Do the "downstream" privacy methods work if you are not using private operating systems?

Yup, that’s one of the several features they’re missing that we aren’t currently willing to live without.

I’m sure it’ll improve with time, just like all the other privacy focused software has though!

I felt the same for a long time and also because I knew it was a bottomless hole.

Some easy things to consider:
Privacy-focused Browser, Search engine, Password Manager, Authenticator Apps, Secure Email, VPN
Examples: Brave, Startpage, KeePass, Aegis, Proton

Do not be too dependent on the products/services of any one company.
If you use Gmail then don’t use Google Chrome, Google Authenticator or Google Chrome Password Manager. Use Firefox, Authy and BitWarden instead.

Use a Standard user account not Admin and set UAC to maximum.

Some benefits from light to moderate effort:

  1. Fewer browser ads or cookie popups
  2. Never type, re-use or forget a password
  3. Less phone, text and email spam
  4. Harder target for criminals

Yup. I’m already on Firefox with DDG, Bitwarden for passwords, Authy for 2FA (I considered trying Ente, but there’s just too many I’d have to move), Proton Mail, Proton VPN (occasionally Mullvad VPN), etc.

Just to corroborate this experience: on my Pixel phone, every time I call someone, the call will drop out 5+ times during a 1-2 hour phone call. It’s super annoying. 90% of my phone usage is texting and calling people! It didn’t do this before Android 14, mind you, and I’m using GrapheneOS.

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