Using F-Droid "DeGoogle"


Had a look through the FAQ’s so apologies if this is answered.
If I move to F-Droid (Android Device) will my current Apps, not work ?
Do I have to migrate to an F-Droid equivalent or will they all work just not get updated from the Play Store ?

Many apps just doesn’t exist on F-Droid (Like Google Maps, YouTube,…). You have the choice between finding an alternative on F-Droid, or you can also choose to download the applications you can’t live without from Aurora Store.

OK thanks, figured as much…

If you have any precise question, feel free to ask :slight_smile:

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Some apps may have some features broken because they rely on google services. E.g. you may not get push notifications from some apps if you remove Google Play Services. Though system features must work fine.


No, Aurora Store is like F-Droid or GooglePlay Store. It’s just an app where you can download apps.

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Well some apps don’t notify anyway :grinning:

Sorry I meant is F-Droid like a Linux install as in the devices/hardware functions that come installed with Android - I guess F-Droid runs on top of Android.
Are there versions of Android it doesn’t work with ?

I’m not sure, but I think you can install F-Droid from Android 4.0 version.

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OK will investigate options :+1: thank you for taking the time to answer

For starters, maybe my series of F-Droid articles is helpful to you. Start with the first article – and go ahead as far as you like (parts 3+4 are rather targeted at developers, so you’ll probably skip them):

F-Droid: The privacy-friendly alternative to Google Play Store


I think you’re conflating several things. You can put F-droid on any Android phone. If you do that, you get access to the list of apps hosted by F-droid. (Depending on how you do it, you will have to allow apps from “unknown sources”. It will have no effect on anything you already have, including the Play Store and the apps it has installed.

You may be thinking about installing an entire custom ROM, such as LineageOS. If you do that, you have a new phone with nothing on it. You then have the choice of either installing the Google core apps (Gapps, they’re called) or not. If you don’t install them, they won’t work.

It you really want to (almost) entirely de-Google you’re phone, you can take a look at microg and /e/. Then (unless you do something) you can get all your apps from F-droid. They will work fine, but you won’t have an easy way to install Candy Crush.


Excellent thank you

Well, it’s not impossible but you need to use another alternative to play store. It’s much easier to install from Aurora Store.

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Of all the apps needed that isn’t on the list :slight_smile:

It you really want to (almost) entirely de-Google you’re phone, you can take a look at microg…

One really should not use de-google and microg in the same sentence or paragraph. Though it is technically possible to use microg for location without using google, microg is for using google services: The opposite of de-google.

another alternative to play store. It’s much easier to install from Aurora Store.

Similarly, one should not use de-google in the same paragraph as Aurora or alternative store apps that use google: the opposite of de-google.

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Where is microg using google for location? On my phone I see three installed services (GSM Location Service, Mozilla Location Service, and Nominatum), and in addition I believe there is UnifiedNlp. So far as I know none of those have anything to do with Google.

I guess you’re confusing a few things here: microG is a FOSS rewrite of the GServices framework. Basically it gives the same “outer interfaces” (so apps depending on Google Services will think they have them available and use them fine), while internally handling things entirely FOSS.

Example: an app wants a map tile from Google Maps, so it calls the proper methods of (it thinks) Google Services – which is where microG receives them, and returns tiles from Open Streetmap instead. App is happy getting the tiles and using them.

Example: an app wants to “phone home” to Google Analytics. microG accepts the data, simply discards them, and reports success.

Example: an app wants the current location. microG retrieves it from one of its own backends (on my device e.g. the OpenCellId database – no network connection needed for “network location”, funny as that might sound). Similar for Nominatim (giving a location name like “5 Baker Street, Funny Town” and receiving the GPS data for it).

And so on. The only 2 exceptions are (currently): Using Firebase Cloud Messaging, testing SafetyNet. Both must be explicitly enabled by the user (I have them disabled on my devices). And even FCM will hopefully be replaced soon – alternatives are already available, e.g. Gotify or NoProvider2Push. And UnifiedPush as a wrapper on top – so apps supporting UnifiedPush basically leave the choice to the user which service to use.

On this I agree, to a degree. While Aurora Store uses Google Play as backend, it allows the user doing so with more privacy, stripping of quite a lot of Google tracking. So in a way, it is “de-googling” – at least partly. Just to clarify: no, I don’t use that either. The only “app store” installed on my devices is F-Droid. I don’t even have a Google account anymore – as Google thankfully closed that for me.

UnifiedNlp is part of microG Core. So the place where you see the 3 back-ends you’ve mentioned is UnifiedNlp :wink: There are several Location Provider available, including apps to help improving them (I eg. use Tower Collector to contribute to OpenCellId (which I use myself, see above) and Mozilla Location Services; as a side-effect the app can be used for route tracking, as you can export your locations in e.g. GPX format).

Correct. The Mozilla back-end uses MLS (online, so you need a network connection), GSM Location Service uses OpenCellId (also online), Nominatim uses OSM (again online). I’m using the LocalGsmNlpBackend on multiple devices; the database is created on my Linux machine and then pushed to all of them. So “create once, use many” :smiley:


What is sort of odd is that when I visit Settings > microg Settings, it says 4 “backends configured” right near “Location modules”, but when I visit the Location Modules screen it only shows the 3 I mentioned. I assumed that the UnifiedNlp was the 4th. So I guess I am confused.

Location: I already said technically this part of microg does not use google. It makes it easy to use Apple, however, which isn’t better IMO.

Everything else:

while internally handling things entirely FOSS.

Then microg apps should not have anti features tags they do have:

  • microg services framework proxy, promotes nonfree network (google?)

  • microg droidguard helper, promotes nonfree network (google?) + upstream source not all free

Some people want to buy the concept you can run microg-LineageOS or others like \e/ with microg, install all your favorite playstore apps, and magically stay de-googled. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably ain’t true… I don’t buy this big lie some are selling.

CalyxOS has a OK description, and “Options for running” fairly well summarizes a 3-step slippery slope.

GrapheneOS does not include microg.

And that’s without getting into the signature spoofing issue…