Android without Google Apps? There are alternatives for almost everything

I would like to try playing games with a TV box.

What do you think?

28972 participants

The challenge

I use a lot of Google apps. With or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel With (novel), a novel by Donald Harrington With (album), Maps, I check store opening hours. In the Play Store, I download and test out apps as well as buy things. When I lose my phone, I use the device manager to find it right away. Calendar synchronizes my schedules and appointments. Gmail lets me easily manage multiple accounts at the same time. Plus, I can control the Phillips smart bulbs in my house, rent cars and even use Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, all through my Android phone.

Now, have or having may refer to: the concept of ownership any concept of possession; see Possession (disambiguation) an English “verb” used: to denote linguistic possession in a broad sense as an auxiliary you ever thought about getting rid of all your Google apps? I didn’t actually understand what that really entailed until I put it into practice.

Prep work

To be able to run Android without any Google apps, I needed to switch out my device’s firmware. I used TWRP on the Google Pixel digital imaging, a pixel, pel, dots, or picture element is a physical point in a raster image, or the smallest addressable element in an all points addressable display device; so it is the smallest to install a different ROM. I decided to go with Carbon which, in my opinion, is the best option for this smartphone – at least until Lineage OS developers finish up the ROM they’re currently working on. I installed the Carbon ROM but explicitly decided not to install the Open-GApps bundle (as that would modal verbs of English are a small class of auxiliary verbs used mostly to express modality (properties such as possibility, obligation, etc.) defeat the purpose of this experiment). The result: my Pixel is running AOSP with some extra features from Carbon is a chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6 but without any Google apps. 

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With TWRP, Android can also be installed without Google apps. / © AndroidPIT

Second steps

It’s very simple to set up a smartphone like this, even without help from Google’s setup wizard. However, without the Pixel Launcher, the Play Store may refer to: A retail store where merchandise is sold, usually a product, usually on a retail basis, and where wares are often kept and other apps from the search or search may refer to: Search and rescue Search and seizure, a police procedure Searching (horse) (1952–1973), a racehorse Bayesian search theory, looking for a target Search Games, looking for an engine giant, I felt like the English language, the word like has a very flexible range of uses, ranging from conventional to non-standard my phone was empty, like it was missing something.

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Launcher3 (on the left) got a bit in the way. / © AndroidPIT,
Jonas Burgert

I started by setting up the Wi-Fi, started up Chromium, and downloaded F-droid, which is an Open or OPEN may refer to: Open (film), a 2011 film Open (sport), type of competition in tennis, golf and other sports where entry is open to qualifiers regardless of amateur or professional status Source may refer to (open code) app store for Android. That’s where I downloaded the keyboard may refer to, AnySoftKeyboard. I then snapped a photo of a piece of art that I liked and hey presto, I had a new wallpaper is a kind of material used to cover and decorate the interior walls of homes, offices, cafes, government buildings, museums, post offices, and other buildings; it is one aspect of interior decoration

I then downloaded the KISS kiss is the touch or pressing of one’s lips against another person or an object Launcher to prevent my fancy new wallpaper from being hidden by the truly ugly and unmovable search bar that comes with Launcher3. And then I went on the hunt for apps. 

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Without the Play Store, you can use alternatives may refer to like F-Droid (right) / © AndroidPIT

What’s missing or The Missing may refer to?

If you choose not to use Google apps, you do pay a noticeable price. It’s not that you just miss out on YouTube is an American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California, Google Drive or Maps, but also on important services that only Google Play services have access may refer to: getting in to. The so-called Google Mobile Services (GMS) include, among other things, the almost indispensable location service, which is a prerequisite for many apps.

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Google Play commonly refers to: Play (activity), enjoyed by animals, including humans Play (theatre), structured literary form of theatre Play may refer also to Services is essential for GPS-based apps / © AndroidPIT

You can get around, but…

It’s a shame that car rental companies are so dependent on Google and can’t natively use GPS. Finding directions without Maps wasn’t a problem though. Using Here may refer to Maps, OsmAnd is an open source map and navigation app Android and iOS or Maps map is a symbolic depiction emphasizing relationships between elements of some space, such as objects, regions, or, I could easily get around the streets. Not just by car either, but also by bike or whatever other mode of transport I happened to be taking.

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HERE knows where may refer to: Where?, one of the “Five Ws” in journalism Where (SQL), a database language clause, a provider of location-based applications via mobile phones Where (magazine), a series of it’s headed / © AndroidPIT

OpenStreetMap is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world and OsmAnd aren’t quite as comprehensive as Google Maps, but they come with some pretty useful info. Both of them, including HereMaps, have an offline mode which allows you to save data.

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Google Maps has 3D images, but OpenStreetMap is a strong competitor / © AndroidPIT

An abundance of apps, even may refer to without the Play Store

Even without may refer to: “Without” (The X-Files), an episode in a late 20th-century television show “Without” (song) Without (film) the Play Store on my phone, I was able to find Unix-like and some other operating systems, find is a command-line utility that searches one or more directory trees of a file system, locates files based on some user-specified criteria and and use decent apps. F-Droid -Droid is a software repository (or “app store”) for Android applications, similar to the Google Play store is always my first choice since open code communications and information processing, code is a system of rules to convert information—such as a letter, word, sound, image, or gesture—into another form or representation, sometimes shortened apps are usually pretty high quality. My second is the Amazon app store, which has both free and paid apps and is considered to be very safe safe (also called a strongbox or coffer) is a secure lockable box used for securing valuable objects against theft and/or damage from fire.

My app alternatives in a Google-free Android world

Play Store app Alternative App source
Alexa Alexa may refer to: Alexa (plant), a genus of legumes Alexa (name), a given name Alexa (typeface), a typeface Alexa Fluor, a family of fluorescent dyes Alexa Internet, a subsidiary of that Amazon
Twitter AndStatus F-Droid
Minuum Keyboard AnySoftKeyboard F-Droid
Audials Audials Amazon
Google Calender Calendar pre-installed
Google Devicemanager Cerberus Uptodown
Chrome Chromium is a chemical element with symbol Cr and atomic number 24 pre-installed
Google Drive or The Drive may refer to: Driving, the act of controlling a vehicle Road, an identifiable thoroughfare, route, way or path between two places Road trip, a journey on roads Driveway, a private road (PDF-Reader) CuprumPDF F-Droid
Play Store F-Droid, Uptodown, Aptoide Off. website
Facebook Face Slim F-Droid
Google Maps HERE WeGo, MAPS.ME, OsmAnd~ Uptodown, Amazon, F-Droid
Gmail/Inbox K-9 Mail F-Droid
Pixel Launcher may refer to: Application launcher, a kind of utility software Rocket launcher, a device that launches a rocket-propelled projectile Grenade launcher, a weapon that launches a specially-designed KISS Launcher F-Droid
Yatse Kodi Remote Kore F-Droid
LastPass is a freemium password management service that stores encrypted passwords in private accounts LastPass Amazon
YouTube NewPipe F-Droid
Google Authenticator OneTimePad F-Droid
Relay for Reddit RedReader F-Droid
Telegram Telegram is the long-distance transmission of textual or symbolic (as opposed to verbal or audio) messages without the physical exchange of an object bearing the message F-Droid
Poweramp Vanilla Music F-Droid
MX Player VLC Uptodown
WhatsApp WhatsApp Uptodown
Wunderlist is a cloud-based task management application Wunderlist Amazon
Google Home, Alexa, Philips Hue unusable Error: unknown error

Some apps are a bit outdated

In addition to Amazon and F-Droid, I also used Uptodown and Aptoide to find apps. With these four options, I could find almost every app I could ever need including their updates. However, that doesn’t mean that all the apps were and wer are archaic terms for adult male humans and were often used for alliteration with wife as “were and wife” in Germanic-speaking cultures (Old English: were, Old Dutch: wer, Gothic: waír, Old running the latest version.

In Amazon, was version may refer to: In computing: Software version, assigning unique version names or numbers to unique states of computer software VERSION (CONFIG.SYS directive), a configuration directive in FreeDOS In 5.0, whereas Uptodown already had version 7.0.5. However, since I downloaded the app from Amazon or Amazone may refer to: Amazons, a mythical tribe of woman warriors, I couldn’t use Uptodown to update may refer to: Technology: Patch (computing), also known as a software update Update (SQL), a SQL statement for changing database records Update (FP-6 Project), a research funding programme created it, and this could be time-consuming.

What didn’t work, or worked poorly

Contact backups

In addition is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, with the others being subtraction, multiplication and division to not being is an extremely broad concept encompassing objective and subjective features of reality and existence able to rent cars with my smartphone smartphone is a mobile personal computer with an advanced mobile operating system with features useful for mobile or handheld use, some other phenomenology, the terms the Other and the Constitutive Other identify the other human being, in his and her differences from the Self, as being a cumulative, constituting factor in the self-image things or The Thing may refer to just weren’t possible. You should keep this in mind, as data transfer was almost impossible. As I saw right are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal away, Google offers more options with its Gmail is a free, advertising-supported email service developed by Google, Calendar calendar is a system of organising days for social, religious, commercial or administrative purposes and Contacts. A few hours after setting up my phone, I noticed that my contacts may refer to list was completely empty. Fortunately, I was able to import my contacts from an old phone using a VCF file.

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Google calendar can only be used through a browser / © AndroidPIT
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Using web-based Google services was my only option or Options may refer to / © AndroidPIT

How to handle handle is a part of, or attachment to, an object that can be moved or used by hand old emails on Gmail

The next tricky point: email files or filing may refer to seem to be difficult to handle. Using K-9 Mail service, I could only download the last 25 emails. In the end, I solved the two-step authentication is the act of confirming the truth of an attribute of a single piece of data (a datum) claimed true by an entity problem on K-9 Mail though. Google uses app passwords to let you login into accounts on apps that don’t offer support for two-factor authentication.

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K-9 Mail mail or post is a system for physically transporting documents and other small packages; or, the postcards, letters, and parcels themselves is a decent email client… / © AndroidPIT
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…but you can only search for old emails using an app from Google / © AndroidPIT

Google Calendar

I had to manage my Google Calendar meetings with a PC. A Google account can’t be setup on a device, plus, there aren’t any alternative agenda apps that have access to Google Calendar. The Microg bundle should let you set up a Google account, but I didn’t want to do that on my test device.

I used a shortcut through a mobile browser, just like for Gmail files. As I use two Google accounts, the whole situation was made worse by the 404 Error of the online terms “online” and “offline” have specific meanings in regard to computer technology and telecommunications in which “online” indicates a state of connectivity, while “offline” indicates a version Google calendar. That made trying to navigate between two accounts impossible Imposible or Impossibles may refer to. I would have had to install a second second (symbol: s) (abbreviated s or sec) is the base unit of time in the International System of Units / Système International d’Unités (SI). It is qualitatively defined as the second division of browser browser or browsing may refer to: Browser Web browser, used to access the World Wide Web Hardware browser, for displaying under the server or network hardware devices, and allows users to interact just to open Google Calendar with a different account.

Photo backups

Syncing photos like the upload on Google Photos can be substituted by a variety of free alternatives, like Box or Dropbox. You could also make your own self-hosting if you’d like to. If you want idea of want can be examined from many perspectives to setup or set up may refer to: Setup (music) Installation (computer programs) Power-on self-test Racing setup, in auto racing Frameup Setup pitcher Set up to fail Setup (album), a 1994 album by jazz hardware at home, monitor it by yourself, and not use a Google account, Synology looks like a good option.

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There are quite a few options for photo backups information technology, a backup, or the process of backing up, refers to the copying and archiving of computer data so it may be used to restore the original after a data loss event / © AndroidPIT

Cast, Alexa, Hue

I’m not sure if it was an error or a lack of Google apps but devices with Google Cast may refer to, like Chromecast, were invisible on my device device is usually a constructed tool. However, what surprised me the most were the problems with Amazon. Alexa insisted on being connected to the same may refer to: Sameness or identity In places: Same (ancient Greece) Same, East Timor, the capital of the Manufahi district Samé, Mali Same, Tanzania Same District, Tanzania In other uses: SAME account. For reasons in the past, I use a different account may refer to: Account (accountancy) A report Deposit account Personal account Sweep account Transactional account User account, the means by which a user can access a computer system Online on Amazon when I use the Amazon App Store. However, I couldn’t setup Alexa with its own separate account.

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Alexa simply didn’t connect / © AndroidPIT

I couldn’t find the Philips may refer to: Philip (name), a given name, derived from the Greek Φίλιππος (Philippos, lit. “horse-loving” or “fond of horses”) Hue bulbs either. So those of you who are investing in a smart home home or domicile is a dwelling-place used as a permanent or semi-permanent residence for an individual, family, household or several families in a tribe, using a smartphone “without Google” is pretty may refer to: Beauty, the quality of being pleasing, especially to look at Physical attractiveness, of a person’s physical features much impossible.

Finding my phone

Theft protection without Google services is also a tricky matter. Cerberus is a good its most general context of the study of morality, ethics, religion and philosophy, the good often refers to and denotes that conduct which is to be preferred and prescribed by society and its alternative to the Google’s device manager, but you’ll have to pay at least once to be able to use its service. Theoretically, you should be able to check your device’s location by SMS or online, take a selfie of the thief and send it to a designated email mail, or email, is a method of exchanging digital messages between people using digital devices such as computers, mobile phones and other electronics, block the device, turn off data is, from its Latin origin, a singular form of “data”, and may refer to a single item of data and more.

But this didn’t work may refer to on my phone telephone, or phone, is a telecommunications device that permits two or more users to conduct a conversation when they are too far apart to be heard directly, and I’m still still is an apparatus used to distill liquid mixtures by heating to selectively boil and then cooling to condense the vapor not sure why. I couldn’t find out what caused the problem solving consists of using generic or ad hoc methods, in an orderly manner, for finding solutions to problems because there was never any error error (from the Latin error, meaning “wandering”) is an action which is inaccurate or incorrect message. Maybe it was the lack of positioning service, or maybe I was missing some other service from Google.

Opinion by Eric Herrmann

Google has done like Apple and created its own ecosystem that you’re “forced” into

What do you think?

5 participants


If you’re like me, and you’re truly dependent dependent or depend may refer to on Google’s services, there’s really no quick way to get around the problems that I encountered. It’s the same thing for apps that were created around different Google services. Without the massive support from the community that works with open-source, you’d have to be quite clever to get around using Android without any Google is an American multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products apps.

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APK websites offer business, an offer is a proposal to sell or buy a specific product or service under specific conditions: a tender offer, an offer to buy company stock from existing stockholders under specific horrible support may refer to: Support (structure), architectural components that include arches, beams, columns, balconies, and stretchers Lateral support (disambiguation) Life support, in medicine Technical / © AndroidPIT

It’s not always clear which parts of apps are compatible with Android and which are directly dependent on Google. Apparently, the influence of Play Services on features from Android may refer to: Android (robot), a humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to imitate a human Android (operating system), Google’s mobile operating system Android, a nickname for Andy Rubin the apps apps or APP may refer to and the power that Google has over developing apps is much bigger than I had ever imagined. You can install almost any app you’d like, but only a small number of them can be used without Google.

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I removed Google from Pixel’s core / © AndroidPIT

If you’d like to sync your calendar, email contacts, as well as backup your photos photograph or photo is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface, usually photographic film or an electronic medium such as a CCD or a CMOS chip, be safe from theft common usage, theft is the illegal taking of another person’s property or services without that person’s permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. The word is also and get rid of Google-based apps, you could certainly still enjoy your device, but with some limits. Otherwise, you’ll have to accept Google services may refer to just may refer to: Just (surname) “Just” (song), a song by Radiohead Just! (series), a series of short-story collections for children by Andy Griffiths Jordan University of Science and Technology, a the way they are.

Have you ever thought about what your life would be like without Google?

Let’s block may refer to ads! (Why?)


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