The Nexus 5 – or Google’s insatiable takeover of your life

I suspect like many others in the UK, my new Google Nexus 5 smartphone arrived today.

I’m not going to go into a long review about it – there are plenty of news sites out there far better at covering that than I.

What I will do, though, is document my setup procedure. I really don’t like the way Google is determined that one should use its services for almost everything; the very notion that one might want to default to another service (or use one’s own servers) seems to have passed over them without so much as ruffling their feathers.

So without further ado, here are the settings I changed to make the Nexus 5 just that little bit less ‘Googly’.

  • When prompted “Do you have a Google Account?”, answer “No”, and “Not Now” when you’re prompted to create one.
  • Untick both options for location services

In Settings

  • enable Bluetooth briefly to allow you to rename the phone to something individual, then disable Bluetooth if unused
  • disable NFC unless you have a use case for it
  • configure the APN according to your network operator’s instructions
  • adjust Sound / Display settings according to your preferences
  • download English (UK) offline voice recognition language
  • printing: disable Cloud Print and HP Print Service
  • add your primary email account and any other email accounts you want to use
  • enter the email address and password, then select Manual Setup to allow you to enter server details yourself

Now (and only now) add your Google account

  • when prompted, untick “Back up data to your Google Account” and “Keep me up to date with news and offers from Google Play”
  • go into the new Google account you set up and disable syncing on anything you don’t want Google to handle. I disable everything except App Data and Gmail.

Go through the various Privacy subsections

  • Search: Disable Commute sharing; turn off Web History; turn off SafeSearch filter
  • Location: Disable location reporting
  • Ads: Opt out of interest-based ads

Now some tidying up.

  • even with Contacts syncing disabled on your Google account, the contacts list still shows Google contacts and tries to add contacts to your Google account by default. Open the People app and hit Contacts to display. Select your preferred account. Now create a new contact and make sure to choose your preferred account to add contacts to. This will be the default for future additions.
  • ee need to do similar in Calendar. Open the Calendar app, hit Settings, then select your Google account. Untick all the calendars in there.

If anyone has any other suggestions, do add them to the comments below.


IT Consultant, Network Engineer, Photographer, Audiophile.

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