GrapheneOS
GrapheneOS home screen
GrapheneOS home screen
DeveloperGrapheneOS team
OS familyAndroid (Linux)
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source
Initial releaseApril 2019; 4 years ago (2019-04)
Latest release2024012600[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 26 January 2024
Repository
Marketing targetPrivacy/Security-focused smartphones
Update methodOver-the-air (OTA) or locally
Package managerAPK-based
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux)
LicenseMIT, Apache License, various permissive open-source
Official websitegrapheneos.org Edit this at Wikidata

GrapheneOS (formerly Android Hardening or AndroidHardening) is an Android-based, open source, privacy and security-focused mobile operating system for selected Google Pixel devices, including smartphones, tablets and foldables.

History

See also: CopperheadOS § History

The main developer, Daniel Micay, originally worked on CopperheadOS, until a schism over software licensing between the co-founders of Copperhead Limited led to Micay's dismissal from the company in 2018.[2] After the incident, Micay continued working on the Android Hardening project,[2][3] which was renamed as GrapheneOS[3] and announced in April 2019.[2]

According to Damien Wilde of 9to5Google, GrapheneOS released Android 12L for Google Pixel devices before Google did, second to ProtonAOSP.[4] GrapheneOS apps "Secure Camera" and "Secure PDF Viewer" (based on pdf.js) were released to the Google Play Store and GitHub.[5]

In May 2023, Micay announced he would step down as lead developer of GrapheneOS and as GrapheneOS Foundation director. Micay wrote "I'm unable to handle the escalating level of harassment including recent swatting attacks. There will be a smooth migration."[6] As of January 2024, Micay was contributing to GrapheneOS GitHub repositories,[7] and the GrapheneOS Foundation's registration listed Micay as one of its directors.[8]

Features

GrapheneOS default "Apps" app screen.

As of March 2022, GrapheneOS only officially supports Google Pixel devices.[9] By default Google apps are not installed with GrapheneOS,[9][10] but users can install a sandboxed version of Google Services from the "Apps" app, which is installed with GrapheneOS.[10] The sandboxed Google services allow access to the Google Play Store and apps dependent on Google Services, along with features including push notifications and in-app payments.[10][11]

GrapheneOS developed a hardened Chromium-based web browser and WebView implementation known as Vanadium.[12]

GrapheneOS introduces revocable network access and sensors permission toggles for each installed app.[9][12] GrapheneOS also randomizes MAC address per-connection by default,[2][13] and includes a PIN scrambling option for the lock screen.[14] A hardware-based attestation app known as Auditor is also included.[15]

As of January 2024, Android Auto is now supported, allowing users to install it via the "Apps" app.[16] The Sandboxed Google Play compatibility layer settings adds a new permission menu with 4 toggles for granting the minimal access required for wired Android Auto, wireless Android Auto, audio routing and phone calls.[17]

Reception

In 2019, Georg Pichler of Der Standard, and other news sources, quoted Edward Snowden saying on Twitter, "If I were configuring a smartphone today, I'd use Daniel Micay's GrapheneOS as the base operating system."[18] In discussing why services should not force users to install proprietary apps, Lennart Mühlenmeier of netzpolitik.org suggested GrapheneOS as an alternative to Apple or Google.[19] Svět Mobilně and Webtekno repeated the suggestions that GrapheneOS is a good security- and privacy-oriented replacement for standard Android.[20][21] In a detailed review of GrapheneOS for Golem.de, Moritz Tremmel and Sebastian Grüner said they were able to use GrapheneOS similarly to other Android systems, while enjoying more freedom from Google, without noticing differences from "additional memory protection, but that's the way it should be." They concluded GrapheneOS cannot change how "Android devices become garbage after three years at the latest", but "it can better secure the devices during their remaining life while protecting privacy."[2]

In June 2021, reviews of GrapheneOS, KaiOS, AliOS, and Tizen OS, were published in Cellular News. The review of GrapheneOS called it "arguably the best mobile operating system in terms of privacy and security." However, they criticized GrapheneOS for its inconvenience to users, saying "GrapheneOS is completely de-Googled and will stay that way forever—at least according to the developers." They also noticed a "slight performance decrease" and said "it might take two full seconds for an app—even if it’s just the Settings app—to fully load."[22]

In March 2022, writing for How-To Geek Joe Fedewa said that Google apps were not included due to concerns over privacy, and GrapheneOS also did not include a default app store. Instead, Fedewa suggested, F-Droid could be used.[9] In a 2022, Jonathan Lamont of MobileSyrup reviewed GrapheneOS installed on a Pixel 3, after one week of use. He called GrapheneOS install process "straightforward" and concluded that he liked GrapheneOS overall, but criticized the post-install as "often not a seamless experience like using an unmodified Pixel or an iPhone", attributing his experience to his "over-reliance on Google apps" and the absence of some "smart" features in GrapheneOS default keyboard and camera apps, in comparison to software from Google.[10] In his initial impressions post a week prior, Lamont said that after an easy install there were issues with permissions for Google's Messages app, and difficulty importing contacts; Lamont then concluded, "Anyone looking for a straightforward experience may want to avoid GrapheneOS or other privacy-oriented Android experiences since the privacy gains often come at the expense of convenience and ease of use."[23] In July 2022, Charlie Osborne of ZDNet suggested that individuals who suspect a Pegasus infection use a secondary device with GrapheneOS for secure communication.[24]

In January 2023, a Swiss startup company, Apostrophy AG, announced AphyOS, which is a subscription fee-based Android operating system and services "built atop" GrapheneOS.[25][26]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Releases: 2024012600". 26 January 2024. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  2. ^ a b c d e Tremmel, Moritz; Grüner, Sebastian (11 December 2019). "GrapheneOS: Ein gehärtetes Android ohne Google, bitte" [GrapheneOS: A hardened Android without Google, please]. Golem.de (in German). pp. 1–3. Archived from the original on 15 November 2021. Retrieved 20 July 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ a b Baader, Hans-Joachim (9 April 2019). "Android Hardening wird zu GrapheneOS" [Android Hardening becomes GrapheneOS]. Pro-Linux (in German). Archived from the original on 21 September 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  4. ^ Wilde, Damien (11 March 2022). "Privacy-focused GrapheneOS based upon Android 12L comes to Pixel 6 in latest beta". 9to5Google. Archived from the original on 28 June 2022. Retrieved 28 June 2022. After news that custom ROM project ProtonAOSP offers Pixel 6 owners the opportunity to run Android 12L ahead of the official stable release, GrapheneOS is the second such ROM to offer the latest build ahead of Google.
  5. ^ Hazarika, Skanda (4 March 2022). "GrapheneOS brings its camera and PDF viewer apps to the Play Store". XDA. Archived from the original on 22 June 2022. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  6. ^ Micay, Daniel (26 May 2023). "Daniel Micay (@DanielMicay)". Archived from the original on 30 May 2023. Retrieved 27 May 2023.
  7. ^ "Daniel Micay's (@thestinger) contributions to hardened_malloc (a GrapheneOS project), contributions filtered from May 1, 2023 to January 27, 2024". GitHub. Archived from the original on 27 January 2024. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  8. ^ "Federal Corporation Information". Government of Canada. Retrieved 28 January 2024.
  9. ^ a b c d Fedewa, Joe (23 March 2022). "What Is GrapheneOS, and How Does It Make Android More Private?". How-To Geek. Archived from the original on 10 June 2022. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d Lamont, Jonathan (20 March 2022). "A week with GrapheneOS exposed my over-reliance on Google". MobileSyrup. Blue Ant Media. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  11. ^ "South Korea to probe Apple and Google over in-app payment rule break". TechCrunch. 9 August 2022. Archived from the original on 5 February 2023. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  12. ^ a b Mascellino, Alessandro (16 June 2022). "What is GrapheneOS and how does it improve privacy and security?". Android Police. Archived from the original on 22 July 2022. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  13. ^ Valeri, Vitor (17 June 2022). "O que é o GrapheneOS? Como ele aumenta a segurança e a privacidade do celular?". Oficina da Net (in Brazilian Portuguese). Archived from the original on 22 June 2022. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  14. ^ "This is why James Bond doesn't use an iPhone". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Archived from the original on 17 August 2022. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  15. ^ "Features overview". GrapheneOS. Archived from the original on 28 January 2023. Retrieved 5 February 2023.
  16. ^ Schoon, Ben (3 January 2024). "GrapheneOS, a privacy-focused version of Android, is adding Android Auto support". 9to5Google. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  17. ^ "Releases | GrapheneOS". grapheneos.org. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  18. ^ "If I were configuring a smartphone today, I'd use @DanielMicay's @GrapheneOS as the base operating system. I'd desolder the microphones and keep the radios (cellular, wifi, and bluetooth) turned off when I didn't need them. I would route traffic through the @torproject network". Twitter. Archived from the original on 15 November 2022. Retrieved 5 February 2023.
  19. ^ Mühlenmeier, Lennart (19 July 2019). "Warum Post, Bank und Co. ihre Kunden nicht zwingen sollten, Apps zu benutzen" [Why Post, Bank and Co. shouldn't force their customers to use apps]. netzpolitik.org (in German). Archived from the original on 18 September 2019. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  20. ^ Šlik, Jáchym (6 April 2019). "GrapheneOS chce napravit bezpečnostní prohřešky Androidu" [GrapheneOS wants to fix Android security violations]. Svět Mobilně (in Czech). Archived from the original on 8 April 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  21. ^ Kalelioğlu, Eray (3 April 2019). "Android Tabanlı İşletim Sistemi 'GrapheneOS' ile Tanışın" [Meet the GrapheneOS Android-Based Operating System]. Webtekno (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  22. ^ Diane (28 June 2021). "GrapheneOS: A Hardened Android Alternative (Review)". CellularNews. Archived from the original on 14 July 2022. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  23. ^ Lamont, Jonathan (13 March 2022). "I replaced Android on a Pixel 3 with an Android-based privacy OS". MobileSyrup. Blue Ant Media. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  24. ^ "How to find and remove spyware from your phone". ZDNET. Archived from the original on 20 August 2022. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  25. ^ "Swiss Startup Takes On Apple and Google With Privacy-First OS". Bloomberg.com. 16 January 2023. Retrieved 25 May 2023.
  26. ^ "Swiss startup takes on Apple and Google with privacy-first OS". The Star. Retrieved 25 May 2023.