Written on October 29, 2019
Copperhead, the security-focused Android project that I posted about previously, imploded in Summer 2018 after a falling out between the tech and the sales guy. The tech Daniel Micay has continued his privacy and security work as GrapheneOS. Copperhead had a business model selling and supporting the Copperhead phones. Graphene appears to rely largely on donations. Due to the shift in funding, it is not necessary to build GrapheneOS from source if you want to try it out - the project provides signed images for recent Pixel models.
By far the biggest plus that GrapheneOS has over Copperhead for me is that there is the updates are OTA - no need to spend hours building from source every few weeks. I’ve been using it for a bit over a month and compared to Copperhead, there is no substantive difference in the day-to-day app usage. As with Copperhead, GrapheneOS does not have Google Play services, so apps must be installed via another app store (such as F-Droid), or apks must be loaded via a computer or downloaded. I use K-9 as my email client, Signal for texting, NewPipe for YouTube videos, and AntennaPod for podcasts. I use Open Camera for taking pics - the quality is not as good as the default Google camera app but atleast it is not going to the cloud. For navigation I use OsmAnd. It is more cumbersome than Google or Apple Maps, but maps are downloaded to the phone which is great for driving in regions where you don’t have cell service.