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    1. What do I need to know about switching from Android to iOS for my phone?

      I've been all in on Android for quite a while, but I'll be making the jump to an iPhone with the next phone I get, which will end up being soon, as my current one is having some hardware issues....

      I've been all in on Android for quite a while, but I'll be making the jump to an iPhone with the next phone I get, which will end up being soon, as my current one is having some hardware issues.

      What do I need to know about crossing over?

      In particular, I would like to leave my Google account behind and NOT have it logged into my new phone. I use Fastmail for my email and contacts -- will I be able to sync my contacts easily to an iOS device from it, or will I have to import them into iCloud?

      I'm also open to app recommendations for basic stuff -- preferably ones that are open-source and privacy-friendly. On Android I run a lot of stuff out of F-Droid, but I know iOS is a lot more locked down, so I'm interested to know what the best options are in their store (I have no interest in jailbreaking mg device).

      Also, are there any huge disadvantages I should be aware of regarding older models? The new line just came out, which means the older ones are cheaper, and I'm a casual enough phone user that I should be fine with older hardware, but I want to know if there are any big tradeoffs.

      Finally, if there are any cool iOS tips or tricks I should know about, let me know!

      16 votes
    2. Librem 5 mass production phone has begun shipping

      Announcement Details on the phone itself (Both are the same, the USA refers to supply chain): Libram 5 - $799 Libram 5 USA - $1999 I think it's quite a tell about how much our electronics are...

      Announcement

      Details on the phone itself (Both are the same, the USA refers to supply chain):
      Libram 5 - $799
      Libram 5 USA - $1999

      I think it's quite a tell about how much our electronics are subsidized by sourcing from inordinately cheap labor compared to the (mostly) German/USA labor for the USA phone.

      PureOS itself looks like it could be a decent entrant to breaking the mobile duopoly. The only sticking point for me would be various applications that don't offer browser options (read: 2 factor authentication apps).

      12 votes
    3. Reduction of screentime leading to positive changes in daily life

      Hi, I think I have mentioned it here a few times, but I (used to) spend A LOT of time on my phone. I’ve tried to reduce it in the past with more or less success, and recently without any...

      Hi,
      I think I have mentioned it here a few times, but I (used to) spend A LOT of time on my phone. I’ve tried to reduce it in the past with more or less success, and recently without any university work (I finished all exams half a year ago) and varying amounts of work as a freelancer, it crept up to 6+ hours of screen time per day. (this is excluding watching stuff to fall asleep, which I want to reduce but I am taking one step at a time) - So it’s a lot.

      I tried a lot of stuff, reducing the hours, by setting limits for apps, turning off notifications, but that just leads to me extending the time by entering the password myself, or checking my phone more often because I am curious about whether someone texted.
      So last week Wednesday some stuff changed. I took my first long bike ride in a long time, and that day I felt really good, I still had 5 h screen on time that day though. The next day I turned off notifications for Whatsapp, but I left the indicator next to the app on, so I could see that I have messages quickly, I also decided to just force myself to wait a bit until replying to people. Also my girlfriend is the only one that knows my screentime passcode now, so I can't sneakily extend my app time

      That Thursday my screentime was 3h 16 minutes. I was hooked, I wanted to keep my time as low as possible. Since that Thursday, I have not hit the 4h screen on time once. Yesterday I was at 3h 59 min... it was an exhausting day though (Spending 1.5h at the waiting room at the doc) and I wouldn’t have blamed myself, but I still didn’t want to hit the 4h mark. Last Thursday my daily rhythm has changed quite a bit. I got Ring Fit Adventure this week, and I have done sports 4 times this week, I started to pick up playing guitar (literally got one yesterday) and ukulele again, and I just try to find stuff to do that does not involve my phone. I also played Persona 5 Royal on my ps5, I know it’s screen time but I feel less bad about it because I don’t take my PS everywhere with me, and these were the first days I have taken off in a long time… Next, I am trying to maybe work through my books that are on my backlog, finally finishing some more again. (my girlfriend gave me the book "South Sea Vagabonde, and I am meaning to read it, and I am also listening to the Audiobook "The Shallows")
      One change just caused so many good changes. I am stoked and looking forward to how low I can bring my average, I know 4h per day is still a lot for most people. I am aiming at sub 3h next ( I had that once this week).

      This scene from Bojack has been my mantra since then: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2_Mn-qRKjA

      It really does get easier, too. Today I went biking and I managed to go much longer without breaks and I feel way less exhausted.

      I just wanted to share my experience somewhere, maybe someone else is on the same path and this helps.

      22 votes
    4. I need a new phone. Can anyone recommend me a replacement?

      I've had a Nexus 6P for the past 3 years. It's been a good run, and I've swapped the battery out once before (1 year ago) but it's time for a replacement. At this point, it's not charging...

      I've had a Nexus 6P for the past 3 years. It's been a good run, and I've swapped the battery out once before (1 year ago) but it's time for a replacement. At this point, it's not charging properly, and turning off randomly.

      What phones are you all using? Any you'd feel good about recommending? I'd be interested to hear thoughts on current smartphones, as it's not something I've looked into for a while.

      Some things I liked about the Nexus 6P:

      • Camera (12.3MP) was really good back when I first got it and still holds up (just shuts down when I take photos now)
      • Larger form factor (not a dealbreaker though)
      • Android
      • Convenience of having photos uploaded to Google Photos automatically
      • Battery life (in its prime) was actually decent

      I'm in EU, and ideally I don't really want to spend more than 300 euros.
      Thanks all, keen to hear people's thoughts...

      Appreciate any kind of response/advice.

      21 votes
    5. Phone automation - Share your workflows!

      I recently switched operating systems on my phone and lost some of the automated workflows I had during the transition. While I've rebuilt some of it, but it sometimes feels like I'm missing...

      I recently switched operating systems on my phone and lost some of the automated workflows I had during the transition. While I've rebuilt some of it, but it sometimes feels like I'm missing something or that I could do more, I just don't know what exactly. I'd like to hear from others here and see if they can inspire me to implement what works for them. I'm using an android phone with automate and here's the workflows that I got:

      • When plugging in the phone, set it to do not disturb and enable Bluetooth. This is for when I go to sleep so that I don't get woken up by notifications and I can listen to podcasts on my headband.
      • If at work (Based on cell towers, not GPS) set phone to vibrate, when leaving it set it to ring. I actually lost this one but haven't rebuilt it since I've not been to the office in a while.
      • Learn location. For a set time, grabs the cell towers around and stores them in a JSON file.

      What kind of automation have you implemented on your phone?

      18 votes
    6. Recommend me a new phone

      Hi all -- I have had a Moto G5+ for the last two years, and have been largely happy with it. However, it's recently developed some serious issues w/ charging -- it tends to not ever get past ~45%,...

      Hi all -- I have had a Moto G5+ for the last two years, and have been largely happy with it. However, it's recently developed some serious issues w/ charging -- it tends to not ever get past ~45%, and the battery indicator seems to be ... disconnected from how long the phone actually lasts. I have attempted cleaning out the charging port (there was a lot of caked-in dust), changing the charging cable and port, to no avail. It works ok-ish for the moment, but I have largely been limiting it to emergency usage and I suspect it's on it's way out.

      So, I find myself in the market for a new phone. In the past I have typically gone with whatever the cheapest reasonable Android phone has been (hence, the G5+ which I really do like quite a bit besides the poor camera). I am not a heavy phone user, and I really don't care about having the latest and greatest, my priorities are:

      • long battery life (my Moto G5 lasts two days fully charged)
      • cheap (say 200-300$, the SE on this thread is probably the upper bound of what I'd want to spend)
      • reasonably performant
      • preferably reasonable privacy protections (probably a pipe-dream)

      The Moto G series have checked all boxes (apart from privacy) in the past, but I am considering whether I can take this opportunity to rid myself of another Google device in my life. I was thinking potentially going for a refurbished iPhone, but I really have no idea what to be looking for there. I haven't used an Apple device since my iPod (iTunes on Windows PTSD is real, and I don't even want to think about Linux support), and I am more than a bit hesitant to tie myself into their ecosystem, but it's hard to deny their superiority from a privacy standpoint.

      I had also considered a Librem 5 at one point, and would be willing to spend a bit more for something so privacy oriented. But the 6-month order window, and other things I read about Purisms' roll-out have left me a bit wary there.

      Any thoughts?

      Thanks!

      12 votes
    7. Phone recommendations: Pixel 2? 3a? Something else?

      My OG Pixel died last night and while I'm waiting for tech support to get back with me on how I can still use MFA to do my job, I figured I would ask you all how I should proceed with getting a...

      My OG Pixel died last night and while I'm waiting for tech support to get back with me on how I can still use MFA to do my job, I figured I would ask you all how I should proceed with getting a new device. My first impulse is to get a Referb Pixel 2 on Amazon for $99, as I liked my original Pixel, I like having the latest Android version and I like only paying $99 for an older flagship phone. Additionally, I was considering a Pixel 3a as it would presumably last a bit longer and has had good reviews but is three times as much and hasn't devalued nearly as much when used, which is good and bad.

      I'm open to anything that's relatively stock Android and still updated, and am curious about iOS, Kaios or other options. Landlines are a hard pass.

      13 votes
    8. Cellphone review: Umidigi F2

      I was recently in the market for a cheap used phone. I was looking for an Android device, preferably less than 3 years old, preferably with an unlockable bootloader and rootable, for $200 or less....

      I was recently in the market for a cheap used phone. I was looking for an Android device, preferably less than 3 years old, preferably with an unlockable bootloader and rootable, for $200 or less. I was looking at used Pixel 2's when I came across this weird Chinese manufacturer I'd never heard of.

      The Umidigi F2 is a bizarre device. I was blown away by the specs, and the seller was only asking $200CAD for it, so I took a chance. I've got to say, so far I'm pretty impressed.

      Quick Specs:

      • 6.5" IPS LCD, 2340x1080px, bezelless, w/ hole-punch camera, no notch
      • 6GB Dual-channel LPDDR4 RAM, 128GB Storage
      • Mediatek P70 - ARM Cortex A73/A53 Octo-core 2.0/2.1GHz CPU
      • 5 cameras, 32MP front-facing, 48MP rear, 13MP wide-angle, 5MP depth, 5MP macro
      • Dual SIM, MicroSD
      • 5150mAh battery
      • ~40 frequency bands
      • 3.5mm headphone jack
      • Stock Android 10

      At this price I was initially skeptical. There must be something wrong with it, some glaring flaw I wasn't seeing, and/or those specs must be fake. I'm happy to say though, they're real, and the device seems much more solid than I expected.

      I've had the thing a little over a week so far, and have only charged it once. On the first charge it lasted 4 days before I charged it, and still had 30% battery remaining after I'd spent a couple hours surfing the web and two hours watching youtube (total screen-on time was ~4.5hrs). After charging it I haven't been using it as much, but it's currently been running 3 days and it has 70% battery remaining. I've used it to listen to the radio for 3 hours this morning. Oh yeah, did I mention? Bizarrely, it has a FM radio tuner for some reason.

      So far everything has been smooth, the device performs really well, which is not something I expected from a Mediatek CPU. Rooting it went smoothly, and I've been able to tweak a bunch of settings via the EdXposed framework, as much as you can in Android 10 anyway. I did remove some background bloat, but otherwise the default ROM is very close to vanilla AOSP.

      The build quality of the thing is honestly not bad. I've used mid-range Samsung devices that have felt cheaper and more plastic-y than this. I have read some reports of bad touchscreens, but so far I haven't had any problems. There's also a DIY solution to solve that. Unfortunately, if it dies, this is pretty much my only option, since the warranty and support is pretty much nonexistent. At a quarter the price of a brand-name phone with similar specs though, I'm willing to roll those dice.

      So, other than warranty, what are the downsides? Well, so far the biggest gripe I have is there is no notification LED on it. So if I go to the washroom and come back I can't just tell at a glance if I've missed a call or text, I actually need to unlock it. Luckily the fingerprint reader and face unlock are both pretty reliable. There is no wireless charging, which I'm more or less okay with. The main reason I'd want that is if the USB port died, but again, this is the sort of phone that if anything is wrong with it you're pretty much meant to throw it out. The speaker is a bit tinny, and unfortunately it's mono. The cameras are bad. The 48MP camera does take 8000x6000 pictures, but they're grainy to the point where even if you resize them down they still look worse than something taken with a good 6MP camera. This seems to be a software problem though. The camera module is apparently made by Samsung, and people have said it's gotten better with every OTA update. As for that, there's been an update this month, but a lot of people are expecting it might be the last update they put out. Umidigi apparently has a bad track record of only providing updates for a few months.

      In conclusion, this is objectively a decent phone, and for it's price, it's exceptional. You sacrifice warranty, updates, any kind of support really, but you get some very decent hardware for $200.

      Official site: https://www.umidigi.com/page-umidigi_f2_specification.html
      Purchasable on amazon for fast shipping, purchase on aliexpress to save $50.

      9 votes
    9. Hidden third party telemetry found in Nokia 6.2, 7.2 smartphones

      Update 12/03/2020: this is not a telemetry, but a kill switch from Colombian carrier - confirmed by HMD. Kill switch will be removed from most devices soon. I updated an article and posted it...

      Update 12/03/2020: this is not a telemetry, but a kill switch from Colombian carrier - confirmed by HMD. Kill switch will be removed from most devices soon. I updated an article and posted it here.

      Original article below:

      I have recently purchased Nokia 6.2 and wanted to check if it sends any data somewhere, considering what happened with previous models

      First, I noticed approx. daily connection to dapi.hmdglobal.net
      This is a Google Cloud that could belong to a company behind Nokia - HMD Global.
      But the Privacy policy in my phone only speaks of "activation" process, not of daily diagnostics data.
      So I used developer tools to remove the following packages (warning: this may break your device, I am not responsible for any consequences)

          com.hmdglobal.enterprise.api
          com.qualcomm.qti.qms.service.telemetry
          com.qualcomm.qti.qmmi
          com.qualcomm.qti.qdma
      

      Before removing them, I used APK Extractor to save APK files just in case it breaks my phone and I may be able to attempt reinstall. This part comes into play later.
      The first was my blind guess about what exactly connects to dapi.hmdglobal.net
      The next 3 I found mentioned in various forums for other devices as "safe to remove", however, I have not seen any telemetry sent to Qualcomm or anywhere else, except what I mention next.

      After removing these packages, I noticed that there are some remaining unknown connections my device attempts several times per day.
      They are all done in same order, one right after the other:

          www.pppefa.com
          www.ppmxfa.com
          www.forcis.claro.com.co
      

      After some investigation, I found that the first two domains point to some Microsoft Cloud servers rented in US.
      The last one most probably belongs to Colombian telecom company, and this is where it becomes interesting.
      After many hours of fruitless removing of different apps in my attempt so stop it, I suddenly remembered something.
      When I used APK Extractor previously, there was an empty first line with some generic icon where an app icon should have been.
      I went there again and indeed, this is a hidden system app, that you can not see in the list of all apps in Settings, normally. But it turns out, you can see it in Data usage (after it successfully sends some data using your mobile connection).
      The name of the app is deliberately left empty to hide it, but if you click it in Data usage, you can see that this app is co.sitic.pp , which can receive SMS, can make calls, and has access to internet.
      As with all Android apps, you can reverse read the name to guess what it is.
      Turns out, http://sitic.com.co is a Colombian company, who "are leaders in innovation and create mobile and WEB applications for new products and services." (credit goes to Google Translate)

      screenshot of the app with permissions

      In other words, this app is a 3rd party telemetry, hidden from user, not mentioned in the Privacy policy, that has access to SMS.
      This looks very bad and I really hope this is a malware injected by factory and not something knowingly distributed by Nokia, HMD Global, the EU company.

      After removing the co.sitic.pp app, requests to Microsoft Cloud and Columbia stopped.
      I was later pointed to a German forum, where (I believe) it was first found in a Nokia 7.2 device.
      So, we have it confirmed in 2 devices in 2 different countries.

      On German forum they contacted Nokia (I assume support) but got tired exchanging emails for weeks without any result.
      On 02/03/2020 I have requested an official reply from Nokia and HMD Global via press.services@nokia.com and press@hmdglobal.com and waiting for reply.
      Since I am not a journalist, I may never get one.

      TLDR: 3rd party telemetry is found in Nokia 6.2 and 7.2 devices, is hidden from user, has access to SMS, and sends data to Microsoft Cloud in US and a server in Columbia.
      It is probably supplied by SITIC S.A.S., a Colombian company, and looks more like a malware than a telemetry.

      28 votes