Yes, you read the topic right, you can remove all Google apps/launchers and everything related to Google from your Android device and still get a great performance from your device. If you are someone who has been bored by using google constantly over the years, then this article is for you.
But before proceeding, you may need to know why are we are ditching Google and going Google-free? Why Ditch Google?
Why Ditch Google?
Google, over the years, have developed Android, into what it is today and yet we are ditching it. Here are some of the reasons for doing this:
Google Has All Our Data and We Can’t Do Anything About It
From personal photos, emails, videos, finance history to our search results, messages, devices, downloads and locations, Google has it all. In short, Google now knows more about us than we do and this is a bit of concern.
Sharing all our data with Google is a bit of concern if we want to increase our privacy. We know that Google Play Services run on every Android device in the background and with this Google can perform any tasks that it wants from getting our location to installing apps remotely. It also shares some of this data with third-party apps thus, making your privacy vulnerable and trust me, this is one of the more important reasons to ditch Google.
The love for Open Source
You might have read our article on “Is Android an open-source operating system, or Not”. In that, we came to the conclusion that Android is open-source, but the software loaded onto our smartphones are not and the main culprit for that is Google. We also provided you an alternative in this article. What you can do is, you can flash a custom ROM on your Android Device. This ensures that you are only going to use the parts which are contributed by Google to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
Hearing these points may have convinced you that you should ditch Google as soon as possible. But wait, there are some reasons why you should think twice before doing it.
Why Not to Ditch Google?
You may miss out on a lot of Apps
If you want to ditch Google, then you’ll have to ditch all the Google apps and we are sure that these Google apps are the ones on which you rely the most. For example, Google photos, Play Store, Youtube etc. If you want to go further and use only Open source (since you’ve realized the value of it) then you may have to bid farewell to most of the streaming services, games, navigation and productivity tools.
Most of these apps have open-source alternatives available, but you may still miss these apps due to their easy functionality.
Since you will ditch Google Play Store you will have to use an alternative app store, thus opening yourself to unsuspecting malicious software attacks. Also, ditching Google means ditching the security updates that come with it. So, this is the choice that you really have to make.
You may get the apps you want from app stores other than Google Play Store, but what you will miss out on is software updates. You will get very slow updates to your applications.
So these were the points which elaborate why you should not ditch Google. We have given some reasons for both “Ditching Google” and “Not Ditching Google”. Now, it is solely you who have to decide whether you want to ditch Google or not? If you are in this with me and are ready for ditching Google, then follow the article to the bottom.
How to Ditch Google
So, you have finally decided to ditch Google. Good. You are in for a new, different and awesome experience. You may get difficulties in the beginning but trust me, it will all work out to be fine at the end. It always does.
The first step which you need to perform is you should backup all of your important data on your PC or an external hard disk. Now, perform a factory reset of your smartphone. After performing a factory reset and rebooting your device, you will see a couple of apps remaining on your Android device. Most of these apps would be of Google’s. But one thing which you need to note here is you don’t really need these apps to perform basic functions on your Android device like calling, sending texts, taking pictures, video, listening music and browsing the web.
Now, perform a factory reset of your smartphone. After performing a factory reset and rebooting your device, you will see a couple of apps remaining on your Android device. Most of these apps would be of Google’s. But one thing which you need to note here is you don’t really need these apps to perform basic functions on your Android device like calling, sending texts, taking pictures, video, listening music and browsing the web.
So, the thing we have come up to is our next step. We should now disable all the Google apps that are remaining after the factory reset. Also, do not sign into your Google account. You would now see that all the apps have either been disabled or are not performing like they used to without signing in into your Google Account. For eg: Camera app will still take pictures but you won’t be able to back them up with Google photos. The other apps won’t work great because of some missing functionality. One thing which you will notice is, Google Search can’t be disabled or uninstalled. Let it be.
Now, you have successfully ditched Google out of your Android device. At least, most of Google, but then you may be noticing that now you can’t do much with your Android device and there is a need for some apps. This brings us to some of the alternative applications and app store which you should use.
Some Alternatives to Google Play Store
Amazon App Store
It has around, a total of 3,00,000 apps and is a trustable brand, so well, Amazon may be the way. It lacks Google Apps (That’s what we are trying to avoid) but has great alternatives for them. Plus, you can also get apps for famous social networking websites. But if you are really into privacy, then moving from Google and sticking to Amazon shouldn’t be an option for you. So, here is our next recommendation.
F-Droid is an open source app store and is more like a Linux software repository. It has over 1000 apps and looks pretty attractive as it has material design over it. The only thing you will be missing with this app is some games.
Some Alternatives to Other Must-Have Apps
This is one of the main things which you will do with your smartphone. So, there should be an alternative to Chrome Web Browser and there is. DuckDuckGo is an Android app which offers you the functionality of a search engine that doesn’t track you thus resulting in high privacy.
Besides these, there are tons of other open source applications available which you can use and you will do just fine without Google.
Now, you have a fully functional Android Smartphone without Google Apps and you are doing just fine. What next?
One thing which you might have missed on earlier while disabling Google apps was Google Play Services can’t be disabled.
And if you are using Google Play Services, then there is no point in removing other Google Apps, because if you see the list of permissions which Google Play Services ask for, then you will realize that by giving these permissions, you can’t stop yourself from integrating with Google Apps and other things.
That’s why you need to remove Google Play Services at the earliest. You can do that by 2 methods:
- Rooting your device and then removing Google Play Services.
- Replacing your default firmware with a Custom ROM.
You should go with the second option because this will give you a whole new experience of open source software and applications.
You may also like: How to Uninstall System Apps or OEM Bloatware without Root
Finally, we have entirely dumped Google and all of its applications and services. But, was it worth it? According to me, it was. I’m not saying it because I hate Google. I love the company more than anyone of you. Even android is a Google Project. But dropping Google gives freedom to explore open source software and experience it.
It gives users concerned about privacy a control of their devices. It gives us access to use different software and ability to opt out of services we don’t need without the need to throw away our phones.
Let us end this topic by asking users whether they will be okay in living a Google-free life for some time or not? Drop down your opinions in the comment box below. I would love to hear all your thoughts. Also, if you loved this article then share it with your followers on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.