Our smartphone, our precious! Always by our side, we turn it on more than a hundred times a day without really having in mind that it knowingly steals our personal data and limits our choices with complete impunity thanks to the operating systems they use. contain.

According to information collected by Kantar World Panel, in the first quarter of 2020, Android and iOS happily shared the shares of the O.S market with 71.24% of the shares for Google's Android and 28.26% for Apple's iOS.

Yet today, the big names in technology are increasingly scaring consumers. Between a certain lack of ethics regarding confidentiality and security problems related to applications, new alternatives are being sought to regain control of our data with free operating systems that also make it possible to extend the life of devices.

What is an O.S?

The OS is the operating system that will manage, or rather control the smartphone or the tablet as soon as it starts up to make it work by serving as an interface between the device and its user.

Not everyone knows all the technical aspects of a car, and the same can be true for a smartphone. However, knowing which O.S "fuels" a phone can be important before downloading an application or software or to help technical support in the event of a problem.

You can identify it when starting the device or directly by going to your settings under the “General” tab for most smartphones or even “Information”. You will know precisely what your operating system and its version are.

And when we talk about "free applications" or "free software", we are talking about applications or software that these alternative operating systems can run, with the same functions as those installed by default on your device. : contacts, photo gallery, etc.

By the way, if you are hesitating to buy an iPhone, take a look at our guide: How to choose an iPhone?

What are the 2 most used operating systems on smartphones?

We could name around twenty operating systems on the market today. But only two of them have 99.5% of the market, according to a study by NetMarketShare.

Here are the most used operating systems, listed in order of importance:

  1. Android (Google) : 71,24% du marché.
  2. iOS (Apple) : 28,26% du marché.
  3. Linux : 0,05%.
  4. Series 40 (Nokia)
  5. Windows Phone (Microsoft) 
  6. Blackberry OS (RIM)
So what is the best operating system for a smartphone? It's up to you, the choice will generally be between Android and iOS. Read further to get an opinion!

Android VS iOS

With almost 80% of the O.S market share, Android crunches the Apple iOS. It is an open source (or open source code) operating system acquired by Google which today equips the most smartphones, but also tablets, televisions, computers, connected watches, etc.

iOS is the operating system developed by Apple for its iPhone, iPad and connected watch, the Apple Watch. It was born in 2007, a year before Android and despite its stability, it is still very closed.

Each of the new versions of these two competitors brings its share of corrections and improvements.

The problem

Our smartphones have become almost indispensable in our daily lives, they represent a real gateway to a universe full of innovations but alas, where our choices are largely regulated.

Indeed, although each of the stores (stores) offers a very wide variety of applications, the fact of having to choose between a mainly iOS or Android world has the consequence of guiding our choices as to the device, its services as well as its content. In this specific case, we could take the example of a fish being asked to choose its aquarium.

Beyond this aspect, device generation after generation, some of our smartphones find themselves deprived of operating system updates. It is no longer a question here of planned obsolescence but rather of software obsolescence and it is thus again that for the sake of comfort and sometimes of fashion, we are turning to new devices that are ever more sophisticated, but also ever more pollutants because they are less and less recyclable.

This is why users are increasingly moving towards mobile operating systems that are as free as possible, updated regularly and which do not leave old smartphone models on the sidelines.

What are the best free alternatives to Android?

On Android smartphones, the vast majority of users go through the Google Play Store to install applications. However, there are real alternatives that not only make it possible to do without Google services but also to no longer have to transmit personal data to it and to better reward developers.

These alternatives are particularly essential, especially when you find yourself with an Android device that no longer has access to the Play Store for lack of an update (or, as was the case for the Huawei brand, if our smartphone loses its license Android with of course access to the Google store).

So let's take a little neighborhood tour to allow us to "de-googlize" our devices while extending their lifespan.

1. Maker Shops

Android allowing the coexistence of several stores on the same device, if you have a Samsung or Xiaomi mobile, you will no doubt have noticed that these two manufacturers offer their own marketplace or application store alongside the Play Store.

Although their content does not equal that of Google, they still have the merit of being more secure, more orderly and better remunerate their developers. On the other hand, manufacturers now wishing to be able to free themselves from the domination exerted by Google, we should increasingly witness a competitiveness aimed at scraping market share.

2. F-Droid

Little known to the general public but nevertheless popular among those who wish to free themselves from the yoke of Google, F-Droid is a store that offers free and open source applications without the need to register an account, but also a simple interface, easy access to certain applications prohibited on the Google Play Store and it also makes it possible to exchange applications with people nearby without having to go through an internet connection.

3. /e/ (formerly called eelo)

Mobile operating system, /e/ was developed to get rid of Google layers and offer a set of free online services and applications with great compatibility of the most famous Android applications without having to collect personal data of its users.

4. PostmarketOS

Small but strong, PostmarketOS is a free operating system that fits in less than 10 MB. Using absolutely nothing that could come from Android, it offers its user a completely free system with a life cycle of about ten years! Here is a perfect solution to fight against planned obsolescence with the added bonus of a little bonus: the possibility of installing your own graphical interface!

5. Ubuntu-Touch, Firefox OS and SailfishOS

And we finish the list with two other alternative OS to Android, of excellent quality but which are not necessarily compatible with all devices: Ubuntu-Touch and Firefox OS. You will find the compatibility list for Ubuntu-Touch here and all the information needed to install it here. You can also take a look here to get an idea of the applications that run on this OS.

Regarding Firefox OS, you will find all the information you need here.

A last one for the road: consider taking a look at SailfishOS while you're at it.

Points of divergence between Android and free O.S

By choosing a free operating system that would completely replace Android, important functions such as notification systems, localization or even protection against theft might not be available, but if we look at the point of view of the phone life and data protection, these alternatives allow prolonged use until the smartphone materially ceases to function with a significant gain in terms of privacy.

What about iOS?

Unlike its Android competitor, Apple strives to block the birth of alternative stores to the App Store as much as possible, but in return guarantees perfect security to its user from the moment that the latter holds a product of the apple mark between the hands.

Confidentiality and privacy

Apple has made privacy one of its core values so that you can maintain full control of your personal and confidential information, regardless of the application you use. In addition, App Store applications comply with strict rules imposed by the brand. Thus, your agreement will be requested if an app wishes to access your personal data such as your location or your photos. In addition, unlike its main competitor, your data is neither stored nor analyzed for advertising purposes.

You also have the possibility of controlling your data yourself in the settings of your device in order to choose the information which can be shared or not.

Are free alternatives to iOS reliable?

Let's get straight to the point, the jailbreak, Alt Store, Tutu App, TweatBox, and other free alternative App stores to iOS that could potentially tempt some users are clearly not recommended. Indeed, by using it, you take the risk that your iPad, iPhone, Mac or any other Apple device will be exposed to major security problems but also to an exclusion of warranty, it would be a shame to come to this. there while everything is initially implemented so that you can use your product safely!


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