How To: Use the Dumbphone For Dummies

How To: Use a Dumbphone (smartphone for you normies) and not be (so) Damn Tracked by Jewgle… Sorry for you, Apple fanbois, I don’t own an I-gadget…

First, you will need some materials:
  1. A brain. (Fundamental!)
  2. A smartphone.
  3. Reading comprehension. — You need to understand what I write here!
  4. Capability to follow instructions (muh ableism).
  5. Reading this guide (I hope I make myself clear…!)

Congratulations! You are the proud owner of a new phone! This is like your 4353rd phone since 2003… But who cares?! You have a shiny new gadget…! Oh, the novelty, the emotion. I’m not trolling you, because I have been there, done that. It always happens. Yeah, I’m kind of a geek (although I reject all that subculture). But don’t despair. I’m still an evuul NaZZi. Only that I know (or at least I claim) to know some of this stuff. If you happen to know this stuff as well, disregard this message. Heck, you are probably in the wrong place anyway. Or you can point out some stuff I left out (be civil, I’m not a jerk who thinks he knows it all). But for the rest of you, this information may be of some use to you. At least I hope…

Well, you have your new (or not so new) smartphone. You bought one of the smartphones that have running some Android version on it. For the purposes of this tutorial, I have to tell you that I’m running Lollipop, version 5.1.1. My make and model is a Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime SM-G531M… Your mileage may vary, since there are several Android versions out there. I think that we are already on Android 7, amirite? Yeah, I’m right. It’s Nougat. It has a lot of virtual reality wankery as well. Enjoy your virtual girlfriends, senpai.

Well, anyway, you will need to root your phone… “Root” my phone?! My phone is not a plant, goddammit!! Errr… no. Rooting your phone means that you will get superuser rights (if I were talking of Windoze I would be saying “administrator rights”.) Since Android it’s based largely on Linux, we say superuser rights here. Administrator rights, superuser rights, call it what you want. The important thing that you need to know is that you need it, because nothing of this tutorial will work if you don’t do that. The apps/changes that you will make to your phone, should you follow this tutorial, need root permissions. Since I don’t want to flood you with more info, I will leave it there and I won’t talk about permissions. You need to root your phone, I tell you.

And there is something else I should tell you. You run several risks doing that. Yes, yes, do not come to me in the comments (which I opened) saying: “muh phone iz useless, thank you gasssmosk asshole”. “U NIGGER. I BROKE MY PHONE!” and shit like that. That’s why I told you that you need a brain and reading comprehension. And there is still something else I must say. You will forfeit your warranty doing this. So, if you don’t feel comfortable doing changes to your phone that may forfeit your warranty while you are still under it, don’t follow this tutorial. If you brick (render your phone useless) because of botched instructions and rooting processes, tech service won’t help you, because they can tell if your phone has been flashed (modified) or not. Really. My Samsung tells me the following…

 

If you can't see it, I'm sorry. This is the about menu of my smartphone, which tells to any suspecting techie guy that I flashed my phone.

 

Well, you have decided (anyway) to carry on with the instructions of this tutorial. Wonderful! Either you aren’t under warranty any more or you don’t care (like me). Well, you’ll need to root your phone…

I can only give you a general guide at this point. You will need to search for instructions on the Internet for your make and model. You need the instructions specifically made for your model! Put the name of your model in the search box. All of it. Even a small variation of letter or number can make a big difference. That’s why I told you my model. When I did the rooting process almost a year ago, I did search for…

Yes, I know. Every result is in Spanish. This particular Samsung model is for Latin American countries, I think… That’s why there are virtually no results in English there.

For a Samsung phone, you will probably need the drivers for your model (I needed to install them, because my computer did not recognize my phone when off, which is needed in order to make the flashing work), the Odin (or Heimdall if you are using a Mac)… –I shit you not, that’s how the programs are called, LOL- program, a custom recovery app to flash, a copy of the app su and a Superuser app to manage apps permissions to flash to your phone too… I won’t go into more details, because rooting processes vary between models, that’s why I tell you to search for the instructions specifically indicated for your make and model. Also, when you find a video, or a set of instructions for rooting your phone, read EVERYTHING. Even the comments (no, READ THE COMMENTS), because the comments are good indicators to see if the instructions work or not, if you have to do something else that is not listed (some phones wank themselves, even if from the same model), if the guy who made the video knows his shit or not, if he explains himself well, etc. Use your best judgement as well. Remember, if you brick your phone, you are fucked up. And, if the instructions work (they should, watch the video carefully, if not walk off)… FOLLOW THEM TO THE LETTER!! IF YOU COCK-UP BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS, AND THEY DO INDEED WORK BECAUSE SEVERAL PEOPLE REPORTED SUCCESS WITH THEM, DO NOT COMPLAIN AND BITCH IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE. Be a team player. Nobody likes idiots. Don’t be that guy.

Well! You have rooted your phone successfully and you have it working with you. Either you forfeited the warranty or you rooted your phone out of it. Doesn’t matter anyway. Now you can breathe, because the hardest part of this tutorial is done. Really. (Or not, but I can’t help you with that. Read at the end of this page to find out why.)

Now you need to make Jewgle/police/your neighbour/Dolan Duck stop tracking you so much. Here are some apps and tips of use. It’s not a comprehensive list, however…

  • App Ops (to limit permissions of applications) You don’t need a calculator with mic/camera access, nor a game (most of them) with it, either.
  • Camera/Mic blocker. Apps can’t take shit without I allowing them manually.
  • Orbot/Orweb. Can Torrify internet connections if desired. Orbot is the app that torrifies connections (based in the TOR relay) and Orweb is the browser.
  • AdAway. Modifies the .hosts file of the system, with the end result that I don’t have to see most ads, even in games and the like…
  • Wifi Privacy Police. Protects you from people learning your list of networks, only allows connections to hotspots when they should be available (by asking you the first time you connect to a new one) and the like.
  • Pry-Fi. Can spoof your MAC address, preventing people (and indiscreet businesses to track you around them). Can also simulate several people connecting at the same time (so to fool the trackers’ database). Drains battery like a bitch, however.
  • AIMSICD. Detects fake base stations, aka, IMSI-catchers… Some police agencies use them to detect/track who goes to a protest (for example). This app tells you if you are being tracked, and can prevent silent app installations and detect silent SMS. Click on app’s name to find out more.

Some tips of use. You see that I linked you to the AIMSICD website. I’ll toss you a link to the end of this mini-tutorial that deals with some aspects of this page more in-depth than I do here.

  • Cover your stupid front camera. Do you really need to take selfies all the time? Don’t be a sheep. Baaaaaaah! Even Zuckyboy does it (he covers his laptop camera, which I also do. Ha!)
  • Don’t install apps that ask for OVER9000!1!!!11! permissions… Do you really need that cool bokeh effects app that asks for permissions like these:
Yes, I know, the bokeh app thing was an example of a frivolous app anyway. This example goes more or less like this: Juridic Dictionary in Spanish. It asks for: Location, Photos/Media/Files access, Camera (why for?), Microphone (ditto), Device ID & call information (for ad purposes, I guess).

Why the hell needs access to my camera and microphone? Doesn’t make any sense. Probably the developer doesn’t even need those permissions for making his ads provider work… Well, now that I think of it, the ads provider NEEDS those permissions to track US… Fuckers. Notice that it is an app that probably shows a lot of text. There is no need for such an app to have camera permissions. Call me a paranoid, but I’m not a moron.

  • Clean your browser cache/cookies periodically. I use aCCleaner Pro for that. It cleans the cache of EVERY app you have in your phone, not only the cache and cookies of your browser(s).
  • Fill (maybe is late for you now) forms of registration with the bare minimum (or don’t do it at all, if you can help it.) Or fill them with bullshit. Jewgle doesn’t really need to know where you live, senpai. Really. Don’t let them convince you otherwise.
  • Use free apps (free as in freedom, not gratis). There are FOSS repositories out there. That market is growing fast. A good place to start is the app FDroid, which I use.
  • Don’t turn on your GPS! (However, there is an exception to it, and is the AIMSICD app, should you use it.) But if you can help it (and 99% of the time, you don’t need it), do not turn the GPS on! You can use OsmAnd, which lets you download offline its maps (very convenient) and not turn the GPS to find out directions… I mean, you will have to use it like a paper map, without the GPS on. But I think that it is a small price to pay, anyway.
  • Do not (it may sound a bit risque) activate the tracking system of your phone (My Samsung offers me to register it so if it gets lost, they can supposedly help me to find it… I did not activate that.) You may want to, but I don’t recommend you doing that.
  • Also, you don’t need to turn on the wifi all the time. Besides, it drains battery a lot as well.
  • When you activate your new phone, use another email account to activate it… (and fill the new mail account with bullshit info, as well. Remember, Jewgle doesn’t need to know your data, even if they want it.)
  • Use the incognito mode for browsing (if your browser allows you to do that). Or use Orweb, which is the same. However, I know that using Orweb may not be the ideal situation every time, so that’s why I tell you to do this.

There are more guides that can help you to toughen Android’s privacy out there. I only mentioned the things I use, because I know them well…

 

 

What I didn’t mention, was the possibility of installing a custom ROM. I can’t help you with that, because I simply didn’t do it… Why? Because I can’t. When I checked, there was not a version of Cyanogen Mod for my model, and I don’t want to brick my phone trying to install roms that are meant for other models. Thus, I can’t help you with that. If you have a phone model that can be modded, and you feel confident, maybe you should give it a shot. And I know that there are more custom rom flavors than Cyanogen, but they are probably not meant for my model anyway.

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