Explained: What is BharOS; how is it different from android and more

Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and Information Technology and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tested’BharOS‘, the recently introduced native operating system developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT). Union Telecoms Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was also present at the event. The ministers congratulated the team behind Desi OS.
“Congratulations to everyone involved in the development of the system. For the first time ever, as our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji talked about Digital India Eight years ago, some of our friends mocked him, but today, after eight years, technocrats, innovators, industry and politics, and academic institutions in the country have accepted his vision,” Pradhan said.
“There will be difficulties on this journey and there are many people around the world who will bring difficulties and do not want such a system to succeed,” Vaishnav said.
What is BharOS
BharOS is a Government of India funded project to develop a free, open-source Operating System (OS). The project aims to reduce dependency on third-party operating systems in smartphones and encourage the use of locally developed technology.
BharOS comes with No Default Apps (NDA). This means there are no default apps. Users can download the apps they want to use. The idea is to give users more control over the permissions apps have on their device, as they can decide to only download apps they trust to access specific features or data on their devices.
The operating system provides access to trusted apps from company-specific Private App Store Services (PASS). A PASS provides access to a curated list of apps that claim to have been thoroughly vetted and meet certain security and privacy standards.
How is it different from Android and Apple iOS
BharOS is based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). It is somewhat similar to Google’s Android operating system. iOS is Apple’s proprietary operating system and BharOS bears no resemblance to it per se.

The big difference between Android and BharOS is that the latter does not include any Google services or apps. BharOS simply has no preinstalled apps. This gives users the flexibility to download any app of their choosing. BharOS users can download APK files found on the web of the apps they want to use. But yes, APK files can be potentially dangerous and Google, for its part, asks users not to download APK files.
What is not known about BharOS
BharOS can be run on practically all Android apps. However, the company has not yet announced how it intends to reach smartphone gamers. It is also unclear when the operating software will be publicly available. Also whether or not the operating system will be released for normal smartphone users at all.
Who is currently using BharOS?
According to reports, BharOS services are currently being tested by some organizations that have strict privacy and security requirements and whose users handle sensitive information that requires confidential communication through restricted apps on mobile phones. Such users need access to private cloud services via private 5G networks.
The company behind BharOS
The BharOS was developed by JandK Operations Private Limited (JandKops) established by IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies Foundation, a Section 8 (Not for Profit) Company established by IIT Madras. The Foundation is funded by the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) as part of its National Mission for Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NMICPS).
“BharOS Service is a mobile operating system built on trust and focused on giving users more freedom, control and flexibility to choose and use only the apps that fit their needs. This innovative system promises to revolutionize the way users think about security and privacy on their mobile devices,” said Professor V KamakotiDirector of the IIT Madras.
“IIT Madras looks forward to working closely with many more private companies, government agencies, strategic agencies and telecom service providers to increase the usage and adoption of BharOS in our country,” he added.