Living without Google 2.0 - A Google free FP2

But as there is the FFUpdater that should not be a problem.
Afaik F-Droid recently also started to provide the infrastructure for reproducible builds (I believe I read it somewhere in the Signal issue about Google Play alternatives)

There is a way to install any app available at Playstore without gapps installed.
What you need is: another Android device, which needs to be rooted. (Maybe an emulator works, too(?))

On that device install Total Commander from Playstore. In it click on the home sysmbol. Next to your installed SD Cards you will also find “installed apps”. Click on that (this is where you need root access). Select all apps you have installed on that device using Play Store which you want to have on your Fairphone. Copy them e.g. to an installed external SD Card. Doing this, you copy the APKs of the installed apps.

Now you take the SD Card out and connect it to the Fairphone. In settings -> security you have to allow “installation from unknown source”.

Now, you will have to start a file manager, like Amaze or (again) TotalCommander. The problem is: how to get this onto the phone if you don’t have Play Store installed? Well, you have to push it over from Linux (explained in the forum somewhere already) or you can try to flash it from recovery. Here would be one:

Once you have started the file manager, select the SD Card and start the previously copied APKs.

This is quite some work, but who said, that living without Gapps makes life “easier”? :wink:

F-Droid has an option to share installed apps. It’s quite flakey though, and it might not work right away, but that should work on non-rooted devices.

Another option to get an apk into the phone: email it to yourself, download, save somewhere, then open with a file manager. That’s known to work, I just tried it :slight_smile:

The APKs are located in the sytem area. It would surpise me, if Fdroid can share them unrooted.

However, sounds easier than my suggestion.:+1:

PS: Just tried Fdroid. It only gives me a limited choice of “installed apps”. With Total Commander you can extract pretty much any installed app.

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Tried F-Droid again between two non-rooted phones (but with self-compiled images). It worked, it’s just a bit tricky to understand how to get it to work:

  1. Connect both phones to the same WiFi network
  2. Open F-Droid on both
  3. From the menu choose “Swap Apps” on both phones
  4. Make them both visible on WiFi
  5. Wait until they both see each other
  6. Click the other phone’s name on BOTH phones
  7. On the phone you want to send apps from, choose the apps you want, click Next
    Then you just basically follow the instructions. I just sent one application that’s not available on F-Droid, I had just grabbed the apk from a “honeypot” phone.


It would be great if some experienced users can post how to “un-google” Fairphone or at least which functions (sharing, syncing…) can be deactivated without problems.

For all who wants to know, what kind of information is already connected to their Google account - check your Google Dashboard:

Best regards


There are 3 options:

  • install the FP open source OS as soon as it will be released.
  • compile it yourself
  • as you mentioned: deactivating Google Apps, disallowing Location Services, disable auto synch, always say “no” when google prompts you for some permissions, …

I’ll test which Apps can be deactivated and if that results in some troubles…


Ok so I disabled:

  • Camera and replaced it with
    • Open Camera (works, but I can’t start it with the camera button although FP said the button would be "programmable)
  • Maps
  • Calendar
  • Chrome
  • Contacts
  • Drive
  • Gmail
  • Google App
  • Google Contacts Synch
  • Google Play Movies & TV
  • Google Play Music
  • Google Play Services
  • Google Play Store
  • Google Text-to-speech Engine
  • Hangouts
  • Youtube

Google Services still running in the background during all this testing (according to Settings > Apps > Running)

  • None

Owncloud also offers the possibility to sync your contacts and your calendar with it. On the phone you will need <a href=>davdroid for it (to be honest, I do not use davdroid so far, but caldav/carddav from the google play store work for me).

The contacts and calendars are really the same style as google calendars, no difference. I had my calendars on google and then just moved them over to owncloud, that was no problem.

Tasks and Notes (<a href=±+Tomboy+sync+server?content=166654>grauphel = tomboy for owncloud + <a href=>tomdroid) also can be synced via owncloud. And even firefox (with <a href=>mozialla_sync - but that is not reliably working for me and a pain to install).

Enjoy & Cheers,


@paulakreuzer thanks a lot for testing and this overview :smile:

I have Opencamera as well and it works with the button. The first time I pressed the camera button, it asked me if I wanted to use OpenCamera or the build in Camera app. And if this was just once or always. I chose OpenCamera and ‘Always’ and now it works.

Details on programming the camera button and using the expansion port will be released later.

OSMand~, Firefox, DavDroid, Owncloud, fdroid, conversations ( I use Signal more these days) and K9Mail all work like a charm on my FP2 that I finally got yesterday!


I confirm this works on my phone too

Excellent, thanks Douwe, I can’t wait to play with them ! And I’m glad I’m not alone in using the FOSS set of apps from F-Droid too :smile:

My camera button still does nothing if no camera App is open already, even after a hard reset & OS reinstallation.

weird… the only thing I can think of is that I found that the camera button needs more pressure to function then the power button. Try pressing harder?


Oh you’re right! Though as a shutter I didn’t need so much pressure.

Now I get the “Programmable Button has stopped” popup, probably because I disabled camera but didn’t yet install open camera after the latest reset. :wink:


Thanks again for this great list - Etar, OpenCamera, F-Droid and Vanilla Music now replaced another sector of the Google galaxy on my FP - wonderful!

One more hint: if you are using LastFm, then <a href=>this works perfect for scrobbeling.



Sorry if i’m a complete noob but i haven’t used smartphones much before getting this fairphone 2. How do i turn these off?

Go to Settings > Apps > All > tap on the App > tap “disable”.

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Thanks, i had a different language but i figured it out now.

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I will get my FP2 in the next days and I am quite curious/sceptic about some goolge related stuff during the fist setting up / booting the FP2. Here are some of my questions conernces, which maybe somebody can answer, althoug it is most likely not a FP2 only topic but more a Android 5.1 thing.

Maybe wen can make of this a short “Guide how to set up the FP2 with stock Android 5.1 for the first time”, as this topic is quite wide spread over the forum…

My concerns are mostly how I can minimize google automatisms with the FP2 stock OS:

  1. Is having a google account a MUST for booting the phone normally for the first time?
  2. How will the playstore/google account looks like, if I use the same account for two phones (FP1 & FP2) in parallel?
  • Are the “installed” apps completely synced between both (also payed apps)?
  • Or is Android asking me, which of the installed apps from the FP1 I want also install to the FP2?
  • What happens then, if I install any new app - will it appear also automatically at the second phone (which I would hate)?
  1. Which steps I should do, if I do not accidently upload my contacts to google, which I will try import locally (e.g. via MyPhoneExplorer and MyLocalAccount)
  2. What to do to avoid that google upload anything to the server at all (pics, messages…)? Are there some “hidden sync options”, which differ much from FP1/Android 4.2?
  3. How to prevent Android5.1 of eating the mobile data amount?

I am sure I will have some more questions, but that’s all for the moment.

If you have some more recommendation feel free to post - also within the frame for a future guide, if usefull hints come in…

Cheers, Robert