device. They do this because they cannot vouch for the security of the device after Google stops pushing security and firmware updates, and stops supporting the device. So if you are using a device no longer supported by GrapheneOS, that also means you are using a device that is no longer supported by Google and the stock OS will not be receiving important updates either. So you frustration should be with Google for selling expensive phones and then dropping support for them after just 2-3 years. Fortunately this has improved and Pixel 6 or later will be supported by both Google and GrapheneOS for 5+ years.
There is however another option. Look into DivestOS, It can’t make an insecure unsupported device secure, But it can make it more secure than it is if you are right now on the Stock OS which is no longer receiving updates. The developer for this ROM @SkewedZeppelin is a forum member here. I believe they would characterize the decision to support no-longer-supported devices as “harm reduction” (as in, its not recommended to use a device that no longer receives firmware and security updates, but if people are going to do it anyways, they might as well do so in the least risky way possible).
You still have sensitive info
Location is one
Your ISP always has that. But so does Google & any “parners” they sell your info to