In this guide, we walk through the steps to get DivestOS up and running on your mobile device. This guide assumes you have a new installation of DivestOS. Please read the instructions carefully to complete setup, install apps, customize the device, and become more familiar with your new operating system.

Table of Contents

  1. Insert Sim Card
  2. Initial Power-on
  3. App Repositories
  4. Pre-installed Apps
  5. Install New Apps
  6. Personal Customization
  7. Hardening Your Device
  8. Transfer Contacts and Personal Data

Insert SIM Card

Before inserting a SIM card into your degoogled device, see our article about how to remain anonymous while using a SIM card. Also, if this is the first time installing a SIM card, follow our tutorial for detailed instructions.

TIP: For the ultimate privacy-focused phone service on a degoogled device, check out Our customers receive a phone number and one month of free service.

Initial Power-on

When powering on the device for the first time, go through these steps

  1. Power On: Press and hold the power button on the side of the phone.
  2. Warning Messages: You can safely ignore warning messages such as "This device's bootloader is unlocked and its software integrity can't be verified..." or "This device is not running official software." or "Your device has been unlocked and can't be trusted".
  3. Welcome: At the welcome screen, scroll down and tap Start
  4. Language: Select your preferred language.
  5. Turn on Cellular Data (if applicable): If your device is equipped to make phone calls and you have a SIM card installed and are not connected to a Wi-Fi network, you will have the option of using cellular data to complete the setup process. As always, charges may apply.
  6. SIM card missing (if applicable): If your device is equipped to make phone calls and if you do not have a SIM card installed, you will get this screen with the option to install one at this point or setup ESIM. Or, it is safe to continue setup without a SIM. Tap Next.
  7. Internet (WiFi): Connect to a WiFi network by selecting the name of your WiFi network and entering the passphrase. Tap Next.
  8. Date & time: Set your time zone and adjust current date and time if needed. Tap Next.
  9. Location services: Determine whether to give apps permission to the device's location data. Optionally you may set up location data permissions within the individual app settings later. Tap Next.
  10. DivestOS features: DivestOS collects anonymous diagnostic and usage data in order to extend the capabilities of your device. Tap Next.
  11. Protect your device: Set up a PIN, password or pattern to unlock the screen. It will prevent unauthorized access to your phone by another individual. Follow the on-screen instructions or select Skip to skip this step.
  12. Fingerprint or Facial recognition setup: Some devices are equipped to use fingerprint or facial recognition to unlock the screen. Follow the on-screen instructions or select Skip to skip this step.
  13. Restore apps and data: If you have a backup from a previously used DivestOS device, you can restore it at this step. Otherwise, tap Skip.
  14. Navigation: Choose your preferred navigation method. This can be changed later in system settings. Tap Next.
  15. Tap Start to complete initial setup.

App Repositories

TIP: Use F-Droid and Aurora Store just like you would Apple Store or Google Play Store. Search for apps, download, and install. Both repositories will keep you aware of app updates as well.

F-Droid: F-Droid is pre-installed on your device and serves a similar function to the Google Play store. It contains free and open source apps. Apps can be browsed, downloaded and installed from F-Droid without the need to register for an account.

Instructions to update F-Droid and install Mull, DivestOS's privacy oriented web browser...

  1. In the app drawer, open F-Droid
  2. Select Updates in the bottom menu
  4. Tap UPDATE beside each of the app names. This will update existing apps and install Mull, the privacy oriented web browser from DivestOS

Aurora Store: Aurora Store is an unofficial free open-source software (FOSS) alternative to Google's Play Store. Simply stated, it allows access to apps on Google Play Store anonymously. For those concerned with privacy, Aurora Store does not require Google's proprietary framework to operate.

Instructions to install Aurora Store...

  1. Open F-Droid
  2. Tap the magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner and search for "Aurora Store"
  3. Select the result "Aurora Store by Rahul Kumar Patel"
  4. Tap Install
  5. Aurora Store will be downloaded and installed.

Instructions to configure Aurora Store...

  1. While still in F-Droid, tap OPEN, or open Aurora Store from the app drawer
  2. At the Welcome screen, tap Next at the bottom
  3. It is best to leave Session installer selected. Tap Next
  4. Select your preferred theme and tap Next
  5. Select your preferred accent color and tap Next
  6. At the App Links screen, choose Enable and tap + Add link, then check the box by each link. Tap Add. Press the back arrow. Tap Next
  7. At the Permissions screen, grant permissions for all items listed. Tap Finish
  8. At the Log in screen, select Anonymous

Pre-installed Apps

TIP: If you are new to Android, swiping up with one finger will access the app drawer. All installed apps will be accessible in the app drawer.

DivestOS includes a suite of pre-installed apps.

  • Calculator - A straightforward calculator app
  • Camera - Open-source camera app capable of capturing still images and video
  • Clock - The Android open source clock; includes an alarm, timer, and stopwatch
  • Contacts - The standard Android open source contacts app
  • eSpeak - a text-to-speech engine
  • Etar - To start using, go to app settings to add a calendar
  • F-Droid - Replaces Google Play Store as your primary app repository
  • Files - A simple file browser
  • Gallery - A very straightforward and easy to use photo gallery
  • Messaging (if applicable) - For devices equipped with carrier services, this is the open-source SMS/MMS text messaging app
  • Mull - Privacy oriented web browser
  • Phone (if applicable) - For devices equipped with carrier services, this is the standard open-source phone dialer app
  • Recorder - A simple voice recorder app
  • Settings - The system settings app
  • Support - A support app from DivestOS that lists all of the resources available for help using the operating system

Install New Apps

TIP: Before installing new apps from F-Droid or Aurora Store, see our complete list of recommended apps.

Simple Rules to Follow...

  1. Rule #1 Use privacy-friendly apps: There are viable open-source privacy-friendly alternatives to the apps you have previously used.
  2. Rule #2 Stay away from Big Tech: Apps made by Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and other Big Tech corporations should be avoided based on their standard practice of selling your personal data for profit and tracking everything you do.
  3. Rule #3 Install apps from these sources, in this order:
    • F-Droid: The best place to find apps is on F-Droid because it contains many privacy-friendly open-source alternative apps.
    • Aurora Store: If you cannot find a solution on F-Droid, the next step is to search Aurora Store.
    • Direct Download: Not all apps have to be installed using a repository. There are several excellent apps available for download directly from their developer's website.

Personal Customization

Make DivestOS feel more like your phone with these recommended settings.

  • Enable Adaptive brightness: Adaptive brightness may be disabled by default. To enable it, open Settings app > Display > Adaptive brightness > tap toggle button to enable
  • Customize home screen: Select Settings app > Wallpaper & style to change home screen appearance (download our favorite wallpapers at
  • Add apps to home screen: From the app drawer, hold a finger down on an app icon; begin to drag the icon with your finger (the home screen will appear); drag the icon to the preferred location and release
  • System navigation: Choose how you navigate with gestures by going to Settings app > System > Gestures > System navigation
  • Add widgets: Add a clock or other widget. Hold your finger on an empty area of the home screen; In the pop-up menu tap Widgets; Select desired widget
  • Display settings: Go to Settings app > Display to adjust brightness, lock screen, screen timeout, theme, font size, auto-rotate, screen saver, and more

Harden Your Device

  1. Reduce App Dependency: The fewer apps on your phone, the more secure and private it will be. We challenge you to only install what you need. This will increase available storage space and reduce the potential for leaked data through random apps.
  2. Review App Permissions: Apps don't always need the permissions they request. Go to Settings > Apps & notifications > See All ## Apps. Then select each app and review permission settings. Change to Approve, Deny, or Ask Every Time as necessary.
  3. Install a Firewall: Install a firewall like NetGuard from F-Droid to restrict network access on a per-app basis. Once installed, scan through the list of apps and decide whether to restrict network communication. Be cautious of restricting system apps that appear in the list.
  4. Setup Multiple User Profiles: If you must install proprietary (closed source) apps that are questionable in terms of privacy (i.e. for your job), create a "Work" profile and isolate them from your personal data. Learn more.
  5. Activate Private DNS: Why is DNS important? Learn more. Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Private DNS. Select Private DNS provider hostname and enter Or follow our guide to select a specific DNS resolver of your choice.
  6. Install a VPN: A virtual private network encrypts the data being sent from your device by tunneling to a VPN server, effectively cloaking your data and preventing ISP interception. Additionally, to the downstream recipient, your device's location will appear to be the location of the VPN server. This feature is useful when accessing websites that restrict access from specific countries. For a no-cost alternative that uses the TOR network, I highly recommend Orbot, available on F-Droid by enabling "Guardian Project" repository. There are also three free VPN services available on F-Droid: the CalyxVPN, RiseUpVPN, or ProtonVPN. However paid VPNs offer more features and higher speeds.

Transfer Contacts and Personal Data

If you are coming from an iPhone and want to migrate your contacts, photos, and other personal data, follow the guide Transferring Personal Data from iPhone. Or if you are coming from an Android device, follow the guide Transferring Personal Data from Android.

De-register iMessages

If you are migrating from an Apple iPhone to an Android, you'll need to de-register iMessages in order to get text messages from other iPhone users. Go to Apple's "Deregister iMessages" webpage and follow the instructions.