De-Google Your Phone: How to Install LineageOS on Your Android Phone (Step-by-Step Guide)

By SB •  Updated: 04/19/21 •  12 min read

Android is generally considered a Google product, but Android can be made more private and google-free with some great opensource projects available to everyone: LineageOS (available to many phones) and GrapheneOS (limited to recent Google phones); two custom ROMs built for “de-googled” privacy.

Why Use a De-Googled Android Phone?

LineageOS is an Android phone operating system that contains no apps will attempt to connect to Google servers. The benefit here is a privacy-by-default phone setup instead of one that requires time and tweaking to disable any invasive features.

The Downside: if you install a default version of LineageOS, Google has been removed from the system. Going google-less is great for privacy reasons, but not so great for convenience.

— but that is a trade-off I happily accept. And if you install other privacy-respecting apps on your phone — apps that do not use Google for any of their functionality –, you will not miss Google apps at all (mostly).

Why LineageOS?

LineageOS is the successor to CyanogenMod, a free and open-source operating system for smartphone and tablet computers, based on the Android mobile platform. It is Android without the all-seeing eye of Google! What’s better than that?

Well, GrapheneOS may be a better option since it has secure boot features, but GrapheneOS supports fewer phones (only recent Pixel devices), so let’s stick with the stable, well-supported LineageOS and its helpful community for now. You are welcome to adapt these steps to install CalyxOS or another custom ROM if you want.

If you do have a Pixel model 3a and above, I recommend installing GrapheneOS and seeing if you can live with it.

First, Is Your Phone Supported by LineageOS?

If you have an old phone laying around and you want to inject it with a second life, check the list below to see if it is compatible with LineageOS. (GrapheneOS is currently limited to the recent Google Pixel 3 and up.) Or, if you want to get a cheap second phone as a backup or your daily driver, choose one of these supported phones.

List of Phones Supported By LineageOS

Asus ROG Phone 2 (ZS660KL)
Asus Zenfone 5Z (ZS620KL)
Asus Zenfone 6 (ZS630KL)
Aquaris X
Aquaris X Pro
Nexus 6
Nexus 7 2013 (Wi-Fi, Repartitioned)
Pixel 2
Pixel 2 XL
Pixel 3
Pixel 3 XL
Pixel 3a
Pixel 3a XL
Pixel 4
Pixel 4 XL
Pixel 4a
Pixel 4a 5G
Pixel 5
Pixel XL
One (M8)
One (M8) Dual SIM
Honor 5X
Le 2
Le Max2
Le Pro3 / Le Pro3 Elite
G2 (AT&T)
G2 (Canadian)
G2 (International)
G2 (T-Mobile)
G3 (AT&T)
G3 (Canada)
G3 (International)
G3 (Korea)
G3 (Sprint)
G3 (T-Mobile)
G3 (Verizon)
G5 (International)
G5 (T-Mobile)
G5 (US Unlocked)
V20 (AT&T)
V20 (Global)
V20 (Sprint)
V20 (T-Mobile)
V20 (US Unlocked)
V20 (Verizon)
Moto E 2015 LTE
Moto E5 Plus (XT1924-1/2/4/5)
Moto E5 Plus (XT1924-3/9)
Moto E5 Plus (XT1924-6/7/8)
Moto G 2015
Moto G3 Turbo
Moto G4 Play
Moto G5
Moto G5S
Moto G6 Plus
Moto G7
Moto G7 Play
Moto G7 Plus
Moto G7 Power
Moto One Power
Moto X 2014
Moto X Play
Moto X4
Moto Z
Moto Z2 Force
Moto Z3 Play
6.1 (2018)
OnePlus 2
OnePlus 3 / 3T
OnePlus 5
OnePlus 5T
OnePlus 6
OnePlus 6T
OnePlus 7
OnePlus 7 Pro
OnePlus 7T Pro
OnePlus 8
OnePlus 8 Pro
OnePlus 8T
OnePlus Nord
OnePlus One
2 Pro
Galaxy A3 (2016)
Galaxy A5 (2016)
Galaxy A5 (2017)
Galaxy A7 (2016)
Galaxy A7 (2017)
Galaxy J7 (2015)
Galaxy Note 3 LTE (N9005/P)
Galaxy Note 3 LTE (N9008V)
Galaxy Note 3 LTE (N900K/L/S)
Galaxy Note 3 LTE (N900T/V/W8)
Galaxy S III Neo (Dual SIM)
Galaxy S III Neo (Samsung Camera)
Galaxy S III Neo (Sony Camera)
Galaxy S4 (GT-I9505/G, SGH-I337M, SGH-M919)
Galaxy S4 (SCH-I545)
Galaxy S4 (SCH-R970, SPH-L720)
Galaxy S4 (SGH-I337)
Galaxy S4 Active
Galaxy S4 Value Edition (GT-I9515/L)
Galaxy S5 Active (G870F)
Galaxy S5 LTE (G9006V/8V)
Galaxy S5 LTE (G900F/M/R4/R7/T/V/W8)
Galaxy S5 LTE (G900I/P)
Galaxy S5 LTE (G900K/L/S)
Galaxy S5 LTE (SC-04F/SCL23)
Galaxy S5 LTE Duos (G9006W/8W)
Galaxy S5 LTE Duos (G900FD/MD)
Galaxy S5 Neo
Galaxy Tab S5e (LTE)
Galaxy Tab S5e (Wi-Fi)
Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (Wi-Fi)
Xperia 10
Xperia 10 Plus
Xperia Tablet Z2 LTE
Xperia XA2
Xperia XA2 Plus
Xperia XA2 Ultra
Xperia XZ2
Xperia XZ2 Compact
Xperia Z3
Xperia Z3 Compact
Redmi 2
Mi 5
Mi 5s Plus
Mi 6
Mi 6X
Mi 8
Mi 8 Lite
Mi A1
Mi A2
Mi MIX 2
Mi Note 2
Mi Note 3
Poco F1
Redmi 7
Redmi K20 / Mi 9T
Redmi Note 5 Pro
Redmi Note 6 Pro
Redmi Note 7
Redmi Note 8 / 8T
Z2 Plus
If your phone is listed here, you can install LineageOS on it.

Go to and make sure your exact device is supported (look for it down the left column on that page).

Getting Started: Wipe Your Device

Back it up. When you install a new operating system onto your phone, you will be erasing everything on that phone. So if there is anything on your device that you haven’t yet backed up, now is the time to do that.

Wipe your device (optional). Since you will be erasing everything by installing LineageOS anyway, this step is optional but good to know, and it is satisfying to know you are deleting all remnants of Google. The steps will be something like:

Enable USB debugging. You may have to use duckduckgo or your preferred search engine to find your Android’s instructions for enabling USB debugging, but on a Google Pixel, here’s how:

Connect your phone to your computer. Once it is plugged into your computer, you are reading to send commands directly to your phone. You definitely need a computer for this step, so first let us configure your desktop or laptop system to use ADB (the Android Debug Bridge).

Install and Configure ADB From Your Computer

For this next step, grab a USB cable to plug your Android device into your USB of your computer. You will use your operating system’s command line (or terminal) to input commands and get this show on the road. For mac, Windows and Linux, the official ADB fastboot instructions are at

If you are using Windows 10 (as your main operating system or in a virtual machine), go to and download the file to your Win10 Desktop.

If you see your device listed, you are ready to proceed. Unplug and repeat the steps if you receive errors.

Unlock the Bootloader

The bootloader is a security checkpoint on your device which manages all your partitions on your phone; it tells the hardware where to look to start the device and to make sure the software you are using is legitimate.

Your device will have its own steps for unlocking the bootloader; this is how to unlock a Pixel:

The device will reboot on its own. If it doesn’t reboot, force a manual reboot by holding the power button to shut the phone down, and again to restart. You will have to re-enable USB debugging to continue. To re-enable debugging, do the following:

Your device should now to ready for the installation of your new LineageOS or other custom ROM.

Install TWRP and Download Custom Recovery

Setup a recovery image to allow your phone to boot to a custom menu — this will save you time in the future if you want to reinstall from the device itself.

Find the right TWRP image for your device at their website Select the make and model of your phone and then:

Consult the LineageOS Wiki page for the appropriate steps for your specific device at this point. Afterward, the device should reboot into the new TWRP menu.

If it doesn’t, enter the recovery menu for your device by pushing whatever buttons your device manual specifies. For the Pixel, it is holding down both the Volume Down and Power buttons while the device is off.

If you are using a virtual machine for this process, each time the machine reboots, you will need to notify your host operating system that you desire your USB device to connect to the virtual machine. This is annoying but beneficial in the long run.

Install LineageOS

Now for the easy part!

To install LineageOS:

BOOM! If all went well, your phone is now booting into LineageOS, an Android operating system without any Google services installed.

If ever prompted to add a Google account, avoid or “skip” the option.

Install Apps Using F-Droid and Aurora Store

To download apps without Google taking over your freshly installed operating system, use F-Droid.

You may also search online for programs not on Aurora nor F-Droid, and download trusted APK files directly to the device and install them.

Backup & Restore Options

To backup your phone, grab an empty microSD card of equal or greater size to your phone storage, pop it into your phone, and let’s go.

TWRP enables an easy backup & restore process.

To create a phone backup:

Restore your backup by doing the following:

You now have a zippy and secure (free from Google) Android operating system on your phone, capable of supporting all kinds of privacy-respecting apps: ProtonMail, ProtonVPN, Wickr, Linphone, Wire, Session, Signal, Authy, andOTP, Bromite, FirefoxFocus, KeePass2Androind, etc.

Goodbye, Google! Hello, Freedom!


I've been practicing OSINT and utilizing Linux as my daily operating system for over twenty years. The tools are always changing and so I'm always learning, but helping you understand the value of protecting your own data remains at the forefront of everything I do.