• Introducing XDA Computing: Discussion zones for Hardware, Software, and more!    Check it out!

For the Millions of Pixel 4a's sold , not much going on here.

Search This thread

Dogora

Member
Oct 12, 2014
21
7
Vienna, VA
For people like me, the dearth of options is a bit frustrating. You see, I'm one of those who will not have a smart phone that has Google services on it. I also will not buy hardware that's not truely mine, so I must have root and an unlocked bootloader.

Before you say, "gee, what's the point of a smart phone without Google (or Apple)," I am quite happy without, and have been for years. I am not willing to trade convenience for privacy.

Root is required to back up everything and get to my data properly, run a custom hosts file, and an iptables firewall. The internet is such a pos without blocking ads and tracking.

Funny that buying a "Google phone" is turning into the only way to have what I want, as they're one of the few that allows unlocking the bootloader.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rhewins2268

Dogora

Member
Oct 12, 2014
21
7
Vienna, VA
Yes, LineageOS satisfies my requirements. I haven't used any newer version yet, but for Nougat it was pretty bare bones. For my current phone (still running Nougat), there were several ROMs to choose from with many tweaks and customizations available, all without gapps. I don't get why almost all custom ROMs today include the Play services and gapps? I see requests for versions without, but they do never happen.
 

jho55

Senior Member
Sep 8, 2015
238
60
Munich
I just picked up Pixel 4a this month and I am really wondering if I wanna be rooting or not. I previously have always rooted my devices (had Essential Phone as my last one). Root gets me AdAway (adblock), Swift Theme Installer and YouTube Vanced working but thats all really. Trying to weigh up if its really worth it with the Pixel 4a... original plan was to run it stock with root but now not so sure.

Same for me. I was planning to root and install AdAway and AFWall+. Then I just installed AdAway in the Non Root VPN mode and just left it running. After a while I was asking myself why I am not using AdAway that way. But what about the Firewall? I had a look at my old rooted phone and to be honest, almost every app was allowed to be online anyway except a few apps like a calculator.

To be honest, if you do not trust an app, then do not install it. I think I will try out the non root way.
 

hellishinc

Member
Nov 24, 2009
43
4
Seattle
Google Nexus 4
SGH-T989
I don't get why almost all custom ROMs today include the Play services and gapps? I see requests for versions without, but they do never happen.

Which is funny to me since it's against Google's terms to ship GAPPS in modified roms.

At the very least they could list what is included but they can't even be arsed to do that. I miss the days of AOKP, Pie nav from ASOPA and Clockwork Mod.
 

bubbyj

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2015
114
85
I don't get why almost all custom ROMs today include the Play services and gapps? I see requests for versions without, but they do never happen.

Thats not my experience AT ALL. I would say that 9 out of 10 custom roms I see are built without Play. And its literally the exact opposite of what you describe -- when enough people ask for a version with gapps included, the dev reluctantly agrees to drop a version with it. Not saying that you're experience is inaccurate.. just saying that it doesn't jive with my reality.

I'm one of those guys who doesn't give 2 poops about 'privacy'. I have mad respect for those that do care though... its obvious they are passionate about it. But for me, Google can do what they want with my data. I live in a state where cops can search your vehicle for crossing the white line (100% true, in tennessee, the supreme court allowed it because crossing the white/yellow line is a 'crime' and not a civil infraction.). We have license plate readers that monitor our movements. Cell phone companies that store every call and text and location. SecCam's in every corner, aisle, register, and door of every store. And a million other ways that I'm being 'watched' by corporations and government.. all the day, every day.

I have no clue what google could do with my data... that would seriously put me in jeopardy or make me feel violated in some way.

So again, I get the concern with privacy. And perhaps its a decade of service in the Army has heavily influenced me. We have our 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, and 14th amendments heavily curtailed.. and are strictly controlled in our off-duty, off-base, and and out-of-uniform behaviors and actions -- that leads me to the conclusion that I have reached.. that I don't care whatsoever about "privacy".

Anyways... hope everyone is gonna have an awesome July 4th with family and friends. A lot of good men and women, much better than I, have died because of their defense of our ability to celebrate it. Never forget that.
 

bubbyj

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2015
114
85
I just picked up Pixel 4a this month and I am really wondering if I wanna be rooting or not. I previously have always rooted my devices (had Essential Phone as my last one). Root gets me AdAway (adblock), Swift Theme Installer and YouTube Vanced working but thats all really. Trying to weigh up if its really worth it with the Pixel 4a... original plan was to run it stock with root but now not so sure.
Vanced will run perfectly without root. Just download the vanced manager apk, select non-root version... and done.

If you want to access your saved libraries, liked vids, etc.. you'll need to install microg -- which, awesomely enough, is done through the vanced manager as well! You can not log into your youtube/google account through the vanced app without microg as a conduit. fyi.

The vanced manager complete process of installing both on a non-rooted phone, took me all of 45 seconds from beginning to end. No questions to answer. No knowledge needed.

One suggestion though... the default download of the vanced YT from vanced manager, includes a light and dark version. The dark version is a dark charcoal color. Its decent for low light conditions. But to really unlock the beauty of this OLED screen, switch it to the light+black version. Its amazing.
 

bubbyj

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2015
114
85
I agree with the earlier post that the dev community is dying out naturally due to lack of need. AOSP Pixel devices are just insanely well put together with tons of unique abilities that the custom rom's can't match.

My first phone 'fun phone' was perhaps one of the best dev communities in existence back in the day. The moto g3 (2015). It had about 50 custom roms, 15 kernels... and everything was nightly. And most were Official. It was an incredible experience. However, it ruined me. I expected that from every phone from that moment forward. I went to a Moto g6, then a g7, and then a G Pro/Stylus... and with each new phone that came out, the dev community just sorta died a little more. And while there's a lot of pixels sold, it represents but a tiny little fraction of the overall android market. Devs are split between thousands of phone models today... but back in 2015 --- it was a different landscape. They had a dozen or so phones that represented 75% of the android market share. Today, to get 75%, it'd take about 500 models combined.

Today I run Android 12 beta 2.1. Not rooted yet.. for the first time in my entire 'smartphone career'. I've never had an unrooted phone -- truly. I will get around to it, probably when the official 12 public release hits. I'm trying to stay unrooted until the beta process is over, to help with feedback to the google devs. I've identified 8 bugs so far, with 3 being unique and the first reporting of them. It helps them quite a bit to have a stock beta rom, rather than a rooted one.

ideally, I root for just a few reasons... whats most important to me is my ability to increase my battery life by 50% using a kernel manager like ExKerel Manager. By running the exkernel, and then heavily tweaking the cpu, gpu, I/O, and memory parameters -- I can make a phone last forever on a single charge without really sacrificing upside performance. So rooting is incredible important to me. With many other rooting-unique functions.
 
Last edited:

Dogora

Member
Oct 12, 2014
21
7
Vienna, VA
Thats not my experience AT ALL. I would say that 9 out of 10 custom roms I see are built without Play. And its literally the exact opposite of what you describe -- when enough people ask for a version with gapps included, the dev reluctantly agrees to drop a version with it. Not saying that you're experience is inaccurate.. just saying that it doesn't jive with my reality.

Well, FWIW, I just checked the ROMs available specifically for the Pixel 4a.

With gapps: StatiXOS, Resurrection Remix 8.x, Descendant XI, SuperiorOS Xcalibur
Without gapps: LineageOS 18, Candy 11, CalyxOS, Resurrection Remix 8.x (but it's unofficial, built less often, and untested)

So, we're basically 50/50, with/without. I have not looked at any GSI builds.

Edit: I checked ROMs for the 4a, not the 5G version. I just noticed this thread is in the 4a 5G area.
 
Last edited:

CamoGeko

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Use private DNS (i.e. dnsforge.de and dns quick tile. Its a super method to block ads anywhere.

Vanced doesnt need root to work 100%.

Honestly not too sure how to set the custom DNS stuff up yet, also I'm always weary it might break my connection. I'm using AdAway non-root method to block ads, the only thing that annoys me is the notification.

Same for me. I was planning to root and install AdAway and AFWall+. Then I just installed AdAway in the Non Root VPN mode and just left it running. After a while I was asking myself why I am not using AdAway that way. But what about the Firewall? I had a look at my old rooted phone and to be honest, almost every app was allowed to be online anyway except a few apps like a calculator.

To be honest, if you do not trust an app, then do not install it. I think I will try out the non root way.
Yeah I'm using AdAway in non-root mode, seems to work okay with most things... not sure what that AFWall app is.

Vanced will run perfectly without root. Just download the vanced manager apk, select non-root version... and done.

If you want to access your saved libraries, liked vids, etc.. you'll need to install microg -- which, awesomely enough, is done through the vanced manager as well! You can not log into your youtube/google account through the vanced app without microg as a conduit. fyi.

The vanced manager complete process of installing both on a non-rooted phone, took me all of 45 seconds from beginning to end. No questions to answer. No knowledge needed.

One suggestion though... the default download of the vanced YT from vanced manager, includes a light and dark version. The dark version is a dark charcoal color. Its decent for low light conditions. But to really unlock the beauty of this OLED screen, switch it to the light+black version. Its amazing.

Yeah I have Vanced YT installed through that method, the black themed version really does look good on this display.

Overall I am pleased with this phone and Android 12. The only thing I wish is that the battery was thicker, I feel like they could have stretched it to 4000mAh. The phone is very light and I wouldn't mind a bit more weight/thickness.
 

Top Liked Posts

  • There are no posts matching your filters.
  • 11
    I think the modding scene died as stock Android progressively chipped away at the best major features of custom ROMs. Better privacy controls, power savings, night & dark modes, quick tiles. Those were pretty much the biggest selling points for me. The only other custom ROM features people liked were PIE controls and and silly animations.

    And with the Pixel you'd lose so many of the Pixel extras if you flash a custom ROM. (recognizing music, probably live transcribe, the nifty Live Wallpapers, etc.

    I've been occasionaly racking my brain to figure out if there are any value-added features left to pursue. Say, for LineageOS- they could replace all of the stock audio files with some high quality and very unique sounds, get some interesting wallpapers (a fresh coat of paint.), improve the stock launcher, bundle F-Droid, and offer Google Cloud Messaging and location svcs alternatives. They did/are add(ing) an online backup solution called SeedVault.

    It's a difficult thing to think of any original ideas. I also have this per-app fuzzy location idea I submitted to Google issue tracker (which iPhone also came up with recently. I think they call it Approximate Location.)

    It used to be more exciting to be a flashaholic but every time I look at the custom ROMs these days they don't "do anything" for me. More minuses than pluses.
    5
    seems like people are happy with their devices out of the box... so there isn't much need for mods, custom ROMs and stuff like this?!
    2
    I would have expected more activity here......
    2
    I just picked up Pixel 4a this month and I am really wondering if I wanna be rooting or not. I previously have always rooted my devices (had Essential Phone as my last one). Root gets me AdAway (adblock), Swift Theme Installer and YouTube Vanced working but thats all really. Trying to weigh up if its really worth it with the Pixel 4a... original plan was to run it stock with root but now not so sure.
    Vanced will run perfectly without root. Just download the vanced manager apk, select non-root version... and done.

    If you want to access your saved libraries, liked vids, etc.. you'll need to install microg -- which, awesomely enough, is done through the vanced manager as well! You can not log into your youtube/google account through the vanced app without microg as a conduit. fyi.

    The vanced manager complete process of installing both on a non-rooted phone, took me all of 45 seconds from beginning to end. No questions to answer. No knowledge needed.

    One suggestion though... the default download of the vanced YT from vanced manager, includes a light and dark version. The dark version is a dark charcoal color. Its decent for low light conditions. But to really unlock the beauty of this OLED screen, switch it to the light+black version. Its amazing.
    1
    And with the Pixel you'd lose so many of the Pixel extras if you flash a custom ROM. (recognizing music, probably live transcribe, the nifty Live Wallpapers, etc.
    I have all these working on derpfest but I generally agree with your point. Im mostly modded for some personal QoL changes that might not be worth having SafetyNet broken, im weighing it atm