My inbox is full of one question this week: How can I drop Big Tech companies? This got me thinking … Is it possible to stop using the services of the Big Five altogether? That’s Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft. I did the research to give you a headstart if you’re looking to move away from one or all of them. If this helps you out, do me a favor and share it with your friends and family.
The recent ban of Parler from Apple and Google’s app stores and the Amazon shutdown of the social media app might have you thinking about Big Tech’s power. Add to this news that the messaging service WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is grabbing more of your personal data.
Tap or click to be shocked by how much of your data WhatsApp is sending to Facebook. Millions of users have now flocked to alternative messaging platforms like Signal and Telegram.
There are options to replace some of the most used apps and services. Tap or click here for Google alternatives for search, email, messaging and more.
You don’t have to use an Apple or Android phone. You don’t even have to use Windows on your computer. Spoiler alert: You might not like the options.
Alternatives to the mainstream smartphone
Smartphones are arguably the most used pieces of consumer technology today. There are more mobile devices on Earth than there are people, so that should give you an idea of how prevalent they are.
What if you’re ready to ditch Apple and Google-owned Android? The Light Phone and Blackphone are two mobile devices focused on privacy.
The Light Phone, created by Joe Hollier and Kaiwei Tang, is a no-frills experience. Without skimping on an aesthetically pleasing design and commonly used features, the Light Phone is crafted to be used as little as possible.
RELATED: 5 apps you should delete off your smartphone right now
Blackphone, on the other hand, is one of the most secure mobile phones on the market. Created by Silent Circle in 2014, the encrypted device runs on its own operating system. All communications are fully encrypted for phone and text services, and it anonymizes web searches and traffic.
You can go the Linux route, too. Fairphone, OnePlus, Gigaset and Nokia have good options available.
Secure your search
The fact that Google has become a verb is a testament to the reach of the world’s most used search engine. Some alternatives value your privacy and still lead you where you want to go online.
One of the most popular search engines for the security-aware crowd is DuckDuckGo. The engine steers clear of personalized results and can’t use personal information like your search history or location to alter the outcomes.
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StartPage is another search engine that’s focused on privacy. The Dutch company shows Google search results but doesn’t store your personal information or search data. StartPage is like a privacy filter between you and Google.
Where to spend your money
Avoiding Amazon might be more stringent than you think. While not shopping on the Amazon website is the obvious first move, plenty of other online sites use Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host their operations.
Websites like Spotify, Airbnb, Etsy and Pinterest use AWS as their cloud hosting service.
An alternative to Amazon is shopping at big box stores like Target or Walmart. With a Walmart+ membership, you get unlimited free delivery and fuel discounts for $98 a year. Tap or click here to see what Walmart’s membership has to offer.
This might be the perfect time to support your local shops and grocery stores.
Social media is tricky
With so many websites and services implementing signing in through Facebook, this is a tricky connection to sever. This first major task is getting your data off Facebook. Tap or click here for how to quickly transfer your photos and videos off of Facebook.
Then, go ahead and hit that delete button. Where should you go instead?
You can start with the social media platform I created. The Komando Community is an ad-free alternative for people interested in tech and making the most of their digital lives. Tap or click here to try it free for 30 days.
Change operating systems
Windows and Mac computers aren’t the only game in town. The Linux operating system has been available since 1991 and is more widely used than you would think.
RELATED: This operating system may be more powerful, secure than Windows and Apple
What sets Linux apart is its open-source software. Since its initial development and release, the Linux community has been building onto the code.
It can be daunting at first to get Linux running on your machine. But unlike Windows, almost every element is customizable through different free and open-source software packages.
The Deepin version is straightforward to install and operate. Find out how to do that here.
You can also use Ubuntu.
The bottom line
While it is possible to get away from Big Tech companies, or at least minimize your dependence on them, it’s going to be a struggle.
From social media to online shopping, the largest technology companies are firmly ingrained into the fabric of the internet. There certainly are alternatives, but what you gain in privacy, you’ll probably lose in functionality.
You might want to get some hair growth serum before you pull all yours out trying to get your new Big Tech-less life together.
PC slow, printer won’t print or having Wi-Fi issues? Post your tech questions for concrete answers from me and other tech pros. Visit my Q&A Forum and get tech help now.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.