Open-source LineageOS 16 based on Android 9.0 Pie improves privacy and security

Phones supporting LineageOS can enjoy a cleaner, more predictable Android experience with security patches often delivered faster than the default Android version on many phones.

Open-source LineageOS 16 based on Android 9.0 Pie improves privacy and security

The first stable release of Android 9.0 Pie-based versions of the preeminent third-party Android distribution LineageOS were released late Thursday. LineageOS was founded in 2016 is the spiritual successor to CyanogenMod, following the failure of Cyanogen, Inc. to commercialize the distribution (and their subsequent renaming to Cyngn and pivot to working on self-driving car technology). Two years in, the distribution has been installed on 1.8 million devices, across 163 officially-supported products, according to a tweet from LineageOS project maintainers last December.

Specific features new to Lineage OS 16.0 include improvements to Privacy Guard and su, with changes made to the Styles API to maintain compatibility with "what will eventually become the default implementation of dark mode in Android," according to the release notes. Improvements to the Trust security center make it possible to block new USB device connections when a device is locked, though "this feature has to be enabled on a per-device basis due to the layer at which this was implemented."

SEE: System update policy (Tech Pro Research)

Because LineageOS must be built on a per-device basis (with some devices, typically from Samsung and LG, having multiple variants), the initial release of LineageOS is limited to 30 devices, with future support for other devices like the Google Pixel and Pixel 2 forthcoming. The initially- supported devices include:

  • Google Nexus 6 (shamu)
  • Huawei Honor View 10 (berkeley)
  • Huawei P20 Pro (charlotte)
  • LeEco Le Max2 (x2)
  • LeEco Le Pro3 / Le Pro3 Elite (zl1)
  • Motorola Moto X4 (payton)
  • Motorola Moto Z (griffin)
  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force (nash)
  • OnePlus 2 (oneplus2)
  • OnePlus 3 / 3T (oneplus3)
  • OnePlus 5 (cheeseburger)
  • OnePlus 5T (dumpling)
  • OnePlus One (bacon)
  • OPPO Find 7a/s (find7)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Active (klteactivexx)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE (G9006V/8V) (kltechn)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE (G900AZ/F/M/R4/R7/T/V/W8,S902L) (klte)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE (G900I/P) (kltedv)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE (G900K/L/S) (kltekor)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE (SCL23) (kltekdi)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE Duos (G9006W/8W) (kltechnduo)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE Duos (G900FD/MD) (klteduos)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 Wi-Fi (2016) (gts28vewifi)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 Wi-Fi (2016) (gts210vewifi)
  • Sony Xperia XA2 (pioneer)
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra (discovery)
  • Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S (polaris)
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 3 (jason)
  • Xiaomi Poco F1 (beryllium)
  • ZUK Z1 (ham)

With the release of LineageOS 16, development will slow for LineageOS 15.1, as developers focus on the newest version, and transitioning other devices over to LineageOS 16. For a new device to be added, or a device to be upgraded between versions of LineageOS, the builds must be compliant with the LineageOS Device Support charter to ensure that device features work reliably. Builds of 15.1 will now be released on a weekly cadence, with support for the Android 7.1 Nougat based LineageOS 14.1 discontinued on February 7.

Likewise, with this release announcement, some devices have just received upgrades from LineageOS 14.1 to 15.1, including the Huawei Honor 5X, variants of the LG G3, and Sony Xperia SP, TX, T, V, Z, ZL, and Tablet Z (LTE and Wi-Fi).

All newly-published builds of LineageOS 16.0 and 15.1 have received security patches from the December 2018, January 2019, and February 2019 security bulletins, and updates to Webview to base it on the newest version of Chromium.

Downloads of LineageOS can be found here.

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Image: LineageOS