Google Apps keep reinstalling/ reactivating

That is the great mystery of this thread.

There are different interests at play. Some people want to replace proprietary software, others software which leaks data, while others have a focus on anything Google specific.

There’s not an analysis shared of what all these applications do. It is of course possible to do some search query, but a lot of work (which not everyone wants to replicate).

So I recommend other people to log what they’ve done, and share their findings, with references. Don’t be shy :slight_smile:

As for your specific example. TTS works locally. It is speech to text which FAMAG do remotely (even though I would argue they don’t need to).


All right, here’s my list:



I guess I could also get rid of messaging, dialer, contacts, calculator, and printservice, but what the heck.

Also, this site was very helpful to me:


I pretty much ungoogled my FP3 to the max. This is all that’s left:

$ adb shell pm list packages|grep google

Sadly i was not able to replace the dialer. (Missing call overlay…). It’s definitely trying to call home… I use NetGuard in blacklist mode, blocking all system apps. But you can’t force android to use VPN-Only due to some bug or limitation… A real firewall would be better, but requires root access…

idk if you can replace webview somehow, but apps like nextcloud didn’t work without it. is gboard afaik. I removed it & couldn’t log back in after reboot, because user apps get loaded AFTER the first login… RIP

I replaced all other apps with free alternatives from F-Droid. :kissing_heart:

To get rid of gms/google play services i needed to disable “google protection”-something and the “find my device”-“feature”. After that i could also disable the service via settings GUI.

I also disabled “Automatically install updates on boot” in the debug menu. IDK if it changes anything, but i thought it might prevent reinstallation of whatever.

Ony real bug so far: Signal wouldn’t work, because of missing gms. Normally the client should fall back to websockets, but i guess we need a clean OS for that.

To replace the dialer see this topic here … Is there any alternative to the default Dialer app - that works on FP3?
Works for me.

Yes, I noticed Android System WebView seems important, too. Uninstalling it will break stuff.

Install a different keyboard like, and then use a PIN instead of a password, and unlocking the phone should work fine with Gboard uninstalled, as the keyboard isn’t used for PINs.
Works for me.

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Here’s my current take …
I try to walk a line between de-Google-ing the phone while keeping the basic Google Mobile Services (GMS, for OTA updates of the OS and some Play Store Apps I still have as APKs for installing) and the Play Store itself (for updates of remaining Google components) from breaking, even if I try not to use my Google account for now.

I’m not a big fan of installing downloaded APKs from some website without an automatic update possibility which stores like e.g. F-Droid provide, but it seems this will be necessary for now in some cases if I don’t want to compromise too much.

Replacement Apps

Calculator: Arity from F-Droid
(I tried Calculator from F-Droid, too, but it’s really basic. When I seldomly need a calculator, I want to have some advanced stuff. I didn’t try Simple Calculator from F-Droid, because it looked pretty basic on the screenshots, too.)

Calendar: Simple Calendar Pro from F-Droid
(I don’t work much with the calendar, I just sync my few calendar events from Thunderbird to it … I tried Etar from F-Droid, too, and it would work for me as well.)

Camera: Google Camera with HDR+, Nightsight etc. (Xiaomi Poco F1 port) from XDA
(I kept the original Camera App, too, for the moment … can’t decide just now whether to omit it or not.
A well-known and widely used non-Google camera App would be Open Camera from F-Droid.)

Clock: Simple Clock from F-Droid

Contacts: Contacts 1.7.31 by LineageOS from APKMirror
(I tried Simple Contacts from F-Droid, but it can’t put shortcuts of contacts to the home screen, and I absolutely want to have that. Furthermore, one out of two times I tried it, Simple Contacts couldn’t see my contacts when Dialer and LineageOS Contacts could … weird.)

Dialer: Lineage OS Phone 19.0 by LineageOS (Variant: September 21, 2018) from APKMirror
(As Emerald Dialer from F-Droid seemingly doesn’t cut it yet.)

Files: Ghost Commander or Amaze from F-Droid
(There’s still a use case for Files, though.)

Gboard: Simple Keyboard from F-Droid
(Attention! This will not work with a password as unlocking method, use a PIN instead.)

Gmail: Email 9 by LineageOS from APKMirror
(I tried SimpleEmail and FairEmail from F-Droid, both pretty similar K9 forks, but I didn’t like them.)

Google Chrome: Fennec F-Droid from … well … F-Droid

Google Maps: OsmAnd+ from F-Droid
(In case of need Google Maps has a usable website.)

Google Play Store: Aurora Store from F-Droid
(I deactivated the Play Store since Aurora got anonymous login to the Play Store back.)

Launcher: Lawnchair from F-Droid
(I tried Trebuchet from XDA, too, which would work for me, too, but with F-Droid there’s at least a way for automatic updates, even if there are none in sight in this case for now.)

Messages: QKSMS from F-Droid

Music: VLC from F-Droid

Photos: Simple Gallery Pro from F-Droid

Videos: VLC from F-Droid

YouTube: Has a usable website.

YouTube Music : Don’t need it. (Was installed with OS Build number 8901.2.A.0101.20191115)

Mentions for convenience

Simply Solid from F-Droid
(Apparently Android by default has no way of setting a plain colour as background for home and lock screen, it wants to have a picture. If you just want to have a plain colour, Simply Solid saves you from having to make a picture of a plain colour yourself.)

Your local weather from F-Droid
(As far as I’ve seen, the original weather Widget was part of the stock launcher. If you want to have some Widget choices for your weather, here’s an F-Droid App that gives you some. This works especially well if you have your own OpenWeatherMap API key.
There are other weather Apps on F-Droid, too.)

Still there … Files (see above) … Camera (not yet uninstalled) … Play Store (on purpose, see top) … What does this do? Android Work Profiles perhaps? updates certificates, firewall configuration, time zone info … Google Mobile Services, important for Apps relying on them and for receiving SMS Edit by @Stefan: Not true (QKSMS and Silence work), see here. … Google Services Framework, important for Apps relying on it and for receiving SMS Edit by @Stefan: Not true (QKSMS and Silence work), see here. … Carrier Services … Android Accessibility Suite … sounds harmless … What does this do? … Google Tag Manager, may be used by Apps … Text-To-Speech engine, missing TTS may be inconvenient with Apps used for navigation, and there’s no real FOSS alternative right now. Let’s believe TTS conversion is being done locally. … Android System WebView, handle with care.

Uninstalled via adb shell pm uninstall --user 0 packagename
(and watch out for App updates which might still need to get uninstalled) … Google Chrome … Stock launcher useless … Google Drive … Google Maps … Messages … Photos … sounds useless when I backup and sync locally … Google Duo … Digital Wellbeing … YouTube Music for the Android Backup Service, providing key/value cloud storage for apps. … Calculator … Calendar … Contacts … Clock … Dialer … Android Services Library, sorts notifications by “importance” based on things like freshness, app type (IM apps come first), and by contact. … Android Shared Library, what does this do? … I don’t give any, at least not willingly :slight_smile: . … Gmail… What does this do? … Google Sample Home Screen … “Google”, literally … Gboard … Music is the setup wizard when you first run your phone. … What does this do? wizard from Google … Google Contacts Sync … Videos … Youtube

Some complementary settings

I’ll just list some settings here for reference without much testing yet. Maybe I’ll retract some later when I realize they break stuff.

Some default values of settings might be clearly useful under certain circumstances, so please make up your own mind at every step you take.

First time setup

Make some sensible choices about Google’s immediate involvement when you first start the phone (or after a factory reset) concerning location, backup, sending usage data etc. … and don’t add a Google account.
Skip logging in to a Wi-Fi network and immediately disable Mobile data in the quick settings once you reach the home screen, until you first have initially checked through the Settings tree whether you can prevent some Google “damage” already.


  • Accounts (I know it’s not on top in reality, but it’s important.):
    Don’t add a Google account here (or by other means like the first time setup assistant or else) if you don’t really have to.
    If you really have to, first turn off “Automatically sync data” here, then add the account and perhaps try to minimize syncing in its settings, then turn on “Automatically sync data” again, then check the settings of the Google account again to be sure.

  • Network & Internet

    • Wi-Fi
      • Wi-Fi preferences
        • Advanced
          • Network rating provider: None (instead of Google)
  • Apps & notifications

    • Default apps: (Make sure non-Google replacement Apps are set here, if any.)
      • Opening links
        • Instant Apps: Off
    • App permissions
      • Body sensors
        • Google Play services: Off
      • Calendar
        • Google Play services: Off
      • Call logs
        • Google Play services: Off
      • Camera
        • Google Play services: Off
      • Contacts
        • Google Play services: Off
      • Microphone
        • Google Play services: Off
      • Additional permissions: (Nothing interesting set here for me, but you might want to check.)
  • Security & location

    • Google Play Protect
      • (cog wheel top right)
        • Scan device for security threats: Off
    • Find My Device: Off
    • Location
      • Google Location Accuracy
        • Improve Location Accuracy: (Turn this off to make it harder for Google to know which Wi-Fi and mobile networks you hang around. Location would purely rely on GPS then and might be more inaccurate/ unavailable e.g. indoors.)
      • Google Location Sharing: (I don’t know what’s in here without a Google account.)
      • Advanced
        • Scanning
          • Wi-Fi scanning / Bluetooth scanning: (I don’t know whether they are Google-related, but judging by their description it seemed sensible to me to turn them off.)
    • Advanced
      • Trust agents
        • Smart Lock (Google): Off
  • System

    • Languages & input
      • Virtual keyboard: Simple Keyboard (see above, or choose your choice of non-Google keyboard here, tap on the App here to check its settings.)
      • Advanced
        • Spell checker: (Make sure Google isn’t involved here, I have this off anyway. Yeah, “sometimes it shows, haha” … mostly when I’m not quick enough proof-reading/ correcting :wink: .)
        • Auto-fill service: None (instead of Google)
    • Languages & input
      • Backup
        • Back up to Google Drive: Off
  • Google (I know it’s not at the end in reality, but some settings here are just links to settings in other places in the Settings tree, so I can leave them out here.)

    • Ads
      • Opt out of Ads Personalisation: On
    • Data & messaging
      • App preview messages: Off
    • Device connections
      • Devices
        • Show notifications: Off

Issues so far

  • Current DB Navigator (tested with 19.10.p03.02) crashed at start.
    A re-install after uninstalling it failed.
    Workaround: Earlier DB Navigator (tested with 19.04.p05.01 and 19.08.p03.00) worked.
    The issue was a split APK,
    logcat entry was “Package blocked since it is missing required splits.”
    Solution: SAI (Split APKs Installer) from F-Droid can handle split APKs.
    Major catch: The App in question has to work first. Then you can export the split APK of it with SAI, and then you can install the resulting split APK with SAI again if needed
    (confirmed with 19.10.p03.02 by deactivating all syncing, adding my Google account, installing current DB Navigator from the Play Store, exporting the split APK with SAI, uninstalling the App, removing my Google account - losing all contacts because Google simply assigned them to this account, be safe with a backup! - , enable syncing again, installing the split APK with SAI).
    Side effect: Dealing with this confirmed the Play Store still works if I want it to, and DB Navigator didn’t break because of all the uninstalling of Android components.
  • Dialing *#*#4636#*#* doesn’t bring up the “Testing” menu.
    Seems to have resolved itself.
  • After the update to OS Build number 8901.2.A.0101.20191115 (and after every reboot since) Android complained about Carrier Services not being able to work correctly, if I wouldn’t give Google Play Services permissions to Body sensors, Calendar, Camera, Contacts, Microphone (it’s all in one place, see above) … I didn’t give the permissions, let’s just see if something breaks. Until now the phone was working fine.
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Arity has not been updated since 12 Feb 2019

Messages I use Signal. It handles SMS as well.

Gmail: I use P=P, a K9 fork with PGP (and material design).

YouTube I use NewPipe instead.

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Tried the software update today. It didn’t reinstall or reactivate any Google Apps I had removed, but installed an extra “YouTube Music” which I had to uninstall:


I also had my Developer status removed, had to tap the Build Status again. Which, of course, I needed to get rid of the new youtube app

Weird, I had my Developer status intact.

On another note - Has anyone managed to get approximate location working with UnifiedNlp (the non-Google version)? I installed it from F-Droid, the one that says “for Google services” (the other one was showing up as installed), but it doesn’t work. What’s worse: When enabling location, even if it’s just GPS, I see a recent location request from Google Play Services, and I can’t disable the permission. I am thinking that I should just uninstall the package using adb (org.microg.nlp maybe?) and then install the non-Google one from F-Droid, but haven’t quite dared to try it yet. Has anyone tried it?

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Developer options are still there for me, too.


Android is a lot trickier. An specially designed app can be leaking data without any internet connection at all (not even WebView). Apps with the same developer signature can share information between them (specifically, they share the same Unix user, so they can access their data directories independently). That’s the case with Google Apps, in fact. Source: Android Security Internals.

So yes, disable them all, even if they seem innocent.


Well, it would still need another app to do the “phoning home” for it, right? If both apps voluntarily work together they don’t need to run as the same user/dev key. One could simply open a local socket which the other talks to or use a myriad of other mechanisms through which apps can communicate with each other.

But that means if you trust all the apps that CAN do internet connections, then you don’t need to worry too hard about the ones who cannot. They could still collect all sorts of data about you but they cannot “call home” without a messenger.

For most google apps “google play services” is this one-fits-all messenger, and most google apps/services won’t work anymore if you uninstall google play services.

One problem that I ran into is system services that are not apps. As such, they can not be uninstalled or disabled, since they are device drivers. But they still can access the internet (in fact you can’t deny it since the access restrictions policies only apply to apps, not to operating beneath that layer)

Google apps rarely sink “that low” (scnr) - but unfortunately Qualcomm does, as I have documented here.


Hello AnotherElk,
the situation, that an uninstalled App is still shown in the app list but with the notice that it is not installed for the current user, is caused by updates of this app which were installed before uninstalling the app.
The app and the message will disappear, if you uninstall all existing updates.
Uninstalling these updates should be possible in Settings - Apps


Nice. Thanks.

Hello s99h,

I tried to reinstall an App with “cmd package install-existing” following the information in your post.
I wanted to do this on an phone with Android 7.1 installed
But I received the answer:

cmd package install-existing
Unknown command: install-existing

I checked the help of “cmd package”. The help does not include any information about “install”.
Do you know if the availability of “install-existing” for the Package service depends on the Android version?
Or on the ADB version installed on the PC?

Do you know any way to reinstall a (Google) App on Android 7.1, which has been uninstalled with the

pm uninstall …


I did not succeed with the

pm install

command. No matter what switches I tried.

I recently mad the same obervation when trying to degoogle ny Mate 9 running Android 7.
At the moment I am running out of time but I will investigate.

I believe “install-existing” depends on the Android release, not adb.

Without further knowledge I see two options.

  1. Try to get the package with Aurora or download from Apkmirror and install it.
  2. If that does not help and you need the functionality urgently, factory reset, but this is the least I would consider.

I’ll have some time on thursday an will report back.
In the meantime don’t use the “uninstall” command but “disable-user” which I have testet under android 7. It can be reversed using “enable”.

PS: I should be possible to use the “install” command. The system just does not know where to find the given package. With adb you could use the “find” comand or 'ls" and combine it with "| grep ".

These are the packages that I uninstalled:


Which of these is really necessary for receiving SMS and why? Can I dump (Carrier Services)?

I don’t know. I linked to the post where I got the info from.
The internet didn’t come up with much on that for me either.

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On my FP3 I have deactivated …

… and can still send and receive sms.
I am using the Lineage sms app.

There may exist contradictive information, maybe it even depends on android version or vendor.