I need to update to a newer phone after years with an LG Optimus II. Have looked locally and the Rebel 4 is available, and looks good (bigger screen, newest Android version, works with Square, has the quick memo feature I love, etc.) But:

1) while researching it on Amazon, walmart etc I came across two different folks asking how to disable ads that were appearing on the lockscreen (and no answers as to how to disable them). Is that a new tracfone thing, ads on the lockscreen or pop up ads even with the browser turned off? If so, can they be disabled? (or did those people have some kind of malware?)
2) I have not got a gmail account, and was easily able to activate the Optimus II without it, and don't want a gmail account now. Can I use the Rebel 4 without gmail? I already have three email accounts and that's more than enough, lol. I don't want to deal with google verifications etc.
3) can the ok google/voice activated things, and google search box, be disabled? I disabled all those annoyances on the Optimus and don't want them on anything else
4) Does it need a heavy duty case & screen protector? I have a cheapy for the Optimus and it's fine--but the Rebel isn't gorilla glass?

Thanks in advance--