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A guide to using Android without selling your soul to Google

Photo: David Nield (Gizmodo)

As soon as you start a new Android phone, you will be prompted to sign in with your Google Account, but what if you do not want to do it? Perhaps you want to take advantage of Android, but limit what Google knows about you or maybe you only prefer alternative apps; Either way, here's how to live a Google free Android life.

We honestly say it's not easy to use Android without Google, but it's possible. If you want a more practical life, you must log in immediately when prompted. The big miss if you are not a Google Play store, but here we show you how to get around there and various other obstacles along the way.

We assume you're starting out with a brand new Android phone, fresh from the factory. You can de-Google ify an existing Android handset, but you must reset it first through the Settings app to return to the original setup screen. This means that all your existing apps and data will be deleted, so you must back up all your important things somewhere.

Set up Android

Welcome to your new Android phone (or reset) Android phone! The query to sign in with Google comes in five screenshots after you've selected language and connected to Wi-Fi. When prompted to log in, press Skip instead, and then click Skip again to confirm that yes, you really want to use Android without a Google Account.

A A few monitors later, Google asks you very well if you want to sign up for some additional Google services: Local tracking and system diagnostic reports. If you are not satisfied with either or both of these options, turn off the relevant switch and then turn Unity to continue (you can not use a phone with regular Google-equipped Android on it without being agree to some basic terms and conditions).

Screenshot: Gizmodo

And … you should be inside. Do not worry if you see any Google apps because they do not want to be linked to any-Google Photos, for example, can act as a local image library manager without actually connecting to the cloud or a Google Account. If there are any apps you want to get rid of, long press their icon and drag the icon up to the Uninstall top link.

YouTube works perfectly without a Google Account being logged in, although you obviously can not access any personal apps or any of your playlists. Google Maps is another app that will work without a Google Account if it is preinstalled, but again you will not get all personal customization.

Screenshot: Gizmodo

It's important to note that a Google Account handles various aspects to sync and back up Android as well, and you need to hunt for alternative solutions. You do not want Google Contacts to sync over, for example, fine if you do not want to use Google Contacts, but you need to get something else or build your contact list right from the bottom of the phone itself. 19659003] And these programs will still log in to data and information about you, even if Google does not. As always, you can manage the permissions an app has (and the data it can collect), up to a Pointing Point of Settings, and touch Apps and Alerts then App Permissions to view a list and make any changes you consider necessary.

Get Your Apps

The Bigger, If you do not connect your Android phone to your Google Account, is the Google Play Store: Try and upload the Play Store app and you will only be met with the sign-in screen again. To get around this, you need to launch sideloading apps via the Android phone browser.

In times you need, you must authorize "unknown" apps (not from Play Store) in Settings, but modern versions of Android ask for app-for-app authorization. You have two choices here: either embraces the Amazon App Store, which is not as comprehensive as Google, but has most of the big names, or transfers apps over and over, as you need them from the excellent APKMirror depot.

Screenshot: Gizmodo

Select it earlier for a lighter life (including automatic updates for your apps), or the latter for more control over your phone. If you take the Amazon route, go to www.amazon.com/androidapp on your phone and follow the onscreen instructions. You must confirm that you are ready to risk installing apps downloaded from the Play Store and press A couple of security alerts along the way.

With that done, sign in with your Amazon account and wake you up. You get many of the big apps (Netflix, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram), although there are also some omissions (Snapchat, YouTube). Google's apps are nowhere to see, but that's the whole point of this exercise, right? The Amazon App Store does not have Polish off its Google counterpart, but it will keep everything up to date and sorted for you.

Screenshot: Gizmodo

You can install applications right from APKMirror instead of, or from, the Amazon App Store. Go to the site in your browser, or download files on your computer and transfer them through your choice of file synchronization tool or via a USB cable. Again, you must press a number of security alerts while installing apps, but APKMirror is a recognized source (just do not install anything too esoteric, just to be sure).

APKMirror is most likely for the apps you need, but as with the Amazon App Store, some of the latest game titles may be missing. You also can not download any apps that cost money – it's strictly free apps. The other drawback is that your apps are not automatically updated so you must remember to do this manually on a semi-regular basis. (APKUpdater is a decent effort to automate this process for Android versions of up to 7.1).

Screenshot: Gizmodo

As you probably know, you have all possible alternatives to replace Google Apps: Outlook instead of Gmail, Firefox instead of Chrome, OneDrive instead of Google Drive, Flickr in instead of Google Photos, MapQuest instead of Google Maps, DuckDuckGo instead of Google search and so on. To really rub salt in Google's wounds, you can even try Apple Music.

You can also have some alternative options from which company made your Android phone. Manufacturers like Samsung and OnePlus have some highly competent apps to handle basic use of the phone that you can deploy instead of Google's own apps (including possibly an app to manage your contacts).

Less Extreme and More Extreme Options [19659006] You can tailor your approach to being more or less anti-Google as you feel necessary. If you do not want problems with an alternative app store, sign in to the Play Store and get all the apps you need without touching Google's native apps like Gmail or Google Maps.

As a result, you'll be giving Google some more information about yourself and how to use your device, but you can consider the bill worth it for the added convenience. Perhaps installing the Microsoft Launcher from the Google Play store as an easy way to avoid Google's native apps and search, and stick to the non-Google apps we've already listed above.

Screenshot: Gizmodo

Alternatively, you can go full-on anti-Google and install an entirely new version of Android-something like LineageOS. You will need a device that works with your custom ROM and the patience and knowledge to blink it, but you will be left with a completely free Google phone at the end of the process.

Bear Remember that if you flash an alternative operating system on your phone, you do not have access to Google Play services that many popular and well-known apps rely on to work, especially when the site is needed. You can add this to the top of LineageOS, but that kind of defeats the process of installing your own mobile operating system in the first place.

Screenshot: Gizmodo

The Open Source App Store F-Droid (above) covers an impressive number of bases and features that you can use for free from Google Influence (including Google Play Services), but you must also do without great hitter like Facebook, Spotify, Netflix and so on. Nice for those who long for today's function telephones, not so good for the rest of us.

It really depends on how much time and effort you want to invest and how little Google you want in your life, but you should find something that works for you. Finally, you can have Android run with little or no Google influence – but maybe not as easy as any EU regulators want.

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