Albeit the fact that technological advancements are a good thing, it’s tough to deny that our data is becoming more vulnerable with each day. This could be attributed to how some operating systems aren’t giving enough attention to privacy or malware, phishing, and viruses becoming more powerful with time.
Regardless of the cause, what’s important right now is to go for operating systems that provide you the most privacy. And, if you know a thing or two about operating systems, you’d know that there’s no beating the Linux-based ones when it comes to security and privacy.
There are a few things you should know before opting for a Linux phone. First of all, you would lose access to applications such as Google Photos, Instagram, and Facebook since they might not be available on the OS. On the bright side, these apps are well-known for gathering user data, so you’re not here at a loss either. On the contrary, you might find some alternative apps with more or less the same functionalities, but they could be a tad difficult to use.
Your best bet would be to give a little time to get accustomed to your Linux phone. However, if that’s no issue for you, let’s cut to the chase and see some of the best Linux phones out there right now.
The 5 Best Linux Phones for Privacy 
Unlike smartphones based on operating systems such as Android or iOS, there aren’t that many Linux phones that you can find in the market. The reason for this could be that not many people are aware of the fact that their personal data has become so vulnerable. Considering this, we have done the best possible research to present you guys with these Linux phones that prioritize your privacy.
1. Librem 5
If keeping your data private while using a Linux OS is what you’re looking for, then a smartphone can’t get any better than the Librem 5 by Purism. Its makers have given their full attention to providing their customers with privacy as they’ve only added free and open-source software on this device. Other than that, this phone also allows its users to physically disconnect the camera, microphone, network connectivity, Bluetooth, and WiFi through various Killswitches located on the sides of the device.
When it comes to its operating system, Librem 5 is powered by PureOS, a Linux-based distro dedicated to providing security and freedom to users. What’s even more amazing about Librem 5 has to be its high-end specifications. The phone features i.MX 8M Quad-Core processor (up to 1.5 GHz processing speed) and a Vivante GC7000Lite GPU for top-notch 3D rendering. Plus, you’ll also be getting 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of eMMC storage with this phone. Accordingly, you’d be able to run almost all applications available on the platform smoothly. You’ll also be getting a 5.7-inch IPS TFT screen as the phone’s display and a 4,500 mAh battery, which guarantees a long battery life. Not only that, but this battery is also user-replaceable, so you can always get a new one if something goes wrong with the original one. Taking high-quality pictures would also become possible thanks to its 13 MP primary camera and 8 MP front camera.
Although there will be some scarcity of available apps, you will have access to all the essential applications from categories such as sound, video, internet, education, programming, and so on. Also, since we all know of Google’s user data policies, Librem 5 will have DuckDuckGo as its default search engine. All in all, this device is sure to give you more control over your data, with a price tag of $799.
The company, which goes by the name of Pine 64, also seems to be interested in helping people make their data more private as they’ve launched a product called PinePhone, which does just that. Even though you can install up to 17 operating systems of your own choosing on this phone, the latest version of PostMarket OS comes pre-installed with this PinePhone. This phone is powered by Linux, so best believe your data will be in safe hands.
Apart from that, you’ll be getting some pretty impressive specifications with this phone as well. The PinePhone comes with an Allwinner A64 Quad Core SoC and a Mali 400 MP2 GPU. Also, its 2 GB of LPDR3 RAM makes it possible for you to use your device without any lags. On the downside, 16 GB of eMMC storage could be a bit insufficient, so you might have to opt for an external SD card. When it comes to its display, this device even outmatches Librem 5 as it comes with a 5.95-inch, hardened glass LCD. However, its 5 MP rear camera and 2 MP front camera won’t give you sharp quality. Moreover, you might also find that its 3,000 mAh battery is getting you to charge the phone multiple times a day. The good thing about it is that it’s removable, so you won’t have to throw the phone away if the battery stops working. Like PinePhone, this device also comes with privacy killswitches for cameras, speakers, the microphone, WiFi, and mobile connectivity.
PinePhone isn’t that different from other phones in the market, but you are sure going to miss out on the tons of apps available on the Google Play Store. However, you’d have to make this sacrifice if privacy really is your top priority. You can get your hands on various alternative apps on the bright side since the open-source market is widening with each passing day. This phone is currently available, and you can get it for about $149.
3. Volla Phone
If you can somewhat compromise in the privacy department but want a phone with high-end specs, then the Volla Phone might be what you’re looking for. Unlike the two entries above, this device doesn’t come with hardware kill switches. However, even though you can get this phone with the Android-powered Volla OS, there’s another option for you in Ubuntu Touch. The makers of this phone prioritize their users’ privacy, so rest assured that the Volla Phone is a safe option for all your privacy needs.
As we mentioned earlier, this phone doesn’t lack in the hardware department. Accordingly, when it comes to its processor, you’ll be getting an octa-core MediaTek Helio P23 with 2.3 GHz of processing speed. As for its graphics chip, the Volla Phone features a Mali-G71 MP2 GPU, so you’ll be able to play most games smoothly. Plus, this smartphone comes with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage space. Other than that, its 6.3-inch, V-notch display is sure to be a catch for those who like bigger screens. If you don’t like charging your phone too often, you’ll also love its 5,000 mAh non-removable battery. Not only that, but the phone also comes with a fingerprint sensor on the back, which you won’t find on the first two entries on this list. As far as its camera quality is concerned, the makers have gone with a 16 MP camera for both its front and back. Also, the phone has two SIM slots.
So, with specs like these, it can give a tough time to even the top Android phones available. And, all thanks to Ubuntu Touch, your data will be as private as it could be. If you’re interested in getting this product, the Volla phone is up for grabs with a €309 price tag.
4. Pro 1 X
This smartphone truly stands out from the rest of the crowd as the makers have taken a unique approach for its design. So, apart from the regular touchscreen, you’re also going to be getting the good ol’ QWERTY keypad, which we all loved at some point in our lives. However, what gives this phone a spot on our list has to be that it’s geared toward providing privacy to its users. Other than that, you’ll also be able to choose from three different operating systems: Android, Lineage OS, and Ubuntu Touch. We recommend going for Ubuntu Touch if your priority is privacy. However, you can also choose Lineage if you want to have access to a lot more applications.
Moreover, its specifications are sure to leave you impressed as well—the Pro 1 X sports an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip alongside Adreno 540 graphics. Boosting the device’s performance to another level is its 6 GB of RAM. Plus, its 256 GB of storage space will also let you install a multitude of applications on it as well. You can also do portrait photography with this phone all thanks to its dual-cameras at the back (12MP Sony IMX363 + 5MP), and take selfies with its 8 MP fixed-focus front-facing camera. However, one of the best features of this phone probably has to be its 5.99-inch, AMOLED Gorilla Glass 3 display. Although this phone has two SIM slots, one of them works as a microSD card reader as well.
There’s also a fingerprint reader on the side of the phone so that no one but you can get access to your phone. The only downside to this phone is that it comes with a 3,200 mAh non-removable battery, so your device might not last very long per charge. However, if that’s okay with you, there’s no reason why you should go for the Pro 1 X, which costs nearly $650.
5. Cosmo Communicator
If you still couldn’t make up your mind about a Linux phone, then perhaps you should have a look at the Cosmo Communicator. Although this phone only comes with Android 9 as of now, you can manually install other operating systems such as Sailfish OS and Linux Debian.
This phone is very similar to the Pro 1 X when it comes to design as it sports a 6-inch display and a physical QWERTY keypad. However, you will find another 2-inch screen on the back of this device, which you can use for checking the time and notifications. As for its other specifications, the Cosmo Communicator features an octa-core MediaTek Helio P70 processor and a Mali-G72 MP3 GPU, which guarantee high performance. Plus, its 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage space should be sufficient as well. As far as its camera’s concerned, you’re sure to love the image quality of your photos, all thanks to its 24 MP rear camera and 5 MP front camera. Its other impressive features include a 4,220 mAh long-lasting battery, a fingerprint reader, and dual-SIM support. If you think this is the Linux phone you were looking for, you can cop it for a €601 price.
As more people are getting to know about the advantages of using a Linux-based operating system, the number of Linux phones in the market is increasing. However, we can still say that there is a lack of Linux phones if we consider the plethora of Android phones available. With that being said, the Linux phones mentioned in this list can give a tough time to even the best Android phones out there when it comes to both privacy and hardware specifications. However, if you believe there’s a Linux phone we missed, tell us all about it in the comment section below.