Installing Apps on Open OS


After 6 months without touching my fairphone - I was too discouraged and didn’t have enough time - I am trying to understand how to get started with as little Google as possible. I installed the fairphone open OS, which seems to work. And installed the pico version of opengapps to access google play. Am I right in assuming that:

1- I need google play to download apps from (Swiss) government agencies and the like, e.g. the weather and Avalanche forecast and apps to send an alarm in case of an accident

2- I cannot have google play without google play services, which will send google lots of information that is none of their business?

Or is there an alternative (I read about raccoon somewhere)?

If I do have to use google play and google play services, will it work to deactivate both apps whenever I am not downloading a new app? And maybe activate them once in a while to check for updates?

And by the way, is there an active fairphone user community anywhere in Switzerland?

Thanks a lot for your help!

1.: right (I assume so)
2.: right (definitely)

BUT: You can enable root in the Developer Settings and install Xposed and the module Xprivacy. With Xprivacy you can prevent Google to access most of your private data. You only have to enable accounts, internet and SD-card permissions for Play, and only accounts and internet for Play Services.

(note that things like cloud backup of your contacts or game highscores won’t work then)

There a different approaches to this. Google forces app developers into using features that make them depend on Google services. Even tax funded government apps sometimes.

If you want to try to use a phone and apps without Google services, try a combination of raccoon to download the apps, and microG if the app needs Google services. It works, 90% of the time. Until Google makes changes that need to be addressed again.

It’s best to use apps that do not depend on Google services.

But the only way to get Google based apps running 100% stable is to go the Google way (install GAPPS) or to buy an iPhone, but here the apps will use Apples services.

I (and others, I’m sure) will gladly discuss it in more detail, but there is a lot info here in the forum already.

While pico seems to mean “little” it’s still a lot.

Have you checked whether these apps are available via alternative sources like apk mirror or racoon?
Some apps (claim they) need Google Play Services to work, but you can install the FLOSS microG Services instead.

Google Play Services can’t be deactivated entirely.

Please check the Guide to living without Google on an FP2 to learn more and continue there if you have further questions.
My tip: Backup whatever you need, do a hard reset and start over without “open” GAPPS but microG instead.