Why I hate smartphones.

Why I hate smartphones.

My mother has a Samsung Galaxy J5 that she bought several years ago. The phone is in great condition physically. However it only has 16GB of internal storage. Problem is she uses 99% of that space, making the device extremely slow and 0 updates possible or the ability to install any new app.

Only 10 apps out of perhaps hundreds on her phone can be removed, since the rest came pre-installed with the phone. Bloatware. Google + Samsung apps that are 100% useless. And they cannot be removed.

So, we cannot uninstall/remove anything. Now what can she do? Buy a new phone probably.

And this is how you create a massive amount of waste. On these phones you have no control over your OS, so if your phone is a few years old you can say bye bye to system updates. You cannot remove the bloatware. You cannot change the battery or any other components. And yes probably you can do some of those if you have a ton of time and skills to install a custom Android and have the guts to unglue your phone and change the battery. But most people will never do this.

I tried to make the SD card of her phone part of the system to expand the storage. Worked. But then what for if I cannot move 99% of apps there? I then enabled the developer mode and enabled the “force move the apps to the SD card”. That allowed me to move a bit more apps but still 80% cannot be moved.

However when these moved apps update, they are reinstalled on the internal storage again. Basically ‘d have to move them to the SD card all the time….sucks. Not sustainable…

I eventually managed to install adbmanager and luckily that allowed me to remove any bloatware I wanted.

Problem is you have to know the exact name of these apps and they look like “samsung.android.visioncloudagent” so you have to figure which app does what…. I found some websites where they list this bloatware like this or this. But it takes time to remove because you have to be VERY careful not to brick your phone.

After doing all of these she has some 1.7GB of free space. Which is fine for now but still unsustainable. I wonder if the next Android update will add back all of that bloatware….after all when I got some updates years ago Samsung decided to install Facebook and Instagram for me, without the ability to remove them.

So, her laptop uses Linux and not Windows, despite having Windows pre-installed when we bought it. Why not install a sane Android OS on her phone?

With laptops is a ton easier, especially for older models, to install an OS. My mother could do it if I gave her the instructions. With the phones it is a different world. People are already googlefied so you can’t just install a new Android without connecting it to their previous account since everything is tied to that. You need to root the phone and hope that it won’t brick it. That’s something that can make your phone useless. Plus all of these custom Androids that have removed the bloatware only support a tiny fraction of all phones.

LineageOS for example, the one that supports by far the most models – https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/ – does not support that phone.

The rest support mostly the Pixel phones, namely the newer ones. And that’s another issue…even these custom OSes will support this or that device for a bit, then bye bye. Therefore you still have to buy newer devices even when you want a custom Android that is bloatware free.

Some of these even add their own bloatware like https://e.foundation/e-os/ – with their own subscription models.

I was considering to compromise on buying a second hand but newer model Pixel and then install one of those bloatfree Androids, but then if you buy such a phone second hand and the battery is crap and you can’t replace it….what can you do!?

Linux phones, if anyone wonders, are an experiment at best at this stage. Plus they only support a few models too.

It is such a different world when it comes to computers. This Microsoft tablet is more than 10 years old:

And it still works with TROMjaro Linux. Granted to make the bluetooth and wifi work I had to install a custom kernel and do some gymnastics. Easier than installing a custom Android on a phone. But this tablet receives constant updates. And this was a special case since these tablets used some weird hardware for the bluetooth and wifi. Most decade old laptops/computers work just fine with the latest Linux.

So you can bring to life old computers but not old phones.

That’s one major reason why I hate smartphones. They are disposable. They come bloated with a ton of crap. It is hard if not impossible to block ads on phones. Plus they are with you all the time so notifications and all that crap will make your life a hell.

Even a Linux phone would not be something I would use much since I do not want to always be trapped in the digital space.

In this trade based society companies are incentivized to release newer model of phones constantly. They support each model for a few years then bye bye. They pre-install a lot of crap to make more off of you. Trades: attention, data, subscriptions. So we end up with a world full of disposable ad-devices that people call as “smartphones”. The irony of using the word “smart” for those devices.

And I get it, these devices if they were Linux based only, and supported indefinitely, could be useful in certain circumstances such as navigation, keeping in touch with close friends, etc.. But the rest seems to me like just a tool for consuming, trading. Your life being sucked away from you by companies and individuals who want your currency, your attention, your data.


I will eventually install a custom Android on my own personal phone, a Galaxy S7, 8 years old. To put some life into it. Just so that I get rid of the pile of shit that the software is on all phones nowadays, even if I only use my phone for GPS, maps, and such purposes.

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