The act of pinging and connecting to cell towers makes mobile phones inherently trackable.But making this change reduces some of the information that you generate and share.

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On a Nexus device, however, the situation is a bit more challenging. Below is what I see after performing a factory reset on my Nexus 5 running Android Marshmallow.

This isn’t the phone I’ve been using Google-free these past few weeks — I just figured folks might like a look at what to expect on a stock Android device.

Android is an open source operating system, but most of the software that we use on our phones isn’t.

If you’ve ever wanted to use only the open source bits, the easiest way is to replace your phone’s default firmware with a custom ROM.

Since it’s really hard to know which apps in the Play Store are open source, avoiding it entirely decreases your likelihood of installing something closed. Here are some reasons why you might want to exercise restraint.

You will still need to get apps from somewhere, but we’ll come back to that. You might not be able to continue using much of what you rely on right now.As it turns out, giving up Google is possible, and the experience isn’t nearly as bad as you might think.This is a look at what I’m still able to do without relying on any of Google’s services, including Google Play services, and what I have had to give up.Then it turned into a way to download and manage apps, track Android devices, and wipe them remotely. Google Play services run in the background on every Android device that ships with the Play Store, and this helps Google perform any number of tasks from installing apps remotely to pulling up your location.Search on Android became Google Now, a digital assistant that uses everything Google knows about us to predict what we may be interested in or want to know. These services also give third-party apps access to some of that functionality.The most common way to compromise a device is to install malicious software, typically unsuspectingly.