Run a 2021 OS on your 2013 Smartphone

One of the best things about modern PCs is that we can run multiple operating systems on them. For most us reading this, that means Linux or Windows. Sadly this is something largely missing from smart phones. The OS that comes with your smart phone is the OS you have on it forever.

RIP CyanogenMod – Welcome To LineageOS

In years past, we could avoid the unwritten expiration date that comes with Android on most phones with CyanogenMod. Since the project has ceased operation, this brings us to the next logical choice and that is LineageOS. Some have called LineageOS a “fork” of CyanogenMod — whether that’s correct is a subject of debate with some people.

LineageOS is compelling to me as it picks up where CyanogenMod left off. The list of supported Android devices is impressive and unlike projects that try to turn Android phones into little Linux computers, LineageOS simply aims to give your phone a new lease on life with a current version of Android-ish experience.

LineageOS Isn’t About Privacy

Now for the elephant in the room – LineageOS isn’t about de-Googling your phone. It’s about extending the life and Android functionality of the device. So if you’re looking for a privacy based OS for your phone, this isn’t it.

However, for users such as myself who don’t believe privacy exists once your fingers touch a keyboard, LineageOS is a great option. Look, I think the various privacy-specific mobile operating systems are awesome. And anyone choosing to install them onto their existing smart phones should be commended. But LineageOS does something projects like Purism doesn’t do – LineageOS helps us avoid buying a brand new $700 phone.

LineageOS Is About Lasting Hardware Value

Allow me to share what I find appealing about LineageOS.

  • LineageOS is about me using my phone until the hardware dies, not the OS.
  • LineageOS allows me to use an experience that is familiar, without running an unpatched Android phone.
  • LineageOS is a community supported project, not a for profit company.

With everything above considered, this isn’t a mobile OS for you if you’re trying to get away from Android. For those looking to do this, I think UBPorts is a better overall fit. There are other Linux-based options for your Android phones as well, but UBPorts is the one I’m most familiar with.

So what do you think?

  • Buy a new phone that respects your privacy?
  • Reuse your existing phone to keep your Android-ish experience up to date?
  • Install something like UBPorts or similar on an older supported phone?